# Thursday, 11 December 2008

Still in hospital, hoping to be home for Shabbos

Nothing much has changed, except the Boss is even more bored than before! Chaya Devoira is doing fine, but is still not keeping her oxygen levels high enough for them to let her home. It's frustrating, as she is keeping at the same sort of levels as she was doing before she went in, and is certainly breathing fine. I guess they are being cautious.

Being on the open ward has been a bit difficult, due to the lack of privacy and the higher levels of ambient noise, but it has its advantages. The bed next to Chaya Devoira's is occupied by a 13-year old Jewish girl, who had an operation. Her mother stays by the bedside most of the day, and turns out to be a very nice lady. She and the Boss have got quite friendly, which helps things along.

I bought an mp3 player yesterday. I've been itching to buy one for ages, as I love gadgets, but couldn't justify the cost as I rarely need something like that. However, on the suggestion of a friend, I got one so that the Boss could listen to music or shiurim whilst sitting in hospital. I don't know why I didn't think of it before! I even wrote the web site for Start Your Day The Torah Way, who have hundreds of shiurim for download.

The downside of this is that I spent far too much time last night playing with it, and trying to work out how to get some music onto it. I managed, but not without problems. Still, it's given the Boss something for the morning. I'll pinch it back this afternoon and see if I can get some shiurim on.

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# Tuesday, 09 December 2008

Boruch Hashem, much better, but still in hospital

OxygenI managed to get to the hospital in time to see the doctor on his rounds this morning. Boruch Hashem, Chaya Devoira is doing well, and is basically off the oxygen. She still has an oxygen mask near her, purely to increase the ambient levels around her. She doesn't generally need this, but as her saturation levels sometimes drop a little low, this helps keep them up. Hopefully they will be able to remove even this fairly soon.

They finally got the results back from the labs, and it turns out that she doesn't have bronchiolitis as we had thought. Instead, she has something called (I think) a rina virus. Not sure what that is, but it's a virus, and is thankfully on its way out. Like her namesake, Chaya Devoira is a tough cookie, and is not taking all this without a fight!

Having been on a slow drip feed for a couple of days, they decided to start semi-normal (tube) feeding again. They are trying her out with feeds every two hours, and if she tolerates those without problems, then they'll go back to every three hours, like she was before.

Once she can cope with being fed every three hours, and keep her oxygen levels up, she can come home. It looks like this will still be a couple of days though. Unfortunately, they moved her out of the isolation cubicle, which was fairly quiet and private, onto the main ward, which isn't so quiet and not at all private. This is harder on the Boss, who is staying with her, but she's taking it very well.

End of newsflash.

P.S. As mentioned before, we have a fair amount of cake left over from the kiddush, so I decided that for the benefit of those of you who don't live close enough to pop in, I would attach some to this blog post, in much the way that you attach files to an e-mail. If your browser supports cookies, you should be able to download them!

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Chaya Devoira getting better, but still in hospital

Well, having mentioned on Thursday that the Boss and Chaya Devoira were staying in hospital over Shabbos, things moved fairly quickly after I had switched the computer off.

On Friday afternoon, one of the neighbours, who has been an amazing help since Chaya Devoira was born, came over to ask if she could stay in hospital over Shabbos, so that the Boss could come home for the kiddush. Normally, she would never agree to this, but due to Chaya Devoira's breathing problems, the doctors had taken her off milk, and put her on an IV drip. She was also going to be moved to the High Dependency Unit (HDU), which is basically one step down from intensive care. The benefit of this is that Chaya Devoira would have one nurse specifically assigned to look after her. With this extra care, and the neighbour staying by the bed, the Boss agreed to come home.

So, the kiddush went ahead with both of us, but no Chaya Devoira. This wasn't actually a bad thing, as having loads of people breathing and cooing over her in the colds and coughs season wouldn't have been a good idea anyway.

The kiddush was lovely, although we ended up with more cake than we expected as there were seven other kiddushin on the same day! If you're in the area, and want some cake, please drop in and eat some!

After Shabbos, we went off to the hospital to see how things were, to find that Chaya Devoira's breathing had been even more laboured on Shabbos morning, and they had put her on a fancy looking machine called SiPAP. This looked like a medieval instrument of torture, involving a cap that fitted over her little head, with all sorts of wires, pipes and tubes connecting her to various machines that went "bing" and "ping" at irregular intervals. She also had a strap around her head, which held a large contraption over her nose, so that the machine could pump oxygen into her lungs, avoiding her the need to inflate her own chest. I confess that the site of my helpless little baby wired up like that was enough to bring me to tears. She looked so small and vulnerable.

Anyway, she stayed on that overnight. Boruch Hashem, they decided that she was doing well enough on it to try taking her off it on Sunday morning. They gave her a mini version of it instead, which was altogether less evil-looking, and probably less uncomfortable. As she seemed to be doing OK on this, they took her off the machines altogether, and just gave her some ambient oxygen through a mask held near her face. She stayed like that for about five hours, which was excellent.

They put her back on the SiPAP machine overnight, but the doctor agreed to let her off it again this morning. She stayed off it for the rest of the day, and was ready to move out of the HDU into a regular ward by early evening. This is very encouraging, and means that she is well on the way to recovery.

They moved her over around 8pm this evening. She started off without any oxygen at all, and wasn't doing badly. After a while, her blood oxygen saturation levels dropped, so they put the ambient feed back on. This could have been from the exertion of moving, and being off oxygen for a while. We are hoping that she will be able to come off it again in the morning. If she can keep her saturation level up to 85% without extra help, then they will let her home. We have to daven that she'll manage this sooner rather than later.

Whilst she was on the ward today, they weighed her, and she is now 7lbs 8oz, which is pretty good! She still needs to put on some more weight, but she is definitely going in the right direction. The surgical team at Alder Hey hospital are reviewing her case again next week to see if they think she is ready for the heart operation. I hope so, as that should give her a big boost.

Way past my bed time. I wouldn't get away with typing blog entries at this time of night if the Boss were home! Night night.

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# Monday, 08 December 2008

These are hilarious! Real sci-fi movie trailers from the 1950s

OK, so I admit I was wasting time. As I was driving to the hospital, I noticed a poster on a bus stop, advertising the imminent release of a remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, which was one of my favourite 1950s sci-fi films (back in the days when I used to watch such things). Curious as to what they had done with it, I had a look at the web site. Predictably, this led to YouTube (doesn't it always), and the inevitable wasting of time watching videos.

Anyway, along the way, I came across the trailers for two sci-fi films from the 1950s, which were so awful as to be very funny. I have never heard of either of these two films, but judging by the trailers, I don't think many people would have!

Watch the trailer for The Giant Claw if you dare! If you can stop laughing at that one, watch the trailer for Robot Monster and guffaw some more!

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# Friday, 05 December 2008

Back in hospital again

Unfortunately, Chaya Devoira has gone back into hospital. Her breathing was a little laboured yesterday, but not enough to be significant. However, it got worse during the night, and we took her to the doctor this morning. He recommended taking her down to the hospital, where she was admitted and sentenced to three or four days servitude. The saturation of oxygen in her blood was low, so she is back on an oxygen feed again. They tried to insert a breathing tube up her nose (the nostril that doesn't have the feeding tube), but they couldn't get it to go in, and she got so upset by this, that they gave up. She seems to be managed OK on the oxygen feed through the mask though.

It looks like she has bronchiolitis, which is not a spelling mistake, but is an infection of the twiddly little passages in the lungs (bronchial tubes, as opposed to the larger bronchal tubes, which are what get infected with bronchitis). To quote from the NHS web site...

"Bronchiolitis is a common respiratory infection that affects babies and young children. It occurs when the smallest airways in the lungs, called the bronchioles, become infected and inflamed, leading to a build-up of mucus. This makes it harder for the child to breathe because the amount of air entering the lungs is reduced." Read the full article here.

Sadly, this means the Boss will miss the kiddush, which is supposed to be happening this Shabbos. The doctors don't seem too worried about Chaya Devoira, as it is a very common infection, and not dangerous. They are keeping her in as a precaution, as her delicate medical condition means that they need to monitor her closely during any infection or illness.

The silver lining in this cloud is that they have given them an isolation cubicle, which is fairly large, isolated from the main ward, and with a real bed for the Boss. This means that she can have some quiet, privacy, and a decent rest.

More bulletins as events warrant. Good Shabbos to you all, and if you live nearby, please come in for a l'chaim on Shabbos morning.

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# Monday, 01 December 2008

Maybe it's wishful thinking, but...

I went into Chaya Devoira's room this morning when I came home from shul. She was awake in her cot, looking at her mobile.

I should point out that I am referring to the colourful decorations, often found hanging over babies' cots. I was not referring to a mobile telephone, as some more astute readers may have realised. We decided not to let Chaya Devoira have a mobile telephone in bed, as we were concerned that she would spend too long chatting into the night, and would not get the rest that she needs before her operation.

As I walked over to the cot, she turned her head towards me and gave the most beautiful smile! Her whole face lit up. The Boss thinks that she does smile at faces she recognises, but I'm not so sure. I don't seem to remember the others smiling quite this young, and given that she is likely to develop later than the others, I think it might be wishful thinking.

Either way, it made my day :-)

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# Monday, 24 November 2008

Cyberspamalot!

Anyone who was ever a fan of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as well as Dr Who will find this hysterical...

For those not in the know, the song is from the Monty Python film, and was sung by a load of medieval knights in the castle of Camelot (King Arthur's castle). The lyrics are excellent if you can make them out ("It's a busy life in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and spam a lot"). The video is a collection of bits from recent Dr Who films featuring the deadly Cybermen.

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New picture of Chaya Devoira

Chaya Devoira managed to pull out her feeding tube this evening, resulting in another unexpected (but thankfully brief) visit to the hospital to have it put back.

One benefit of this event was that I managed to get a picture of her without the tube...

As you can see, she is all wrapped up in her snug coat, ready to go to the hospital for tube reinsertion. She is still putting on weight nicely, although we won't know if it's enough for the heart operation for a few more weeks.

That's all folks!

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# Monday, 17 November 2008

Putting on weight (Chaya Devoira, not me!)

Phew, been eleven days since I last wrote anything here. Guess that pretty much sums up life at the moment - very hectic and no time for everything.

Anyway, the great news is that Chaya Devoira is putting on weight nicely. She's up to about six and a half pounds now, which is good, but still leaves here with some way to go before she is big enough for the heart operations.

The surgeons at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool (where they are to do the operations) are going to review her case again in 3-4 weeks to decide on a date. From what we've heard, the effects of the second of these operations can be quite dramatic. Someone said is was like a light bulb had been switched on in the baby - suddenly he was eating, gurgling, growing and looking around more. IY"H we will see great benefits from it too.

We had a scare on Friday. The nurse from the hospital rang to say that Chaya Devoira's potassium levels were too high. Now, I only know two things about potassium, and neither was very helpful. The first is that if you take a small piece of raw potassium, and drop it in a bowl of water, it whizzes around the surface fizzing for a few minutes, before burning with a small, but bright flame. If you have a chemistry teacher who is easily persuaded, you can convince him to drop a big piece of potassium in, which causes a fairly impressive explosion! Chemistry was fairly dull, but it was brightened up by the odd interesting incident like that!

The only other thing that I know about potassium, is that you get it from eating bananas. Now, as far as I know, Chaya Devoira doesn't eat bananas, mainly because her hands are too small to hold them properly. Maybe we should have held them for her, and she wouldn't have had low potassium levels :-)

Be that as it may, her levels were too low, and it seems this can be dangerous. They whisked her into hospital on Friday lunchtime (it would be Friday wouldn't it?), and threatened to keep her there. After much Tehillim, and some smooth talking with the nurses, they allowed them to come home, although they only arrived ten minutes before Shabbos. To make a rushed time even more rushed, they arrived home with an impressive array of new medicines (to complement the existing impressive array), as well as a pill cutter, a pill crusher and a whole new lot of plastic syringes. This baby is certainly making life interesting!

Anyway, boruch Hashem, things have settled down again, and we are back in some sort of normality (or whatever passes for that in this house). We are trying to get the last bits of our building work done, having told the builders not to come back, so that adds yet another thing to my ever-increasing list of things to do!

OK, ending here as supper has just landed on the table, and it's parents' evening for Nechoma Bryna in 25 minutes. Phew!

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# Thursday, 06 November 2008

Why do women have so many more clothes than men?

Amongst everything else, we have builders in the house. Part of the modifications that they are slowly doing involves moving our bedroom from the ground floor to the middle floor, and the living/play room from the middle floor to the ground floor. Due to the extra workload I've had with the Boss and baby being in hospital, this has happened over a period of several weeks. One result was that we had a bedroom upstairs, and the Boss' clothes downstairs (well, she wasn't here to need them, and I had enough else to do that was urgent without shifting things that could wait).

I finally got around to moving her clothes upstairs the other day, and was amazed at how many she has. My wardrobe consists of white shirts (about ten), black trousers (about four or five pairs, which I consider to be quite a lot), one weekday jumper, one Shabbos jumper and a suit. She has enough clothes to stock a medium-sized boutique in a fashionable district of Paris - albeit with the wrong sort of clothes for such a place! It seems that women have a completely different wardrobe depending on the time of year. The only difference between my summer and winter wardrobe are the two jumpers mentioned above! Why do women have so many clothes?

I suppose this isn't a new question. It probably goes back to the time that Adam wondered why Eve had three fig leaves and he only had one!

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