October 29, 2007
I realize that a disproportionate number of these posts revolve around poop, but it's amazing stuff. The big things to watch for after a surgery like this are infection, nausea, and vomiting. The vomiting is an indication that something could be off neurologically. However, each day when neurosurgery stopped by to check up on him, they kept saying "It's really hard to get worried about a kid who looks and acts so good". Even though Niklas could not hold down any food, he was still laughing, smiling and playing. The only thing we could think of was that he hadn't pooped since a day or two before the surgery. Could it be that he was so full of you know what that he couldn't eat? His belly was definitely sensitive to the touch.
I kept advocating for a stool softener or a suppository to relieve him of this discomfort. As it turns out, codeine and other pain killers are much easier to get a hold of in the hospital than a suppository. Finally, after nagging and nagging for a day and a half, one of the nurses relented and just gave one to him. After about 45 minutes, along came one of the most epic poops I have ever seen. Although it wasn't hard (sorry for the description), he screamed in pain as if his belly had been strechted to the limit and was collapsing again back to it's normal size. From that point on, Niklas held down everything he ate.
It's so good to be back home after spending 3 nights in the hospital. I did all the stayovers since we need mommy to be fresh and happy because without her the household completely falls apart. Our "cellmate" was a baby fresh out of the NICU. She was 4 lbs., was on constant monitoring and was still being fed by feeding tube. Over the course of the 4 days and 3 nights I spent there, the parents showed up for about 20 minutes total. They didn't even hold the baby, although they dressed her up in cute clothes before they left. On Sunday's visit, the dad watched the Lions game the whole time instead of Kangarooing his tiny little daughter. Because she couldn't regulate her temperature, the room was cranked up to about 90 degrees, and there were constant bells and whistles going off. I had to page the nurses station about once an hour to get them to come shut off various alarms so Niklas could sleep. Every time I leave UM, I always remember how incredibly blessed we are.
Finally, I want to thank our genius neurosurgeon Dr. Cormac Maher. This guy, in conjucntion with the rest of the brilliant staff in Pediatric Neurosurgery, is one of the primary reasons why Niklas is doing as well as he is. Earlier this month we were saddened to learn that he would be leaving. Greta and I seriously considered finding out where he was moving to and following him. It turns out that he has declined the position of Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic. Not exactly a position to scoff at. Apparently he has taken a hit to both his prestige and wallet to stay in Ann Arbor. I don't know what the reasons are, but we both feel blessed that he will be taking care of Niklas at least for a little while longer. I wake up in the morning and go write code. Dr. Maher wakes up in the morning and operates on the brains of children. God bless him. If anyone out there is reading this blog because they are going through the same thing, you need to be talking to Dr. Maher and the Pediatric Neurosurgery department at the University of Michigan.
Posted by Jason R. Myers