Monday, November 29, 2004

Get to work, samurai

My father is a lot like me: Gruff, more often than not seen with a hat and a master of jokes that, if you just think about them for few minutes, are really funny. Like me, there’s also a big pile of mush under his whiskers and sarcasm.

Two items never leave Will’s bed. One is a metal angel from our friend Jessi that’s inscribed with a quote from Willa Cather that reads, “When there is great love, there are always miracles.” The other is a spaghetti-legged, bendable samurai doll. It’s more comical than menacing, and even more so because it never leaves a plastic Ziploc bag that keeps it sterile. The samurai’s message: Be a warrior, not a worrier.

My father gave Will the samurai on the condition that, one day, he pass it along to someone who needs it more. My nephew, Matt, bought the doll for my father on the eve of his 2001 octuple heart bypass. It was bedside for last summer’s kidney transplant and several other scary hospital visits.

It’s a gracious gift. We have complete faith in the samurai’s power, but it better start working its magic pretty darn soon.

First, the good news: Will is gaining weight like a madman. Out of nowhere, he’s up to 3 pounds, 12 ounces and has gained almost a pound in about 10 days. We think it’s all in his eyes, but he’s showing the unmistakable signs of a gut and even a little double chin. It’s true what they say. Like father, like son.

The bad news takes longer to explain. Will probably has pneumonia. That’s not uncommon for those who are on ventilators for long periods of time. Respirators provide clear passageways for bacteria to get into lungs and cause infections. There’s also a possibility we may have passed something on to Will by kissing him so much. If that’s the case, he’s only got himself to blame for being so cute.

The pneumonia probably caused Will’s recent breathing troubles. The new plan is to give him antibiotics intravenously for a few weeks in hopes he rebounds.

Will also has had trouble spitting up food lately, which could have contributed to his choking episodes a few weeks back. So doctors have placed a feeding tube through his nose into his intestines. That cuts out the overrated middleman organ -- the stomach -- and gives him nothing to spit up. Additionally, Will is no longer receiving his usual meal of 1 ounce of milk every three hours. He’s instead receiving a small -- but ultimately equal amount -- steadily throughout the day.

It’s a lot to take in a day. Will, the poor guy, looks like he’s been through the ringer. He has an IV in his head, the ventilator in his mouth and a feeding tube in his nose, in addition to about four sensors throughout his body that measure temperature, heart rate and such.

The samurai may yet work its wonders, but it’s still appropriate for Will. The kid is a warrior. He’s handled his latest ordeal with a grace that continues to make us so proud. Sure, he’s cried, fussed and fidgeted, but Will seems to have an amazing tolerance. They keep throwing more challenges at the kid, and he keeps marching ahead, bright eyes blazing, hips a-wiggling and legs locked in defiance.

We love you, Will. Keep showing us how to be so strong.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me there's more than warrior around here. Keep those shields polished, you two! Hold the fort, plant your feet firmly -- and other assorted vaguely martial metaphors. The rewards, both passing and larger, are great for all of us; not least is bearing witness to your wonderful love for Will.

Love from Grandma/Mom K.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's to better days ahead. The samurai has never let us down before! How cool of Dad to pass it along. (The thought of that lovely angel and that goofy warrior next to each other really makes me giggle.)


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12:46 AM  

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