What was supposed to be a fun surprise treat after the La Patera Elementary Open House brought an earth-shattering realization. We had finished our ice cream at McDonald’s and were headed out the door when Wilson pointed to the picture of that friendly clown and said, “Hey, Dad! That looks like Rudy!” After my initial chuckle, suddenly all the pieces of the picture came together and I broke out in a cold sweat. How could I not have seen it? All this time I thought Trish’s eating habits were just a unique quirk, but could all of those daily trips to McDonald’s really been just because she likes the food? Perhaps the drive-through cashiers greeting her by name was a glaring clue I missed. Now I know how it feels to be the schmuck who can’t deny the resemblance between his kid and the mailman anymore…
The drive down today gave me time to work through my resentments toward Ronald McDonald and I arrived at UCLA to find Rudy calm and peaceful. He has been making steady progress. The vent has been scaled back to pressure support (where it’s not giving him breaths at a regular rate, but only when he takes them) and he’s been breathing room air since yesterday evening with no dips in his sats. He was off the vent for 3 hrs yesterday and has just gone off for another stretch right now and if there are no episodes the team will take him off the vent tomorrow (Sunday).
Now that we all have a chance to breathe easier, Dr. Andy encouraged me to talk to Rudy about doing a thing or two the easy way once in awhile. All of the cultures from Wednesday are negative, but considering how ill Rudy was, the team would still like to finish the course of broad spectrum antibiotics just to be sure nothing’s been missed. There are only three more days left, which wouldn’t be much longer than they would like to observe his breathing. Experience with Rudy has made Dr. Andy hesitant to be too specific in telling us when we’ll be leaving the hospital, that’s about the time frame we’re looking at.
Communication about needing to stay in the hospital longer usually comes with an apology attached. Sure, there are other places I’d rather be, but I’ve come to see that waiting is among the easier things that have been asked of us. There’s been plenty of gut-wrenching episodes where the time passes anything but peacefully, so I’m OK with that. The situation is markedly different this weekend–the team has caught up with Rudy, worked through some of the mysteries and the treatment plan seems to have us on the right course. Thank God for smart people.
I am pleased to say that Rudy is now well outfitted with toys–both additional homemade ones as well as a new mobile and music mirror. As I suspect this was brought on by one of our hospital angels reading Trish’s post about her fabrications, I trust they’ll read this to know how grateful we are–thank you!! Now, if an appropriate person is reading, I should say that baby formula tastes disgusting. I was mixing some up for Rudy this afternoon and couldn’t help but notice how bad it smelled. I reckoned it couldn’t really taste as bad as it smelled, but boy was I wrong. I’ve read about HLHS kids developing food aversions and now I have my own theory as to why. I’m thinking of sneaking some Nesquik in there.