April 9th, three years on

“I think the below picture should be captioned “Seriously, you need to take another picture?”

Something to note is that Oscar often didn’t have a wash until late morning/early afternoon each day, which is why his sheets are often the same in the last photos from one day and the first photos from the next day. Being able to help care for Oscar, by doing his “Cares” was a real positive moment in each day and I think it took place later as the mornings were usually full of tests, medication change overs and doctors rounds.

Oscar was much more alert by this point, and it’s when he started to actually follow us with his eyes again. He also started to look towards the doctors and nurses (with some suspicion) when they came near his bed.

As I mentioned in an earlier post Oscar had a problem with blood clots. They usually occurred in places where a line had been removed. unfortunately lines have to be replaced frequently as the tiny veins shut down…I think the longest period one lasted was a week. While he didn’t get a blood clot every time, he did get a few. Because of these he was put on a blood thinner called heparin.

Blood thinners have to be closely monitored and the levels in his blood were measured often. The results of these blood tests on April 9th (and possibly the 8th…I can’t recall) indicated that his blood was not as thin as they wanted and they increased his heparin dose.

On April 9th I got to hold Oscar for a longer period than I had before.

The line going into his right arm by the elbow is the one that has the heparin running into it.

At some point when I was holding him, a doctor noticed that we had a problem. His arm was more puffy than it had been (he was still pretty swollen all over, so it was hard to tell) and it was suspected that the line in that arm had failed.

This meant that Oscar’s body hadn’t been pumping the increased doses of heparin around his body…in fact he hadn’t even been receiving the original dose, except in that one arm. It meant that increasing his heparin dose had been an error.

This could have caused big problems, but luckily for us it didn’t. They were able to change the line that the heparin was running on, and monitored his blood more closely.

The hospital did a full investigation, as is their protocol, but I don’t blame anyone for it. It was just a big reminder of how fragile Oscar actually was and how closely he needed to be monitored. Of how quickly things could change.

At the time I did feel a bit of guilt myself. I thought that maybe if I hadn’t been holding him for so long, they may have noticed that his arm was swollen sooner. Or maybe I should have noticed it myself. Of course, I realise now that had he been wrapped like a burrito in his bed, it could have gone unnoticed for longer. I’ve realised now that second guessing doesn’t actually help. What happened, happened and all the second guessing in the world cant’t actually change that.

We were just lucky it didn’t cause any serious harm, other than a big bruise which you will see in photos in later days.

Of course Oscar had no idea of the drama that had gone on around him. He was just happy with a change of bedding and his duck on his head:”

April 9th is actually one of the days I remember clearly three years on. Yes, this is mostly because of that problem with his heparin line (and yes, I still have a little guilt over that) but also because it was the longest cuddle I had with Oscar while he was in the PICU. 

I was just 9 days out from giving birth, I had stitches (ouch!) and swollen feet and legs (also ouch) and the PICU had the most uncomfortable chairs ever. I was in serious discomfort from about 20 minutes into holding Oscar, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from holding him. Every time the nurses asked me if I was ok I said yes. We all know Oscar was stubborn. Well, I may know where he got that from; no little bit of discomfort was going to stop me from cuddling him until he absolutely had to go back into his bed! 

Based on the time stamps on the photos, the maximum time I was holding him that day would have been three hours. It seemed so much longer, and that wasn’t because of any discomfort; it was just because I actually felt useful and like Oscar’s Mummy for the first time since his surgery. I actually felt like I was back in control for a little while. That I was doing something that no one else was doing.  And, let me tell you; baby superman cuddles were pretty special! 

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