v. frayed, fray·ing, frays
1. To strain; chafe:
2. To wear away (the edges of fabric, for example) by rubbing.
To become worn away or tattered along the edges.
A frayed or threadbare spot, as on fabric.
After a day like today, frayed is the only word I can think of to describe myself. The NICU was particularly busy and abuzz all day—a few new arrivals today meant more nurses and doctors and RTs and pediatricians on deck, and it seemed like every baby in the room was attached to a machine, each beeping at its own rate and its own pitch. It was a stark contrast to the relative calm we’ve been enjoying for the past few days. Add to the fact Nyana doesn’t do well in loud, bright, active environments, and I soon realized that she was doing more than her fair share of beeping throughout the day.
Her O2 was back to 48% when I got there this morning, way up from the 35 that our nurse had so excitedly phoned us at home to tell us about last night. I was disappointed but took Nyana out for a cuddle anyway, prepared to spend another day talking and rocking and singing her oxygen levels back down. I barked at everyone who tried to turn her oxygen up when she started to dip just a little, and tried all her favourite tricks to calm her and bring her sat levels up, but today, none of it worked. She beeps when she desats, and today, she just kept beeping.
In an attempt to improve her saturations, the nurse suctioned her about an hour into our cuddle. After finding some pinkish secretions from Nyana’s lungs, she called radiology for a chest x-ray, and for an RT to come and turn up the pressure settings on the ventilator—the same settings that just yesterday were turned down and Don and I went to bed smiling about. My out-of-crib experience with Nyana was abruptly cut short and I stood off to the side, frustrated, while they attended to her. They got her naked and x-rayed her, and she beeped the whole time.The RT fussed with her ETT tube to ensure it was placed right, she beeped the whole time. I changed her diaper and put her in a new outfit, and yup, she beeped the whole time. It wasn’t until I put her on her side, gave her a soother, and started brushing her hair that her numbers finally improved. I can’t tell you how grating on the nerves it is to have a machine continuously beep-beep-beep a reminder that your child is struggling to breathe. And as if it wasn’t grating enough to hear my own daughter’s machines beeping, all eleven other babes in the room seemed to beep in response to Nyana’s struggles. It was a very beepy, very agitating day.
But, as always in the NICU, it would seem that every step backwards comes with a step or two forward. She had a follow-up eye exam this morning, and while one zone of one eye is still classified as “immature” and needs yet another follow-up in two weeks’ time, she’s still showing no signs of oxygen damage and it would still appear that we’ve dodged the ROP bullet. She was exactly three kilos at her last weigh in, which translates to 6 lbs 10 oz. Her feeds were increased today and adjusted to give her more volume over a shorter period of time, mimicking a more normal feeding schedule. And she started a new 10-day course of Dexamethasone, a steroid intended to aid in the development of lung tissue. She’s had one course previously with little to no success; we’re optimistic that being bigger and stronger, the steroid will do what it’s meant to this time ’round.
Oh—did I mention she looks adorable dressed as a duck?