|Don't worry. No one was harmed in the making of this blog.|
When we last left little boy Xander, he was about to be put under for a Sleep Study. (Read that part first.)
My original assumption of what the sleep study entailed was all wrong. I figured that once the boy was off the oxygen for a little while, they (and who "they" were was always ambiguous) would come to our house one night and check his pulse-ox while he slept. If he passed, they would take away all the oxygen equipment and declare Xander will live long and prosper.
When we got the call that the sleep study clinic had an opening on Sunday, I realized that we would instead be spending the night at the hospital, doing a full, thorough sleep study. Which is fine, except that only one parent is allowed to accompany the baby. For a variety of reasons, we decided it would be me, so I steeled myself for a night of fitful sleep in a room with a boy who looked like he was getting a positronic brain implant (see photo, above)
(You can imagine these headings to be accompanied by the dramatic Law & Order "Chung-Chung" if you'd like.)
They told us to be there at 7:15. Then they called back and said that Xander will be the youngest patient in the clinic that night, so they'd like us to have him there by 6:00 instead. So that's when I got there. No one else was there, not even a receptionist. I spread my overnight bag, laptop bag, pillow, dinner from Sonic, and the car seat containing the boy across one of the couches and a couple of the tables in the room. A sign told me to dial a number and someone would come up front. A woman technician came in, handed me the clipboard full of papers to fill out, and said it might be a little while before they got to us.
Xander played on the floor while I ate. Four other parents with children came in. The children were all older, like 7 or 8 or 12. Two of them asked me incredulously if it was Xander who needed the sleep study. I explained about the prematurity and oxygen need. A young girl turned on the TV and turned it to Family Guy. I watched the entire episode, one of the few times I've done so, and found out that Rush Limbaugh apparently did his own voice on the show. Then a rerun of House came on. I fed Xander a bottle while pretending not to pay attention, though I like watching House, while the good doctor attempted to figure out what was wrong with the patient with the sexual fetishes and the guy who got herpes from his wife. I know Xander didn't care--he was now rolling around the room and sucking on his blanket--but I can't help but wonder what those other kids thought was going on on TV.
And I only write all this detail to show that there was absolutely no reason for me to be there at 6:00. At one point, the first technician came back out to tell me that my tech would be there around 7:15 and he'd then get Xander's room all ready. I began to wonder how necessary this all was.
The tech's name was Eddie and he was so nice when he came out to take us back to the room that I forgot all about complaining that we'd been sitting out there for an hour and a half. He asked me some questions, and I related once again the tale of the prematurity and oxygen need. Eddie then proceeded to tell me about the dozens of leads he was about to attach to Xander in a variety of places from head to toe.
I had to hold my son while Eddie drew green dots all over the boy's head then tried to affix about ten electrical leads to Xander's scalp, everywhere from behind each ear to beside each eye. Each lead was dabbed in a sticky goop and taped down at the appropriate location. Xander endured it well, but wanted to grab at the wires coming out of the back of his head and several times pulled the lead clean off. I tightened my grip with the baby's arms across his chest until he couldn't stand it and wouldn't sit still one more second.
Eddie suggested a break, and I fed Xander a little more from a bottle, hoping he would fall asleep after such a heroic struggle. He did calm down, but no sleeping yet. Eddie tackled the rest and finally got his head wrapped up like he just had brain surgery.
|Massive Headwound Harry|
But wait, there's more. When you come in to the sleep clinic for a simple oxygen reading, you get your brain activity read and REM sleep studied and your jaw tapped and straps across your chest and connections down through your PJs to connect to the pulse-ox monitors on each big toe. As an added bonus, you get a brand new cannula inserted into the nasal cavity for easy monitoring of CO2 levels and the ability to feed oxygen if the need arises. And if you insist on pulling that off at the first opportunity, you will be required to wear the makeshift mittens made from socks and masking tape. Practical and stylish.
This took nearly two hours. It was past Xander's bed time.
|He didn't stay this way. He tosses and turns and does push ups in his sleep now.|
9:30 pm-6:00 am
In order to complete the final sticking and taping and wrapping, I put Xander in the crib and held him down. He wanted to squirm, but his will was wearing down. After his hands were literally tied, he knew his opportunity was lost and he gave up the struggle. I was able to cover his eyes and sooth him to sleep while Eddie and that first technician from the waiting room connected whatever else needed connecting. Eddie then brought in a fan to cool the boy down, since they were reading that his head temperature was pretty high. I told him that Xander tends to get sweaty before sleeping when he fights it, and I can't imagine that the mummy wrap was keeping him cool. So Xander was finally asleep, splayed out with a fan over him and bundled like a crash victim.
My wife had texted me several times during the procedure, but I was unable to respond. She must have been thinking something was terribly wrong. When I finally texted her back, Eddie kindly asked me to turn off the phone. He turned down the lights just as I was getting out my Kindle and laptop. I asked if I could read and showed him my little book light. He indicated that the light might interfere with the camera they have in the ceiling over the crib, but maybe I could sit on the small couch across the room. That's what I did, but not before opening my laptop to see how much light that would produce. I didn't use my laptop. I read the last two acts of The Merchant of Venice and called it a night myself at about 10:30. I slept on one of those skinny hospital beds right next to the crib.
The rest of the night was uneventful. I woke up a couple of times to find Xander doing some kind of push up in his sleep. I replaced the famed pacifier and he relaxed and went back to sleep. At 6:00 in the morning, Eddie woke us up and gently took Xander apart piece by piece. The boy was tired, but happy.
|This kid is awesome. Seriously. Just look at his recovery.|
We keep telling everyone that Xander's a pretty happy kid. Even after this ordeal, he didn't seem fazed. Eddie told us he did great. There was no need for oxygen, and the results would go along to our doctor. For now, we can revel in the knowledge that our child no longer needs oxygen, day or night.
Well...he needs oxygen...we ALL need oxygen...day AND night...you know what I mean....