Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More updates - 12/9/08

Hi Friends!

It's been another good day for Cassidy. We feel extremely fortunate, especially given how serious the situation is for some of the other babies in the NICU with him.

First, a quick update, then more details for those who want that.

Several significant pieces of good news today. First off, Cassidy's EEG results were normal, and his MRI showed no significant ischemia (damage). He also got to move into an open crib, meaning that he's not under a heat lamp. Finally, the doctors decided to take him off phenobarbitol to see how he would do without it. This is particularly exciting, as we thought this might not happen until the weekend. He's still on antibiotics until Saturday, so he'll be here at least that long, but if he continues to show this sort of improvement, he might get to come home by Sunday.

OK - what does all this mean? (Folks who aren't interested in the medical mumbojumbo can skip down. Nurses and brain scientists in the audience - sorry if I get any details wrong.)
An EEG is a device that measures electrical activity in different parts of the brain. They attached electrodes all over his scalp and measured the activity of different portions of his brain for about 45 minutes. A normal test indicates that there are not areas of his brain that are non-functional or producing seizure-like activity. It's a hard test to do on infants, as you can't ask them to do the sorts of cognitive things you would ask of an adult, like remembering words or doing math problems, but this is still a good sign.
An MRI is a device that produces a 3-D image of the brain (or any other organ). Sort of like an X-ray, but of soft tissue. His MRI showed that there were no significant ischemic areas, which are areas where blood vessels have died due to damage. This tells us that there is no gross structural damage to his brain.
Infant brains are very hard to evaluate, because they're just starting to grow. We spend the first few years of our lives developing them and forming neural connections that help us learn and think. The bad news is that this means it's hard to know what will happen to Cassidy in the future. The good news is that his brain is still very plastic, and doesn't have a lot of damage to undo or workaround as it grows.
The phenobarbitol is an antiseizure drug. Now that he seems to be doing well, the doctors want to take him off of it and see if the seizures begin again. It takes several days to leave his system, so they'll watch him over the next few days as the levels decrease.

OK - back to cute things. He's eating more and more, and by tomorrow morning will be off of IV nutrients and eating solely from a bottle. Both Holly and I got to feed him; Holly had more luck than me, as he was pretty sleepy when I tried. He also got to read his first two books. We helped a little. Finally, now that he's out from under the heat lamp, he can wear clothes. We started with the hippo hat. (We know it's pink. We don't care.)

Once again, thanks to everyone for all your kind words and support. We've been telling Cassidy how many friends he already has in the world. He's a very lucky little guy to have so many people caring about him.

And now, more pictures!







1 comment:

carrie said...

He is so cute! It looks like he is paying close attention to the book you are reading. - Carrie