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Discovering The Mysteries Of Life
April 2008
 
 
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Tue, Mar. 4th, 2008 07:06 am

Jealous, A Nurse Gets to hold Opal Before We Do

So, for those of you who know where so Suzanne and I slept, that was not a good way to be awoken. Suzanne and I came down to Seattle yesterday, arriving at Swedish at about 1:00 PM. Opal was doing really well yesterday, Suzanne changed her first Opal diaper, and things were grand. Opal's small, but there was nothing they had told us that was worrying. So, we visited at 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM, and again at 8:00 PM yesterday.

Now, onto this morning. It took a moment for the ringing phone to break through my sleep haze, and for me to realize who would be calling me in the middle of the night at the hospital. Now, you have probably figured it out, it was our local neighborhood nurse, the woman that was looking after Opal last night. She wanted to call and update us before she got off shift and was distracted by the shift change. She told me that Opal's blood pressure was a little low, not dangerously low, but low none the less. She had gotten some type of infection, and that doctors were looking at blood samples to see if they could tell what type of infection she had contracted. They took an x-ray of her chest and she wasn't opening her lungs all of the way, with each breath that she took. They felt that, what they needed to do, was increase her oxygen level and the pressure from her ventilator. They took her off of her feeding drip. They want her to be able to focus her energy on fighting this infection, not in having to digest her food.

So, the final word from the nurse was that, while there is some cause for concern, we shouldn't start worrying just yet.

I love these nurses and doctors. They seem to answer the questions, before we ask them. And, I'm not sure why, but they all seem to inspire my confidence just by showing up to do their jobs.

Current Location: Swedish Medical Center
Current Mood: Concerned
Current Music: The Today Show on Channel 5

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Fri, Feb. 29th, 2008 11:56 pm

Second Picture of Opal and My Hands

Opal started getting fed, intravenously, at 5 PM today. She's only getting 0.4 cc's an hour, which is a very small amount, but then one must remember that she is a very small little girl. The nurse that gave me the update tonight told me that she is very stable. She's still breathing 21% oxygen, the same as you and I do. They had to turn up the the pressure on the respirator pushing her air into her lungs, so that she'd open her lungs all the way. I miss her terribly and I wish to heaven that I could stay down there all the time. Suzanne is feeling much better, though she does want to ask the Dr. at her appointment on Tuesday, if there is anything else that they could put her on, instead of the Oxycodone. All together we are doing good, Suzanne is going to go down to Swedish on Sunday with her Mom, my Dad, her sister Nancy, and her nephew Oliver. My Mom really wanted to go with them, but she can't seem to kick the cold that she caught a couple of days ago. Because of the cold, she wouldn't be able to go in and see Opal, nor does she want to give her cold to Suzanne. I went back to work for the first time since I called in on Sunday. It was a very long day there. I'm looking forward to going down with Suzanne on Monday, and staying in one of the Family Rooms that Swedish makes availible to parents of children in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I can't re-iterate enough how great the nurses and doctors were when we were in St. Joe's and then when we got down to Swedish on Sunday. Now I must say good night, so "Good Night"

Current Location: Ferndale
Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: Sweet Sweet Silence

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Thu, Feb. 28th, 2008 12:41 pm

I almost slept through the nurse taking the blood sample for the labs this morning. I woke up, they took some of the blood that they had just given her, and I went back to sleep. The next time I open my eyes, she's out in the hall, it's 10 o'clock, and she's talking to more nurses about when she's going to get discharged. Suzanne came back in, told me that she would be discharged sometime this afternoon, and then she sat down and pumped out two more bottles. She pumped four bottles this morning after she was done with the transfusion. Suzanne is turning out to be a little milk producing machine. We went up and looked at Opal for about 15 minutes, then Suzanne was feeling a little tired and wanted to come back down to the room. Opal is doing great, for the stage of life that she's at. She's back to just breathing 21% oxygen, which is what you and I breath. They are slowly, and I mean slowly, easing her off of the oscillatory ventilator. She is off of her antibiotics, she's been off the insulin for a couple of days now. They had to give Opal a second transfusion this morning, I think she's just trying to keep up with her mother. I'm doing good, worried about all the women in my life, but good none the less. I'll be home this evening. We are going to be stopping by her mother's house, if we get there late enough. I'm going to stop by Freddy's on my way home, so that I can pick up the ten copies of the picture that I took with my Mom's camera phone. Then I'll drop Suzanne off at her place, head to my place, pick up my cat, stop by my grandmother's house, and finally head back to Suzanne's so that I can try and get a good night's sleep before heading to work tomorrow. I'll try to get on-line at her place before I fall into the worried sleep of a father with a little girl.

Current Location: Swedish Medical Center
Current Mood: thankful thankful
Current Music: Suzanne Talking to Friends and Family

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Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 11:39 pm



So, it's the end of day number four down here for us. When I went to see Opal this morning the nurse suggested that I not read "Preemies" subtitled "The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies" that Wendy had bought for us two days ago. After having leafed through it now, on a couple of occasions, I do believe that I now agree with her. This book will be great for looking things up, but not for a instructive look at everything that could possibly be going on with my daughter. Alright, let's be honest, there is so much information in this book that it quite literally scares me shitless. I'm going to place my trust in the people that are looking out for Opal, the people that have gone to school for many more years than I've thought about going to school, the people that are trained in how to give her the best care that she could possibly need or want, if an eleven and a half week early little girl even knew that she needed, or wanted, anything.

So, let me tell you the excitement that we've had around here today. Yesterday Opal had a very small irritation in her throat, from the tube that was inserted down there to suction out any excess air that she may swallow. The irritation caused her to get a minor amount of blood into her lungs. At 8 o'clock last night the doctor's hooked her up to a machine that vibrates her, causing good air and bad air to corkscrew around each other with the good air going into her lungs and the bad air coming out of her lungs. Don't ask me to explain how this works, but the nurse that explained it to me said that the guy that created it was a genius. I know what you're thinking, "You're not supposed to shake a baby, are you?" But, I guess it's alright to vibrate them like a paint can. They took x-rays of her lungs last night and this morning, they told me that it looked like her lungs had suffered a minor collapse, hence the reason for this different ventilator. They told me to ask what the baby step (pun intended) goals were for that particular day. The goals for today were to get her lungs back open all the way, to slowly wean her back off of the ventilator, and to try to get her off of the insulin drip to correct her blood sugar levels. I'll update tomorrow on whether or not those goals were met, and also what our new goals for the light of my life are.

Suzanne was showing improvements for most of yesterday. Her platelet(?) counts were going back up, though not as fast as the nurses and doctors would have liked. Today, we had a few minor setbacks, though I am led to believe that the doctors and nurses have every confidence that she is well on her way to making a full recovery. Her blood count has dropped down to 20, they would like to see it up around 100. The mission to get her blood count back up has now led to her getting a blood transfusion of to units. Her color looks better and she is beginning to have more energy. She should be able to pump some time early tomorrow morning. They don't want her to pump while she is getting her transfusion.

That's about all for now. I'll leave another update tomorrow.

Current Location: Swedish Medical Center
Current Mood: nervous nervous
Current Music: King of the Hill

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Tue, Feb. 26th, 2008 11:28 pm

The First Picture of Opal Rae Trulock-Workentin

So, for those of you that are unaware of what's been going on in my life since I made my last post, back in September of 2007, let me fill you in.

Suzanne and I moved out of the house in Birch Bay in June of 2007. We continued dating having just taken a step back, both of us feeling as if maybe we had moved a little too fast in the beginning of our relationship. I moved into my motor home, living in my Aunt Judy's driveway. Suzanne moved in with her sister Nancy for a short time and then she moved back into the apartment that we had shared in Ferndale. One thing led to another and we discovered, to our surprise, that Suzanne was pregnant. We planned to move back in with each other in April, shortly before the baby's due date of May 14th. Well, things took a turn for the worst when Suzanne started having very serious chest pains that would radiate to the middle of her back and then up and down from there. A week ago Monday (18 Feb 2008), having gotten to a point where the pain was unbearable, she called her Ob/Gyn. He made her feel ashamed to be feeling in so much pain by telling her that it was only heartburn and that she should take a couple Tylenol for the pain and maybe a couple 150mg Zantac for her heartburn. She was in contact with her doctors office throughout the week, even though the pain was very intense, and they continued to tell her to deal with the heartburn. Unbeknownst to her, Dr. Short, her Ob/Gyn, was consulting with Dr. Cook, the best high-risk pregnancy doctor in the county, throughout that week also. It turns out that the "heartburn" that she was suffering from was preeclampsia, progressing to eclampsia, finally reaching HELLP syndrome stage sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Sunday morning Suzanne called me at 3:30, vomiting and in so much pain in her chest and back that she could barely walk. I picked her up and took her to the hospital, with her vomiting into a bag the whole way. We were admitted to the ER and then transfered to the Childbirth Center at St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham around 4:00 that morning. At around 8 AM the decision was made to start giving her steroid treatments so that hopefully the baby's lungs could be a little more developed by the time she had to give birth sometime later this week. The decision was also made to stabilize her as much as possible and then transport her to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. I only found out recently that the decision was made because her liver and kidneys were shutting down. When she reached Swedish she was put into a room in the Labor & Delivery area. We had hoped to be able to keep the baby in the womb for another week. Her platelet (?) count was low, sitting at 91,000, when the next lab was done at about 4:00 PM it had dropped down to 61,000. For some perspective the count should be above 100,000. The decision was made to do an emergency c-section, because the cure for HELLP syndrome is delivery of the baby. My little girl, Opal Rae Trulock-Workentin, was born on 24 February 2008 at 4:44 PM. Suzanne was back in her room, completely kicked in the butt by her anestesia by 5:30. Her platelet (?) count dropped to 59,000 before beginning to climb back towards normal.

Suzanne is doing loads better, off of all of her medication except for percoset for the pain from the incision. Her blood pressure has, for the most part, returned to normal. Her liver and kidneys are all working properly.

Opal Rae Trulock-Workentin weighed 1 pound 15 ounces and was 13.5 inches long at birth. She is doing alright, though we aren't out of the woods yet. She is very small and has a long hard fight ahead of her, but with Suzanne and I for parents, we have very little doubts that sometime around May 14th, we will be taking a healthy beautiful little girl home with us.

Current Location: Swedish Medical Center
Current Mood: scared Worried About My Little Girl
Current Music: The sound of two women sleeping, the sleep of the richly deserved.

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Tue, May. 29th, 2007 07:40 pm

So, I got up today, as I always do on days that I have to work, at 3:30 am. I was excited because Dad and I had loaded the "mo'cycle," as he likes to call it, in the bed of the truck yesterday so that today after I got off of work I could drop it off at Mt. Baker MotoSports. The coffee that I had this morning really works, and I was wired for the first half of my work day. I was telling everybody that I was dropping the motorcycle off to get fixed and that hopefully this weekend but probably next weekend, I would be on two wheels instead of driving the '89 Ford Ranger Supercab that I have the use of because my car decided that it didn't like me any more. The day went great, my line lead wasn't there, and won't be back from Texas until this weekend. The line ran smoothly and we had a great production run. After work I got into the truck and drove to Mt. Baker MotoSports. That was easy, and I should have know how bad things we going to get after the ease with which I turned over my bike and key to them. I left there and went to a store to get a few things. After Freddie's, I drove over to the Community College to tell my girlfriend that I love her, but I went to the wrong parking lot. I came back to my house and no sooner had I smoked a cigarette and walked in the house, my phone started ringing. I answer it and it is a guy from Mt. Baker MotoSports, calling to tell me that the shop technician had taken a quick peek at my bike and didn't feel that he could put the company name on any work done on my bike. When he took the crank case off there was gas in it(not a good thing) and when he took the seat off there were wires that were exposed. So, tomorrow I get to pick my bike up and try to find another shop that will work on it. YEAH is me.

Current Mood: depressed depressed
Current Music: the sound of my fingers striking the keys

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Fri, Oct. 21st, 2005 03:24 pm

So, this is really going to hurt to say. I have to get a job. My unemployment runs out in two weeks, so I broke down and put in an application at T-Mobile last week. Wednesday I got a phone call and answered some questions. I must have answered them alright because I was asked to go in to the call center in Bellingham for an assessment test. They told me afterwords that I had passed the tests and that I would get an application in my e-mail to fill out. I can't remember if they said that they check the applications that they receive at the end of the week or on Monday for the previous week, but that after they looked at my application, if I met the requirements that I would get a phone call asking me to come in for an interview. So, now I sit here and wait for the phone call. Okay, so I'm not really sitting here waiting, well I am, but it isn't any different than what I've been doing for the past six months. My fingers are crossed, I hope that I get that call next week.

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

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Tue, Sep. 27th, 2005 07:09 pm

I am so looking forward to going to see the movie "Serenity." I was sent the "Firefly" series while I was stuck in Iraq. I really enjoyed it, but because FOX canceled the series there were a lot of unanswered questions. I hope that the movie answers some of those questions, though I do understand that they hope to make it a trilogy. Suzanne, and I plan on going with Bud. If anyone else wants to go we are planning on going to the 7:00 showing on Friday. Opening day, YEAH!!

Current Mood: anxious anxious

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Mon, Sep. 5th, 2005 09:29 pm

So, I haven't made an entry in a while. I realized that I should. Let me fill those of you that care in on the latest things going on in my life. And for you that don't care, piss off. I had my first National Guard drill since getting back from Iraq on the 26th and 27th of August. I have another drill on the 10th and 11th of September. I met a wonderful women, whom I talked to a little while I was in Iraq, and things seem to have taken off with her. I'm living in her apartment in Ferndale, WA. I'm not sure where things are going to go from here, but I think that the journey to find out shall be most enjoyable.

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Fri, Mar. 25th, 2005 07:50 am

So, I got home on the 11th of March. I've been getting together with friends and family, and I went back down to Ft. Lewis for a week. I'm finely done, out of active duty. I don't have drill until sometime in August. This is a good thing. I should be posting a little more often now. I hope that that isn't a bad thing for anything. If anybody wants to get together, well, I seem to have a lot of time on my hands. Talk to you all soon, I hope.

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