when I started this blog five years ago, I was a pet sitter and the name animal-crackers made sense. now I'm a stay-at-home-dad and freelance writer, but rather than confuse everyone by getting a different blog, it's just easier to keep posting things here.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


posted by todd at 7:06 PM 0 comments

Friday, December 23, 2005

He's home!

After 123 days in the hospital, Dylan is home.

Last night Andrea "roomed in" with him at the hospital. She spent nearly 24 hours with the little guy learning about his medicines.

Josh has been very sweet, gently rubbing his head and giving him kisses. He's had his moments. At one point, he wanted me to bottle feed him like Dylan. When I tried to put the sippy cup in Josh's mouth, he started flailing his arms, crying "wah!" But mostly he's been good.

posted by todd at 9:17 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Coming home!

Dylan is coming home on Friday!

On Sunday, one of Dylan's doctors decided to try something different. He had been on a strict diet -- a certain amount of milk every three hours. But sometimes Dylan would wake up early looking hungry; sometimes he would sleep through the feedings showing no interest.

Instead, Dr. Divan thought it was time for Dylan to decide when to eat and how much.

He's been feeding-tube free for three days now. He even gained weight. Dylan is a tubby 8 pounds 5 ounces.

The only equipment he's coming home with is an apnea monitor -- and that was optional. We get trained on it tomorrow. Then we do a sleep over. And then Friday he's on his way out.
posted by todd at 2:10 PM 2 comments

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Christmas carol

As I was Christmas shopping yesterday, I overheard a girl (probably about 9) singing a lovely diddy to the tune of "Jingle Bells."

Instead of:
    Dashing through the snow...

It was:
    The snow is turning red,
    I think I might be dead,
    Someone call the hospital,
    'Cuz I'm bleeding from my head.

Which, of course, was followed by her mom's chorus: "Don't sing that! Where'd you learn that?!?"

A couple of minutes later, you'd hear her farther down the aisle:
    The snow is turning red,
    I think I might be dead,
    Someone call the hospital,
    'Cuz I'm bleeding from my head.

And then her mom, "Stop that!"
posted by todd at 7:12 PM 1 comments

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The phone call

Josh was bugging this morning about playing his computer games. So I set him up and left him in the office to troll around NickJr.com.

While Andrea and I were sitting in the living room talking, the phone rang. Andrea reached for the receiver, but it didn't ring a second time. The caller ID didn't show a number, so we figured whoever it was would call back.

We talked. A couple minutes later, Josh wandered into the living room.

"I talked to my grandpa," he said.

Whaaaa? Who?

"My grandpa was on the phone."

Yes, Josh had answered the phone in the office and talked to whoever had called. We were pretty sure it wasn't his grandpa, as he insisted. The only man who would call us that early in the morning would be a NICU doctor.

Sure enough, a few minutes later Dr. Cho called back. We all had a good laugh about it.
posted by todd at 11:10 PM 0 comments

Some Dylan pics

Dylan is doing OK. No fever, so no pneumonia. He's nursing again, after a brief hiatus. The milk hasn't cleared out of his lungs, but he's working on it.

Here's a picture Andrea took this morning. Dylan weighs like 7 pounds 8 ounces. He's probably the fattest little baby in the NICU now.

Here's a picture I took Tuesday, before the incident. Please, he says, no paparazzi.
posted by todd at 11:02 PM 2 comments

Thursday, December 08, 2005

More crap

Dylan suffered a setback today. A misplaced feeding tube left milk in his lungs, causing all sorts of problems. He's not in much immediate danger, but now there's the possibility of pneumonia.

The past month hasn't been full of progress. Although he's now four times larger than his birth weight, he hasn't increased the number of times he nurses each day. It's been stuck at three, with the other five going through a tube (now threaded through his nose).

Dr. Cho had called around 4:30 to discuss this. Reflux, regurgitate, more tests, possible vocal cord damage, blah blah blah.

(Wait a minute, back up. Vocal cord damage? Has he not heard this kid scream? More on that later.)

About an hour later, he calls again. Dylan had ripped the feeding tube out of his nose, and the nurse needed to reinsert it. She did. She puffed a little air into it, heard a gurgle in his belly and fed him.

Unfortunately, the gurgle wasn't from the tube, because the tube hadn't reached the stomach. Instead, it had been inserted into a lung. I don't know how much milk was poured into his lung, and I don't think I want to know.

Apparently the mistake was not immediately detected. That's when Dr. Cho saw him, heard his muted crying and thought maybe a vocal cord was damaged (from a surgery Dylan had when he was just days old).

Dylan's been returned to a heater in the room where he started. Andrea was at the hospital and talked with the nurse, who has more than 10 years of NICU experience. She felt really really horrible. But Andrea and I don't feel it's her fault. She followed the same procedure that she had performed successfully for years.

And besides, if Dylan would stop yanking on his damn tubes he would have been fine.

He is fine. His current nurse said he's been sleeping sound for several hours now. He'll be ok.

But Friday is his due date, and he won't be coming home.
posted by todd at 11:59 PM 1 comments

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Random thoughts

I just finished a freelance copy editing job -- an index of corporate executives. Let's see, 80 names per column, four columns per page, 32 pages = 10,240 names. Give or take.

eyes ... bleeding ...


Yesterday, Dylan weighed 6 pounds 15.5 ounces!


Ever wonder how much smarter you might be if you hadn't rolled down the window when your parents stopped for leaded gas?


My brother, Tim, has 52 days left in Iraq. His wife came back from Iraq a few weeks ago.


On Thursday, Andrea's newspaper has its annual employee flea-market thing. We'll be selling Scarfy Goodness scarves and baked goods. Be there or be .
posted by todd at 10:48 PM 1 comments

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Long haul

Dylan will be 16 weeks old soon, and next Friday was his due date. (Which, by the way is also my dad's birthday. Can we get a whoop whoop!)

After all this time in the hospital, Dylan has one final obstacle. He needs to nurse eight times per day. He's at three -- which is where he's been for a couple of weeks.

So the NICU grand-pooh-ba has taken a renewed interest. He called yesterday and asked Andrea to try nursing six times per day.

This is what her day would look like: wake up, go to hospital, stay there 15 hours, come home, sleep. Each feeding takes 60 to 90 minutes. With traffic, she'd be lucky to have a hour to herself. No point in leaving the hospital.

She tried two yesterday, and the second one went horribly. Today, she's going for three.

Keep in mind she's still the breadwinner in the family, has a needy 3-year-old son and is still less than four months removed from a trauma that took more than half her blood and required two surgeries.

Somehow an ata-girl seems weak. There should be some sort of presidential medal for this.
posted by todd at 2:41 PM 1 comments

Friday, December 02, 2005

Baby revealed

Josh and Dylan met for the first time Wednesday evening. The Diller (as Josh likes to call him) was moved from the new, state-of-the-art NICU to the old NICU, now called the annex. We call it the ghetto NICU. It has the same equipment and nurses, but somehow still looks ghetto.

But the annex has its advantages. Er, well one advantage I suppose. It has viewing windows like a regular nursery. And they gave Dylan a window seat.

Josh and I arrived before the 6:30 feeding. After a quick call to the nurse, the blinds were open and voila. Baby revealed.

Andrea was already inside, so she picked up Dylan and brought him close to the sound-proof window. Neither brother shouted with glee. But for a few minutes Josh saw his brother, who even opened his eyes.
posted by todd at 12:17 PM 1 comments