The doctor said, “You never have to see me again,” and we both smiled back at him and said goodbye forever. Apparently the ultrasound he’d had done when he got to Savannah showed a little renal fluid retention, which I didn’t know about until his followup with urology last week, at which point we schedule the ultrasound. But this time his kidneys checked out just fine, and so we’re done with urology. Poof. Just like that. Checking the boxes off, one by one.
His heart seems good now. I don’t remember that going away but my wife said it’s fine now. We’ve got another pulmonology appointment this week, which hopefully will mean the last of putting him on oxygen at night, a process which he has decided is the worst possible thing, peeling back the stickers on his cheeks to re-implant the cannula into his nostrils, his nares, and sometimes there’s some medicine application involved because he’s been stuffy and snorty lately, but maybe in a few days this nightly torture will be a distant memory, or in his case, maybe not a memory at all.
What’s left, then. His eyes. We’ve got the laser surgery scheduled, during which Alex will be anesthetized and intubated and is scary as all get-out but we’d rather not have his retinas fall off in five or six years, so. His hernia/hydrocele is technically still an issue but have reduced themselves to the point of hardly being noticeable. That’s about it.
After the eye surgery is done, what will we have to worry about? He’s pretty small for his age, even for a micropreemie, but he seems to be growing rapidly. We’ve got nutritionists and primary care doctors to worry about that, so I’m trying not to. The eye doctor mentioned that, totally unrelated to his retinas, his eyes seem to be a little out of alignment, which is also normal enough. Gretchen asked me this morning if he seems autistic to me. I said he’s a tiny baby! and she said there are still signs even in tiny babies. I said he’ll smile when he’s ready to smile. Not ten minutes later he was experimenting with long, wide, sustained shit-eating grins that made him look cartoonishly evil but warmed my heart all the same.
I understand the sentiment, though. We are now conditioned to worry. After all this, how in the world could we be left with such a healthy infant son? Surely there will be problems down the road related to his premature birth, stuff we can’t even imagine yet. Maybe he was born without an appendix. Maybe his liver looks normal sized now but will never ever grow any larger, so that he’ll have to drink his champagne wedding toast from a thimble. Maybe he really will be a redhead.
The really scary thing, though, is returning to real life. It’s been month after month of hypervigilance and now sometimes I’ll catch my mind wandering while I’m doing the dishes and realize it’s been ten minutes since I’ve checked on him and made sure he’s turned blue or swallowed his fist or something, and I’ll turn around quickly and see him still lying content as a oven bun wrapped snug in his blanket on the couch, or staring up at his reflection in the mirror-dome above his swing. He is fine. He will be fine.
Which means I have to hurry up and get a job already. Real life is here, and we need diapers and shit.
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