Saturday, June 22, 2002

the good news, and the sad news

Good News
The first Jackie night went well. We put her in the kennel at 11pm, and she cried until... oh, midnight. I had forgotten how heartbreaking kennel training a new puppy is. We trained Missy in the kennel, and she cried a lot the first couple nights, but eventually got to the point where "go in your place" was a welcome suggestion.

Jackie woke up every two hours, like a baby. How funny is that? Well, she totally is -- a baby used to one situation who now finds herself in another one entirely. Cuddled in a puppy pile with brothers and sisters in a shared cage, she now finds herself alone.

At 2am we ignored her, she pushed the partition down between the front and back, and went back to sleep. At 4 she woke up and sounded frantic, so I went out to discover she'd pooped in the kennel. I took her outside with Kinger so he'd mark the pee places fresh for her... brought them back in, cleaned the kennel... encouraged her back in quietly. She cried for about a half hour, then fell asleep until about 6:15.

The morning has gone incredibly well. She went right out and peed and pooped outside, played ball, ran around with me, came back in, played with Geoff for a while and passed out snoring on the couch. I put her in her kennel, to show her that's where sleeping should happen, and after an hour Doug got up to find her sitting politely and quietly inside, with her tail banging on the inner walls as she recognized him.

I slept until about 10, thank God. I was exhausted! When she got up at 4, I was pretty much awake until almost 5:30. Sometimes I can't just fall back to sleep when I am woken up. She played and played outside with Doug and Geoff, chasing tennis ball, and playing with the chew toys we had in the house. Kinger has mostly just stayed near, paying attention to her and doing his usual thing... happy as usual and not at all irritated or jealous. Relief.

She took a good long nap from 11 to 12, out cold solid by my feet here at the computer. I put her in her kennel again, and she slept some more. She's asleep now again... the kids are eating so I don't want her interfering.

I think we made a good choice.

Bad News
We got email from a friend of Doug's from back in the day named Steve. Doug and Steve were in cub scouts together, and he was one of the first people Doug introduced me to when I went out to western PA for the very first time. Steve and his wife Vicky welcomed a new baby into their lives, but there's been a snafu.

Here's the email:

This may be the toughest email I've ever written. Many of you were aware that Vicky was pregnant and due this June. She gave birth to our son Ryan at 9:05pm on June 16.

He was born a perfectly healthy baby and did fine for the first two days in the hospital. We took him home Tuesday night and were delighted to spend our first night as a family together.

On Wednesday morning Ryan stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. He was given CPR by me and then the paramedics before being rushed to a local hospital. After working there for two hours he was Life-Flighted to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

After several hours of surgery he was succesfully placed on a heart-lung bypass machine and has been stabilized. He is in very weak condition but has showed some improvement physically. He was without oxygen for a very long time, though.

The prognosis isn't good but it is not hopeless. We have been praying for him constantly and are thankful that he has survived this long - there were many times Wednesday when we thought he would not.

Please keep Ryan in your thoughts and prayers. He is a strong baby but we would still love a miracle!

Any new parent's nightmare I must say.

This was all too fresh for me... having a friend whose son died at 8 days of age in 1997 due to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. I remember so much from the day of his funeral, and so much sadness. I never want another friend to go through that at all, ever. No matter what the cause. I forwarded Steve's email to my friend, Sheri, who is now the director of the Massachusetts Heart Coalition, and even with five years distance between her son's death and today, she's still touched by other families dealing with this sort of thing.

Steve asks for prayers -- well. Pray. Please. He's a super guy, flies airplanes for traffic patrol in Pittsburgh. She's a lovely woman. Their wedding is one of the finest memories I have... they deserve a slim chance at a miracle, and as much as I believe that God's plan for them may be different, I'd like to ask him to just make sure that it is that Ryan will be their baby, survive, teach them, grow with them, and not die. Sometimes surviving is worse than death when a child has been through such a trauma at first... brain damage, CP, all sorts of learning disabilities... there is a lot of negative to making it past death's threshold. All the effort though -- all the hope. I want him to make it. I hope that God sees eye to eye with his people.

Alright. That's a downer. Let's finish up.

I forgot to give the website of the Sterling shelter, for anyone interested in learning more about what they do, or giving them support. They've got an interesting program... they are at so go check 'em out. Send people you know who are puppy seeking...

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