Laura and I live on the second floor of a brownstone in Brooklyn. Our landlords live on the first and fourth floors.
Jack and Delores are not your regular retirees. They didn’t move from the city to the suburbs for more land and more space after retiring; they moved from the spacious suburbs back to the crowded city. They both were born and raised in Brooklyn. Jack remembers Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Delores remembers the good ‘ol days when Brooklyn was more intimate and not so chic. Jack is a retired fire fighter of the FDNY whose ears perk every time a siren is heard and tears up when talking about 9/11. They claim they moved back into Brooklyn to stay young, informed and within reach of museums and shows.
They live on the first floor and bought the brownstone with their son Erik who lives on the fourth floor. Erik was a member out at my sister’s and her husband’s church in West Islip. Erik is the neighborhood historian who can tell you, in detail, the history of Boerum Hill, the neighborhood in which we live. He is now part of the Brooklyn church plant, Christ’s Church for Brooklyn.
I can’t even begin to tell you about Jack’s, Delores’s and Erik’s generosity and kindness. They have been more than our landlords. Delores has watched Sophia for us and Jack is quick to help us carry in groceries when we have a big haul. Erik allows us to use his washer/dryer free of charge and has even done some of our laundry during this journey with Ira. It’s not unusual to get a card from Delores or a knock on the door from Jack seeing if everything in the apartment is working correctly.
And as if that isn’t enough on the third floor lives the other renters, Yael and Bryan. They too are filled with graciousness and kindness. Yael is a third year law student and Bryan is in a MBA program at NYU. They have watched Sophia, walked our dog, baked us cookies, loaned us books and DVDs and are just about willing to do anything we ask of them.
Through this journey with Ira it’s nice to know that good people who genuinely care about us and our well-being surround us. It’s good to know that when we come home at night after a long day at the hospital friendly faces will greet us. We are blessed to have these people in our lives.
Ira had a hard morning on Sunday. It wasn't a surprise as Saturday was a hard day for him. In spite of his stats (or numbers) being low he spent a good thirty minutes wide awake this Sunday morning. Laura and I stood there with him holding his hands and singing to him. I was relieved to tell him of the win the Yankees finally experienced on Saturday. We taped a picture of Sophia to his bed.
After lunch the neonatologist came to me and told me that he was "concerned" about Ira.
Ira was heavily relying on the ventilator and wasn't making any progress in being weaned from it. In fact, the opposite was happening. While the nitric oxide gas was helping a bit, it wasn't enough. The morning x-ray showed that Ira had collected too much fluid in the chest and the neonatologist was suggesting to the surgical team that some of the chest fluid be drained. The second problem was that Ira's right ventricle in his heart was not fully working. Because of the pulmonary hypertension the right side of Ira's heart was not being able to do the work necessary. He suggested that Ira go on another medicine along with the nitric oxide to help that problem out.
If these two measures (draining and the added medicine) didn't help they would have to put Ira on the oscillator (another type of ventilator). If that didn't work, the doctor said, there was nothing else that could be done.
The surgical team did drain the fluid in his chest and they immediately saw good numbers. The use of the ventilator came down significantly this evening and Ira's stats were pretty good; not great, but good. For now they are not using the extra meds.
This roller coaster is quite ride. I'm a fan of most roller coasters but definitely not this one.