May 10, 2011

Morphine Withdrawal

 You know what morphine withdrawal looks like?

Well, not exactly.  That's what a baby who just spend two hours crying over morphine withdrawal and then got a  hit of Versed and Benedryl looks like.  Poor little Clara had a rough morning.  We've been seeing some of the signs of withdrawal, like sneezing and yawning, but not the really nasty ones like inconsolable crying or twitching.  Until today.  Withdrawal hit this sweet baby hard this morning.  We'd been weaning either morphine or versed every day for over a week, so it was about time that she hit a wall and we plateaued for awhile.  But it sure was rough to watch her be unhappy.  We've increased her Versed back to where it was day before yesterday and held off of weaning morphine today.  We'll try to pick it back up in the next day or so.  

Because that is a much sweeter sight.  Clara and I had lots of quality snuggle time today, thanks to her little hissy fit.  I'm so thankful that I can now pick her up when she's hurting.  I remember so well those days in the PICU when she was in pain and I couldn't even touch her.  There's such a peaceful feeling that comes from cradling and rocking and loving on a sad baby.  Especially when it does calm and comfort her some.

She's sleeping, but I'd like to think she's singing "Da da da da da da da da GO DEACS" in her dreams...

In case I haven't mentioned it lately, I am so so thankful for the physicians at Brenner Children's Hospital.  They are all so smart and dedicated and capable.  I trust them fully with my daughter's life and that's saying a lot.  Our attending physician right now is Dr. Yang.  There are a couple of things that I especially appreciate about Dr. Yang.  One is that she comes to Clara's bedside several times throughout the day and you can tell when she looks at her that she's not just examining a human body, but that she's really trying to get a sense of how Clara is feeling and doing.  I think that affective evaluation guides her decisions as much or more than all the numbers.  As her mother, I really appreciate that.  Dr. Yang also does a very thorough job of explaining to me what her plan is and why.  So much of what we're dealing with is interrelated (get the fluid off so we can stop lasix so we can reduce vitamin supplements, but if we stop lasix too soon the fluid might build up in her lungs again and then we'd have to increase the oxygen, etc. etc. etc.)  that it's nice to know why she's attacking a particular part of the puzzle on any given day.   Finally, Dr. Yang is extremely motivated.  Today she said to me, "I want to make sure that we are making progress with something every day."  ME TOO!  I love that rationale.  So, here is what we made progress with today: We cut one dose of Lasix and cut her sodium in half.  The potassium is still a little low (but better), so we'll wait a few days and re-check it.  We added protein to her fortified breast milk (sick babies need more protein than is naturally in breast milk).  She had her broviac removed so she now has ZERO holes in her!  The wound care folks came and looked at her pressure sore and her incision and made their recommendations about how to treat those (something called safe gel and a wet to dry covering).  Not the biggest progress we've made in a day, but progress nonetheless.  We're still holding at around 30% on her oxygen and 1.75 liters.  Hopefully we'll wean that a little more tomorrow.  Hopefully we'll all get to do this a little more tomorrow too:

Really, it doesn't get any better than this:

Look at my mouth hanging wide open and letting all my oxygen escape!
So, my advice to all you readers is: don't get addicted to morphine.  But if you do, be sure you've got a mommy to hold you and rub your back and love on you all day long while you detox. 


  1. Mary Ann, that picture of Clara and you needs to be framed. The love of a grandmother....amazing!!


  2. I'm addicted to Clara. Every morning I have to sign on to get my daily "Clara fix". I'm looking forward to the days when the pictures will not include hospital beds & walls, but will include Clara's crib and her bedroom walls. I'm praying for you all every day.

  3. the withdrawal is terrible and lasts a long time. elijah was dealing with it for a month after his last dose. she will get through this, but it's such a hard things to watch!

    praying for her, like always.

    Elijah's mom

  4. We love that baby!
    We love Chrissy and Robert (and Rufus)!
    We love Big Daddy and Sweet Mama and
    Daddy Bob and Mama Karen
    And God loves you all a heck of a lot more
    (and a heck of a lot better) than we do!

    Laura and Frank

  5. I am so sorry to hear about what Clara had to go through and as a mother it is hard to watch that also. Hope that is the end of it.
    Annette and Randy

  6. Dear Clara

    No more holes; ain't that great --
    You'll be home soon, and we can't wait!

    Then you'll live with your Daddy and Mama,
    And won't have to deal with NICU drama.

    All those crying babies must be a big pain --
    It's enough to drive a girl insane.

    Your own private room for deep beauty sleep;
    And you can count blessings instead of sheep.

    You can play all day with Rufus the pup --
    He'll give a sharp 'woof' to help get you up!

    We look towards that day as we pray you well --
    This saga will give you great stories to tell.

    So make some progress on this day and each --
    Hurry to get well so you can go to the beach! ;-)

    Uncle Frank

  7. Come on Clara girl! Kick that fighting spirit into HIGH gear and get to the top of the mountain! Our faith is strong that she will overcome this addiction, will rise above it and soar to a new and happier level of comfort! My prayer is that as you watch her go through this experience, that you will be reminded of God's love for Clara and how he is orchestrating her recovery. It has and will continue to bring Him honor and glory! Just love that sweet baby!

  8. Sweet, sweet baby Clara. Praising and Praying for you all!!

    Nicole Jones

  9. Oh, this is such a sweet, precious baby. Love my Clara fix each am. Praying for continued progress each and everyday. Just returned from a visit to Atlanta and Elberton. Got lots of Eleanor time. Hope to get to meet Clara soon. Love all the pictures. She's certainly come a long way "baby".
    Mary Nell

  10. Praying for a better day today Baby Clara.

    BTW~Love Uncle Frank's poem!!

  11. Lori Hawkins BeckMay 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    I was away for a few days and I missed my Clara time. WOW! She looks wonderful....I am so happy that she can wear those sweet little clothes. I am thrilled that you have held her and held her good!!
    I pray for you all several times a day. I will pray for peace and for calm for her as these days of weaning off the meds continue.

    A friend of a friend.........Clara's friend,
    Lori Beck

  12. Through it all .... let's think back to 1 month and 2 weeks ago and just how far this little angel has come. Her will to live is going to carry her through Brenners and straight out that door to a beautiful home filled with all the love her mom and dad can lavish on her ..... grandparents, aunts and uncles, too. Little girl, there is such a beautiful world waiting for YOU!!! Keep up the good fight!!!

  13. Aww, I'm so sorry she's going through withdrawal. I will pray for it to be a short trip through this terrible thing she's facing. Be strong Baby Face, sending lots of love and prayers your way.

  14. Praying lots for little Clara (and for you and Robert, Chrissy!). I can only imagine how rough it is seeing your little one going through such a tough time...just keep loving on'll get better!

    Julie McAvoy Hover


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