Since my baby patient’s birth up until his one month of life, he was hooked to a mechanical ventilator to help him breathe. He couldn’t breathe on his own. His lungs were ravaged by pneumonia. It could’ve been just a simple cough and colds for the adults, but when a newborn has been stricken by pneumonia, it spells an ominous life-or-death situation.
When he was born to her 16 year old teenage mother, his lola, who first saw him, was caught between rejoicing for his life and panicking for his eviscerated bowel contents. The disease condition was called gastroschisis. It is an inborn anomaly wherein the intestines and what-have-yous of the abdomen failed to tuck itself inside the body.
It was an emergency operation. He survived with his intestines intact and tucked in, but his lungs failed him. As the days passed I saw him transition from near-death to robust life, then to near-death again. It’s as if he’s just escaping death in the nick of time. This baby was a fighter.
The first time his mother carried him in her arms was when was dead. By then, he was able to escape the trappings of that dreadful blipping machine. Escape the webs of intravenous lines that carry donated blood (he was too pale), array of antibiotics and at least 2 kinds of fluids.