Actigol – used to stimulate the gall bladder to treat elevated levels of direct billirubin.
Anemia – the most common of blood disorders, a condition where there is a lower than normal number of red blood cells in the blood. This is treated in the NICU with a transfusion of blood.
Apnea – not breathing for 20 seconds or longer at a time. For more information, see http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sleep/apnea.html.
Argyle Prongs – a type of CPAP system, it looks like a rhinocerous horn coming from the nose with tubes leading up to the breathing system.
Aspiration – entry of fluid into the trachea and lungs.
Billirubin – a byproduct of old red blood cells. There are direct and indirect measurements of billirubin. Indirect billi is typical in newborns and can be treated with a blue light. Direct billi cannot be treated with the blue light, but is resolved when the liver and gall bladder start functioning normally.
Bradycardia – a heart beat at a lower than expected rate for the patient’s medical condition. For more information, see http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tc/bradycardia-slow-heart-rate-overview.
Burst-Suppression Periods – on an EEG, bursts of brain activity followed by periods of less brain activity. The periods of low brain activity are typically longer than those of higher activity.
Cannula – device to deliver supplemental oxygen through prongs placed in the nose.
Central Line – also known as a central venous catheter, a line inserted directly into a large vein in either the neck, chest or groin to deliver medication or fluids.
CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure, a method of assisted breathing involving pushing a certain amount of pressure into the lungs through the nose. Unlike a ventilator, no tube is placed in the mouth and down the throat, hopefully meaning less damage is done to the respiratory system from the breathing aid itself. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPAP.
Delta Gamma – Noah’s mom’s sorority. I made some truly wonderful friends in college.
Disney (sometimes referred to as Walt Disney) – typically used in reference to the entire company, not necessarily one aspect of it or the late Walt Disney. Noah’s mom and her family have a strong attachment to Walt Disney World in Florida, and mom worked there for two summers while in college.
Dumping – passage of food through the intestines without digesting the foods and removing the water. A serious complication of Noah having NEC and losing a substantial part of his intestines.
Echocardiogram – an ultrasound of the heart.
EEG – electroencephalography, electrical activity in the brain measured by electrodes placed on the head. For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroencephalography.
ECI – Early Childhood Intervention. A program run in the state of Texas to identify and assist children up to age three needing additional assistance in any of several areas, including occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, dietary assistance, etc.
Epilepsy – a seizure disorder, a neurological disorder affecting the nervous system. For more information, see www.epilepsy.com.
Gidi – grandpa.
Hudson Prongs – a type of CPAP system, it looks like a bar under the nose with tubes coming from the ends up to the breathing system.
ID – Infectious Disease, the specialty of doctors who are called in for a consultation whenever an infection is involved. They determine the course of treatment, including the length of time on antibiotics and if any of the IV lines need to be removed.
Intubate – to place a tube into the trachea, generally to go on the ventilator.
Isolette – incubator.
Jabba the Hut – a particularly gross, obese character in the Star Wars films, originally introduced in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (the third of the original trilogy, with the singing Ewoks), but later inserted into Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (the first of the original trilogy) for absolutely no good reason whatsoever. Even the lines were recycled from the original appearance.
Jaundice – yellow coloring in the skin and/or eyes. The yellow is from elevated levels of billirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. There are direct and indirect causes of jaundice. Indirect billi is typical in newborns and can be treated with a blue light. Direct billi cannot be treated with the blue light, but is resolved when the liver and gall bladder start functioning normally.
Lipids – fats administered through an IV. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid.
LP – lumbar puncture, a/k/a spinal tap.
LSU Fight Song – played at LSU football games, arguably the greatest experience in the entire world – there is nothing like Death Valley on a Saturday. The tune was also co-opted by Archbishop Rummel High School for their fight song, an acceptable rendition except for the end of the song – “Rummel Raiders shout hooray…Fight!” Um, is it “`hooray,” or is it “Fight!”?
MRI – magnetic resonance imaging, uses a magnetic field to provide detailed images of the body, and is particularly useful in viewing the brain.
NEC – necrotizing entercolitis, infection of the intestines, causing destruction of the infected area. For more information, see http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/digestive/nec.html or http://ezinearticles.com/?Necrotizing-Enterocolitis-(EC)-and-Your-Premature-Baby&id=309221.
NICU Haircut – a shaved head due to the need to use the veins in the scalp for peripheral IV access. In some cases, a NICU haircut can be refashioned into something trendy or rebellious, such as a Mohawk.
NNP – Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. A nurse with additional training who can write orders.
NPO – nothing by mouth.
Onesie – all in one tank-like outfit with fasteners at the crotch. Some varieties have buttons or snaps down the front as well.
PDA – patent ductus arteriosis, a connection between the aorta and pulmonary artery present in a fetus. This vessel is supposed to close at birth, but frequently does not in premature infants, resulting in less blood returning to the lungs for oxygenation before being distributed throughout the body. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_ductus_arteriosus.
Pedialyte – infant/children’s electrolyte solution typically used to prevent dehydration.
PEEP – positive end expiratory pressure, a ventilator setting of the amount of pressure above atmospheric pressure in the airway at the end of a breath expiration cycle. In other words, a measure of the air exhaled.
Peripheral IVs – the most common of IVs, a short catheter inserted through the skin into a peripheral vein to deliver medications and fluids. In infants, these are usually done on the hands and feet, although the scalp is frequently used as well.
PICC Line – peripherally inserted central catheter, a more permanent form of IV access using more substantial veins, but not requiring anesthesia for insertion. A typical peripheral IV simply gives the ability to administer the necessary fluids by putting them directly in the veins accessed. A PICC line starts in a peripheral vein, but moves up through increasingly larger veins until it eventually reaches the heart. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PICC_line.
Pinsp – peak inspiratory pressures, a ventilator setting measured at the airway opening. Measures the inhale part of the breath cycle.
Phenobarbitol – barbituate frequently used to treat neonatal seizures.
Primary Nurse – a nurse whose primary assignment is a specific baby. This provides continuity of care for the patient. Noah has had a fabulous team of primary nurse caretakers – Heather Whitmore, Charlette Solomon, Chris Strange, Duy Tran, and Brooke Foster.
Retail Therapy – shopping to make oneself feel better.
ROP – retinopathy of prematurity, occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow and spread throughout the retina, which may lead to a detached retina. For more information, see http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/rop/index.asp.
RSV – Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children. RSV causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages. In adults, it may only produce symptoms of a common cold, such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, mild headache, cough, fever, and a general feeling of being ill. But RSV infections can lead to other more serious illnesses in premature babies. What presents as a minor cold in adults can send a baby born prematurely to the hospital. For more information, see http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/lung/rsv.html.
RTs – Respiratory Therapists.
Salad Bowl Finish – a non-toxic finish for furniture. Used on Noah’s crib so he can chew on it without fear of poisoning him.
Siti – grandmother.
Strabismus – an eye muscle imbalance commonly known as crossed eyes, lazy eyes, or wandering eyes.
TCH – Texas Children’s Hospital.