Today is the day that we headed back to the hospital for a stay. Josh's shunt had been healing, and we were applying the ointment as we should. We were told about the expected granulation tissue, but saw something that didn't quite seem right. So a few days prior we brought Josh to the pediatrician to look at his shunt. He told us it was granulation tissue and it was fine. Today I got a shocker as I took Josh in for his regular routine shunt check. They saw the white area and said it didn't look right. After a few moments it was determined Josh would be admitted. We weren't exactly sure at the time what his stay would involve. As the day grew longer and longer more questions arose, and finally it was decided that Josh's shunt would have to be revised. There was not enough skin covering the shunt to heal over, so what we thought was white tissue was actually the shunt popping through. So surgery times two...one to extract the existing shunt (this is the time that we nicknamed him "Massive Head Wound Harry" after the SNL skit because Josh's poor head had two big slices in it). Josh had to lay still in bed for 3 days while the cerebral spinal fluid drained into a bag since the shunt wouldn't be working. And then a few days later a shunt was placed on the other side of his head. So now he really had crazy hair! Several haircuts in the first 4 months of life! We were worried not only about if we'd be home for Thanksgiving or not, but also about the progress Josh had been making. He was doing so well at home. He was comfortable in side lying positions, we were working on him sitting up, he loved being propped in a boppy and playing with his toys, and of course feeding by mouth. We were not allowed to do any of this with Josh when he was in the hospital because he had to lay still to keep the fluid going into the bag and not his noggin.
On the brighter side of things, Josh gave us many smiles as he showed off his skills of playing with a balloon for the first time. He had much better control and knew how to manipulate the balloon so well, a skill Joey didn't figure out for a few more months. Josh was always so patient and willing to show us how much the small things matter. It was difficult once again having Joey at home, and one of us with Josh. One of us would spend the night in the PICU, and one would spend the night at home with Joey. Joey came to visit during the daytime, but it was a hard week for everyone especially after finding our groove at home for the past 2 weeks. Josh was also visited by some of his favorite people from the NICU: Tina (who helped with the IV since Josh was such a hard stick with his tiny little veins), Bethany (who brought him a new snowman blanket), Amy, Carl, and Cathy to name a few. They all kept our spirits up and enjoyed Josh's company while he had to take it easy for a few days.