Like Father Like Son

September 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm (By Randy)


Charlie & Daddy (a.k.a Danny Miller) enjoying their afternoon nap at home.

Photo by Mommy (a.k.a Kendall Miller)

Click HERE for the further adventures of Charles Oliver Thomas Miller.


  1. PatHMV said,

    He’s at home??? How awesome!

  2. michael reynolds said,

    Is that CPAP? Jake had that, being born 2 months premature. He’s on his 7th grade class trip to Catalina, a great big healthy galoot.

    I have an almost identical picture: dead guy with baby attached. Warn Danny to stay off the cookies. Sleeplessness leads to carbs leads to fat. Harder and harder to get rid of in old age.

  3. Peter Hoh said,

    I loved falling asleep with my babies. They are big creatures now, who once were small.

    Enjoy it while you can.

  4. amba12 said,

    Did you know Charlie’s back in the hospital? (Although he’s graduated from the NICU to the PICU.) His shunt got displaced or clogged, and the back of his head started to swell. He faces more surgery, poor thing. — Nope, he’s already had more surgery. They took the shunt out. They’ll have to put another one in. The end was being blocked by scar tissue from the abdominal surgery he had when his frail intestines perforated. This kid is a survivor.

    Danny sounded so fortified by the week with him at home, like someone who’s put on 20 kg to swim the Channel.

    Michael, it’s not CPAP, it’s oxygen. Charlie was very very premature; his twin brother died about 12 hours after birth. His lungs weren’t fully developed and so he’s still having trouble maintaining quite enough oxygen saturation, although he’s close.

    I’m not sure quite what you mean about the picture of the dead guy, but it probably isn’t what Danny needs to hear just now. If you reconsider, I can take it out. (I could just take it out, but I won’t do that.)

  5. lfineaux said,

    I think he meant “dead to the world” as in a deep sleep, one allowed by the “attachment” of the baby. Harmless in meaning, yet somewhat jarring to read.

  6. amba12 said,

    Oh, I get it. Sorry. For some reason I thought he meant a literal dead guy. My mind made a bad side association that I won’t bum you out with. I take it back.

  7. michael reynolds said,

    I was just remembering the first months of having a preemie baby at home. No one slept for 6 months. (It was 9 years before Jake learned to sleep well.) Katherine took a picture of me in suit jacket, plaid shirt and jeans — the only cleanish clothes I could find — where I’m passed out with Jake lying on my shoulder. I look like a dead guy with a baby. I never want to be that tired again.

    We did NICU and PICU. I came away from that with an eternal respect and affection for nurses.

    NICU at MInneapolis Children’s made me understand the precariousness of working people in the health system. Ours was the nearest NICU for some people as far away as Nebraska. People slept on the floor after driving 10 hours to be with their preemie baby because they couldn’t take time off from their job at Blockbuster.

    We set up a fund to help cover expenses for NICU parents. But my take-away from the experience — aside from our son — was that there was something seriously fucked up with the health care system, and that nurses not doctors are the lifesavers.

    I wasn’t being glib about Danny’s experience. The sights and sounds and fear and hope of the NICU are a permanent part of my make-up. Been there, done it, and have a forever kind of kinship with all those who’ve passed through the NICU.

  8. lfineaux said,

    I didn’t have a preemie baby, but I had one who had meningitis at age 3 weeks. During this, it was discovered that she also had a hernia through which her ovary extruded. After her meningitis was determined to be viral, thus not life threatening, it was suggested we schedule her for repair of the hernia.

    Since, her ovary popped out at the least bit of straining (ie, a normal bowel movement), we thought this a very good idea, as she was obviously in pain whenever the ovary extruded and I was incapable of pushing on it hard enough to put it back in place. (Yes, I knew this would ease my baby’s pain, but the thought of causing her additional damage kept me from pushing hard enough.)

    At 10 am, the doctors/nurses took our baby from us saying the surgery would take from 1 to 1 1/2 hours. We accept that. Two hours later, we ask at the desk where our baby was taken from us about the surgery. They tell us it’s taking a bit longer than anticipated, but are reassuring that everything is OK.

    An hour later, we’re told the same thing with the additional bit of information that the surgery was repairing hernias on both sides and being filmed as educational for future surgeons.

    A bit over an hour later, we encounter shift change. This time, we’re told essentially that no one knows where our baby is because she does not appear as having had surgery.


    By this time, I’m a frantic basket case. My husband is also, but he feels the need to reassure me that everything must be OK. Neither one of us is rational as we go from desk to desk asking about information about our daughter.

    We are finally (around 4 pm) told that she is in pediatric ICU because she has a white blood cell count that might mean meningitis again.

    We are taken there, and a well-meaning, but insensitive nurse says, “i wondered where this beautiful red-headed baby’s momma and daddy were.” Thankfully, my husband grabbed my arm and did not let me punch her in the nose.

    In the next few days, I came to appreciate the attitude of the nurses in this PICU. I was allowed to hold my baby as much as I wanted to, and this extended to sleeping with her in my arms.

    I also came to understand why they were so “lenient” with me. Several of the babies they were caring for did not have parents staying, or even visiting them. My presence there meant they only had to provide medical care for my child. They felt no need or pressure to provide love — I was there for that and also provided as much medical care as I was capable of.

    The week I spent with my daughter in that unit was one of the most horrible and most enlightening of my life.

    I thoroughly understood why poor parents with few resources of any kind could not care for a severely ill baby. The one I remember most was born with his intestines outside his body. This baby was near a year old and had had several surgeries. He’d never been outside a hospital. His parents lived over 100 miles away and were lucky to visit him once a month.

    Had this baby not been transferred to this special children’s hospital, he would not have been alive.

    And… that all took place 27 years ago. Every time I think about my daughter’s problems (and how they might affect her fertility today) I wonder if that boy is still alive. I’m worried that I might not have grandchildren where this boy’s parents might already be mourning his death.

    There is no equality where health is concerned.

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