After my vacation, I think I need some more time off

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2008

Kevin Chiri

Hey, what a holiday.

I’m sure most of you are nodding. Sure we all love that long holiday break, but aren’t most of you actually happy to slip back into our normal routine? I took a week-and-a-half off work, even though I admit to stopping in the office a couple of times. But for me, I have to honestly admit that I was ready to come back to work just to have something to do.

Oh, by the way, I have another grandchild.

Did I mention that two days before Christmas my daughter Chrissy suddenly got put in the hospital with pregnancy complications, and, oh yea, they delivered her baby 10 weeks early at Ochsner Hospital in Metairie.

So if you think you had an exciting and busy holiday, I think I have you beat.

We knew things were not going too well for Chrissy in the last few weeks. All you had to do was look at her, and you knew there was a problem. She was blowing up like a balloon with a swelling problem known as preeclampsia. It is also accompanied by high blood pressure and can become very serious to the mother and the baby.

That is what was happening to my daughter. I’m sure you have known women who had swelling problems during pregnancy, but Chrissy had it very badly. When she went in for her regular doctor visit the Thursday before Christmas, she was immediately told to get to the hospital. Her blood pressure was running 180/120, which, for those of you who don’t know, is very, very high.

So began our visits to Ochsner, and by Saturday things were getting worse. The doctors were monitoring her almost hourly and had told us that if anything got worse, they would have to take the baby immediately.

We were all praying that somehow the situation wouldn’t worsen, and maybe somehow Chrissy could hold off delivering, but that hope all ended late Saturday, into Sunday morning.

I remember going to sleep about 12:30 in the morning on Sunday, and an hour later woke up to hear my wife on the phone saying, “OK, we’ll be right down.”

So we all jumped out of bed and hustled down to Ochsner, where they delivered very little Jerry Scott Smith, III, about 3:30 in the morning. He weighed in at 2 pounds, 4 ounces, but seemed as perfect as you could hope, with only the problem of his lungs not developing completely yet.

We all finally got to see him at nearly 6 a.m. and the whirlwind finally ended when we got back home later in the morning.

But poor Chrissy was hardly out of the woods. Apparently this preeclampsia situation hangs on for the mother even after the baby is born. For two days she was very, very sick and had us quite worried. Finally, however, she started to get better and all the fluid which had accumulated in her body started to drain.

We finally got her released from the hospital just this past Saturday and she is recovering here in Garyville with her mom taking care of her for a while. Meanwhile, little Jerry is progressing nicely and according to the nurses is “a feisty little fellow.” So now mom and dad, Jerry Scott Smith Jr., are back living with us for a short time until she gets well. Big Jerry heads to Covington to work each morning and comes back to our house, but hopefully very soon they’ll both get back to their home in Picayune, awaiting little Jerry getting bigger and coming home.

As of Tuesday the little guy had gained 8 ounces and otherwise is doing fine.

But anyway you look at it, a 2 pound, 4 ounce baby is still amazing to see. It is fascinating to go into the NICU unit of Ochsner and see all these teeny babies around that they are caring for. Yet the nurses and doctors there treat them just like regular size babies and are amazing to see how they can help these preemies grow and finally go home.

As for our little Jerry, we will be visiting him at Ochsner for about two months until he is big enough and strong enough to go home.

So how was your holiday? I’m sure it was fun, exciting, relaxing, or whatever.

As for mine, I need another vacation.

I need to apologize to my readers for a slip-up in my column about two weeks ago.

As I said, I’ve been on vacation and had put together four columns before I left. Naturally I was banging them out quickly.

I am very careful with my proofreading on all of my stuff, but wouldn’t you know that in the case where I didn’t proofread something, it cost me.

I ran a column two weeks ago with a long joke about how you give a pill to a cat. The column was sent to me by a good friend, and since it was on an e-mail, I just copied it over to my document and figured it was good to go.

When I got my L’Observateur at the house during the holidays I began re-reading the joke and was suddenly shocked to see a curse word in the story. The joke was certainly a funny one, or at least I thought so, but I didn’t know there would be any curse words in there. As I continued to read, I saw two more and was cringing like you couldn’t believe. The words were not what I consider to be the worst curse words you might hear, but they were nonetheless something I would never have put in my column.

So if anyone was offended by those words, I sincerely apologize.

I personally do not cuss at all, and certainly don’t use them in my column. So again, sorry for the slip up.

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at