Saturday, July 19, 2008

Random thoughts about ....

life at the hospital. Here are a few of my crazy musings about things around here.

I took this picture the first night we were here. I thought it was a bit absurd that they would need to post this notice. First of all, if someone is so distraught about their kid that they are going to assault a doctor, do you really think this sign is going to stop them? And second of all why would you hurt the people who are trying to save your child's life? But I can understand how these situations can put you out of your right mind. Here again if you have lost the ability for rational thought, I am not sure a sign is going to help. How about a vending machine with Valium in the waiting room?

The Bathroom: In order to go to the bathroom, I have to leave the PICU which I hate. Then the bathroom that we get to use, is for both men/women, so you have to be sure to lock the door, so a man doesn't end up in the stall next to you. Yikes. But that also means that it is kind of like your bathroom at home, where perhaps some man has left the seat up, or worse. Nuff said. Then the toilets are auto flushers, so if you are not quick enough, it flushes your seat protector away. Probably TMI. (too much info) Also I am not impressed with the cleaning crew. One day the paper towels were empty all day long. Not pleasant. The next day the soap dispenser was empty all day. Finally I complained to the nurses station and they said they will tell housekeeping. I don't think I should have waited that long. This hospital is old and everything about it is old. So I guess I should be grateful, it is not an out house.

Waiting to get in: Every time you want to enter the PICU, you have to dial the phone on the wall by the door and ask if you can come in. Sometimes if they are doing something to Jared, they will tell me to wait. I hate the thought of being locked away from my child. It hasn't happened very often, but there is always the possibility and I hate it. I understand it, but don't like it all the same. It is necessary for security. It is sad to say, but some of these kids in here, are here because of their parents. Of course you wouldn't want those people let in. One of the kids that came in after Jared had been in a bad car accident and both of his eyes were swollen. His grandma told me that his mom had abandoned him a year earlier, and so she was not to be allowed in to see him under any circumstances. After being here for a week, most of the nurses know me. There is a camera so they can see who is waiting to come in. So sometimes they just buzz me right in. The first time this happened I wondered if they had ESP or something. Since I am here so much, I told them that they should just get me my own card to swipe.

The Parking Garage: The good news is that the parking garage is attached to the hospital. The bad news is that very often it is difficult to find an empty spot. One day last week I drove around for twenty minutes before I finally saw someone leaving and then I stalked them to their car and got the place. I am surprised that fights don't break out there, because of frantic parents wanting to get in to see their sick kids and there just not being enough places. It does depend on the time of day. Strangely enough at midnight there are plenty of spaces, just not at 10:00 am. The other problem I have is that after being at the hospital all day long, I have to think really hard to remember where I parked. It is so hard when you park somewhere different each day and I am so exhausted I barely know my name. And we have to remember that I was already challenged in the department of finding my parked car. I was telling my sister about this yesterday, and she suggested that I leave myself a voice mail. That sounds like a good idea. So far I have managed to finally pull the info from my brain somehow.

The Ice Machine: This is the one bright spot in life here. They have one of those ice machines that creates small, snow like ice cubes. I don't know how I was here for three days before I was introduced to this small luxury. I love soft ice like this. And it is nice to be able to drink cold water or pour the drink that comes in my sack lunch over ice. It's a good thing!

Watching Other Patients Come and Go: I know that there is no rule that says that other kids need to be sick longer than Jared, but it does get discouraging when you see kids come in after him and go home before. I would say that there is only one other girl who has been here longer than us. She fell out of a second story window and has been here for a month. Yikes. How awful. I feel like the professional ICU parent. Maybe I could start giving orienteering classes. You see other parents go through the same process you went through. The dazed look on their faces of shock, fear, and disbelief. Then the exhaustion sets in, and you see parents curled up sleeping in chairs. Then when things start to get better, you see parents walking around the circle with their kids or pushing them in a wheel chair. And then finally the joy and exultation of the day they are going home and free from this awful prison of pain, uncertainty, and worst of all no control.

The Air Conditioning: I am sure it comes as no surprise to find out that I am freezing to death here. Sadly my chair sits right under the air conditioning vent. I do have my blanket and sweater that I leave here each night. Also I always dress in long pants and shoes and socks so that I can be a little bit warmer. Wearing shoes all the time would be my other complaint. I hate it and am not at all used to it. Sometimes I go around in my socks for a little break.

Machines and Numbers: I have become immune to the alarms that go off when an IV finishes. And even the alarms that go off when his oxygen, heart rate, or blood pressure drop, no longer take my breath away. The first time I was there when an alarm sounded, I started to feel light headed and realized that I had stopped breathing. I will miss the reassurance that comes from looking at the monitor and seeing that all is well. Once they took the central line out, we no longer have a constant blood pressure reading. Instead he has a cuff that takes his blood pressure every half hour or so. I just miss that constant info. I have always said that it would be ideal if babies came with a small computer screen on their foreheads so that we could know what is going on, that could include all the numbers on their vitals just for reassurance.

The smell: What can you say, there is something indescribable about the smell of a hospital. Take antiseptics, a teenage boy who hasn't showered in two weeks, and different medicines. Well it has its own uniqueness. Jared has had several sponge baths, but it is not the same as a shower. TMI again, I am sure.

Well I think that is all I can think of right now. I would love to hear of anyone else's memories of being in the hospital with a child.


Leticia said...

I am glad Jared is doing better!!! I love the b-day tribute to Diana!! (Happy birthday to a sweet and adorable little girl!!! ) How do you make them and add all the cute captions...???I would love to make one for my blog...Help would be great!!! You are an awesome blogger!!!

The Webber's said...

Hospitals are definately not fun! We spent 2 weeks with Logan in the NICU and it was awful! But it all worked out! The worst part was we could only visit for 1 hour at a time and there were big parts of the day where we couldn't visit during shift changes! And the dinner menu at the hospital I was at was the same again after a week - always the same thing on Monday, Tuesday, etc! I'm glad to hear Jared is doing a little better! Hang in there! And Happy Birthday to Diana! I can't believe that she is so big already - She was so little when we moved to Vegas and met you guys!

Amie Earl said...

I hear ya on the hospitals are not fun at all. I have been there enough to know when my twins were first born we spent 21 days in the nicu then 3 weeks after we had plyloric stenosis then ear tubes then adenoids then Hunter had pnemounia and was ther for 3 days. But hang in there Pat you all almost done wohoo.

Emily said...

Being in the hosptial with a child, is such a helpless feeling in the beginning, but the best part by far, is going home, knowing your child is going to recover. Sounds like Jared is on his way there! We're still praying for him, and watching his continued improvement.

Allison Barnes said...

You should give a little class to new parents! Can jared have visitors? I'm sure Mitch would love to see him. He asked about him when he got home from scout camp. Couldn't believe he was still there!! Is there any word on when he might get to go home?

Pat said...

Allison, Jared can have visitors or even better have Mitch text him, because he is using his phone again. Tell Karli and everyone. I think some contact from friends would do him good.