Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Hospital:
He won't remember this. I'll never forget.
Part 2

It felt like a wall had fallen on me.

The possibilities of what this meant were running through my head a mile a minute, and it felt like bricks hitting me in the face. We were admitting our tiny son into the hospital. Was he that sick? Was he getting worse? What were they going to do to him now? I knew it wasn't going to be good.

We had been so ready to go. We had been made to believe that Solomon would be treated, given meds, and we would all go home and go to bed. In quick care, the doctor was very optimistic - careful, but sure that he would be just fine after a breathing treatment. 
He was explaining now that the machine's beeping meant that Solomon's oxygen saturation level was too low. This had not been the case earlier, so we were confused. He said that while Solomon was awake he could work to breathe if he needed to. Now that he had been asleep for a little while, though, his breaths were deeper, and his body had to work harder, and was struggling.
He needed more oxygen.

Just after the fight to get Solomon hooked up to oxygen

Larry and I immediately took a turn from tired and anxious to exhausted and scared ... and defensive against whatever harm was about to come to our son. What now? 
The nurse told us they would have to get a blood sample to run some tests to rule out any infection or further illness, and that they would give him an IV.

More bricks in my face. 

This was what I had feared the entire night.
It was going to happen, and I backed up against the wall and cried. 

I won't do a play by play of how it went from here. I'll just say that I will never ever forget the sounds of my son screaming, watching his face turn deep red and cover with sweat. I'll never forget standing over him with an overwhelming feeling of helplessness hanging over me, and seeing the same look of defeat mirrored in my husband. I know far worse things have happened to a great deal of people in this world, but at this point in my life, seeing the child that we created go through such torture, is the worse thing that has happened to me.

It came down to this:
They failed to get a good blood sample, or get an IV in after two tries.
We didn't allow them to try again. 

The IV would have been for their own convenience, so that they would have access in case he needed to be medicated further, or receive fluids. The fact was that he had not lost his appetite, and a two-second shot was good enough for us if he needed any other medication. We made a choice, which turned out to be the right one, we would discover later.

We were left alone for the long while that it took for me to calm my baby down and rock him to sleep. He ended up face down on my chest, sleeping hard, in a way that he hasn't since he was a newborn. He stayed in my arms the rest of the night.

Finally asleep after a very long ordeal

Larry helped me to adjust the hospital bed into a position that would allow both Solomon and I to rest while we waited for a room. It would be a very very long wait, so Larry laid on the floor next to me, and we got as much rest as we could before we were put into a holding room in another area. We were waiting for shift change to be completed before we were placed.

Next door to us a patient was screaming and cursing at the top of his lungs. Sigh.
We closed the door and enjoyed some of the most uncomfortable sleep of our lives. Finally, after 8:00am (almost twelve hours after we arrived at the hospital) someone came in to wake us up and wheel us to the Pediatric floor, to a room of our own. Solomon woke up fussy, of course, until we got into the wheel chair. He loved the ride, and all the people who stopped to look at us. He was cute and pitiful with the cannula on. His parents, on the other hand, looked like death warmed over. Hi there, Staring Strangers. Nice to meetchya!

Little morning person that he is, Solomon was in amazingly good spirits for a while. The nurses that came in to care for him were cracking up at all the kicking and grinning he was doing.

He's a trooper!

The rest of the day, though, was pretty rough for all of us. All three too tired to really function properly, and Solomon sick, prodded, poked, sore, and teething on top of it. It took literally hours for us to get him to sleep, only for someone to come in and wake him up because they weren't careful, or needed to take his temperature. He had not run a fever at all up until that point, by the way. I was not a happy Mama.

The bright side:
His own pediatrician was the one on duty that day, so he came in and checked things out after we had been there a couple of hours.  He told the nurses that he did not need an IV, and all the answers he needed could be found with a CBC - a heel stick. The result was low white blood cells, confirming a virus, which was determined to be Bronchiolitis, as he tested negative for RSV twice. We were to stay through at least one full night, to be sure that Solomon would be able to keep his oxygen levels in a high enough range that he would not require extra oxygen any longer. 

In his little hospital gown, feeling rough

Larry went home to get some things for us to stay, and the rest of the day we did our best to make Solomon comfortable and help him rest. When the night nurse came on and asked how things were going I had the chance to go over with her my issue with his being woken up repeatedly. She was gracious and helpful, and I loved her for it! Right about that same time Solomon started crying uncontrollably, and would not be soothed. I kind of cleared out all the extra people and got to work at rocking and shhhing and bouncing. Nothing was working. The crying just got louder and harder. I reached my breaking point and had to hand him to Larry as I started crying, and was nearly convinced that he was in pain and no one knew what was really wrong with him. We had the nurse come and check him over. Angel that she was, she asked us if we felt comfortable leaving him with her to try to calm him down and let us take a walk. I hesitated. I hesitated a lot. Then I looked at Larry and I knew we both needed it, and she would be there checking him over for any problems. She did, we did, and by the time we came back our baby was sleeping. He was okay. We crawled into the little hospital bed together and shared a really big sigh of relief, then watched a movie, listening to our little one breathe.

Now my sweet husband had made sure that I had gotten at least a little bit of rest that day. So I gave him the bed to sleep in that night, and I took the recliner. I knew I wouldn't be sleeping much, but then I did more than expected, as the nurse helped out a lot, knowing we hadn't had sleep for many hours. A little before midnight Solomon was taken off of oxygen, and I got up to check on him while he was with the nurse, then took him back to rock him to sleep. He cried every time I laid him down, so we (sort of) slept together in the recliner, with him propped up, as his stuffy nose woke him up often. All night long his oxygen levels stayed up!

The next morning we went home.

Driving home

Reeling from the whole experience for a few days after, I have thought so much about all the hard decisions that you make for your children. I learn something from every single new experience I have with my son, and this was a whopper. If there's anything I hope to share with anyone else, though, it's to be really involved in your child's care if you ever find yourself at the hospital with your little one. Be sure to ask why things are being done, and if there are any easier alternatives. Is it really needed, or just what they usually do? Insist that if there is a "go to" way to achieve something difficult like a needle stick or catheter, that it be done that way the first time, and not as a second, or third, try. 

Today we got a survey in the mail to fill out following our stay in the hospital. I look forward to filling it out.

All photos taken with my iPhone


Mama Bear said...

Wow. What a heartbreaking story. My little man has a cold right now and I know if it was anything worse and we had to go to the hospital I would cry. It is too bad that emphasis in hospitals is often focused on efficiency and "how things are always done" instead of what is right for the patient. Your little one is a cutie and a trooper. :)

Kelly said...

Catherine, thank you for your kind words, and my apologies for such a late reply. My computer has been down and out for a long while now, and I'm just getting back to the blog. I hope your little one is well :)