So Close

Headed over to the pediatrician’s with what when I got there was this little lifeless lump of love. Got right in to see the doctor – well, it actually wasn’t the doctor – at least not the one we saw last time, that I really liked – so that concerned me at first – she(?) was very different but we didn’t have time to really be concerned about that this time – she basically took one look at her and sent us on over to the ER, calling them to let them know we were coming, telling them the situation for us to be able to get right in and that she wanted standard workup, meaning first a spinal for meningitis – son called the office just at that point to see what was going on so when he was told said he would leave work, go pick up dil and be on over to the hospital – just so thankful her office was just right across the street; so close I think I may have been better off to just have walked – making left turns at the end of the workday doesn’t work too well but we made it. Ran her in intending to run her right in – erk! – stopped – they’ve changed things – triage is now out right off the lobby not through the double doors – noooo! – we don’t have time for that – the doctor’s called, they’re expecting us – sorry, can’t go through until we’ve checked her out and you’ve filled out these forms – oh, no, I don’t have time to fill out any forms, don’t you see this baby needs to get back there, so at least they did have someone else come and ask the questions while I continued to hold her and put the answers down on the form and they did hurry because they then did see that she needed to get on back so they fairly quickly let us go through. They immediately began to do the spinal. That’s part of the standard protocol for any baby under 10 weeks old, I learned while I was waiting out in the lobby while her parents were in with her.

I had left to check to see if they’d gotten there and there they were, just arriving, told them what was happening, and they went back to see her for a few minutes before the spinal and came back out so while we were waiting I went to get them something to eat, came back, then the next thing we knew they were calling for us, with a couple of hospital chaplains and the main doctor, not to come back and see her, but just up out onto the hallway ramp to talk to us somewhat privately. Oh, no, not again! only this time was worse because we’d had her for three weeks. Amazing how you can come to love somebody so much in such a short amount of time. And dil doesn’t handle these things well; she began to “lose composure”. Wait, doctor’s not saying, though, what we were expecting – yes, she did stop breathing, but she still has always started up again, but because she had done it 4 times and she was so small (again, part of standard procedure with that hospital – part of being in a major regional hospital local area) they were going to intubate her and send her up to PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) to be admitted. But dil still basically just heard “stopped breathing” just knowing it was going to happen again; I asked could we not please be able to go somewhere we could have some privacy to help her, hopefully, be able to calm down. They then led us, with the chaplains, to one of those rooms they have for such purposes while the doctor went back to take care of our little one. The chaplains stayed with us and prayed until dil felt able to go see her and that we hadn’t lost this one yet, she was being taken good care of and maybe we weren’t going to. (They did tell us later we came within 4 hours of it, though – definitely by the next morning had we not brought her in.)

Learned something interesting when we went back to see her, expecting her to be on a power ventilator. But, no, they don’t have those in ER; they don’t expect it be a long-term thing there, just until they get them on up on a floor. Another thing I hadn’t thought of is that they don’t keep them in the rooms all the time in the unit, either; they take up too much room if they’re not needed, so when they are they have to go get them and get them set up, which they do want to do before they take the patient up, at least especially if it’s a little one like this; they don’t want to take any chances and especially if they’ve been intubated so that they can’t breathe on their own. So while they’re waiting they ventilate by hand, like with an ambu bag attached to the tube that they stand and pump themselves. They rotate out as they get tired. I’m not sure which is scarier, being concerned about a power failure with an electric ventilator or someone getting tired and stopping doing it by hand but nonethe less they didn’t and it wasn’t long until they were ready, at least by the time we got to see her. Even that was hard on dil seeing our little one just laying there like that not breathing on her own – just thinking that’s all it would take would be somebody stopping for just too long so they didn’t go up with her – just me. Call me macabre, but I found it fascinating being able to go up “the back way”, if you will, directly into the unit where they would get her all hooked up. She would be in her own little “cube”, one of approximately 16, I believe, in that unit, with her own nurse. But we could stay with her if we wanted but for now out to the waiting room.

And that’s another story but this is enough for now.

Except I do want to say I am proud of mom for realizing and insisting that something was wrong when I hate to say all the rest of us were just prone to brushing it off, maybe with good reason, having never been through anything like this, but I do have to say I at least learned something from this – that you just don’t take any chances when they’re that little.

According to those at the hospital she probably came within 4 hours and definitely if we’d not brought her in that night at all the next morning she would have been gone. Wow! Not again. SO CLOSE.

About donnainthesouth

I'm a transplant, born up north but raised in the middle, now I'm down here where you don't see too many snowflakes; I'll probably post just about as often (here at least)
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