And being watched

Meanwhile, while I was in the waiting room while they got my little granddaughter ready in NICU, a lady showed up asking for son and dil. When I told her they were not there she asked if I was the grandmother, could I answer some questions about the baby being brought in. Well, of course, since I’m the one who actually brought her in, which may have been mistake number one, since it immediately raised questions of where then exactly were the parents, the mother, who, as you’ll recall, was at the dentist’s having a root canal, at my behest, remember? This is somewhat the root of my earlier statement giving mom all the credit for us even being here in the first place, which I endeavored to convey to this woman, that the only reason she was there rather than bringing her in herself was because I insisted she go on while I had it worked out so that she could continue to take care of her little one. And then we were only already there because the doctor had called that we come on in, and, again, we had all insisted that she stay and get herself taken care of in order to be able to continue to take care of her child. I actually wish somewhat that the doctor had just told us to go on the ER, though I’m not sure what would have happened with dil with her tooth if we’d already been there, but maybe our little one wouldn’t have been quite so bad. I think, had we been her patients longer she might have but we’d only been to see her once so she couldn’t know our judgment well enough to make that call without seeing her.

So she then asked if she could ask me some questions (like she hadn’t been already) but I agreed even though I knew that, here we go, they were going to be about how well did I feel she was being taken care of by her parents? Had I seen any signs of any problems? What did I think? I really can’t remember the exact wording but that was the gist of it. Now, remember we were there because she was lifeless and had stopped breathing and they had been checking her for meningitis so I really didn’t think that much about it except that in the day and age we live in anytime you bring in an infant to ER in as serious a condition as she was in you’re possibily going to be questioned but in our case I really didn’t think about us having anything to really be concerned about.

She then left.

But she came back. And the parents were there at this point. And I was too. We weren’t yet staying with our little one because they were still running tests. Or, more to the point, they were running X-rays, then CT scans – of her skull.

Ah, that’s where the problem was coming. They thought she had a fractured skull?!

That’s why they were questioning all of us so, especially the parents and about them as well.

Now, does not everyone know that a 3 wk. old’s skull is not fused together yet? And, more to the point, a regular CT scan does not show that. It takes a further scan to pinpoint if those lines are indeed fractures or – could it be? possibly? – just the gaps not fused yet.

So could it not be less trauma on everyone concerned – like we don’t have enough as it is with having our little one in NICU in the first place – to just wait until you’ve done the 2nd scan and determined that that is indeed the case before you start accusing everybody of FRACTURING THE POOR BABY’S SKULL! Now, yes, if indeed the 2nd scan showed that was indeed what happened I’ll agree that at that point questions need to start being asked. But NOT BEFORE! Because then they just go “oh, never mind”.

Now, I’m certainly glad they did find that out. But in the meantime, especially in this case, dil has become quite distraught. Remember, she’s already been confronted with the main doctor in ER bringing in the chaplains with her having stopped breathing on them down there and gone through expecting the worst only to have that not be the case.

And remember all this on top of all that had happened the year before. Which actually could have made the situation with them. Given them more reason to lay blame.

Now I realize they didn’t know about that. But they could have known about what happened in the ER and maybe they did. But they need to take more of that into consideration. I realize it’s all about the children. But not every young parent who brings in an infant is a child abuser.

And I do realize that those that are are probably going to lie about it. Even more reason to have your ducks in a row before you start accusing. If you’ve done your 2nd scan and you have a clear-cut case of fractured skull, by all means go for it.

However, we later learned that there was more to it than we’d been told. They were also looking for bleeding on the brain and swelling, both considered to be causes of the lethargy she was exhibiting. However, we also learned that they weren’t finding any of that but that they had been conditioned to blame the parents for shaken baby syndrome, basically anyway, in particular when they’re young unless there’s someone else who had had the child immediately prior to when an infant under 6 months old was brought in displaying that symptom. And they have to report it to their social worker. That’s who the lady was that came to see us. And I understand they don’t want to send a baby home back into a dangerous situation that’s just going to come back in even worse shape. At least, though, this major regional hospital did have the protocols in place to test for infection, specifically meningitis, which is also considered to be a cause of the lethargy she was having, especially if there is NO bleeding on the brain nor swelling, nor skull fracture, showing up on ANY of the CT scans. The issue is in which order to do what. The infection test results take 48 hrs. to come back since they have to wait to see if it grows a culture, although, again, at least at this hospital, they go ahead and start IV antibiotics, just in case, before the results do get back. Just in case of what? the infection can cause a stroke if it goes septic, which she was close to but fortunately not at, which would explain her lethargy. She was given IV fluids as well since she was in danger of becoming dehydrated since she had not eaten because she’d been so lethargic, which would of course contribute to it as well. So it is understandable to go ahead, while you’re waiting on test results to come back, and run CT scans to check for those brain issues, again, in case you need to put in a shunt. But, again, if you don’t find you need to do anything, then you don’t need to go on a WITCH HUNT looking for someone to blame for what maybe, just maybe, there’s nothing to blame anyone for. In this case, I’m glad she had a C-section so there couldn’t have been a skull fracture from a difficult birth, which could have been quite possible in her situation with the gestational diabetes. The infection test did come back showing that was indeed the case. Then later a nurse tried to blame her for the infection, another good reason in having had the C-section; she didn’t get it through coming down the birth canal. Sorry. That was no reason to call the social worker in again.

Meanwhile, she spent the night in PICU with me with her. The sight of her with all the tubes and wires was too much for son and dil. It is understandable when looking at such a sweet little innocent child having to be all hooked up to all of that that one would want to look for someone to blame for it, but it is also somewhat of a indicator of what type of society we live in now. That’s how I found out most of the above; unofficially, off the record, by her nurse; certainly none of it was explained by those who put us through it all. I also learned from that same nurse ours was the first one they hadn’t lost by that time. So does that say anything about how quickly we did bring her in, that we early on wanted to have her checked out? Again I lay all the credit for that right at mom’s feet. I’m not sure I would have done as well.

What’s been observed to have happened in accused shaken baby syndrome cases is that the baby, more especially if th
ey were older, would exhibit the signs ours did for hours or even days before it would reach the point of stopping breathing to the point that ours did but not until she was in the ER – for which I’m also thankful, that that didn’t happen to us earlier.
That’s the point at which a stroke could have occurred that could cause the signs they look for on the CT scan which they would blame on the shaking incident occurring at that point, if they were unwilling to look at infection-causing stroke as a cause, without considering the prior time of lethargy, not eating well, just not doing well in general before the caregiver brought them in when they finally collapsed. I’m so glad we were already there at that point.

But it was still scary – in several ways.

But we were released from PICU the next day into a regular room, having been cleared apparently from blame.

Now somebody has to stay with her.

But the being watched is over – but then that’s both good and bad – but it’s also for another time.

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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