Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What a Sunday, or Keanu's tour of medical facilities in SLO





Little did I know on Sunday morning (1/9/11) what a day it would be. As the family was getting ready for church I noticed my little boy's breathing was rather rapid and he had a low grade fever. I decided we'd better get someone to look at it, remembering ER visits from years ago with the girls for rapid breathing. At 8:45 am I headed to MedStop, feeeling like I'd rather beat the rush of Sunday illnesses, so we could spend the rest of the day hanging out. To my amazement, nobody was in Medstop, and we were admitted immediately. The Dr. who saw us was Dr. Sheehan, whom I'd seen years ago and really really liked. He did the exam and at the end said he really needed to see a chest Xray, but didn't have one there for kids. He apologized but said I need to go to an ER, not because it's an emergency, but because we need the Xray. He said it didn't matter if I went to French Hospital or Sierra Vista Hospital.

It was a no-brainer to go to French Hospital, since it's just up the road from home and I've used that ER quite a few times so it's comfortable to us. Anu and I showed up at French by about 9:30 and I was humbled to see the waiting room rather full. After waiting around for maybe 15 minutes they got us in a side room, thankfully not in the main ER room with all the curtains. To my disappointment the ER doc was rather familiar, Dr. McCloud. He is the same Dr. who has been my ER doctor the 2 times I've had to go. He's nice enough but something about his attitude sort of bothers me. I won't go into the details here.

He ordered the chest xray, RSV test, and blood test and ordered an IV to start. The RSV test was not too traumatic, and it came back positive. The IV was another story. 2 sets of nurses attempted 5 times to get a big old IV needle into my little boy and they screwed up every time. He was so upset and I was holding him with all my might while they stabbed, poked and shone this red light onto the skin to help find the veins.

It was then that I texted Robb at church and said to come. At that point I was getting pretty famished from only eating 2 pancakes for breakfast, and holding Anu was very challenging for me. We did a lot of waiting, and the respiratory therapist came and did a breathing treatment on him. Luckily the Xray technicians showed up just when Robb and the girls did, so Robb was able to hold Anu during the Xray. We waited a long time for the xray, and finally Dr. McCloud said that it showed he has a little bit of pneumonia, whatever that really means.

Dr. McCloud finally called the pediatrician Dr. Macias, and consulted with him. Dr. Macias told him to make the decision on whether he should be admitted to the hospital. Dr. McCloud said to be on safe side, he would admit him. But unfortunately French Hospital does not have a pediatric ward, only Sierra Vista does. So he was going to put Anu on an ambulance and send him to Sierra Vista. When Robb heard that he was not happy, and basically put an end to that idea. But the nurses then said that before we leave, they still needed to get an IV inserted. Robb told them that he'd rather have the pediatric nurses at Sierra Vista do it, but Dr. McCloud said it's a medical faux pas to send a kid from an ER to another hospital without an IV. We asked him why did he need one and he said "what if something happens along the way". So we signed a release allowing us to transport him across town, and without getting an IV. Halleleujah! This whole time, the 3 girls were doing so good, they were being so patient, but they were getting so hungry as I was too.

We drove across town to Sierra Vista and found the Pediatrics unit. It's a really nice setup. Once we got established in room 213, Robb took the girls over to a friends who would serve them lunch and take care of them until the halau party that night.

Meanwhile I stayed back with Anu, and it was really nice that Dr. Macias beat us to the hospital. He was there immediately to talk with me and figure out what to do. He showed me the Xray and explained that the cloudy area in the right lobe of the lung was a little bit of fluid, but not as bad as most cases where the lungs are filled with puss (may I pause to puke here?). Sierra Vista was not too pleased that he didn't have an IV, but they understood that he was poked too many times already. The purpose of the IV would be to give him fluids. They told me that if I could make sure I was keeping him very hydrated, they would not do the IV. Since he's still a nursing boy, I told them that he's nursing frequently. They made me write down every nursing on this log. They also hooked up his toe to a pluse/blood oxygen reader that had a long cord. The rest of that day, he and I spent in the tiny bed that was so uncomfortable for me to nurse in. I am so spoiled with a big old King bed at home....I had to sign a waiver saying that would allow me to would sleep with him in my bed, and not in the crib. Every 3-4 hours a respiratory therapist came in and did the albuteral treatment for about 10 minutes. He cried the whole time and I had to hold him still and it was quite hard.

Dr. Macias told us that he would be back the following morning to check on him, and that normally a pneumonia patient stays a few nights, but if he turns a corner, maybe he could come home the next day. The main concern was how rapid his breathing was, and that you could see the intercostals (space between the ribs) as he breathed.

The nurses at Sierra Vista were so nice. I got complimentary meals along with Anu's meals, which he didn't eat much of. That night was pretty difficult. Robb was gone at the halau party with the girls, and Anu was pretty cranky. I figured out where a small tv was and tried to find a decent channel for him, but nothing on late is very good for little kids. I asked the nurses if they had toys so they brought 2 toys for him to play with. Since he had RSV the nurses explained that everyone who enters my room (not really a room, but a sectioned off area) needs to put on a full gown and mask and gloves. So anytime someone needed to enter you'd hear them pause and put on some stuff and then come in. Then you'd hear them throw it all away when they left.

When I needed to use the bathroom I had to ask one of them to come in to watch Anu, since I couldn't leave him alone. It was very difficult for me, because he would scream bloody murder when I left him in there with a stranger all masked up, so I wanted to do that as minimal as possible. But at the same time I was really trying to stay hydrated to make sure I had enough milk for him, and also so I wouldn't get any more kidney stones! So, let me just say, that was a very uncomfortable experience.

The night was pretty hard, with the respiratory therapist coming in several times, along with nurses to take temperature, heartrate, etc. At one point I told the nurse I really needed the bathroom, so I left Anu screaming with her. English was not her first language. When I came back there he was sitting on the bed, and she had the tv pulled down right by him and had it playing some claymation thing. I thought, great, now he'll be really awake, it was like 1 am.
After she left, I was going to turn off the tv, but I watched it for a bit, and pretty quickly realized it was not a kid's show at all, it was porn....lovely! I didn't say anything to the nurse because I'm sure she had no idea what it was, it just looked interesting for a kid. At some point in the night, the oxygen monitor kept beeping that the oxygen was below 90, which was not good. So a nurse came in and installed oxygen tubes into his nose. Not a happy boy! Now there were 2 sets of cords he was attached to, and they were coming from opposite sides of the room. It was practically impossible to move without getting someone or thing completely tangled up. And when the cord on his toe gets yanked, the machine beeps loudly that it cannot read the numbers.

The next day was really hard. Anu got back a lot of energy and was constantly on the move. But the cords were really interfering with his movement. He wanted to climb up the highchair, touch the murals on the walls that had Nemo painted on it. He really wanted to open and close the garbage can, with a foot opener that was too hard for him to open, which made him very upset.

I don't know how I made it through that day, except that Robb came and relieved me for a few hours so I could go home and shower. I hadn't showered since Friday, ugh! Thankfully our friend was able to watch Alani for us, while the other 2 girls were at school.

At 6 pm Dr. Macias came back to the hospital after a long day's work. When I heard he was coming I quick woke up Anu so that he could see how lively he was all day. When I told him that Anu was trying to climb everything, and managed to set off the emergency bed alarm under the sign that says "for hospital staff use only", he said "if he's that alert, then it's time to send him home". Halleleujah. I didn't think my body could survive another night there. Every muscle in my body was tight, sore and exhausted from being in an uncomfortable position for like 24 hours. There was just no place that I could truly relax for even one minute. So Robb had just arrived, and we packed up in 2 minutes, and then waited for one hour for the nurse to print out her report. Half the time she was "doing the report" she was actually arguing with the other nurses over the Dr.'s orders. One thought it said the return visit was Monday but another one said it was Thursday. Even though I told her that Dr. Macias had told me 2 times that we need a return visit on Thursday, she had to make a huge scene about it and even tried to page him to ask. Honestly, my patience was just about nonexistant. Funny, because on New Year's Eve, I had a thought come to me that my New Year's Resolution was "patience". Now I know I really could work on it some more.

So we got home at 7:30 pm with our own brand new nebulizer for doing breathing treatments, and with 4 more doses of Zithromax to hopefully kill the pneumonia if it was bacterial. That was the happiest day for me in a long time.

1 comment:

Lange Family said...

Glad you are home now and able to take care of him in the comfort of your own home.