Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not a Patient. Impatient To Go Home.

I woke up alone in our hospital room and immediately spun into action.  Quick shower, dress in whatever I pull out of the chaotic suitcase, and downstairs for a quick breakfast.

The cafeteria offered crappy egg dishes and other stuff.  Hunger made it all look good though.  I scarfed it down.  There is an Argo Tea in the lobby as well.  Pair one of the green teas with a pastry and you have the makings of a good continental breakfast.

Clean and nourished, I went first to check on Froggy Jr.  He was losing weight, but at a modest rate - quite normal.  JK was in a post-op recovery room by this time.  Much nicer than our patient room!  I was thinking that it wouldn't be so bad to remain.  Last, a visit to HB Jr., helped to convince me that all was well.  At least for the moment.

My mother and a friend showed up to check on JK.  She was groggy but happily no longer bleeding.  A pass through NICU to see and hold Froggy Jr. brightened her day.  Once she was allowed upstairs, I brought HB Jr.

JK's recovery was far from immediate.  She was still hooked to IVs and a catheter.  She looked a mess.

I suppose I felt effects even more once she was back to bathrooms and solid food.  My folks brought a wonderful gift one night - Chinese BBQ.  There was roast duck, steamed chicken, Chinese broccoli, etc.  I ate with relish.  Even JK, her appetite still not fully returned, ate with enthusiasm.

A short while later, it all came back up.  I helped to get her cleaned up of course... and we learned a valuable lesson about post-op eating.

Do so, but with caution.

I also helped her get to the bathroom, change bandages, change pads and underwear, etc.  Looking back, I think it was the first step toward getting rid of my gag reflex.

Meantime, I was becoming stir crazy and dying to take my family home.  Enough crappy food!  Enough days of no crapping!

Yes, it is true.  Days.  Five days, if you wish to know.  With no bowel movement.

Ah, the wonders of hospital cuisine.

Froggy Jr. remained in the NICU and JK eventually was mobile enough to see him.  She was so very happy when she was able to visit finally.  There was not much more time in our hospital stay.

But Froggy Jr.?  He would be staying.

Monday, August 22, 2011

NICU, Post-op, Birthing Room - Bouncing Around

The first day was a crazy, exhilarating, stressful whirlwind.  I was still worried about JK, who was staying in Post-op on one floor.  Two floors up, I would find our accommodation and our daughter.  Another two floors up?  The NICU and our son, who had just recently cheated death and was still in distress.

Three floors and one able-bodied family member.  What do you think I did?

Bounced like a rubber ball, from floor to floor, frantically trying to gather information on each member of our family of four.

JK had lost a lot of blood - a pint before surgery, a pint during surgery, and more after surgery as they tried to staunch the flow.  A balloon, implanted in her uterus, would hopefully have that effect.

Our son, aka Froggy Jr., was under the care of nephrologists from Children's Memorial Hospital and housed in the NICU.  The NICU staff at Prentice is beyond good.  They had a great handle on our son's needs and monitored everything closely.

To start, his biggest hurdle was an occasional drop in pulse rate.  This often happens with premature boys.  The brain is not yet developed to the point where our bodies auto-functions work perfectly.  They would want to see three days of uninterrupted normal heart function before he could be released.  At that moment, I still hoped that he would be able to come home with us.

Though we were terrified of the pulse rate issue, Wannabe Moms and Dads, it is not life threatening.  The brain matures soon enough.

His sister, aka HB Jr., would be able to come home with us.  She was mainly in the nurse's station on the same floor as the accommodations.  Getting to see her was a relief.  Not only was she beautiful, she wasn't in distress like her brother or mommy.

I was very worried about JK.  The blood loss had me nervous, and she simply looked bad.  Beaten up, disoriented, miserable.  Her first night there was awful.

My folks showed up at some point with the suitcase.  They had seen to Luke and with the help of another friend, he was on his way to a farm for a week.  I can't remember when they came and left.  Truth is, my memory of much of that day is terrible.  It's as if my brain shut off in the afternoon, shortly after the birth, and my body kept going.

I saw JK again later in the evening and then checked on HB Jr.  Then, back to the NICU at midnight with Froggy Jr.  There, on the reclining chair, my body finally caved into exhaustion.  I woke up at 2am and quietly left the NICU after kissing Froggy Jr. goodnight.  Down to our vacant patient room, I scarcely paused to strip off some clothes before crashing down to an exhausted dreamless sleep.