Rex at Home

Mark took the overnight shift, and I was able to go home and crawl into my own bed with Vivien next me. In the middle of the night she said, “Momma, I’m glad you came home.” Woke up early, but had the best sleep in many nights. I got up twice to pump, but I wasn’t the sentry for the night; and I didn’t have an overweight, sullen nursing assistant barging in several times a night with a nose ring snorting, “I gotta take his vitals.” And who says we can pronounce the death of charm? I perhaps.

Yesterday, we would find out the results of all the cultures. My mother-in-law arrived so I could either spell Mark or take our boy home. Just when I was getting ready to go Mark called and said, “They diagnosed him…” I held my breath.  “…as a cutie, patootie.” It was funny, but I could have hit him. “Is he okay?”

Yes, he was, and we could take him home. I was sure he would pass out when we got to our own environs, and he did. But he isn’t himself. He is cranky and sensitive, which he wasn’t before. If he loses his latch instead of allowing me to reattach him calmly per usual, he flips out and starts crying. A cry that sounds like to me, “Oh, forget it lady, just forget it; you f–ed up and I’m not interested anymore.” And it takes a while to calm him.

The one thing that is better about him is he developed a puffy redness under his eyes while in the hospital. I assume from the stress and crying. So that looks better. Maybe the entire trauma has taken its toll, or maybe the antibiotics they gave him bother his tummy, ’cause I have had more spit up than usual.  I dunno.

So grateful to be home and back to small problems. I glimpsed some kids in there that could break your heart.

Rex

Thanks to everyone for dear comments and prayers. So far, tests coming back negative. Last night was tough. He woke up a lot, and since it was night two of little sleep for me, the nurses tried to soothe him and take him out of the room a couple of times. He is much more tender. No wonder. In the early morning he wouldn’t nurse, which I really don’t like. After I walked with him a while (as in in a circle in the room), he started to calm.  He really liked the over-the-shoulder in the rocking chair. I know he will like it when dad comes back, as that is what Mark does a lot of with him.

When they inject the antibiotics through the IV, he cries. I know that it feels weird. I can’t believe he goes through this when he can’t raise his own head yet. Some of the nurses are great. I rarely see a doctor. He’s supposed to get out of the hospital on Wednesday. His fever his down a bit, but I push for regular Tylenol as it helps him be more comfortable.  Ready to do a Shirley MacLaine a la Terms of Endearment if needed.  “Give my kid his medicine!”

Came home for a nap when Mark spelled me. Going back now.

The “Night Before Oprah” Day

I thought Oprah day would feel different. It was exciting to do it, but I watched the show with my husband in our infant son’s hospital room. Not the viewing party I had envisioned.

Early Sunday morning, Rex felt hot and was needy. He didn’t want to sleep alone. We took his temp and seeing a temp of over 101, we gave him Baby Tylenol. He seemed better but drowsy most of the day. In the afternoon, I noticed the fever had returned. I gave him Tylenol and held him for two hours. When I checked, the fever was still there. Odd. When I got ahold of his doctor, I was a little surprised that she said, “Take him to the emergency room.”

At 8:30p.m., Rex and I waited for an hour, and then Mark showed up. He had to wait for our babysitter to be with Vivien and Oliver. The ER waiting room is bleak and dirty. Rex was sleepy in my arms. Sometimes, I could get him to nurse. I looked like hell and was pretty sure some of the sketchy and forlorn folks were getting a glimpse of my breast, but the ER wears us all down so even naked flesh is not appealing.

Mark and I were shocked when (after an hour in the ER exam room) the doctor told us plainly that Rex needed to be hospitalized for 48 hours (I said, “Well, I’m going with him”), have a catheter take his urine, have an IV and blood drawn, and have spinal fluid extracted. Doc, he is 7 weeks old. I just left a hospital after delivering him. Isn’t this an ear infection?

We learned that any fever for a baby under 2 months is a red flag for Meningitis. And I learned that we could all get through what the doctor told us would be “one of the roughest nights of our lives;” he wasn’t making that up.

They wheeled Rex and I on a gurney to another room off the ER. By now, it was close to midnight. Before everything began, I said to Mark, “I’d feel so much better if I could do this instead of him.” “Yes,” he agreed.

I lay on the gurney, sometimes nursing Rex, always holding him. First was the catheter to get a sample. Not pleasant, but not the worst. Now the IV and a blood sample. I knew from Cool Mom readers to ask for the best stick, and one nurse said she was. I felt she was too young to be, but another nurse agreed. I lay Rex down on the gurney, and he was already crying. He knew. As I went to his feet, I saw my husband move Rex’s side. I have never seen Mark cry, but now his face was red, and his eyes filled with tears. We tried to reassure Rex as the needle went in his tiny arm.  But no, all she did was bruise him. Not the best stick after all. I picked Rex up and started to nurse him. Within minutes I heard “Ready, mom?” from a middle-aged, stone-faced nurse who had taken the other nurses’ places. “Oh,” I said. “Are you good at this?”

“Yes,” she answered, and she was just old enough to make me believe her. She put the IV in the top of his hand. It worked. They taped a little board covered in gauze to keep it in place. After that, Rex was ready to nurse, which was a relief to me, and it meant we were two-thirds over with this torture. New shift brought a new nurse whom I really liked: a slender man who seemed very bright and compassionate. Later I would learn he was a former Marine who had done two duties in Iraq, which made me trust him more. He and the doctor wanted to wait while I nursed before the spinal.

When the time came, Mark and I wanted to get it over with. The former Marine said we could stay or leave the room. That “different parents do both.” Mark asked me what I wanted to do. I said, “If Rex has to go through this the least we can do is be here with him and let him know we haven’t left him.”

The Marine put Rex gently on his side and held his body in place while the doctor–who I liked- shot Lidocaine into Rex’s back. I got down on the floor and put one hand on his head, stroking, the other to his hand. Rex gripped my finger with his whole fist. Strangely, when the doctor extracted the spinal fluid, Rex stopped crying and his face took on a look of resignation, like, “Oh good, they are just going to keep doing stuff to me.” It broke my heart, and yet I thought him so brave. Then it was over. The Marine said the fluid was clear, and he doubts Rex has Meningitis. But we have to wait 48 hours for the cultures, and while Rex is in the hospital, they will give him the antibiotics by IV in case he does have Meningitis.

It was 3 a.m., and we were still in the little room when the residents asked us the same questions about Rex’s illness. I finally told mark to go home. No point in both of us being ruined. He left to return in the a.m. to bring me breakfast. And he needed to be home when Viv woke up. I had called my sister Carole’s house after midnight, and her dear husband Kevin said right away, “What can we do?”  I asked them to take care of Viv the following day, which they did.

I nursed Rex as all our bags and car seat, were loaded next to me and we were finally wheeled into our own room on the pediatric level. Our new home. I so was tired I had to stare at the crib for a minute before I realized I wouldn’t fit. They kindly wheeled a regular bed in as they knew I needed to hold Rex all night.

And I did.

Verbal Elder Abuse

Here’s a great piece I found in Tuesday’s New York Times about how damaging it can be to the elderly to be spoken down to by health care professionals. Now, I think health workers have a rough, tough job. But this is a pet peeve of mine from my own dad’s hospitalization.

My Parents on My Wedding Day

My Parents on My Wedding Day

It’s bad enough that the hospital workers, nurses, doctors, etc., yell at him when they speak. My dad has some problems, but his hearing is perfect, and I see my father recoiling. The demeaning language has consequences, and I’m glad to see it written about with some credibility.

I have my own anecdotes regarding poor behavior. A few years ago, my dad was in the hospital because he had gotten dizzy and a friend took him to the ER. Mistake number one. It is better to stay out of the hospital.

The staff at this particular hospital were not even on duty when I found my dad strapped to the hospital bed after a night or two of being there, his eyes wide-open and fearful. I said, “What the hell is going on?” The nurse said, “We had to strap your dad down. He is a bad boy.” I complained to the head nurse, who said, “Well, we had to – he was a bad boy.” The nurses used the term “bad boy” so many times I wanted to bitch-slap them.

Long story short, he wanted to leave, would get up, and they’d yell “bad boy” at him, which made him only more determined to leave. I complained to the doctor. I said they had given him medicine that was harming him, as was the treatment. The doctor didn’t think so. They gave medicine to him to “control” him. “He’s only calm if your family members are here.” So I said, “Then we aren’t leaving him.” My sister and I were present, took off the straps and called my mom and our other sister. I said that we had to stand watch and guard him while whatever they gave him passed.

And so we did (my dear mom taking the overnight shift). Within 24 hours, he was 100 percent back to his normal self. He didn’t need to be drugged or to be there at all – no one wants to be treated like a misbehaving child. This is especially true when that person is an older adult, frightened about where they are.

After that experience, we learned that if he goes into the hospital one of us has to go with him. Maybe we do not have to be there 24/7, but checking in as frequently as possible.

I’m going to be checking my own “sweetie” remarks today.

C-Section Lingerie

Where were these when I needed them? Cool, hip, pretty panties for that wretched, post-C-section time of your life. (Props to commenter Jennifer from the Older Moms vlog, who’s behind this smart design.)

Czela bellies  C-section panties

After my C-section, I didn’t know what to expect. Some rebound more easily from this event. Not me. I was in pain, uncomfortable, hobbled around – I’m not a quick healer. In the hospital they gave me white mesh panties to wear. They were large, but comfortable. I had two pairs and I washed them over and over again. They became like my Linus blanket. They wouldn’t hurt my stitches and made me feel protected.  I also had a big pregnant butt, so cute little panties wouldn’t have fit anyway.

If you are going under the knife for birth, I would suggest checking out these cute panties. Now if they could just do something about that awful IV…