Thursday, January 14, 2010

(Lengthy) Observations

Observing Bridgette last night made me nervous. Her appetite dropped, she looked distended, she wasn't drinking, she appeared somewhat dehydrated, and although she didn't have a temperature, her trunk was hot and her toes/hands were icy (probably from dehydration). I measured her tummy and it came to 46 cm. She had been 42-43 cm at the hospital.

So then we were left with a choice. Take her back in to PCMC or not. Lose another night's sleep and put my baby in a place she absolutely hates (and I don't love either), or not.

Actually, thinking about it made it hard to sleep despite being in my own bed.

I decided to up her rectal irrigations and make an effort to draw back more fluid, even when the syringe appeared to be stuck. So, we did irrigations two hours apart to try to empty her out.

Her girth returned to almost normal. This morning at 7 a.m. during her last irrigation of the night, I witnessed her urinating nice clear fluid. (Oh to make a mommy's heart sing!) Her appetite is back (if you can ever call her appetite an appetite), and she has continued to crawl pleasantly around the house today.

I made some random observations at the hospital too that I wanted to share. They don't really mean much, but they seemed kind of poignant at the time.

1) Between 9-10 a.m., the hospitality breakfast cart makes the rounds on each floor, offering parents muffins, donuts, coffee, and juice. It's not healthy fair, but it's quick and free.

After a long day/night at the hospital, it really feels like you're all alone. But when you walk through the door of your child's room, disheveled, greasy, and bleary-eyed, there are parents pouring out of the doors all around you, disheveled, greasy, and bleary-eyed. We don't talk to each other. We just trudge to the cart, grab a chocolate donut, then trudge back to our respective rooms. Still, it's a moment of solemn togetherness. It makes me think of animals popping out of zoo cages at feeding time... or maybe even like prisoners at mess. It's poetic in it's own right.

2) I noticed at lunch in the Rainbow Cafe that the nurses sit together, the docs sit together, the social workers sit together, even the custodians sit together. The parents pretty much sit alone. (And you can spy them easily. They look disheveled and bleary-eyed at lunch too.)

3) The hospital places hand-sanitizer by the bathrooms, the elevators, and each room. I think they should put some by the three community computers too. The keys are pretty dingy. I could almost see small organisms attaching to my fingertips with every keystroke.

4) Most of my favorite nurses have children who have experienced hospital stays. My least favorite nurses try to tickle Bridgette even when she glares at them, turns away, or cries. They remind me of harpies. When I place my body between the nurse and my traumatized child, they angle around and try to make another attack.

5) I still really respect single parents, especially those who have kids with health challenges. Their burdens seem impossible. How do they do it?

6) After a while, I start imagining a hospital world like Myst or Riven. I think maybe I should crawl down that odd pipe or squeeze through a vent to explore the strange world I'm sure to find on the other side.

7) No matter what, holding a sleeping baby while sitting in a chair all night hurts your buttocks. Shifting doesn't seem to help.

8) 18 months is a difficult age to be in the hospital. You don't understand what's happening and you're confined without reason. "There's the floor, mom! Let me play on it!"

Here are some photos:

Bridgette turned 18 months last Friday. We wanted to celebrate at the petting zoo, but she had bad diarrhea and vomiting all day (now we know why). Saturday morning she appeared to be better (diarrhea had stopped), so we took her. She was miserable (now we know why). To boot, I seriously think it was the coldest day of the year. We'll try again maybe in warmer weather when babs doesn't have enterocolitis.

She rode these two ponies.


This was at home on Saturday, just a few hours before taking her to the hospital.

Emergency Room vital statistics.

I.V. for rehydration.
This is the room that got voluminously doused in powerful intestinal discharge. And also so did many of the folks standing in the room.

A few days later with Uncle Jon.

One of the social workers got babs a playmat. The mat was nice in theory, but B kept pulling herself to the edge and getting very, very angry when I wouldn't let her move onto the hospital floor. She hits her head on things when she's mad. It's pretty disturbing.

You might notice the toy with which she's playing. You are supposed to turn a knob, slide a handle, push a button, pull a lever to make the doors pop up. Bridgette found a shorter, more efficient route to open them. Force them.

This was the best decision ever, and I wish we had asked for a bed from day 1. This gave B more room to play than a crib. It had obvious boundaries but didn't look/feel like a cage. Also, it allowed us to sleep together in something besides a chair. She required my presence for all moments of sleep until the last day.

This was our glorious view -- same view as our last stay, actually. I'm not quite complaining (ok, maybe I am), but our room had a shower. Most don't. I did get to use it once.

This was the morning of the day they sent us home. Bridgette finally slept by herself. Ahh...

And seriously how cool is this??? An ice-sculpture at the entry-way. I didn't see it until much later since we entered through the emergency room.


And now, a moment of cuteness! Capturing this took some patience (on both our parts). I tried all day yesterday and today to video record her progress, but she doesn't like to crawl when I'm filming. She is still equal parts crawling, bum-scooting, and army-crawling, but I think she's morphing towards crawling full-time. If you listen carefully, you can hear her say "ice."

8 comments:

Heidi said...

What an awesome video! I am glad that Bridgette is feeling so much better today--sounds like you did the right thing last night. :)

Lore said...

Thanks for the video. It helped to make a good day an even better one. I'm glad today is a better day for Bri, too.

Love you,
Mom

Smith Family said...

Loved the cute video! What a great idea for you to ask for a big bed. I bet that made a whole lot of difference! You asked about me - well, at my appointment yesterday I was a 1 1/2 and 70 percent, so we'll see how much longer I last! My shower is Saturday, so hopefully I make it! I know I could stay this way for awhile though. Sophie was a month early, so maybe this boy will be too!

Angela said...

I agree about the parents at the hospital thing. I felt like that too.
I think it's neat that her uncle loves her so much, what a precious bond they are creating. I am so excited to see Bridgette crawling, moving! What an awesome thing to happen during a difficult time, she isn't letting her sickness keep her from doing new things. Kids are awesome like that. I hope you get to take Bridgette back to ride the ponies. Isabella would be so jealous.
And I know she probably has lost some weight from being sick but her face looks different, she still beautiful but turning into a little girl and not a baby. Praying for you all.

theJerm said...

What a cute little crawler she is!

Kristin said...

I'm so excited to see her crawling!! Oh, how a crawl can make a parent smile.....she is darling. Glad to hear she is a bit better.

April said...

I loved your observatations... Oh I so agree! (it took me YEARS to figure out the food cart in the morning :)
My heart goes out to you! Hang in there-- hope things continue to get better!

Becca W said...

Your little darling is so pretty and getting so big! I'm sorry you have to experience so much stressful worry and so many hospital stays. I can't imagine. We had Noah at the hospital for one day (treating dehydration when he was 18 months old from a bout with rotovirus), and it is still the worst traumatic memory for me. We need to get Luke and Bri together for a play date sometime when everybody's well.