Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another midnight checkup, another upset nurse

If you've read the post about making the ER hate you, then you know we take a very pro-active approach when it comes how our kids are treated by medical staff. So, here I sit, surfing, flanked on both sides by a sleeping wife and sleeping baby, when in comes the nurse (nurse in training I think) for a midnight check-in on Piper.
I check her out from the corner of my eye, ready to intercede if I think she's going to disturb Piper. She uses a stethoscope to check her breathing. Then she grabs a flashlight and checks her IV, squishing Piper's arm around. (I start to get up.) Then she messes with her incision sites. (I get to the bed side.) She checks Piper's feet. (Piper's eyes open.) I ask the nurse, "Did you wake her up?" "Yeah, I think so," is the response. (Geof's starting to get upset!)

Now, for those of you who've had extended stays in the hospital, you're probably very familiar with the "big board" You know, the big monitor next to the bed that continuously reads out the patient's heart rate, blood oxygen concentration, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Well Piper's got one of those hook-up's too, so I start to think, is all this really necessary? Isn't her getting a good night's sleep, especially since she hasn't eaten in 24 hours, more important?

So the nurse finishes giving her some pain medication, which unfortunately doesn't seem to help, and I tell her I have a few questions. We step outside and I ask her what's the schedule for the rest of the night. She tells me that they will be coming in every 2 hours to check her and that they plan on taking blood at 4 am to check the level of her seizure medication. (Now, we had already talked to the specialist about this and they plan to monitor this over the next several weeks so they can appropriately adjust the medication depending on how quickly she's processing it. So to my tiny brain, I think, 4am, 7am, what's the difference?)

Now the fun begins. I tell both her and our main nurse, that I want them to check with neurology and see about moving the blood test to 7am so that we don't disturb Piper. Then I tell her that I don't want them coming in and disturbing Piper every two hours, because she needs her sleep. The nurse in training objects and states that they need to check her IV, among other things.

"Why," I ask.
"Because it's our policy," she responds.
"I don't care about your policy," I retort. "If you need to send someone else down here to talk to me about it, I'll be happy to discuss it with them."
"It shouldn't be an issue," says the main nurse. "We'll come by and talk to you if there is a problem."
"Thank you."
(Nurse in training walks off and is consoled by main nurse)

And there you have it. (Well not quite. The main nurse comes by a few minutes later and explains why it's really important to check the IV and make sure it isn't backflowing or something like that. It sounds like fair rationale and I tell her that sounds good. I don't have a problem with them checking on that and I apologize if I was rude or insensitive earlier. See, we're not unreasonable.)

And 1 hour after it started, Piper is still crying.


  1. I'm 73 - the opposite end of Piper's spectrum - and just spent another day in la-la land (except for the endless succession of nurses who say I "need" this and I "need" that - but never got my insulin - not once (I need it 6x a day) I later "escaped" from the hospital and snuck home (a "no-no" with my femoral artery plug" just inserted.) Enuff is enuff!

    How about being on the guerney ready to go into ER and you hear the people say, "He didn't get what?" "There's no test result data" At least I didn't hear Doc say "Oppps!" I was back in la la land.

    Bless her heart - and yours!!

  2. Yall are amazing advocates for your sweet daughter. Stick to it! Yall are being very reasonable accepting things professionals think are in her best interest. Baby needs sleep and so do her mom and dad! I am a member of PAMOM and am praying for your family often. Hope today is an easier day (and night) and she has less tears. Nikki York MOM to twins

  3. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. As a mom of triplets who spent 72 days in the NICU and one with special needs, I know how important it is to be the best advocate for one's kids. Good for you for advocating for Piper.

    PS It depends on what monitor Piper has they can turn it off since the stats are usually seen at the nurse's station computers so that Piper can have a more restful sleep.

  4. You guys are amazing. We are thinking about you and praying for you and your girls.

  5. I am so glad Belinda sent along a link to the blog. You guys are in our thoughts and prayers, always. And I have to say, you have quite a knack for blogging...I am sure the nurses underappreciate your wit ;).

  6. Texags = love it! ;)
    You guys rock - I'm glad there are other parents out there who ask "why" and stay informed and don't just roll over and take the fluff. We may not be an MD, but we're logical!!! Sometimes I think hospitals do all that crap just to justify their high bills!

    Gig 'Em and prayers!
    shirley (mama to A & M)