Monday, July 12, 2010

NOT Cut Out For Nursing

or Call the Waaaaambulance!

Our friend The Friggin Loon mentioned in the comments section that maybe this whole thing with the Big Kid is God's way of telling me that I should be a nurse. Nosiree, Bob (or God). I'd tell You to shove it up Your big behind, but then You'd probably smite me with a passel of boils or something.

On the other hand, boils might be a welcome respite from this past weekend.

Friday afternoon, before I checked the Big Kid out of the hospital, the oxygen people sent over a guy with the Bi-Pap machine. I cleared a space next to the bed, thinking it would be a large unit.

But no, the darn thing is about the size of a loaf of bread. A $5,000 loaf of bread. It hooks up to the Kid's concentrator and we're all afraid to touch it in case it snaps into tiny pieces. We all stand around the nightstand and gape at it with reverence and awe, like it was the Holy Grail.

The aftercare instructions from the hospital were simple. Pain relief and fever reduction with Tylenol. Maintain the Kid's oxygen levels with all the equipment. Easy peasy, right?


It's been like taking care of a 300 lb two-year-old. A two-year-old who's in a great deal of pain and very cross with the world.

When I got him home and settled into the armchair with his nose hose, the Kid said to Little Guy, "Go check my concentrator and make sure it's set up to 5 (liters)".

Except that because his tonsils and lymph nodes are so swollen he can barely breathe, much less speak, it comes out like, "Gachkmycaancenraroranmaasuuissepoofi".

Little Guy does and then comes back and said, "I need help." I check the concentrator, and yes, it's up to 5.

At about 6, Hubby was home and I decided to lay down with MY oxygen to rest for a little bit. I'm supposed to use it for 12-14 hours a day, but I usually get by with about 8, while I'm sleeping. My ass was dragging so badly that I curled up with a book, hoping to drift off and get a little nap. I couldn't sleep. In fact, although I was exhausted I was totally alert. Too alert. WTF?

At 8, I heard a commotion outside my bedroom door. Hubby came in and said, "there is something wrong with the Kid's concentrator. The control is stuck and way too much air is coming out of it."

I called the oxygen people and sat down on the floor at the end of the hall in front of the two concentrators (mine and his). They talked me through resetting it over the phone. When I was done, I happened to glance at mine, and Whoa, Nellie! The controls on MY concentrator were set up to 5, instead of 2. I guess Little Guy got the units mixed up and changed my settings.

I got juiced.

Finally got everyone settled in bed, and fell on to my pillow at 10pm. At 1am, the kid was in my doorway and turned on my bedroom light.

"Moooerismyulsocksmonior?" (Mom where is my pulse-ox monitor?)

Half-asleep, I said, "It's in my purse."

A few seconds? minutes? later, I heard what passed for screaming from someone who can't breath. I jumped out of bed and ran into the Kid's room.

He had taken off the bi-pap mask and didn't have his nose hose in.

"My oxygen is down to 50!" he screamed, and ran down the hall into the living room, with me chasing after him, clutching the nose hose in my hand.

Seconds later he fainted. Wham! Hit the floor. I shoved the oxygen hose into his mouth and slapped him around a bit.

"Breathe!" I shouted. "Wake up!"

Apparently, when he got into a deep sleep, 5 liters of oxygen isn't enough. His level went low enough that it triggered the mother of all panic attacks. He hyperventilated and passed out.

Saturday we remedied the situation the best we could. Got the concentrator replaced and rigged his bed so that he'd be in a semi-reclining position. As it was, he was still in a lot of pain and couldn't get comfortable, so he was up and down every hour. Taking his psychiatric medication was a real pain in the butt, because the pills would get stuck in his throat. I had to puree everything just to get some nutrients in him.

Then he started complaining that he hadn't pooped in days. His stomach hurt when he was lying down. Considering the amount of fruit puree we'd been pouring down him, I figured this was something that would take care of itself in it's own time.

And boy, did it. Sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning, he tried to make it to the bathroom (he has to get the mask off, the nose hose in and trail a tank behind him), before he crapped his pants.

He didn't make it.

Kitty got him cleaned up and back into bed. Until 3am, when he was at my bedroom door. "Mom, I can't sleep, will you sit up with me?" He's been doing the majority of his sleeping sitting up in the living room easy chair at 40 minute intervals.

Yeah, sure, let me go to the bathroom first.

More asleep than awake, I stumbled into the bathroom and sat on the can. On top of something very cold and very squishy.

When Kitty cleaned HIM up, she didn't check the toilet seat. It was covered in wet turd lumps. So I had to pull up my pants on my own sh*tty ass, get him settled with his tank in the chair, then shower, change and clean up the doody mess in the bathroom.

By Sunday, the Kid was so miserable that he was begging to go back to the hospital. We had to explain over and over that he wasn't serious enough to be in the hospital, that we knew he was in pain and uncomfortable, that it was the nature of his illness, and he'd just have to get through it the best he could. He called his doctor and left a message, and the doctor called him back. And couldn't understand a word the Kid said on the phone.

I took the phone from the kid and explained that he thought that if HE called the doctor, he'd get to go back to the hospital. I apologized profusely, and explained everything that had happened on the weekend. Doc said, "let me prescribe something for the pain so you can all get some rest."

Hubby went to the pharmacy and came back with a large bag and a bemused expression. "You gotta see this."

Inside was an INDUSTRIAL sized bottle of liquid vicodin and acetaminophen. Enough to knock out an entire football team. I kid you not. That thing is bigger than a pint-sized bottle of Wild Turkey. But 10 times stronger.

So we propped the kid up so he wouldn't aspirate if he vomited, dosed the crap out of him, and everybody got a good nap.
Bad, bad Nursey.


Heather said...

I really don't even know what to say except that I am sorry. I hope all of this gets better for you soon. Wow....I thought chasing a 2 year old was hard work. You're amazing!!!!

Kim Ayres said...


Jennifer Jayhawk said...

Well, you certainly didn't hold back on any descriptions :) That was quite a story.
Hang in there. I hope things improve for you and big kid!

Jeanie said...

I don't know whether to cry for you or laugh at your amazing ability to describe the most awful situation with humor. You are a wonder and I truly hope things improve for you soon. In the mean time, a nurse has to do what a nurse has to do....

Brenda said...

Whoa Lady, I'm sure glad you finally got some sleep! I hope big guy feels better real soon so you can keep your sanity.

Jennifer Leeland said...

Are you kidding? This is exactly what nursing is like...except with more people.
I think you're amazing.

Rootietoot said...

Good grief...maybe the doctor prescribed the ginormous vicodin so you could share?

KL said...

I didn't even know they made my meds in a liquid format!! Good to know! Hey, if you have any leftover....send it my way! LOL

Anonymous said...

Oh sweet holy Moses. I'd have lost it after the second crisis and never sat in the poop!

Chris H said...

OMG! I could deal with everything except the poop! That would have thrown me for a loop and I would no doubt have vomitted!

Anonymous said...

Before this last major crisis, did you say you were looking for assisted living homes for Big Kid? Will they take him now that he is not medically not stable? I know how much you want to care for him at home, but you have to think of your health and sleep and you all can't be around his be 24/7. Oxygen Levels dropping to 50, that is scary stuff. I know with Laura, she kept taking that c-pap or v-pap whatever it is called off. I don't know if she did it when she was sleeping or what, but I would wake up to the alarm going off, many a nights. It just seems like he needs a higher level of care right now, at least until he is more stable. If not, you should be entitled to some Home Health Aids to be there, so at the very least you can rest, they can bath him and make sure the machines are okay. There is no doubt how much you love your son, but it sounds like he is not ready to be in a home setting. I don't care what the doctors say. He should be in a place where he is monitored around the clock.
Plus, I worry about you and your health. You need your rest and your oxygen (all of it).

Love you all. Prayers to you all. Cheryl

Joanna Jenkins said...

I yiyi ATM!!!! If you didn't have humor in this post I'd have tracked you down and called 911 after the poopy toilet seat. (That would have been the end of me.)

God bless you and your family and Industrial strength Vicodin!

Hang in there.

Beki said...

HI hun! Long time no visit, I am sorry :(

Been in hospital myself and I too know there is no way in hell I could have worked in medicine!

Hope everything settles down for you again soon.