Those that know me, know that for the most part, I'm a pretty cheery fellow, known for bouts of mischief. However, I have also been told at various times over the years that I can be pretty intimidating. Something about my face when I'm in a bad mood, or am pensive makes me look fierce and threatening. Well, you should have seen me tonight.
So today was day 4 of our hospital incarceration. Yes. I said incarceration. For that is how it feels being stuck in our tiled 1970s style hospital room. As far as we can tell, the reason the doctors haven't released us is because over the past few days, Alicia's temperature hasn't been stable and she's had a few fevers.
Well, Linda and I have been making the most of our little staycation at the hospital, and I have to admit that I have been enjoying the extra family time and the fact that Alicia has been especially cuddly since she's been ill.
But I digress, back to me being fierce and threatening.
So, for some reason, Alicia really doesn't like having her diaper changed. And over the past few days, she's been especially fussy when we lay her down to change her diaper and she especially struggles when we try to change her clothes, which is made even more complicated by the fact that her right arm has been attached to an IV.
So tonight before bed, we decided that we could change Alicia's clothes so she could be more comfortable. But that involved getting the nurse to detach her IV which is a process in and of itself. Well, our dear Alicia struggled her way through the IV detachment, and then struggled through us undressing her and dressing her again, so much so that her IV needle got dislodged. Causing blood to go back into the IV, and also around the IV.
Since we are in the hospital for at least one more day, the nurse said that she would probably need to change the IV, since this one was no good anymore. But just to be sure she would confirm with the doctor.
So she left our room. Ten minutes later, no news from her. Twenty minutes later, thirty minutes later still no news. Meanwhile, Alicia, has this syringe attached to her IV needle, dangling from her hand, which when she's not trying to eat it, ends up accidentally shoving it into my neck. So we're like, OK, what's going on? So we page the nurses station, and the nurse tells us through the monitor that the doctor is coming to change the IV, but that she's busy at the moment, and will be with us shortly.
We wait for I don't even know how long, but a long time. By now it's almost 11:00 and I want to put Alicia to bed. So finally, I decide that I am going to carry Alicia out to the nurses station and let them see her darling face, and in the kindest way possible ask them to please ask the doctor to hurry her butt up.
Well, we get out there, and the nurse sees us and says, "Wow, how did you guys know that the doctor just came up. We were just about to come get you."
All right, great. Let's get the show on the road.
So the nurse and the doctor direct us to a side room with a small examination table, and asked us to lay Alicia down.
Alicia, as I mentioned before, is very aware. As soon as I layed her down on the table, she started to cry and writhe about, probably fearing the worst.
It took three of us, Linda, a nurse and myself to hold Alicia still while the doctor examined her hand trying to find a vein to insert the new IV into. Linda and I did our best to calm Alicia down by singing to her, and it seemed to work for a bit, but the doctor was just taking FOREVER. She couldn't find a vein.
Eventually, she asked the nurse to get a light so she could shine it into Alicia's hand and so she could find a vein. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, or a few minutes, depends on who's counting, the doctor found a vein that could possibly work.
Oh, you should have seen the thrashing that ensued. Oh, man. I thought giving Alicia medicine the sleep medicine was bad. Her crying and bucking only got worse as I watched with trepidation as the doctor gingerly inserted the needle into Alicia's hand. It was horrifying, Alicia cried out in pain and fought tooth and nail trying to get her arm free from the pain that I can only imagine she was experiencing. Finally, I saw the needle go in, and thinking the worse was over, I breathed slightly, only to notice that the doctor started to pull the needle out and then insert it again. In and out, in and out she went several times, all the while Alicia's crying her head off. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore when I could tell that the doctor was having trouble. I finally, said, "Can we please take a break? PLEASE!"
The doctor, seeing the strain in our eyes and knowing the stress that Alicia must have been going through, kindly agreed, and said, sure let's take a break.
I couldn't pick Alicia up and get out of that room soon enough. I was doing my best to calm Alicia down, while seething at what I viewed as complete incompetence on the part of the doctor. (For those of you in the medical field, you'll excuse my nasty comments at this point. I realize that the doctor is a very intelligent woman, and she's doing her best, but as a father, I am PISSED OFF.) I walked down the hall with Linda who at this point had taken Alicia into her arms to comfort her, and out of earshot of the doctor, I just started to mumble to Linda.
"Are you kidding me? What is she doing?! I mean, really? In and out and in and out with that needle. And don't you know that if you're working with an infant, that you cannot take your sweet time trying to find a vein?" I decided that if it was at all possible, that I would not let them do that to her again. So I went over to the doctor, and I asked her if we really, really needed to insert an IV? Couldn't we just use the old one?
She said that the old one was damaged, and therefore was no good, and that since we were going to be here for one more day, at least, that they needed to insert an IV for Alicia's sake. She also assured me that they had called another doctor who was more experienced to help with the insertion. So I relented, and said, all right, well, let's try again.
When Linda saw the new doctor she said, "Oh, this is the doctor who helped to take care of Alicia last year when she was in the Sick Baby Room. She's directly under our primary care pediatrician, so she's good." That put my heart at ease . . . until we got back into the examination room.
By now Alicia had calmed down and was nestling in my arms. But once again as soon as I lay her down on the table, she started crying. This time even harder than before, anticipating what was coming next. I literally had to hold Alicia down with force while once again the doctors searched for a vein. It was pure torture for both Alicia and for Linda and I. Finally she found a vein, and she inserted the needle, once again with lots of struggling and crying from Alicia. But as soon as she got the needle in, she shook her head, the vein had broken under the skin. No good. So out came the needle.
Linda at this point looked at the doctor and said half-jokingly, here, please take my arm, take my blood. I can't bare it anymore. The doctor looked at Linda and smiled with understanding.
They were going to try again, but I asked if I could please just hold Alicia and calm her down for a bit first. They agreed. So I took Alicia out of the room once again.
Once she was calm, we went back into the room to try again for the third time. The first two times, since Alicia's original IV was in her right hand, the doctors were trying to put the IV into her left hand, since they like to alternate hands. However, after seeing that her veins in her left hand were pretty thin, the new doctor decided to try to put it into her right hand again.
However, this would require the removal of the old IV. Oh, man, another battle, but thankfully, not as much as a struggle as the actual insertion of the IV.
Well, after the old IV was out, it was time to try to get a new IV in. And once again, the search for a usable vein began. Unable to find one in her hand, the doctor searched for one in her arm, finally they found a vein that could work, and so they began the prep work.
I'm sure I don't need to mention again that this whole time through the search, the prep, and everything that Linda, the nurse and I are doing the best we can to hold Alicia still, and to keep her from swinging her arms. Our little girl is a fighter, I tell you. She is STRONG. You should have seen the fight that she was putting up.
Seriously, I felt horrible willingly participate in the torture of my daughter. Well, finally the arm was prepped and the moment of truth was upon us. Before, she inserted the needle, I heard the doctor say, OK, this is the last try. So she inserted the needle, while I held my breath, and to my relief, I saw blood start to flow into the needle. She struck gold! Yahoo!
Wait, the doctor is shaking her head. Something's wrong. The vein burst again. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Now I know that it's in no way the doctor's fault. I'm sure that it was a combination of Alicia's delicate veins and also her thrashing about and using force that burst the vein. But my heart really sank. And I had it. I begged the doctors. I asked them if we could please, please not have to insert an IV.
They asked how she had been eating the past few days, and Linda and I were quick to say, she's been eating great. Really! And besides, her fever medicine and other meds have been administered orally, I reminded them.
After considering for a moment, the doctors were merciful, and said that we could just not insert an IV and see how she did tomorrow. I swept Alicia off of the table seething, and marched back to our room as quickly as I could.
I held Alicia in my arms, but she was still all wound up from the fight, and crying and crying. I felt angry, and sad, and really upset at what had just happened. Linda tried to take Alicia from me to comfort her, and I snapped and said, "I'm fine!" Sorry, honey. Linda just laughed and said, that she thinks her wanting to hold Alicia was more for her comfort than Alicia's. So I passed Alicia over to her, who calmed down right away. Linda really is Alicia's source of comfort for sure.
Alicia dug her head into her Mom's shoulder and just nuzzled her little face in for comfort. Every once in awhile, she'd peak up from her shoulder to see if I was still there, and I looked into her sad eyes feeling like my heart had been wrung out.
I was simmering with anger, and started pacing about trying to pack myself up to prepare to go home. All the while ranting and asking why in the world we were still in the hospital. I felt that what we had just gone through was completely unnecessary. Alicia really didn't seem that bad in my eyes. Why were we even there?
I mean in the end, I had to admit that with all that has happened, it is better for Alicia to be 100% better before we get discharged, but it was just hard!
As I said on Facebook, earlier, if I never have to see my child ever get pierced or pricked with a needle again it will be too soon.
Hoping that Linda and Alicia are resting peacefully now. Tomorrow is a new day. And I hope our LAST day in the hospital EVER!