Sunday, December 7, 2008

We're Home

Anna was declared healthy enough to be discharged yesterday. Thank goodness. We arrived home around 2:30 in the afternoon. Staying in the hospital is hellish. I hate it. I actually think that it is anti-healthy to be there. From my experience BEFORE this hospital stay, I have learned two important lessons: It is absurd to think that two patients can share a room AND it takes FOREVER after the doctor gives the okay for discharge to actually walk out of the hospital.

After the girls were born, I had to share a hospital room for one night. I threatened to leave if they tried to room another patient with me the second night. This hospital (Anna surgery was at the same hospital where I delivered the girls) is very old, located in the city and rated one of the best in the country. The old maternity ward has bigger rooms so two patients have to room together if space is limited. The new ward has single rooms. The Special Care Nursery is located in the old ward with the shared rooms. Allie and Em were sent to the Special Care Nursery after they were delivered so I was assigned to that ward.

My roommate was an eighteen year old who had delivered her baby the day before. Her eighteen year old friend had a two week old baby still in the Special Care Nursery (how convenient) and she was visiting after breastfeeding her baby. The two of them decided to hang out until midnight calling and texting their friends. I was given orders to stay in bed for 24 hours so I sent Rich home to sleep after Anna's neurosurgeon reported back to us on her surgery.

I was beyond exhausted at that point. Between my roommate's snoring and her baby crying (the dictator-like nurse finally took her baby to the nursery for the night), I think I slept all of three hours. The dictator-like nurse knew that I was awake so she brought Allie to visit with me. I still remember that special time with her. She was so little and beautiful.

Given my hospital experience after delivering the girls, I was a little apprehensive going into Anna's appointment. I was pleasantly surprised with the other families in the waiting area though. The pediatric day surgery waiting room is in lock down and requires someone to let you in. There were five other children having surgery that morning/early afternoon and all the families were really nice. We all talked about our kids' situations. There was a family who came all the way from Missouri so that their son could have surgery there.

It's funny that we can't escape the triplet thing. Anna's hospital folder actually says "TripB Sarah" on it. There was another triplet girl there for surgery. She was nine years old. She belonged to all girl, not identical, triplet set and their mom had the same doctor that I had.

Once strangers learn that we have triplets, the next question is usually, "Do you have other children?" I HATE this question because I don't know how to answer it. It seems so unfair that I have to say, "No." The question was first asked by the nurse who took Anna's history. I told her of Abbey. Then everyone in the waiting room wanted to know if we had other children. I told them no. And then all the nurses in Recovery wanted to know if we had other children. I told them no.

I THOUGHT that the nurse was going to bring us to Recovery BEFORE Anna woke up. She came by with a bottle and a sippie and asked which one would be best for Anna. She said that sometimes the kids wake up before the parents get there so she likes to have a drink ready. Another nurse came by as Anna's doctor was talking with us after the surgery and then brought us to Recovery. She told us that Anna was awake and looking for us. Pediatric Recovery was closed at that point in the day so she was in a recovery area with adults. As we walked down the hall, I could hear a baby crying. A weak, hoarse cry. It was Anna.

Anna couldn't focus on me at first so I sat and rocked her while telling her stories so she could hear my voice. She fell back asleep for awhile and then woke up to eat some Cheerios. The nurses there all came by to see her. We had actually brought this baby photo album with us. It's the soft kind that the baby can chew and drool on. We have pictures of various family members in it. There is a picture of the girls on the front. A nurse in Recovery asked if we had a picture of the triplets so we pulled that out of the diaper bag. She actually took it to show the other nurses.

The situation started to slide downhill when the Recovery nurse told us that she was going to call upstairs to see if Anna's "bed" was ready. She had called 15 minutes earlier and it wasn't. Whenever she said that it was a busy day and that Anna would be sharing a room, I wanted to scream, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

I sat in a wheelchair holding Anna and the nurse wheeled us up to the pediatric ward. Imagine being wheeled into a room where the television is blaring and a family is speaking loudly in a different language. I heard someone with a nasty cough and I asked the nurse if that was as a result of a breathing tube. I was trying to be nice instead of outright asking if we were being left in a room with someone with something contagious. One nurse leaned down and whispered that what the little boy had wasn't contagious and that we were sharing the room with him because he needs someone who is clean in there. Another nurse told us that they are usually pretty quiet once the visitors leave.

Well, it turns out that Anna's roommate was receiving chemotherapy treatments and had just had some type of "procedure" done. His mother had been staying overnight with him but tonight the father was staying. Their t.v. was so loud I thought my head was going to explode. Finally around 9:00 pm our awesome nurse, Selene, turned it down after trying to have a conversation with the father and he couldn't even hear her.

Selene was really great but her shift ended at 11:00 pm. There was a hospital crib in the room for Anna and she found a cot for Rich and I to share. She quickly realized that Anna wasn't going to sleep in the crib without my tellng her so and ordered a hospital bed to be brought in so that I could sleep with Anna in the bed while Rich slept on the cot. Selene even turned off the roommate's t.v. around 10:00 when father and son were both sleeping.

Rich and I felt so sorry for that little boy and fact that his father didn't seem to show much compassion. At one point, the little boy started crying for his father to wake up and his father slept through it. Rich actually had to go out and get a nurse. He just wanted a drink of water. I hate to judge people but I don't know how a parent can sleep through even a minute of a sick child crying for help.

We didn't get our beds ready and Anna's additional pain medication all set until 11:00. I didn't drift off to sleep until after midnight. It was short lived. I think I slept for 10 minutes and an IV alarm went off. When the IV registered only 30 minutes left, an alarm would go off. Sometimes the nurse would press the cancel button and 10 minutes later the alarm would go off again. We were told that they had to check Anna's IV every hour overnight to ensure that she didn't pull it out. Of course, they never coordinated her IV checks with IV changes.

At 1:00 am, Anna's roommate's father turned their t.v. back on. I listened to it until 3:00 am when I finally asked the nurse if she could possibly turn it off. She told me that it wouldn't be a problem because they were sleeping. I almost told her that it wouldn't be a problem even if they WEREN'T sleeping because it was absolutely ridiculous to think that we were supposed to deal with that in the middle of the night. I slept on and off from 3:00 to 6:00. A doctor and two nurses ripped open our privacy curtain at 7:00 am sharp and said, "Good morning. How's Anna doing?"

Sharing a bed with Anna was uncomfortable for me but I wouldn't have changed that. She was so adorable and it was so obvious to me what a bond we have. She would sleep with her little forehead against my head or she would reach out for my hand and sleep holding my hand. She didn't sleep well either. They didn't give her any heavy pain medication and the noise was very distracting.

Anna's doctor stopped by at 11:00 and said that he was going to put in the orders for her discharge. The resident came by shortly after to say that she had signed off on the papers. We had to find the nurse to get the rest of the process going. After she had removed Anna's IV, she told us that we could take our time leaving. We were out the door in five minutes. It was more than two hours after her doctor said that she could be discharged.

Poor Anna. Her eyes were all puffy yesterday and she tried to walk around but was in so much pain, she just cried. She watched her sisters playing last night and insisted on walking over to play with them at the tunnel. I helped her walk over and she was smiling and laughing. She seemed really happy to be back home with her sisters.

We saw much improvement in Anna today. She was able to walk around and play. She seems to be eating normally now as well. She is running a slight fever and HATES the antibiotics we have to give her but that's to be expected.

We are also so lucky to have great families who help us out. Grammy and Grandpa watched the other two monkeys overnight Friday and a ton of Rich's family stopped by yesterday to help out. Grammy stayed with us last night. I slept from 9:20 pm to 4:00 am without moving. I NEVER do that. Rich tried to sleep in this morning and then I took a three hour nap.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that Anna continues to heal and avoid any infections. Thank you to everyone for your well wishes.


Pam said...

oh man, what an ordeal! ugh. i'm glad to hear anna is doing better now, though. hope she heals quickly and without incident.

DESJ and Company said...

I'm so glad to hear that she's doing well and is home with her sisters.
I hear you loud and clear on the hard in the hospital thing...
"luckily" my son contracted MRSA once so we get to go into isolation whenever he's hospitlized. Woohoo!!

Nicole O'Dell said...

I'm sorry to "meet" you guys this way. But I'll keep you and Anna in my prayers.

Thanks for replying to my "blog" thread at TC. I've added you as a "followed" blog.

His Mom said...

I remember, when I was pregnant with Curtis and they told me I would have to share a room after delivery and my husband would have to go home, I flipped the heck out. Of course, he was stillborn and it was never an issue but when I had Claudia and didn't have to share I was thrilled. My dad had to share a few rooms when he had triple bypass surgery and he never was ble to sleep between TVs blaring, patients yelling, a bajillion visitors. How in the world can people ever rest?

Okay, sorry for the tangent, but I just felt your pain at having to share rooms. I would have lost my mind if I would have had to share after having Claudia. Even more so in the scenario you described, for obvious reasons.

I am glad Anna is home with her sisters.

Sarah said...

Thanks everyone!! It's interesting to hear what others have experienced with hospital room sharing. Plus, I believe that hospitals are just breeding grounds for germs - I couldn't wait to get out of there.

I have to update the blogs I follow. I'm waaayyyyy behind on that.