Sunday, August 1, 2010

And Home

We finally got home from the ER at noon on Saturday. Yes, we had to stay for 14 hours to have a 5 minute procedure done. I'm not even exaggerating. I spent most of the night in the crib with Becca until I was finally able to track down a nursing student who was willing to find a cot for me around 2:30 or 3. Insanity, I tell you. And it's not because the ER was crazy-busy. The surgeons just didn't want to put the button back in at night "because of the risks of needing emergency surgery." I have a hunch that the translation of that statement is "because either the attending surgeon or the radiologist refused to come in on a Friday night." Punks. I mean, really, I didn't want to be there, either, but -- hello! -- this is why you are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. I don't know for a fact that this was the issue, but given the experiences some of our friends have had with weekend feeding tube issues, I'm pretty sure that's the case. Especially since, even after the button was finally placed at 7:30 am, we had to wait 1.5 hours to get the x-ray done -- the x-ray that was to check for placement, in case we had perforated her stomach and required emergency surgery -- until the radiologist got around to coming in. Seriously, if it were such an emergency risk, why did we have to wait 90 minutes to make sure she didn't need surgery?

Adding to my frustration is the fact that having to wait until morning meant that Becca didn't get her Friday night feeding, so she went nearly 30 hours with her primary source of nutrition (her formula). (She had some food during the day, but not much. We count on her formula for her nutritional base.) Remember last time she was NPO? And how she had a possible seizure because her blood sugar dropped so low? To 40? I mentioned that to the ER doctors and suggested that she be put on the IV fluids with a higher glucose concentration (the one she ended up on after the seizure) in order to prevent hypoglycemia. They decided not to bump her up and said that they would check her blood sugar throughout the night, but they never put the order in, so her sugars were never checked. When we got home and Becca literally just laid down on the floor, I decided that I needed to check her levels myself. Her blood sugar had dropped to 44, which is dangerously low. I called the pediatrician (and my wonderful pediatrician cousin), bolused her a few ounces of juice, and stuck some cake icing under her tongue, and after 25 minutes, it was back up to 82, which is within normal limits. Needless to say, I'll be more insistent about her tendency towards hypoglycemia when she is made NPO in the future. Oh, and they didn't give her either of the medicines she should have taken Friday night and Saturday morning. Seriously?

There's probably an e-mail to patient affairs in the future. I mean, I'm sure there were much sicker kids in the ER that night, but we had a pretty miserable time, exposed Becca to all kinds of ER germs, missed several doses of medicine, ruined our fun Saturday plans (a birthday party AND a trip to the zoo!), and neglected Becca's nutritional needs to a degree that put her at a very high risk of seizure or other issues...and I still haven't heard a decent reason why we had to wait all night. I'm trying not to make assumptions, but I will be asking some pointed questions.

But, we are home, and after Saturday afternoon naps, Becca and I are our usual chipper selves (meaning, of course, that Becca is chipper and I am at least not mad at the world anymore). And now SuperDad is home from camp, too. (Well, he's still at church right now, but he's in town.) So all is well enough.

p.s. By the end of the stay, I was helping myself at the sticker station in the ER. Thank God for Sesame Street stickers!


  1. Thank God for Super-Mom!! Your proactiveness probably saved another run to the ER for hypoglycemia. Hope you get some answers regarding lazy doctors and their errors.

    We got lazy and didn't go to the zoo anyway--another time, though!

  2. I'm ticked off for you. Get 'em, Nancy. Grr...

  3. A little cake icing under the tongue will cure anything, I hear.

    Seriously, though, what the heck? What about some child who doesn't have a mom who is as good of a patient advocate as you? I shudder to think.

  4. I'm going to write patient affairs again for you. I wanted Becca to come to the party!!! (And you, too, of course.) Stupid hospital :(

  5. Egads. As a med mal defense attorney I am horrified. You should definitely write that letter! Who knows? It could bring about a positive change.

  6. I am horrified for you. We have had several bad ER trips but that has to take the cake. My Dad has low blood sugar so I know exactly the danger. Praying she stays better.

  7. holy cow... that is ridiculous! Conpletely ridiculous. You better write patient affairs a letter, and post a copy on the blog :)

    Side note. I thought of you when we were doing the snoopy snow cone maker. Last summer or the summer before I did a post on jelly shoes. Your comment was something about how you always wanted those and a snow cone maker as a child. I knew you would enjoy that post!!

  8. Yikes! As bad as our situation is at times living in the NICU, at least we have the advantage of 24 hour care and constant medical professionals. That place REALLY scares me. Thank you for being an advocate for not only your child but those of us that will be there in the future...God bless you guys!