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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Almost there!

Okay, everybody, so I have seriously dropped the ball, but I'm trying to get back in the game. I have begun mailing my Christmas cards (I know, I know, I should've warned you all to take a seat before I let that loose--take a deep breath and put your head between your knees if you need to in order to keep from fainting), but I did not print out an annual newletter to go along with the family photo greeting. My printer is acting up. I plan to use my blogspot to update everyone on our past year's events in the Wilborn-White household. Who knew a plain old first class postage stamp was way up to $0.44? Anyway...

The semester is almost over!! I have my final exam on Monday 12/7/09 and my final evaluation on Tuesday. I was just beginning Nursing care of children and families (pediatrics) when I last blogged. I have pretty much made up my mind that little people aren't for me when it comes to nursing. What an emotional 8 weeks, I am here to tell you. My first patient was a 6-year old little boy with pneumonia. I got to follow him down to surgery to have a chest tube placed--YIKES! It was grueling, and I wasn't even the one being cut, punctured, suctioned, drained, etc. The following week my patient went home a couple of hours after I got onto the floor, so I took another patient: a six-month-old baby girl who had suffered irreparable brain damage at the hands of her mother's boyfriend--subdural hematomas, fractured skull, the works. There was so much activity around her room-speech therapists working with her to see if she would be able to eat by mouth; occupational and physical therapists (baby girl couldn't even hold up her head), respiratory therapist for the rattle in her chest. My heart just broke into pieces for her. The nurses predicted that she would be a "vegetable" (that is, continue growing physically but never develop to her potential, cognitively) and eventually become a ward of the state. A couple weeks later found me in the Transitional Care Unit (or TCU) where babies who have been hospitalized for some time are about to "transition" home with all of their tubes, wires, bags, bells & whistles. One patient was a 14-month-old girl who was born with some rare syndrome with all sorts of cognitive and physiological complications. Her mom had a sign posted on the hospital wall showing tally marks for where baby had lived since birth. All but 23 of the marks were at Cooks Children's Medical Center. Baby was on a respirator and received tube feedings, and Mom was with her most of the time. Another patient in the TCU had been a healthy preteen up until several months ago when her mothers (nontraditional family) noticed a decline in her grades at school as well as her physical and mental abilities. She would have been a perfect case for "mystery diagnosis" because no one could figure out what was going on with her. You can't really treat what you can't diagnose. Finally, the third of my patients on this floor was a 4-month old little boy who was born with some musculoskeltal deformities. His rib cage was misshapen, he had a club foot, his stomach was up higher than it should be. Talk about the cutest baby, though! He smiled and laughed at me but made no sound because he, too, had a tracheostomy and was on a ventilator. They were trying to wean him off of it by turning off the respirator for one hour at a time twice a day. His parents had not been to see him in several days. I, personally, cannot imagine going days without seeing my baby, but I certainly understand that the cost of getting around and having other children to tend to at home and having to work can be quite the burden. At the TCU an important aspect of the baby's care is teaching the parents to use all of the equipment that will be coming home with their special needs children. When my instructor visited the unit to see how my day was going, I felt that familiar sting around my eye lids and broke into tears when I was trying to tell her about my patients. I told her I didn't think Pedi was for me (talk about an understatement!). My eyes are welling up now just remembering that day. I'm thinking I'll stick with labor and delivery, thank you very much! Anyway...
Next semester's schedule is already posted. It looks like I will be with some of my original classmates from Foundations (first semester) once again. I will have lecture from 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays and clinicals from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at Harris Methodist-Downtown. Mondays and Tuesdays will be tough because after lecture I'm guessing I'll have to swing by the hospital to choose my patient(s) and complete paperwork before Tuesday morning, but getting kiddoes to and from school on Wednesdays will no longer be an issue since I'll be available to do that. I'll still be able to do my lunch monitor thing at Alisa's school on Thursdays as well. My instructor for clnicals is one of the few male nursing instructors, Mr. McGraw. I had him for one of my skills check offs while I was in Foundations, and he seems pretty down to earth. I have heard positive reports about him thus far. I am looking forward to the home stretch!

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