Thursday, November 21, 2013

post-NICU crash course

Yesterday was a whirlwind! In order to fit in all our training, Kraemer worked half a day before we headed to the hospital for 7.5 hours straight of instruction. We skipped lunch, which I’m rarely known to be okay with and is probably why we were both so grumpy by the time we sat down close to 9 pm for our last dinner out.

I'm going home tomorrow! Whoopee!

Before we even left the house, the company providing Calder’s oxygen came by with a couple tanks and a compressor. I'm not super excited about having tanks of oxygen hanging around the house, but that's the breaks. And when you get down to it, I'd probably tell you I appreciate the back up should his lungs get into some trouble. The guy returned barely twenty minutes after he’d left to replace the compressor with another tank. Calder’s orders had been rewritten from 0.2 to 0.1 liters per minute, and the compressor doesn’t go that low. A good start.

We kicked things off at the hospital with a safety and CPR class, where my biggest take away was the risks associated with RSV. If the goal was to scare us into wanting to take every safety precaution possible, they succeeded. They told us that when we had to tell people they couldn’t snuggle with our cute little newborn, we could make them the bad guys, and they even typed us up a letter to share with family and friends. What it really boils down to is that Calder has no immune system to speak of, and his lungs are still in very bad shape, so the slightest sniffle in you or me could be serious enough in Calder to land him back in the hospital. We won’t be able to have guests outside the family over for a while, and even having family is questionable, so we are fully stocked on hand san.

Next, the company who delivered Calder’s oxygen that morning sent a representative to the hospital to teach us how to use his pulsox and monitor, and how to use the oxygen tanks. From there we spoke with the social worker about Calder’s home care. Once we got to the bedside, there was a line of folks ready to meet with us. The dietician told us the schedule for his feeds and how to mix in the formula to fortify the breast milk (breast milk is generally known to have 20 calories in an ounce, and the doctors want it bumped up to 24 calories). The physical / occupational therapist ran through some more advanced exercises for Calder, beyond what she’d taught us earlier in our NICU stay. She’d pulled some great – and quite a bit of – material, telling us she’d spent the time doing that because she knew we’d spend the time on the exercises after seeing Kraemer work Calder out when we’d come in. J The speech therapist ran through the long-term plan again for getting Calder to be able to eat by mouth, telling us that the pulmonologist would probably have a dietician on his team that would work with the GI doc. We then got the scoop from the case worker, who had spent all Tuesday and Wednesday on our case, setting up appointments and contacting providers, ensuring folks were in network, and helping us to know what follow up actions we needed to take once Calder had been discharged.
Drew and Calder. Bros.
Here's lookin' at you.

Thanks, night nurses! (Drew, Laura, Megan) 
Last squeeze with Laura and Ashley.

In the middle of our receiving line, Dr. Ascher stopped by. Dr. Ascher is the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Inova Fairfax, which pretty much makes him head honcho. He was accompanied by Dr. North, who heads the NICU, and several other folks, who, judging by their suits and the way the staff eyed them all, I can only imagine also hold pretty high positions in the system. They wanted to know how our stay was, prompting us with questions about various aspects. Of course, our overall report is that our stay was stellar – every single one of our primary nurses was fantastic, and we had good experiences with staff from the parking lot in – and we passed that message along. But in the midst of such a hectic schedule, and having not prepared for the visit, I’m sure our feedback could have been more detailed. 

Everything is still a go for a homecoming today! We are hoping to break him outta there around 2pm.

1 comment:

  1. obviously had a pretty amazing team...God bless nurses (and everyone else), huh? :)