Thank You, Nurses

I don’t think it’s a coincidence, that so recently after Benjamin’s latest hospital stay, I read this post by a nurse blogger I’ve come to respect…

In light of that, I want to share how much the nurses meant during our last hospital stay.

(Quick Background: We spent New Year’s Eve in the Emergency Room in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then were transferred to Hershey so that Benjamin could be admitted.)

We had three nurses throughout the course of our stay- the day nurse, Lauren, and two night nurses, Katie and Beth.  Each of them, in their own way, made me feel at home.

Lauren, our day nurse, answered our questions and explained details to help us understand why certain things were being done.  I really appreciate that.

I’ve had certain medical professionals (only a few), who walk in, tell me something about our health, then walk out and don’t explain anything.  I’m thankful for the majority, who have not done that.  I felt that as a nurse, Lauren went out of her way to explain things to us.

On the last day there, Lauren told us that she prays for her patients when she goes home.  How encouraging.

She said that the first night Benjamin was in the hospital, they were considering moving him to ICU to put him on the vent.  At the time, we knew he was in bad shape, but we didn’t know how bad.  That first night, Lauren had told us that they were decreasing his oxygen halfway, to see how he would do.

The day we were discharged, she told us that she had been really nervous about carrying out that decision, that she prayed for us when she went home, and she was so excited to see that he had improved when she came back.

Then there was the first night nurse Katie.

Honestly, I don’t remember exactly what it was about her that I liked (I was half-asleep), but I remember that she made me feel at ease with the fact she was caring for my baby that night.

And the last night nurse, Beth.

The minute she walked in, she brightened the room.  She talked to Benjamin and played with him like he was her own son.  She made him smile while she checked his vitals (granted, no one could make him smile the first day).  Later I found out she had a teenage son, and that she’s had some very hard times herself.

I’ve learned a few things throughout our hospital stays:

1) The nurses are the ones who are with you throughout the day/night; the ones who do everything you need – from setting up the IV’s/oxygen and giving medicine to bringing you extra blankets, and replacing leads because the baby pulled them off – again.  Honesty, they do more than they should have to do (we can get ourselves water and tissues, we just need to know where they are).

2) Some nurses make you more comfortable than others. But if you’re kind to them, sometimes you’ll make friends even with those who don’t seem as friendly at first.  After all, there may be cultural differences, plus you never know what other stresses they’re dealing with.

3) They work harder than you’ll ever know, until you spend some time in a hospital.  Even then, we probably see half of what they do.

So to all my  nurse friends, and the nurses out there who work hard every day, receiving more complaints than thanks-

your job does make a difference.  And I want to thank you for what you do.

Procedures and Opportunities pt. 1

 

When we walked into the waiting room, there were already a few toddlers and children in the hospital tiger “PJ’s.”  It was so cute and pitiful at the same time.  The hospital does a great job of creating a festive atmosphere, and the staff were all very kind.

After the nurse took Benjamin’s vitals and gathered info on him, we met with the specialists who would perform the procedure.

 

Waiting, Hospital Tiger PJs

We spoke with the doctors who would do the bronchoscopy, then spoke with Benjamin’s TEF surgeon, and then the anesthesiologist.

This time, the staff allowed me and Jason to enter the operating room and stay with Benjamin until the anesthesia kicked in.

It is still sweet to watch Jason comforting his son, and still hard to leave your baby there by himself.  Everyone is so kind and thoughtful, though.

It helped that this time we were with him, both when he went to sleep and when he woke up in the recovery room.

With daddy in recovery room
With daddy in recovery room

 

Benjamin had several procedures scheduled at the same time, so that he would only have to undergo anesthesia once.

Technically, they are only considered two procedures (a bronchoscopy and an endoscopy with dilation), but there were multiple parts to them.

He was scheduled to be in the operating room for two hours, but each doctor planned to come out and tell us the results when his part was over.

The bronchoscopy portion was finished within about 20 minutes.

For those who don’t care about technicalities, you can skip the next three paragraphs 🙂

Dr. Arteaga-Solis didn’t do everything he had planned, because Benjamin wasn’t tolerating the first device they had put in to view his airways (LMA); they had to change to a smaller scope and couldn’t take cultures of his lungs.  The doctor wasn’t concerned about that, though.

They discovered he does have mild to severe tracheomalacia (no surprise) – the trachea walls are floppy from the top of the windpipe all the way down to where the lungs split.

Also there were extra secretions in the lungs, but they were clear, so it wasn’t a concern.  One of the possible reasons for this is the fact that he does not clear his airways well on his own (due to the tracheomalacia).

Anyway the chest PT is helpful for him, and thankfully it’s one therapy that Benjamin actually enjoys :).

Then the doctor gave us “what you might consider a strange request.”

 

Read part two here.

First Birthday!

Yesterday was Benjamin’s first birthday!!

We’ve never made a huge deal of the first birthday – only a small celebration – but in the culture where we’ve been serving, the first birthday calls for a feast!

Our sweet, elderly coworker explained to me a few years ago that in that country, for a child to live through the first year was tremendous.  Now, I understand.

Yesterday, I decided to read what I wrote in my journal on Benjamin’s birthday last year.  When I skimmed through my notebook, I realized I didn’t write anything on Benjamin’s birthday – for obvious reasons. 🙂

Here are a few snippets from later that week.

 


 

We are overwhelmed by God’s grace, mercy and love for us.  He has answered so many prayers […].  

Right now I’m exhausted- the last few days have been a whirlwind of unexpected, overwhelming circumstances; decision-making (or decisions yet to make […]); and overwhelming reminders of our merciful Savior’s love.  […]  

We are so thankful He has chosen to give us Benjamin to enjoy for this long.  I treasure every breath he takes, every touch, every look, every moment spent with him.  

[Reviewing] Day Two (Aug. 10)

It was just me and Jason the first time I saw Benjamin.  […]  After a while I asked the nurse if it was okay to hold him.  I wasn’t expecting her to say yes, but figured I’d ask and she agreed that I could.

They had gotten me a chair that sat higher up so I could sit beside his bed and still see/touch him.  The nurse maneuvered a few wires, wrapped him up warm and placed him in my arms.

How beautiful.  Some moments cannot be expressed in words […].

Thank You, Father, for this beautiful gift – for this one of many blessings – to hold my baby the first time I saw him. 


I shared several posts out of order, but from here I’ll attempt to go back and review challenges/blessings of his first year in chronological order.  We’ll see how that goes.  🙂

Unseen Treasure

A Quick Explanation

I’ve heard that there’s a level of emotion, pain – even joy, I suppose – that is too deep to express in words… and that you know someone has reached that point when they use word pictures/analogies instead.

This excerpt- everything written after this paragraph- was taken entirely from my journal, from the midst of an uncertain pregnancy.  From a writing standpoint, it needs tweaking, but it was the best way I knew to get my point across.

A Journal Entry


A young man gave his sweetheart a round-cut diamond ring.  He wrapped it in special packaging and took her on a meaningful date, where he humbly expressed his unconditional, enduring love for her.

She joyfully agreed to commit her love and life to him. 

At first, she was ecstatic. She couldn’t wait to tell her friends.  Many congratulated her.  

Then one friend looked closely at the ring and said, with a disappointed sigh, “Oh. It isn’t square. He should’ve given you a square diamond.”  Another pulled her hand to the light – “Is this white gold?  Why didn’t he give you red gold?”   

One by one, slowly, each new friend had a disappointing comment, a piece of advice, a tidbit of their own knowledge of quality jewelry. 

The young man’s sweetheart didn’t argue.  But she married him joyfully, fully treasuring the ring he had bought her.  She trusted him. 

Her friends didn’t know his love for her, or the careful thought he had put into buying her the best quality diamond ring, the one that would fit her– who she was. 

What’s more, he hadn’t bought the ring.  

Her friends didn’t know that her Groom was the Master Craftsman. 

He had made the ring Himself. 


So this is the first, very imperfect, version – but I thought the analogy expressed well the way people see children.  So many have commented on how we have to have a girl next/before we “quit.”  And I had to wonder how much more their disappointment would be if he has Down Syndrome.  

It’s natural to want a normal child.  But let’s not forget that they are each a treasure, or place more value on one than the other.

God has a beautiful purpose for each precious life.

And sometimes that purpose is to give others a chance to serve and show compassion to the helpless, as Jesus did for us.