Hurricane Karen

Sunday, July 3. It's half past 8 in the morning, and Anna is doing great. She's trying to squeeze in another hour of sleep as I type this. Last night was better than the night before, but we could both use a good, long stretch of 3 or 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Between trips back and forth to the bathroom, blood pressure and temperature checks, position adjustments, and scheduled medications, Anna's lucky if she gets to sleep in 2-hour intervals. The trips to the bathroom are the biggest culprit. There was a running joke among the nurses during the first couple of days, while the task of, uh, "liquid waste disposal" was performed by a Foley catheter. Without fail, each time a nurse emptied the, uh, "liquid waste receptacle," they'd say, "Well, your kidneys are certainly working." One nurse put it in more precise terms: "We're usually looking for a minimum of 30ml by this point. You've given us 750ml." So, yes, her kidneys are working fine, and her bladder is working overtime. Anna hated to see the catheter go. Now, we're up at least once an hour during the day, and once every 2 at night. It's now 10:12am, and since I started this note, we've stopped for 2 bathroom breaks, a couple of visits from the nurse, one from the doctor, and a breakfast of microwave oatmeal. We had another trip to the bathroom before I finished that last sentence. Truth be told, I miss the catheter too.

Actually, the bathroom breaks aren't the biggest distraction this morning. That dubious distinction belongs to our nurse, Karen. This is her second shift as our nurse. She's in her mid-40's, tall and skinny, with a thick Texas accent and a voice like a cannon. She came booming into the room at a little after 8 this morning, chattering away at 900 miles an hour and flitting around the room like a hummingbird on crystal meth. "Hey y'all! How're y'all doin' this morning? Did you ask for a Tylenol, because I just tried to give this Tylenol to the gal in 247 and she looked at me like I was crazy?! You still have your IV heplock in? When did they flush that last? YESTERDAY?! Well, that's just...I'm not even gonna say. Let's get that flushed out." There's no break between these sentences. I'm pretty sure she's practicing some kind of circular breathing, and it's as if they ripped off the volume control knob on her voice after cranking it up to 10. I make several vain attempts to hint that Anna is still trying to sleep, but Karen is oblivious. If it was anyone else, we'd probably be annoyed, but when she finally leaves the room, Anna and I share a laugh and agree that she's our favorite nurse.

Noon. We've now been in the hospital for five full days. If the 1:3 ratio is anywhere close to accurate, Anna has now spared Frankie 15 days in the NICU. Of course, we know that math doesn't quite work out, and the doctors are sticking by their original estimate - he'll be in intensive care right up until the due date. Still, the idea that every day translates into an easier time for Frankie is comforting, so we're suspending reason for the moment and holding on to the delusion, which is surprisingly easy. I feel like a Republican.


Blogger stuckupgirl said...

Hi kids -
Marshall and I are thinking about you all the time. Let us know if there's anything we can do to help. Like I told Anna, this just means that Frankie's already an over-achiever.

Kim and Marshall

11:23 AM  
Anonymous ron grene said...

We dscovered after Svetlana's arrival last summer that one can actually live on 2 hours a sleep at a time, You will see the occasionaly vision or two, but, it just makes things a little merrier all around. Regarding hurrican Karen, you might as well become morning people now, for you will surely be morning people soon enough.

much love from the land of vikings
Ron Z and Svetlana

12:07 PM  
Blogger swamp4me said...

Your last sentence made me laugh -- glad to see you are maintaining your sense of humor.

Delighted to see you are all still hanging tough.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Paul Goode said...

You guys are champs! Egads, I've never read a blog with such interest. We're pulling for you both and hope you'll be able to get some proper rest (despite Karen).

Paul & Kseniya

7:47 AM  

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