Monday, January 11, 2010

Being mama

What a month.
I'm sitting here at 11pm on Monday night trying to make sense of the past couple of weeks.  A little while ago, everything was going along ok....three weeks ago I lost my job.  It wasn't the end of the world, as it was a stretch of my abilities - I'd never done a full accounts role before...but I like a challenge and thought I was capable.  Nuh uh.  Oh well, it gave me more time to get ready for Christmas and our trip to Sydney.
Yes. the one that didn't end up happening.
Alex developed impetigo, which looks a lot like a mosquito bite when it first starts out.  Hell, for all we knew, it was a mosquito bite that turned into impetigo.

All I know is, he scratched the heck out of himself over Christmas, and only slept a couple of hours straight each night we stayed with Richard's mum in Finley.  We returned home to Shep on the 27th of December, with Alex having started on his second set of antibiotics and having two large sores that he'd scratched and scratched, which were covered by dressings instead of mere bandaids.
Thus began my hell of having to change these bandages daily, after his bath so the dressings would come off easier.  Sometimes if he saw me coming, he'd run away.  We sought advice from my dad (GP) and my mum (nurse) and applied bactroban, betadine, dressings, bandaids, more bandaids, gave panadol, antihistamines......and eventually, graduated to larger and larger dressings, and to pain stop and phernergyn at night so that the poor little man could sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. 

I was becoming increasingly desparate and worried about our trip to Sydney. How on earth was I going to cope with his bandages in the heat?  I forgot to mention that we were having very very warm days and nights (up to 40 and sometimes not below 27 at night).....which only added to a nice warm moist environment for the Staph infection he now had to reproduce.  I sent MMS pictures to mum and dad to get answers and help....we tried so hard to get the infection under control.  Richard and I were sleep deprived.  Sunday night, I went to bed at 2am after settling Alex and woke at 6.30am because I was so excited about our trip to Sydney.

Monday, Richard took Alex over to see dad so he could check out his sores, and to get mum to help him bath and re-dress the sores.  I took advantage of time to myself to pack and catch up with some friends, not catching up on sleep because I wanted to sleep that night.  Little did I know.

Richard rang me about 5pm, telling me that he had a letter from dad for the Paediatrican on call, and that we were to go to the emergency room, because his staph infection was way out of control. I felt like a bad mummy - I had only said to Richard the night before that I wondered if we were out of our depth, were we doing all we could do, was this normal? Should we have taken him to the hospital?  I guess all I can say is that I had mum constantly on speed dial and that the worsening of his sores was just accepted by us because we kept hoping it would get better. we had no experience of this sort....

Anyhow.....Richard met me at casualty at 8pm.  I wish I could tell you we saw the Paediatrican right away, but we all know that things don't work like that.  We spent 2 hours waiting in casualty.  We spent 1 hour waiting in a cubicle.  Eventually alex was given an IV drip, which took 5 people to hold him down, and ended with me sobbing in tears.  Poor little Alex was hysterical.  that took us to 11.30pm, and we were shown to a new cubicle.  around midnight, he was given an infusion of Flucloxacillin, which took an hour.  About 1.30am, we were taken to the children's ward.  by the time we were settled, it was 2am.  Richard left to get some sleep and I eventually settled in the fold out chair/bed by Alex's bed.  He was hyper hyper and I had to lay with him until he fell asleep at 3am.  He had another infusion at 6am and slept til 9am.  I couldnt' go back to sleep after I woke at 6am with his infusion...too afraid that he'd roll over and rip the cannula out of his arm.  He's a very restless sleeper.

Richard arrived and took over the day shift whilst I slept.  this sort of set the tone for the next few days.

I'd like to say a few things about being in hospital.

- most of the nurses are just wonderful, but there are the ones who are on a power trip, who make inappropriate jokes about your conerns, who ignore you, who lecture you on your three year old's dietary habits.  The fantastic nurses just make a horrible experience so much better.  The crap ones add to the stress of the situation and made me want to stick a pick axe through their spinal column.

- I hated the out-of-control feeling that hospital gave me - the lack of autonomy.  Let me explain.  At home, if Alex is fussing, then I can get him what he wants right away....or decide not to give it to him.  In hospital, all his food and medicine were logged and handed out by nurses.  Who were often very busy with children a lot sicker than Alex.  It made me hesitant to ask, but at the same time, I needed the milk/nappy/panadol at the time, not in ten minutes time.  Sometimes the nurse I'd ask would forget and I'd have to go and ask again.  It was just annoying, cause I'm a total control freak...and I hated having to rely on someone else to get stuff for me.
- being in an isolation room with a rambunctious 3 year old can be, at times, a little slice of hell.  Even though I was waking up with his infusions at midnight and 6am (and often not going to sleep in the first place), Alex was mostly sleeping well, and woke each morning full of beans and ready to destroy his toys.

- a tissued cannula (IV drip) is incredibly painful.  When a drip comes slightly loose, the fluid from the IV stops going into the veins and starts entering the tissue.  I was not aware of this when Alex started to scream in pain at 6am on Wednesday morning.  At the ten and twenty minute mark, I had to ask for panadol repeatedly.  At the half hour mark, I asked them to do something. they slowed the drip down.  Alex and I were both in tears and he was screaming in agony.  At the forty minute mark, Nurses were doing handover and one made a joke whilst he screamed in pain about whose fault it was.  I had absolutely no idea what was happening to my poor anguished child and nobody told me.  At the fifty minute mark, They didn't respond to me pressing the buzzer for about ten minutes, by which time he'd started to writhe around in agony on the bed.  finally, after a full hour of intense pain, one of the nurses took his cannula out.  She gave absolutely no explanation or reassurance about this, other than to say we'd have to have another drip put in.  I was in tears and so upset for my poor son, who'd already been through a lot of trauma even before getting into hospital.  When I rang my mum, who is a nurse, she told me what a tissued cannula is, and why it happened.  A day nurse finally gave Alex some sympathy.  Another nurse told another mum that he was spoilt and not in pain.  Fabulous day.

One good thing came out of this, I watched Alex's cannula like a hawk, and if he started to cry or be in pain, I vowed that I would make them remove it at once. At midnight on Friday night, he started to cry.  The nurse advised me she'd slow it down. Still, he cried.  I buzzed and the nurse told me that they'd stop it and try again later when he was asleep.  No. No no no!  I said "no. I want you to take it out now.  I'm sorry, but I don't want him in any more pain".  Luckily I had a supportive nurse, but I was prepared to get shouty if I had to.  That's just what being mama is about.

So, here I sit, two days after his discharge from hospital.  Alex has to be kept away from daycare and too much contact with other children.  At the moment, I am not taking him to be around any children until I have the all clear from the Paediatrician. This is for the other kids' sake, but also for Alex's ....if there is any chance of him catching something else while his immune system is down, I absolutely don't want to take it. a result, I have cabin fever.  I feel very restless and I want to work!  But...I also know that most of the office admin jobs are full time and I want to be home with him at least a few days a week. I miss him too much when I work full time.  So, what's a girl to do?  Try and blog about it, make a list of fun stuff to do with him, count my blessings.  Recover from the lack of sleep and try to be normal again.  Stop having expectations of friends and family to come to my rescue.  My life is mine and God's responsibility. Nobody else owes me a living. 

Oh..and I'm a lot of carrots.  No points!
Love you all
Deb xoxo

ps - google images came up with a pic of how his sores looked.  this is similar, although his were all over one of his legs and on his face.  poor monkey!

Kinda gross skin thingy...don't click if squeamish!

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