Friday, December 9, 2011
Our Newest Superhero - Part Two
We arrived at the ER and I took Aidan inside while Weston parked. The nurse doing check-in was very nice, but we had to wait a bit until she was done helping someone else. It wasn't too long though, before they got us processed and took Aidan back to test his blood sugar. I couldn't help but think as he was screaming about that first finger prick, that I was glad he couldn't comprehend that this was only the beginning of a lifetime of numerous finger pricks daily. She told us her meter read over 500, and later we found out it was up in the 700s. Yikes. (His target range right now is 80-150) He also weighed in at 36 pounds, while he was normally about 42. (We felt bad we hadn't even noticed the weight loss, but he had also shot up quite a bit recently.) After a few more pokes and prods and stickers, they sent us back to the waiting room until they could get us into an available bed/room in the Peds ER.
It was kind of surreal waiting there for those 20 or so minutes. Knowing our boy was very sick, and anticipating what the next 48 hour would bring. They had a neat kids' play table though, and Aidan was pretty content playing on that with us. (I think he was still a little in awe of having mom and dad's undivided attention, despite the circumstances.)
Eventually they called us back to a room, and got an IV started. That was an intense experience for a little boy who was feeling extra yucky, extra sensitive, and extra scared, despite how excellent the male nurse who was handling him was. They also had a Child Life Specialist who worked the Peds ER department who was beyond amazing. Her job was to try to make Aidan as comfortable and distracted as possible, as well as to try to explain to him on kid terms what was going on. She had an IPad and a DVD player, and also brought him a big teddy bear to keep. She even went out of her way to come visit his room (way on the other side of the hospital) the next day just to say hi. Top notch.
It was a relief knowing insulin was now getting into his little body, and their goal was to bring his blood sugar (BS) levels down slowly (bringing it down too quickly could pose other complications). He was able to watch a couple movies (although he hated the feeling of the IV so much I don't think he moved his entire arm for hours), and we were able to make some phone calls and tag team to run grab something to eat. (Felt so bad for him, he kept complaining he was SO hungry, but we couldn't feed him anything yet...)
I had my first mini-emotional breakdown at this point. We'd been informed there was a small cafe fairly close to the ER where we could grab some food, but it closed at 8. Weston went first, and was back by 7:45. So I dashed out, but as I got there around 7:50, the guy was closing up and had already cleared the cash register. This, plus all the stress of the last few hours had me almost in tears. But knowing Weston would have to leave soon, I was worried I might not have another chance to eat until late the next day, and so I decided to navigate the huge maze of a hospital to find the big cafeteria. I finally found it, but most of the food options had shut down, and it was hard to find anything appetizing. Adding to my already unbalanced emotional state the fact that I am extremely uncomfortable in unfamiliar places where I don't know routines, and I was pretty much a sobbing mess by this point. I finally paid way too much for a simple sandwich and then sat at a booth eating and crying. Pathetic, I know. I couldn't tell you how it tasted, but at least I got some food in me, and then I made it back to Aidan's ER room after only getting lost a few times... (I'd also left my phone in his room, so I couldn't even call Weston for support).
Once I got back, they were beginning to get ready to transfer Aidan to the Pediatric Intermediate Care Floor. (Not ICU, but not regular care).
Side note: We also experienced a shift change at this point, which is extremely tough on a little guy. I cannot even begin to count the number of nurses, doctors, medical students, and other hospital 'people' this poor little man had to interact with. Even for a boy who is normally quite social, it was entirely overwhelming. Especially when they'd all expect him to warm up quickly to their slightest well-intentioned kid friendly attempts at developing a rapport with him. They also all asked different versions of the same questions though, and it was even frustrating for us that, while the care and the hospital was overall superb, they all seemed to have slightly different takes on things and ways of doing things. I even saw a nurse really disrespect a doctor! It got a little tense some times, but it was probably good for me as it propelled me to speak up stronger as Aidan's advocate.