Monday, August 8, 2011

from day to night...

Written in the hospital at midnight - 08/08/11

These nurses are amazing. They are on the ball and so compassionate. They not only care about their patients, they remember the families and care about them as well. I hate to say that I have my favorites, because they are all wonderful, but some just click with me.  The most important thing is how patient they are with the barrage of questions.

Today has been a rough day, followed by a rough night, and tonight is shaping up to suck harder than an industrial vacuum. Last night the nightmares started. My sister was going to spend the night, but at 1:30 a.m., Derek needed me. Deep in a benadryl fog, I quickly made my way to the hospital. I took two bennies to not only help me sleep, but because August is an awful month for my allergies, bringing along with them a nice, fun bout of asthma. I can already feel it settling in my chest. Unforuntately, the inhalers give me migraines, so I double up on the benadryl and cough meds.

Trying to stay awake and deal with the night terrors in a benadryl fog was quite a feat. LT Michelle Woodie told me tonight that it was humorous watching me fade out while holding Derek's hand and telling him he was safe. I bet it was.

All night last night and all day today when the nightmares or hallucinations hit, all we could do was orient Derek in the here and now. I told him to imagine himself on the beach with Krystina, listening to the waves rushing across the sand, holding her hand, and smelling the sweet, salt air. All night, I kept trying to come up with different places and ideas to orient him to the here and now. I felt so helpless. Last night's nurses, Michelle and Lyndsey, were wonderful with him. As were Penny and Jennifer today. They were on the ball, compassionate and knew what they are doing.

I was advised today that he might be thinking we were with him in that terrible place and feeling helpless that he couldn't protect us. So, today, I kept reminding him where he was and that we were ALL safe, not just him. Melissa told me that he needed to be oriented in sight, sound and smell, and I had not been using smell. Resolved that by spraying a little of Krystina's perfume on some gauze and putting it under the pillow case.

Tonight I am sitting by his bed. It's after midnight and Michelle is on the ball. One of his drains started running bright red, and she called the doc before I could even ask if it was supposed to be that color. The drains are usually a light red color.

All night he has had difficulty breathing. Respiratory has been here too many times to count. He is agitated and disoriented. They started giving him medications to calm him and help him sleep, but the damn breathing tube clogging is not helping. It should help when he gets the traj tomorrow morning.

Written 08/08/11 at 2:48 p.m. 

I jinxed myself with what I wrote earlier.  Today's nurse sucked.  After a horrendous night of no sleep, I was met with a nurse who took every question asked as a personal insult.  She snapped at me, gave me attitude, didn't explain anything, and generally was a bitch.

I tried to ask her to lower her voice because he became agitated when there were loud noises, beeping machines and too much talking/raised voices.  She started yelling at me at the bedside!  At that very moment, housekeeping came in and was very noisy.  I whispered to her to please be quieter, and the nurse told me that I needed to leave because I was being nasty to everyone.

My sister was there.  I did not snap, I did not raise my voice.  I was calm and simply stating to this bitch that my son had had a difficult night and was disturbed by loud noises.

Then she disappeared.  Every other nurse told me when they would be off the desk for a period of time.  I looked for her when Derek's blood pressure started to go down.  She was gone for at least 20 minutes.  All I said to the charge nurse was that she was gone for a while and I didn't know where she was, and I had a concern.

She came back all in a huff, snapped at me and said, "I don't like it when people complain about me!"  Really?  Then she is going to be quite the little happy camper tomorrow when her ass is chewed out royally for her behavior today, because I hadn't complained at that point, but I surely bitched later - to Dr. Perdue, Dr. Ugo, Dr. Chandler, the charge nurse, the nursing supervisor, my social worker, my liason and the platoon leader for the Warrior Transition Brigade.

His blood pressure plummeted to the 80's over the 30's and she wasn't answering my questions!  I had to call a friend in Jersey to answer some questions and she was limited because she didn't have the chart!  Also, when I asked if he was given this medication that Rosie (nurse friend in NJ) told me about, this nurse told me NO, but he was really getting it!

Finished in the Lodge at 8:30 p.m.

Then he went to surgery.  They were supposed to place a trach to get him off the intubation, because it is causing him so much distress, but he was too sick.  His lungs are not well enough, the infection is too high, and his blood pressure and stats were too unstable.  They had a two hour period that was "touch and go."  Dr. Perdue said he was "sicker."  He had been ungraded to stable, but he is once again unstable.
He also has not awoken since 8 a.m.  Although he was on a strong cocktail of meds, his last dose was six a.m., and he should have roused before they took him for surgery at 1:30 p.m.  He also had not woken up after surgery.  They ordered a CT scan, and we are awaiting the results.

I have been holding it together and able to deal with this much better because of the wonderful nursing and medical staff as a whole.  They have been compassionate, caring, understanding, and most of all - patient with my questions and hovering.  All of the nurses before today told me I was easy to work with and often came by to check on us.

So.... I do not know if this was just a personality conflict, we just got off on the wrong foot, or she is just an unprofessional nurse.  I know I was no different today than any other day, except maybe a little more tired. 

I am forcing myself to try to sleep at the Lodge tonight, only because they assured me they would keep him sedated and call me if there were any problems, but most of all, because they assigned the charge nurse from last night to him in order to ease my concerns.  Although I have not worked with Murreal (I know that is spelling wrong, but she doesn't spell it the usual way) before, she was quite nice, reassuring, sweet, professional, and assuaged my fears.

I am so scared tonight.

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