Saturday, November 8, 2008

Did someone screw up?

Good news: today The Boy had his NG tube removed, so his handsome face is unobstructed by tubes and tape. I'd imagine that he probably feels more comfortable without it in there, but if his stomach starts to distend or if he throws up gut-sewage again, it will probably go right back in.

Here's the first possible screwup: The Boy had the NG tube on suction when he came into the ICU from surgery on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, the NG tube was taken off suction and was just...sitting there. By Wednesday night, he was throwing up gut-sewage every few hours. FINALLY the nurse put him back on suction on Thursday afternoon, saying that she'd just do it and then check orders. When he was moved out of ICU, it was disconnected again and not hooked back up. Up came more gut-sewage the next morning.

Thing is, I wonder if, had they kept him on the suction continuously through Tuesday and Wednesday, maybe Thursday too, that he'd have been off of the suction by Thursday night or Friday and been nursing by yesterday or today. As it is, last night he was terrifically miserable because he was awake enough and well enough to be hungry and pawing at my shirt, and screaming hysterically. He was medicated a few times over the course of the evening, even though he may or may not have been in pain. And I hate giving him medication when something else will work better...but he wasn't ready to nurse yet because the NG tube was still in there and still sucking stuff out.

Next thing: the original pain management plan was to use an epidural. Just like the kind that some women scream for while in labor. It sounded fine at the time, but once he came out of surgery, it was apparent that the incision ended up being too high to control the pain by means of the epidural. They left it in for far longer than it needed to be, and the first night after surgery, it took almost 2 hours from the time that the cartridge ran out until the time that it was replaced. So we had something in his spine for a long time even though it didn't seem to be doing anything. I've never had an epidural, but I've heard several people complain about headaches from having had them, and I wouldn't be shocked if The Boy had a headache in addition to all the other crap in his life this week.

They switched him to the morphine drip anyway, which he probably should have been on in the first place. Problem with morphine is that it slows down the recovery process in that the bowels stay sleeping. It's a tough balance.

I'm going to reiterate something I said earlier on a message board and got chewed out about by someone who either doesn't understand or is just too stupid to remember what it feels like: There are no emergencies in the hospital. The Boy sets off his monitors every time he cries, and you'd think that someone would come in to check on him. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don't. If it weren't for the fact that Musical Daddy and I are so on top of his care and so knowledgable about what's going on with him, I can't even imagine what would be going on.


Jennifer said...

I hope he's feeling better soon! I don't go on the boards anymore, but I'll still comment I can only imagine the "wonderful" care the 5 month old that was left is getting. I'm sure the nurses are overworked and all...if that's the case they need to hire more nurses. The bills will be high enough to at least rate more attention.

Musical Daddy said...

Jennifer, you're pretty much correct. The things that the 5-month old has in her favor is that 1) she's cute and 2) she's by herself. So, everybody comes over and pays attention to her. Since there were four adults - on average - taking care of The Boy, they didn't quite feel as hurried as they could, which was why he was screaming in pain for hours and hours on Tuesday night.