Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Ugly in Here Today

Warning: This is not a happy-go-lucky, feel-good post.

I know it's Christmas, but I am not in a place of tolerance, acceptance, love and openness. Today, I'm angry. Make that livid. If you've vowed to stick with our little story through thick or thin, this would be the part where I'm wearing a little thin.

This weekend we're in the thick of yet another respiratory episode for Ty and the fourth month of nearly continuous earaches for McKay. The inversion has really settled in the Salt Lake Valley and as a result Ty's had a progressively harder time breathing. By Saturday morning, it was obvious Ty needed to see a doctor. Lucky for us, we had our regular 10-day follow up scheduled with the boys' pediatrician to take yet another look at McKay's ears at the conclusion of yet another round of antibiotics. So I called the doctor's office and let them know we would require a double header and loaded the boys into the car.

They immediately hooked Ty up to the pulse oxygen machine where he posted between 88-91. In my mind I pleaded: Please no ambulance, please. After all, letting it get to that point once is somewhat forgivable, but twice? Even I would question my ability to properly care for my child.

"He's borderline," the doctor said. "Let's give him a breathing treatment and see how he responds."

Ten minutes later, Ty's numbers looked slightly better (94-95) and the doc had backed down a bit. "Albuteral treatments every four hours and a steroid pill twice a day for five days. And I want to see him again on Monday."

I can do that. Now for McKay.

As the doctor took out his otoscope I was so ready to hear that everything looked great I about fell on the floor when he said his ears were worse than ever. The antibiotics aren't even touching his infections anymore.

"Now what?" I asked.

"There is one last, intensive treatment we need to try--Rocephin injections," he said. "Two shots, once a day for three consecutive days."

Two shots because Rocephin, in addition to being a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic, is like peanut butter and they have to mix it with a numbing agent to make it tolerable. The dose is so big and the shot so slow, they break it up into two shots given simultaneously to the backdrop of the most intense screaming I've ever seen McKay do. We got the first dose, I held him on my lap, his arms against his chest. I watched the medicine go in and I wept.

"If he can't clear this infection by Monday, I need to consult with Cardiology about putting tubes in his ears," said the doc. "I've seen McKay change over the past few months and it's obvious the infections have changed his disposition. Couple that with the fact that he has no language, no words yet, and I am very concerned. Both are most likely side effects of the chronic infections."

Yesterday broke my heart.

What is going on with my little men? Everyone hesitates to label Ty's distress asthma just yet, because he had NO asthmatic symptoms until the H1N1 hit. Instead they say he has "reactive airways" at least until he has enough episodes to warrant another diagnosis. Whatever you call it, he can't breathe sometimes and it's scary.

Today, I mustered up the courage to take McKay back for shot #2. I picked and packed an early Christmas present for our trip, trying somehow to make it up to him. But the visit was less than stellar.

Of course, because it's Sunday his regular doctor was not there. No big deal, I thought. It's the nurses who give him the shots anyway. However when the nurse who called us back gasped mid-lobby at the sight of McKay's oxygen tubes, I could feel the fire in my heart ignite.

"Oh my gosh, what's wrong with him?" she blurted out. "He really is so sick. Poor, poor baby."

Really? That's how you react to a parent and child in your office? How discreet. I bit my tongue.

I tolerated her forced pouty face and her continuous expression of the phrase, "poor, poor, baby" through the weight and temperature taking. But by the time I got back to the exam room I could not look at her for fear I would let it fly.

"I just hate giving these shots to little kids. They are so painful."

She needed to stop talking. Now.

I met for a very brief visit with a doctor we've never seen before who then sent the previously mentioned nurse and her I-swear-she-was-12-years-old sidekick back into the office to administer the shots.

I held Mac on my lap again, they both took a leg, counted to three, and jammed the needles into Mac's legs (a small distance from the bruises the shots created yesterday). One nurse pulled up quickly while the other continued to give her shot.

The 12-year-old then shared a choice expletive as she looked at her still half-full syringe.

"I thought it was done, this stuff is so thick."

She walked toward him to stick the needle in his leg again. I pulled back.

"Don't you need to clean the injection site?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah," she answered.

She took out another alcohol swab, wiped his leg in yet another spot, and jammed the needle in again.

I could feel my face getting hot. I went silent and cradled McKay encouraging him to breathe and assuring him they were done now.

"He'll probably be in a lot of pain tonight, you should give him some ibuprofen."

Really? A lot of pain from your incompetence? A lot of pain from the fact he just got three injections instead of two? I thought I might drop her right there.

I am mad. I don't want to be, but I am. And I don't really care if I'm overreacting at this point. It's just all adding up to a little more than I can take.

McKay has started fussing every time I put him in the car. Why? Because he knows he's headed for more pain. He goes nearly nowhere else but to doctor's appointments and it's robbing me of what should be a blissfully giggly toddler. Layer Ty's troubles, a bit of claustrophobia from feeling more cooped up than I'd like, the fact that today was among the very rare times since Nov. 1 that we've been together as a family outside the walls of our home, put it all on top of an already tippy cake, and it's definitely beginning to crumble.

I don't pretend that we're picked on. I feel deeply the "Why us?" game should be "Why not us?" when I look at the big picture of all the care and love we've been able to provide. I think my anger comes from expectations. I expect to feel a certain way this time of year. I expect to have things go our way more often than not. I expect to be able to DO something for my babies. Instead, I feel more than a little helpless today.

So that's it. I'm done. It's uglier than usual today, but it's real. Tomorrow we'll do it all over again and hope for better nurses and a divinely-forgiving baby with a short memory. Until then I invite you to feel a little more in the season and read here about how I hope to be feeling soon.


Staci said...

You have every right to be frustrated and upset. It is terrible to think that you would be feeling this way at this time of year or any other. Vent and do what you need to be able to push through this stressful time. As I am sure you know, nothing stays the same for long.

Staci (angel Bridger's mom)

heidivee said...

Mindi, you are a better woman than I am. I think I would have had that stupid nurse fired right then and there. Or I would have at least punched her in the face. And what is up with the "Oh, poor baby?" Seriously? HELLO. I am so sorry. I posted a whiner post on my blog and I think I'll head over and delete it. I don't know how you do it...but I know the Lord is by your side, and often carrying you thru this. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. I read your post out loud to Mike, and Ryan (our 7 yr old) was so upset by it that he started reaming on those nurses and said "Why in the heck would they hire a 12 year old to give shots?" I explained to him that she wasn't actually 12, she just looked and acted like it. We love you guys. We are here for you. Ty and Mac are tough kids, and thankfully kids forget quickly and are very forgiving. We pray these shots will work. Let us know what we can do.

heidivee said...

PS - you have every right to feel the way you do. Every right. Don't ever feel bad for expressing your true feelings. You are such an inspiration to all of us.

Cannon Family said...

I don't know how you held back! I may not have lost it! Hang in there. I hope tomorrow goes better!

Lisanne said...

Here hoping for better nurses tomorrow and some strong wind to blow all this yucky air out of the valley. You are a good women!

Emily said...

If it makes you feel any better, I've actually insisted that I give the shot instead of a nurse. It was just once, and it was also a 12-year-old (I also gave her the blood pressure reading when she couldn't get it for the 4th time). I get so frustrated that I absolutely DREAD when I have to go in to the doctor after hours.

I have also had the awful experience of holding my child down during a painful medical procedure. Her horrible cry resonates in my ears. I, too, held her and just sobbed.

I feel your pain, but I can't really understand what you are going through. I just think you are amazing and that you handle things (even the angry times) with such grace. It is obvious how much you adore your boys and just want the best for them. You are an amazing mother! I think all good mother's fight the urge to take out a few people who are bugging their children throughout the course of a lifetime.

I hope this week is better. Hopefully, the inversion will clear soon and Ty will be doing better (we'll all pray for a huge snowstorm). Hopefully tough little handsome McKay (seriously...I could not believe the hair on that kid's head from your Christmas card - such a good-looking little boy) will get some answers soon. Ear problems are so annoying!

Good luck! We are all cheering for your sweet family!

Ryan and Hilary said...

Oh Mindi, you are such a wonderful mom. This time of year is such a stressful time. I really wish it wasn't but it is. And then to add two sick babies, ugh. Just cry and scream and let it out. You will feel better. We will send extra prayers your way. I really hope that these shots help Mckays little ears. Ear infections are the worst. Hopefully tomorrows appointment won't be a repeat of today.

The Smith's said...

Hi Mindi- Thanks for your honesty ... my blood was boiling when reading about that nurse. We had a similar experience with a home health nurse talking to us about nursing. I lost it! We, too, will pray for a supernatural short memory for McKay and healing for Ty's lungs. God bless!


Jenny said...

I love that you keep it real. Life is not all a bed of roses and I think it is okay to voice discouraging moments. Sometimes it just feels better to get it out, say your peace and move forward as I have no doubt you will do! I know lots of us would love to help but I know some things just can't be helped. I am pulling for tubes for McKay. Those tiny little things are miracle workers. Haven't had a single infection since. Stockton was 10 mo. old when we did it. McKay deserves a break (as do you!). I hope the last shot went better than the second one:).

Jen said...

Mindi I think its ok to tell the nurses if they suck! Seriously the most importain gifts you had with you were your two children. When nurses don't get it letting them know can make sure it doesn't happen in the future. I can't believe her first response to seeing McKay wasnt my word what a beautiful child. You have a great looking family and you are number one in my book. Hang in there your doing great. Merry Christmas! Love the Reeve Family

Anonymous said...

I love you, I am always here to help
grand scudfly

Aimee Hardy said...

That is just awful. Hopefully all this snow is clearing out the air so Ty can breathe again, and I sure hope you get a better nurse for this next shot. In fact, I think you should insist. That just sounds like a nightmare.

I hope you and your cute family have a great Christmas. We really should try to have that playdate in January. Merry Christmas!

Summer said...

Oh I feel your pain and anger.....I'm right up on your soap box with you! I've also had a house full of sickies for Christmas week....and I believe thanks to the yucky air also!! About the it!! Mason has had tubes placed 2x already and it was a breeze! All my kiddos have had tubes..they are wonderful. Dr. Park at Primary's did Mason's. At least save McKay from what pain you can. Something you can try to control! Will be praying for your Ty and McKay.

Loves!! Mason's Mommy