Monday, February 21, 2011

Update on the last post I made....

I would not have thought it possible, but miracles do happen.

She survived.

We got more details of the ordeal after she was transferred to ICU. Apparently she developed abdominal compartment syndrome and had to be opened stem to stern to relieve the pressure. Someone manually massaged her heart while they had her open. They had to wait >24hrs before closing her back up because it took so long to stabilize her.

And yet she made it. With no major neurological deficits. There was some issue with her placement in the hospital after she no longer needed ICU-level care. They transferred her straight back to us, because they were not quite honest about her condition. Normally we don't take care of practically-immobile full-care patients with 3 abdominal drains. She shoulda gone to Tele or something at least. It's hard to turn a patient every 2 hours when you don't have any CNAs on your unit, and the House Supervisor isn't willing to budge....

But she made enough progress that 2 weeks after the ordeal, she's going home. I know there will be some drama for awhile, because no one goes through that sort of trauma unscathed. Especially since her family didn't tell her what really happened to her (it's a cultural thing) after the delivery.

Regardless, I wish her and her family the best of luck.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The rumors came in hushed tones at first, as they often do....

As if speaking them more loudly would make them truer. Which we all hoped would not happen. The first of them came when the baby was wheeled, alone, into the nursery.

"I heard the mom lost 6 litres of blood."
"They're going to have to do a hysterectomy."

Then even more quietly.... "They say she might not make it......"

Whenever there's an emergency with a mom in L&D, they bring the baby to our nursery so that everyone, including dad, can focus on mom for awhile. We became more concerned when dad showed up in the nursery to visit.

He had so many questions, a wide-eyed first-time father. To us seasoned vets, some of the questions were funny:
"How often does a baby poop? Every 3 hours?" "Well, you can't really predict that...."

Some were strange: "Did he cry when you fed him?" "Do you mean did he cry before because he was hungry, or during the feeding?" "During the feeding." "...No... he was pretty happy about it."

And then there was an overhead page. "Code Blue. Labor and Delivery. OR"

You could practically feel everyone in the unit's hearts collectively stop.

Dad then asked the question that we all hoped he wouldn't: "What does Code Blue mean?"

The break nurse and I exchanged a brief glance of panic, before I gently said, "It means there's an Emergency." I didn't want to tell him the truth. The dad said, "It's probably my wife. There were some problems after the delivery." The break nurse suggested that he go back to L&D to check in, but he stayed in the nursery for an agonizingly long minute or two before finally leaving.

The mood on the unit was funereal and somber. You could see the prayers on peoples' faces.

Another overhead page, specifying that a certain doctor come STAT. One nurse turned to me and said "I hope she's not gone."

Down the hallway we see a doctor and a security officer talking with dad. You can't hear from so far away, but you can only imagine the conversation. Dad looks like a small, lost little boy, with his hands clasped tightly in front of his chest, as if he's trying to keep his heart from falling out and shattering on the floor.

A doctor/nurse/tech (didn't see his name tag) in green scrubs came by to offer some information to our charge nurse. "We lost her pulse twice. They're working on getting her to the ICU. We poured so much blood into her, but it all kept just coming right back out. We didn't even get to finish stitching her back up all the way"

I was in the hallway when they wheeled the mom towards the elevators. A sea of green scrubs like waves carrying the bed along, with a person kneeling at the head of the bed, rhythmically pumping the ambu-bag while someone else followed, carrying the bed's headboard.

The person in the bed looked like an intubated wax mannequin, no signs of life whatsoever, and a horrible damp sheen over the unreal ashen skin.

Another doc came by the nursing station and uttered the most terrifying acronym in the maternity world: DIC. The body uses up all its clotting capabilities and just bleeds and bleeds and bleeds and there's not a lot you can do about it.

The last of the information comes from the janitorial staff. "They say she was fine for the first hour and a half, and was holding her baby. Then after that she started having problems."

"It took us two and a half hours to clean up all the blood."

I know I don't have a huge blog readership, but if any of you out there reading this could spare a moment, I'm sure prayers/happy thoughts/good vibes would be greatly appreciated by the family, even if they don't know it's happening.