Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This is our third day home from the hospital since Aria's very standard and simple neurosurgery.  This hospitalization wasn't bad.  Knowing we would be in the hospital for some time and then having it take less time than we thought really did make a big difference.

Our neurosurgeon was awesome.  He's just a sweet man.  I want to snuggle with him in the most platonic way possible.  Of course I had to deal with a few residents whose parents clearly didn't read them the right books growing up.  I dealt with people consistently calling my pink clad daughter by the wrong gender over and over again.  Aria had one nurse who I would never hang out with on purpose but she was competent so I'm not going to complain.

And then there was discharge.  Discharge was a trip.  And by "a trip" I mean "indicative of the experiences we tend to have".

I liked our nurse on the day of discharge.  She didn't strike me as a braniac but she was nice enough.  Besides, I learned long ago to never leave my kid alone in the hospital.  It doesn't matter how many medical-related degrees a person has.  No one will ever care as much about or be as diligent with Aria's care as her mama.

So, we were going over her discharge instructions.  The nurse showed me where she had written when Aria had been given her meds most recently (side rant: Does the med schedule in hospitals make sense to anyone else?  The most my kid is ever given drugs is every six hours.  Others are given ever twelve or twentyfour hours.  All of these numbers are divisible by six.  So, why are drugs given at ten different times throughout the day?  It's confusing.  They're just begging for a med error upon discharge if not while the child is still inpatient.)  Then the nurse read the discharge bathing instructions:

Keep the incision dry for 5 days from the date of surgery.  
You may then get the incision wet.  However, DO NOT
soak the incision in water...NO BATHS.   

Then the nurse thought she'd give me her own advice on the bath situation.  She said, "I suppose you could give Aria a bath after five days.  You could just soak her body in water and make sure that her head stays above water.  As long as you don't also soak her head in water a bath should be just fine."

Blink.  Blink.  Blink.

It was at that point I realized that the woman who had been responsible for my child's care all day long thought that Aria, who had surgery on her lower spine three days earlier, had actually had surgery on her head.

I decided not to tell her that my daughters incision was on her lumbar spine, not her head.  I didn't want to be a jerk.  So, I just signed my discharge papers, took my daughter, and ran.

I ran fast. 

It wasn't until after I filled the one of three prescription given to Aria, got home, and prepared to give Aria said prescription that I realized the big error that had been made.  I initially thought the pharmacy had made a mistake but, after looking over my discharge instructions, realized that one of the neurosurgeons had written a prescription wrong.  Like way wrong.  Like kill my kid wrong.  I noticed the error and made adjustments accordingly.  It's a good thing that error happened to our kid and not another.  I think practitioners get annoyed with how diligent I can be at times.  I get openly judged for choosing to take a palliative approach to my child's care and provide her with narcotics on a daily basis (I had a surgical fellow once refer to my choice as "drugging [my] kid".  He has no idea how offensive and hurtful his comment was...and I run into him at the hospital all the time).  I guess they don't appreciate that I'm also responsible and diligent with those narcotics.  I think everyone is lucky I didn't give Aria the 7.5 ml of hydrocodone-APAP (7.5-500/15ml) as written.  I gave her a safe 1.6 ml dose.

They can thank me later.   


Becca said...

Awwww, shit.

The medication error - that one you mention at the end - that one needs reporting, dudes. I know you know that already, really, but c'mon, it's got to go in, might make a big difference for the next kid.

Glad Aria is home and healing - sounds like a relatively (for her) uncomplicated recovery, fab. Long may it continue!

No Guile said...

First time I have read you. :) you are much nicer than I I would have pointed it out or at least said yeah I don't routinely submerges and soak my childes head ya know the whole drowing your kid thing is frowned upon.

Lisa said...

I know I am coming late to the party but my son Matthew has Vacter association, or as his geneticist called it, "vater on the lower end", or "a touch of vater" as I like to say. He also has hearing loss, tef/ea, and a bouquet of other fun take-home prizes. We're headed for a tethered cord repair next week, and reading this post is so helpful. I feel the same way....it's a biggie, but a not-so biggie, and helps to have a great doc. We're getting it done at Children's Hosp in Philly. Anyway...thanks. Your blog is awesome, and your girls are beautiful.