Thursday, July 06, 2006

A night in the hospital volume 1

A bunch of people, including both Abby's and my mother, have offered to come and sleep in the hospital with Ellie so Abby and I can have a night off. So far we have politely declined these offers because until you have done it, you have no idea what it is like to be here and how little fun it is to be here, even with a very cute sleeping Ellie nearby.

First off is the environment of the hospital at night. It is never quiet with bells and buzzers and beepers and phones going off all night long. Until you know which noises are yours (home team) and which are someone else's (away team) you get up with every one of them, which makes it a very tense night.

Second, you never really sleep. Yes, you nod off and close your eyes in the hazy light of the monitors and machines and pumps and so forth, but sleep really isn't on the menu. It doesn't help that your bed is a pull out naugahyde invention that is sticky like the seats of the station wagon that we had when I was a kid.

Third, When you do sleep you wake up scared that you were so asleep, and the possibility that you missed something, that you wish you hadn't been alseep so well.

Then there is Ellie duty, which is always interesting. At anytime in the night she will make noises and all of them could need your attention no matter how loud or quiet they are. The only thing that I can compare it to is being a lifeguard and counting kids all day long looking for something that isn't right. Now it is listening to the sound of the AC and trying to hear something that isn't quite right above the hum of the fan.

Sometimes it a s simple as replcing a bink/souce/plug/pacifier that has fallen out. I am at my most calm when I can heat the handle of her bink clicking against the bink. Click click click, suck, suck, suck. A happy girl.

Sometimes it it is because Gut Girl has a throatful of barf and is gagging on it because she is so tense with gas that is pushing it out. During the day this gets us the red Tomato Face. At night it is just scary to hear her gurgle.

Some nights are better than others but there are nights when the action is so busy that you are up more than you are down and both Abby and I admitted the other day that we have dozed off while standing against the crib.

Most nights I just sleep with my butt down the chairbed so all I have to do is swing my legs over the side and stand up.

Then there are the various other things that wake you up. Her pumps run on two hour cycles and need to be reset by the nurse at the end of every cycle. If the nurse is busy, bing! bing! bing! goes the pump until you get up and ask for help.

Or you may wake up when the nurse opens the door or when the nurse is standing next to Ellie's crib and over your chair/bed. Since most parents that stay at the hospital are moms for some reason, it it sometimes interesting to see the look of surprise on the face of a new nurse when all 6'4" and 230 pounds of me stands up in the middle of the night.

It is now 11:15 and Ellie has been in and out of her crib for about an hour now but has been pretty quiet.

I am going to make up my chairbed and start to go to bed. Mornings come early around here at 4:30 or so when you see the sky getting light and might as well get up so it is best to get settled early.

1 comment:

Martha Brogan said...

My offer still stands for a night with the girl! There were nights with you kids as babies that I was up more than down-and Ellie is across from the nursing station. I'll come whenever you can convince Ellie to go.