I promise to post a favorite recipe of mine next week.
After a hellish stay for a week in the hospital I am finally home. I went in thinking my superhero would be done in a day. I rushed there, grabbing enough for two days because I thought that was the longest I would have to be there. After all, that is what I was told.
Nope first I had to have a test that involved shoving a tube down my throat to see if a gallstone was down there. There was one, and it was minuscule, but it couldn’t be left to wander around and cause complications.
So the next day I had an ercp, which got the stone out. Yay! Now I can go home, right? Now I can have the surgery? Sure! It will be right in a couple of hours!
Actually no not today but tomorrow. Day 3. Okay, fine. So I wait and I wait and I wait. I’m allowed to take a shower, finally. (3days of no showering) The surgery keeps getting pushed back. First morning, then 2 o’clock, then whatever time in the afternoon. Eventually I have to hunt down the nurse. The surgery has been pushed back another day.
During this entire time I am hooked up to an iv. I am basically naked. I’m dirty, stinky, and pissed. I also have a tiny baby who is running low on diapers and I am breast feeding- baby will not take a bottle so she screams during the pump and dump sessions (I learned later that those are not needed in most cases.) I also can’t hold her because my iv was put in the crook of my arm so awkwardly that I have to have it at a weird angle or it will pop out. I also didn’t get to eat anything other than chicken broth and jello and that was restricted too. Thank God my husband was there.
On day 3 I was allowed to eat. I even had a menu! But the line was busy, would close within the hour. and i had learned by now that you should never be patient and wait for anything at a hospital. So I went to the cafeteria and prayed id find something to keep my milk up an not cause a gallbladder attack. Stale pita bread and processed chicken with salad didn’t kill me so yay.I was so depressed and angry I lost hope. I cried almost every night. Nobody would give me an answer to my questions. When they did it was a vague non-answer or even a complete ignoring that I had even said anything.
On day 4 I packed my stuff. Surgery or no surgery i couldn’t take it anymore.i was no longer the cheery, talkative woman who went in. I didn’t ask the nurses for anything; I responded to their questions with less than a handful of words. Eventually the IV popped out, thank God, and was finally put where I had said it would work. (Nobody believed me before, because apparently you need to be an RN to remember where IV’s have worked well in the past.) While I was waiting to hear that my surgery had been pushed back, I just laid in bed. I was sick of going out in a robe that afforded no modesty and an IV that screamed “sick!”.
During my stay we couldn’t leave for diapers, so the baby got diaper rash. Eventually a kind nurse procured some for us- a size too big but they worked. We also came down with nasty colds. We couldn’t sleep due to having someone in our room all the time. If it wasn’t a nurse it was an assistant, if not an assistant someone to clean, if not someone to clean then a doctor.
By the way, doctors…go update what you thought you knew about breast feeding. I no longer trust any of you on that subject at all.
Things I learned…
1. Caloric intake DOES affect breast feeding. My milk took a huge dip. The doctors said it wouldn’t. Bullshit. I lost 10 pounds due to not being able to eat. My baby was incredibly fussy due to lower milk.
2. Unless there are some very unusual drugs being used for anesthesia, it IS safe to breast feed. If you want to be safe pump and dump for four hours only.
3. If the hospital says anything about how long things should take, take it with a grain of salt. There could be mishaps, emergencies, etc and you shouldn’t allow yourself to hope for anything. You WILL be disappointed. Plan accordingly.
4. My husband rocks. Words can’t express how grateful I am that he took care of me and baby as best he could.
Things doctors and nurses should know:
1. Sticking an iv in the crook of a mother’s arm essentially cripples her. Making it so that she can’t hold her baby, change diapers, breast feed without help, or even put on that ugly gown on her own is emotionally traumatizing especially when she came in for a problem in her abdomen. Take some time to stick the IV somewhere where she won’t be disabled and kept from doing the one thing she should be able to do-care for her child. You don’t need to care about mothers and babies but if you want an easier patient to work with, try it out.
2. Medicines stay in the breast milk for a very short time. Do some UPDATED research and find out that its RARE to have to pump and dump for 24 hours. Maybe you’re just trying to CYA legally, but screw the lawyers.
3. Realize that asking a mother to essentially starve a baby for 24 hours is traumatizing to mother, child, and her husband. Don’t act as if introducing a bottle is easy. It’s not. Some babies NEVER accept the bottle no matter how much you try. I was trying for weeks before my surgery, even before I knew I had gallbladder issues.
4. Don’t expect a mother to have a good milk supply when she hasn’t eaten any significant calories in four days. If the mother is starving so will the baby. And guess what? Some babies REJECT formula!
5. Warn people that while yes, the surgery itself can have the patient out on the same day, the surgery might not happen the day the patient is admitted. Don’t give false hope so that the patient plans for a day or two when its really going to be a week.
6. When you say you are going to send someone to interpret to the husband, actually do it. Consistently. I thought that was a given…
7. Don’t try to imply that a mother is somehow irresponsible for not bottle feeding her baby on a regular basis. That is one of those areas where you aren’t supposed to be showing your opinions. And they are nothing more than opinions, no matter what degree, if any, you may have.
I’m also changing peds after this. Not only do I hope and pray to never go back to the hospital (except for births and then may I stay as short as possible) but I also learned that when its 1am and my baby is literally starving and screaming the best advice I can hope for is “if it looks like there is a problem go to the emergency room” and “of course she will accept a bottle!”.
No, my baby won’t accept a bottle. Especially while screaming. And the emergency room doctors were the ones who were even more clueless about breast feeding than most.
So about 10 hours after surgery I broke the 24 hour pump and dump rule after doing my own research, since I was getting no answers from anybody.. AND NOTHING HAPPENED!
She ate, she slept, she breathed normally, and was only clingy due to having been separated for so long. In short she is back to normal.
Happy as I am to have that gallbladder out, and grateful as I am that we found help at the last second…I officially hate hospitals now. I appreciate all the hard work the hospital staff do (I’m in awe of a lot of it, actually) but I never want to be in that position again.
Also is it too much to ask hospitals to come up with gowns that don’t sap dignity?