Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

For better or worse..


Its a story of how something was defined as nothing which later was declared as the worst possible thing. Its a story of how simple things become complicated, how even the a least mount of negligence can return to strangle your neck. Its the story of how admiration for a nation's system can with a little pressure change into disgust. Its a story of how this birthday became the worst birthday I ever had. More than all of these, its a story of the perils of parenthood..

Half of the things I wrote in my birthday post were true. I didn't really feel like celebrating my birthday this time. Mainly because Snugli was ill with a slight fever since Tuesday evening. Since it was slight, she couldn't even be given fever reducing drops, so comfort was all I could give her. On my birthday she started coughing a dry cough. I called up her Pediatrician's office only to be told by a nurse that its a common cold and not really to worry. I was giving her steam as prescribed (by switching on hot shower in the bathroom, not putting on the exhaust and closing the door with her with me inside) and had a humidifier switched on in the room to moisturize the air.

We didn't really know why she was ill - she is teething (her lower 2 front teeth have come out :-D), that may have been the reason or we had gone to Niagara Falls over the weekend, so the travel may have been the cause. That is one of the big problems in parenthood. You never know the reason for the suffering of your child and half the time you end up blaming yourself. I didn't know if it was anything I fed her, or maybe it was because I didn't keep her warm enough, or maybe she was chewing on something she isn't supposed to be chewing on and I didn't notice it. You can see the pattern :-\. No matter what she does, I feel that I'm to blame. She has started to crawl on her stomach these days and since she's teething, she just goes after what she wants and chews on it :-\.

Anyways coming back to the story, on my birthday night the cough got worse. It started deepening as if full of phlegm and she started becoming restless. Friday morning, I felt half ill, since I had her with me in bed for the night and I was up for half the night with her. I tried steaming again to no avail. Her breathing was raspy and even sounded like wheezing to Sri. So he called up the pediatrician's office again only to be told again that wheezing was normal in cold and we'd be given an appointment only if we insisted. And we did insist.

As the day progressed, Snugli got worse. After about 10 AM she was crying continuously as if she was in constant discomfort. You'd be too if you couldn't breathe. Her breathing was more rapid and she started to refuse food altogether. This was the point when I started panicking. The appointment was in the noon, so that was when we headed to the doc's office. And thats where things started happening really fast. The doc decided that her breathing was too fast (duh!!) and that she needed some breathing treatment and some chest X-rays to be taken. As soon as the breathing treatment (which was a vapourizer) was applied, there was a visible relief (her breathing eased down and she was able to fall asleep in an instant). The oxygen content in her blood was still low but it increased with the breathing.

The Xrays came back and the doctor declared that there was no pneumonia, but he was still worried about her rapid breathing, so he wanted her admitted to a hospital. Since she needed the breathing treatment + oxygen, he suggested that we take her in an emergency vehicle and not in our car. So I was strapped to a seat with the baby in my arms, holding the oxygen + vapourizer mask to her face and was lifted (!!!) to the ambulance while Sri came in our car. I always wanted to ride an emergency vehicle here but in this case, my mind kept screaming "not like this". My poor baby was glued with electrodes to measure her heart-beat and breathing rate. And it was practically painful for me to watch. Its very difficult to hold the tiny body and contain yourself from not crying when you know she's not alright. Ofcourse I cried. But I was glad that we were able to reach the hospital fast (I even saw a car climbing a divider to let us through!).

We were taken to one of the sections of the emergency room of UK Chandler hospital. Here we were surrounded by more than 10 people. Some of them were trying to glue electrodes on (the earlier ambulance ones were removed), some were asking questions and still others were wondering whether it was a seizure!! Give me a break! What was miserable was that once the electrodes were attached the machine didn't work, they replaced the electrodes and it still didn't work, then they had to replace the machine (This happened later in the normal ward too! Still later Sri was telling me how this could practially lead to the death of a person really in emergency :-\!!). Moreover, I was asked all sorts of questions about her history (Was she premature "No", Did she have any such breathing problems earlier "No", Has she been hospitalized before "No, except for jaundice", Is she allergic "No" and a 100 more) again, again and again. Yeah there were apologies each time but c'mon! Also, they took her X-rays again despite the fact that we had the earlier ones with us. Maybe they didn't trust our pediatrician office :-p. All of these was not really hard for me to do, but what was hard was the fact that they kept gluing things on to my baby and pulling them off despite my baby's crying (yeah I know that they see 100s of babies daily and this might be common for them, but they should realize that its not so common for us).

After it was determined that there was no emergency as such we were moved into a room in the emergency floor itself. A nurse came in and talked to us about how she needs an IV, since she's not feeding and also that she has been prescribed a dose of steroids. We were fine with the IV but not with the steroids. But no doctor came to tell us why it was required (only later when they made round, they told us that it'll not really have that many side-effects and not to worry). When I made half-hearted noises about the steroids, the nurse went, came back and told us that it was what the doctors had asked her to do and we could take it or leave it! Since we didn't really want to risk it, we said ok.

Then the nightmare began. The nurse with the help of another stuck a needle to one arm of Snugli. She probed it here and there (!!) saying she just now had the vein and lost it. Then they tried sticking her on the back of her right palm. When that didn't work either they pricked her on her right foot. It didn't work and they gave a reason saying "since she is dehydrated, her veins are blowing the needle off". So they called another "child expert" who tried pricking her left foot. That didn't work out either and when the nurse finally tried Snugli's left arm, she was able to prick the vein there. The other nurses actually clapped and congratulated her on this particular feat! Needless to say, Snugli was crying all the time, but I couldn't bear the scene either and was constantly in tears. I was so furious with the whole act as such, I mean why couldn't the "expert" be called earlier? They had already pierced her once in the ambulance, so they actually pricked her 6 times! One of the nurses kept apologizing, but lady, apologies don't really help when you are seeing your already-in-pain child made to suffer! What irked me more was the fact that one of the nurses was trying to cheer me up, kept on trying to make jokes about the whole thing and kept on winking. Oh for heaven's sake!!

The only saving grace, if it can be called that, was the fact that when 5 nurses were surrounding Snugli to get the needle in her, she looked at me with sorrowful eyes and actually called me "Amma" for the very first time. Which promptly reduced me to tears again..

Then that night finally one of the doctors came in and reasked the set of initial questions (I am going to use a short form of this since we were asked these still a couple of more times - SOIQs) and finally brought in another doctor who gave us some explanations. No, it was not pneumonia, he didn't really think it was asthma (as she had a bit of cold and fever before the raspy breathing started off and usually asthma attacks occur much more rapidly), but since she was still breathing hard and not taking any food, they'd like to observe her in the ICU. He brought in yet another doctor to reinforce the opinion. When we said yes to ICU, the ICU doctor came in and asked the SOIQs again. I was plain infuriated by the inefficiency of it all. I mean, can't you record the history once and pass it on to the "doctors" who'd come and see the baby? How do they "diagnose" something if they don't even know the history?

We had to wait for the ICU room to be cleared up for us for hours. Meanwhile, Snugli actually recovered a bit, her breathing had slowed down and she had started breastfeeding again. Well, the ICU doctor didn't really listen to me when I informed her of this and we were moved to the ICU around 11PM that night. Well, there was this another story when at first one of the doctors told us both the parents could remain with her in ICU, later when we actually moved, Sri was prevented from coming into the ICU and still later another of the doctors was okay with Sri coming in! I'm just mentioning this as the sheer incompetency of it all boggles the mind! That night we hardly had 4 hours of sleep each, Snugli still less since she was being checked regularly. Morning we were told that she is good and doesn't need to be in the ICU anymore, so they were moving her to the normal children's section. And so they did and her IV was taken off (the needle still remained as they didn't want to prick her again! Ha!) as she was feeding on her own again.

Well, after reaching our private room, it was another story. A nurse came to do her ECG. My point is that they had done it in ICU early in the morning once. And they took off 10 stickers from my child's body saying that they'll not be needed again. When we asked the nurse why it was nececessary again in a couple of hours to do the ECG again, we were informed "doctor's orders". Even the departments don't communicate with each other? Just what the heck are they doing in there? So again she glued some 10-odd stickers to her body then peeled them off saying they need to be removed soon or it'll hurt. She also comments that removing stickers will not really hurt. Oh yes, if you are a stone or something! Why do you think my baby is crying relentlessly? Because she's fond of crying?

Later in the morning we had a doctor visit and he started giving us a lecture on asthma as such. I was stunned but thought that maybe this was a precautionary measure in such occasions. Later another doctor came and he said that we'd have to keep her on a maintenance steroid spray! Now I was totally shocked and started telling him the history again. The surprised tone in his voice when he asked "This is her first time?" was the indication to me that none of these people had actually bothered going through her history. How more inept can it get? After I went through the SOIQs again, he said that "his team" was of the opinion that she needed the spray and that he'll confer with them. As you can guess, I was sick and tired of the hospital by this time.

But wait, it doesn't really get any better. She was supposed to be under observation. But I never saw the "observing". The doctors never showed up for the whole day (they arrived in a group the next morning). We were kept there in the room for the whole day with only the nurses visiting about 3 times, that was it! My poor baby's fever got worse. They took auxilliary temperature and it showed 100.9, still they did absolutely nothing (real temperature is 1 degree Fahrenheit above). Finally when my baby started to refuse feeding again, I had to go and ask them for fever-reducing medicine. Later one of the nurses had the audacity to say that as parents we know our babies, so we have to ask for medicine when we think she is uncomfortable!! That reassures me a lot, thank you very much!

Next day the doctor team came back to say that we'd have to continue the steroid dose for 5 days and they'd give us a spray which can be used only if her breathing goes rapid again. We were finally discharged out of the hospital. Before we left another nurse came in to give us another asthma lecture and yeah, you guessed it right, she didn't know my baby's history either (yup the dreaded SOIQs again, I must have gone through them atleast 12-14 times!!). And you know what? They never told us why the ECGs were required, or what the results were of the ECG and multiple other tests they conducted on my poor baby!

As I write this I still feel like crying. I still feel so furious. And you can see why I'll never go back there. Atleast I'll never take my baby to them again. I have never seen anything like this before (I have been in 2 hospitals here). Most of the people seemed like interns, who either didn't have experience at all or who didn't know what they were talking about. I am so angry with the whole system as such. If Snugli's doctor had agreed to see her the first day, then she wouldn't have gotten this worse. As a parent I have learnt a valuable lesson. Go to the doctor whenever we feel like it. Don't rely on the nurses on the phone. As one of the paramedics said while we were heading to the ambulance "If they say its just a simple cold, then its not their child".

Its like when the problem is small they don't care and when it becomes even a bit worse, they create a hugggggggggggge unnecessary hullabaloo. To be honest, I don't think the steroids were needed at all . I think she'd have recovered just by the breathing treatment (which was a Vicks kind of vapourizer). She's still on the steroids which are getting down her energy, but not her spirit. She's doing perfectly well today and is fully back into her crawling and chewing. Its as if the whole thing never happened at all. But it did happen and it did leave a big scar on my heart, which is the reason I'm writing this post. Which is the reason I'll never set foot in UK Chandler hospital again!

P.S: After we were home, Sri commented on how they asked for our insurance only in the emergency room and nowhere else. Apparently the departments had no problem communicating in that regard.

9 Comments:


on9thcloud retorted...
This comment has been removed by the author.

on9thcloud retorted...

Wow..It's a shame to witness the poor medical system in so called highly developed country.This reminds me of my experience in the hospital during my ninth month of pregnancy. I somehow cought cold and cough and my breathing got bad. I was prescribed whole dose of steroids and hundreds of breathing treatments in emergency room while I didn't really feel a need to have them.That's a whole different story though nowhere compared to mother's pain you would have gone through Deepthi! I literally started crying reading how many times Snugli was poked..I am sooo glad she is back to her normal self again.(Hugs)
-Lavs.


Sonia retorted...

This is such a terrible experience to go through and it is difficult to imagine the amount of unnecessary pain the baby had to be put through...Feel shocked by the whole chain of events..Hope & pray she has recovered well by now...I am sure this post will be a guide to other parents as well when faced with similar situations....


Chickoo retorted...

Oh poor snugli, feel bad reading this. I hope she gets back on her feet soon. Hugs to you too.


Amrita retorted...

Hi,
I have been reading your blog for sometime now and really enjoy it! I am from Bangalore too, now in Canberra.
Just wanted to say that I'm really sorry for your terrible ordeal. I hope the little one gets better soon and that you feel better soon too.
Amrita


Sachin retorted...

Shoot... Sorry what you and pappu had to go through... :(

Coincidentally I read this article as well today... !
http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourHealth/10ThingsYourHospitalWontTellYou.aspx


Soumya retorted...

Huuuuuuuuuuuuge HUG to u and baby!!! I'm so sorry you had to go through all this hungama for a small thing... I wish you won't have to go through anything like this again and loads of luv to snigdha... Take care you guys...


~nm retorted...

OMG! That's such a horrifying and traumatic experience! Hugs to you and the lil baby!

Hope she is doing well now.


The_Girl_From_Ipanema retorted...

hey deepthi,
here's a huge hug for you. that sounds very nerve-wrecking. glad that Snigdha is doing okay now. Take care