August 28, 2008

IV Adventures

Not a whole lot of time to post--I just prevented Nathan from unloading the entire bin of plastic food here at Grandma's because "I'm almost done, and then we'll need to clean up so we can go bye-bye."

I think the crash I just heard from the vicinity of the living room had the unmistakable sound of lots of toys (be it food or toy kitchen pans, etc.) cascading onto the floor... It amazes me how finely-tuned one's hearing can become as a result of motherhood.

Anyway... I wanted to share this weekend's frustration. Sunday morning began with abdominal pain when I woke up, and it only increased over the next several hours. The three of us traipsed into the urgent care clinic so I could be poked and prodded. The gallstones I have were giving me problems. Since the pain continued and I didn't have the energy to care for Nathan on my own, I was admitted to the hospital and stayed overnight Sunday night in order to talk with the surgeon the following day. Silly me: I took only one book with me, which I (of course) finished Sunday night. All day Monday I felt extremely bored. TV... sleep... wander the halls (because of course I didn't sleep well on Sunday night due to restless legs syndrome kicking in)... feel frustrated with the hassles of having an IV in my left arm. By the time I talked with the surgeon around 4, I either wanted to head into surgery to have my gallbladder taken out or just go home. Argh.

On the humor front, I managed to create some problems for myself, even alone in the hospital. I went to get ready for bed Sunday night, casually assured the nurse that I would be fine and didn't need help, and started to undress.

Only after I started removing my top did it occur to me: the IV in my left arm would effectively prevent me from removing anything on top.

I ran down my list of options:
1- Sleep in the clothes I'd worn all day
2- Remove clothing as best I could and just let it hang on the IV line for the night
3- Try to detach the IV line from the machine myself so I could get undressed

If you know me, you can guess which option I chose! I examined the machine first, to see if it would be easier to detach the line there, but quickly decided just to unscrew the port from the line in my arm. No problem; it came off without any problem. I removed the necessary clothing, got ready for bed, went to reattach the IV line... and ran into my brick wall.

Trying to attach a bracelet one-handed is simplistic compared to trying to screw an IV line back onto a port inserted in your arm with just one hand. My shoulders slumped as I realized I would have to call a nurse in to "confess" what I had done.

Anna, the nurse, was gracious enough to laugh with me about my predicament once she came in and I explained what I'd done. She asked me what I do for a living; I told her I had a degree in biomed engineering, and she said, "Oh, so you must know how these machines work."

"Um, no..." I said, "I just lack all appropriate sense of fear when it comes to trying something new."

"Apparently you do; most patients are hesitant to do anything involving an IV machine!"

Well, I don't fall into that category. I'm more the sort whose husband tells her before leaving for the night that she isn't allowed to take a screwdriver and remove the back of the IV machine (which, I must say, is exactly what Trent did that night before leaving for home).

So... the moral of the story is that one should not attempt to attach (or insert, for that matter) IVs one-handed. Got it?

The really sad part in all of this is that I don't know if I'd choose differently if presented with the same choice today! God certainly does protect the stupid--I'm living proof!

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