May 15, 2013

A Number of Wellness

In the absence of miraculous signs of recovery -- like vanishing wounds, exuberant disposition, writing on the wall -- I rely on evidence of improvement found in cryptic numerical expressions, like "CBC = 24.6" or "99.7° F" or "150 cc's suctioned". 

Even though phrases like these hold meaning for me, it's hard to interpret the sum of it all as "good news." Changes for the better happen so gradually and are so shifting, there's no room for a sense of peace or optimism. Changes for the worse happen suddenly and at any given moment, no matter how "well" a patient seems to be doing.

And my mind, it's far more menacing than chronic illness or congenital conditions, because bacteria is alive; it's a foreign invader that multiplies and destroys, and you just pray the antibiotics are strong and smart enough to overcome the attack.

Gumball lays there and lays there and lays there, still, unchanging. The IV drip churns and beeps, the sink leaks, the baby in the next room wails in her own variety of agony. I sit here on the "sofa" with my coffee cooling and the clock's hour hand stuck on the same damn number it was half a day ago.

What I want is a new numerical expression. Take all the blood you need. Run all the tests you want. Take her vitals till we're all sick of readings, but dammit, give me a new number.

May 14, 2013

And just like that...

...something that seems of relatively little consequence blossoms and lands you in the OR less than 24 hours later.

 I've dealt with staph numerous times before, and fever and discomfort, but Gumball's lethargy was so marked, I carried her into emergency. By morning, her abscess spread to three times its original size, so the doc opted to go in and clear it surgically.

 She's been on antibiotics and three rounds of morphine, and her fever persists. She hasn't cracked a smile once -- not even a hint in her shiny black eyes.

 A mother's hell is being trapped at a hospital bedside, watching her baby whimper through pain because there is no longer any strength to fight it. And five other kids at home fending for themselves.

 Hell is knowing your children need you but you can neither bend time nor space to help them.

May 12, 2013

Mother's Day: Working a Double

The official shift began at 3 am -- middle-of-the-night store run for infant meds.  Gumball's (9 1/2 mos) temp was 102.2, and I had nothing to give her. She's the fourth kid this week to catch this virus, but add to that a mean staph infection in her diaper area....

I've been coddling her ever since, trying to keep the fever down, draining her staph at every other diaper change, nursing her pretty constantly. She's in so much pain and obviously worn out. Of all the stressors I'm dealing with at the moment, staph is the one that I cannot cope with. It just makes everything else seem impossible.

Major Stressors

  • Gumball's staph & virus
  • Sister's newborn I have not yet gotten to meet
  • Debilitating tendinitis in (dammit, of course) my DOMINANT arm
  • Impending educational deadlines
  • Sibling rivalry at an all-time high (in the fashion of animalistic regression aboard a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean, when everyone else begins to look like hamburgers and hotdogs)
And I no longer enjoy Miner's long-distance support via Internet chat, because now, he's working on a rig from the Neolithic period; they still communicate with smoke and drums.

So I'm on my own with this mess. With one functioning arm. And the clock ticking. The only thing I'm not dealing with is a leaky roof in a hurricane, but I'm bracing myself.

I used to have a battle cry for times such as this, but I lost the range somewhere along the way. Not sure what happened to the Warrior.