Monday, March 24, 2008

How To Save A Life

I saved a life today. I am still kinda shaky from all the adrenaline.

First, some back ground so you know how out of the ordinary this is:

My job at the hospital is to take care of the hearing health needs of inpatients. Although I see a few adults a month, the majority of my patients are infants. The majority of the tests I do are the state-mandated hearing screenings on newborns. I work with babies in the intensive care nursery (ICN) the most.

Now, babies in the ICN can be pretty sick. Some are on the verge of death when they are admitted. But by the time I see them, they are about to go home. They are eating well and gaining weight. And although they may still be hooked up to monitors (which trigger a pager worn by a nurse when they have an "episode"), they are not having any issues with decreased breathing or heart rate.

The point I am trying to make here is that my job is not one that is emergent. The patient is not going to die if I don't see them. The patients are usually healthy enough to be heading home fairly soon after I seen them. So when there is excitement in an area where I am, I usually get as far out of the way as possible.

So this morning, I did a hearing screen on a baby who was doing so well that she was not on a monitor. I finished the screening and she did well. While doing the charting, I noticed I was out of the hand-outs I usually leave for the parents describing the test and the results. I figured she didn't really need one and went off to test another baby in another part of the ICN.

When I was finished with that baby, her mom showed up and I decided to print out the form for her. I had to go back to the part of the ICN where the first baby was to pick up the printed forms. I figured since I was already there, I would drop one off in the first baby's room.

Then the excitement started. I walked over to her crib and see her silently flailing her arms while turning a nice shade of purple. Now most babies this age choke on their spit-up at some point but once they are rolled on their side, the "stuff" pours out and they sputter and cough and are generally okay. So I rolled her on to her side but nothing came out and she still wasn't making any noise. So I picked her up and draped her over one hand (yes, she was small enough to hold with one hand) while hitting her back with the other. She still wasn't making any noise so I shouted out for help while continuing to slap her back. She still wasn't making any noise and the purple color was getting deeper so I shouted again so the nurses could figure out which room I was in. Just as the 5 or 6 nurses, the neonatologist, and the respiratory therapist got to us, she made a little cough sound. I asked the nurse in front of me to take her and I backed up against the wall furthest from her crib. Meanwhile, the nurses suctioned out her mouth and she started to cry. At this point the shock wore off and I started to hyper-ventilate and cry.

Once she was crying, the doctor smiled at me and jokingly asked if they needed to resusutate me... one nurse said to the baby, "Let's get you back on a monitor". GEEE, YOU THINK?!?!?!

The whole incident, from the time I saw her struggling to the time I handed her off to the nurse, could not have lasted more the 45-60 seconds but it felt like an eternity. It seemed to take forever for the nurses to find us and forever for the nurse to take her out of my hands.

I had never seen a baby that color before. I don't ever want to again. I don't remember consciously making the decision to do any of the things I did... I guess instinct (read "God") just took over. But as soon as there was someone there who knew what to do, I panicked and handed her off.

This is why I am not a nurse.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weighing In

41.5 lbs on March 23, 2007

Saturday, March 22, 2008

High School Never Ends

There is a song out by a band called Bowling For Soup called High School Never Ends. If I was more tech savvy, I would offer you a link to listen. But I haven't quite got the skills for that just yet so you'll just have to visit iTunes or You Tube for yourself. Regardless, the basic gist of it is that we spend 4 years in social hell just to discover that the real world is the exact same social hell. As negative as that sounds, its a pretty good song: upbeat and funny and just generally fun to listen to.

Friday night, I had dinner with a group of folks I knew from my high school. A few I had known since grade school. We were a very eclectic group in many ways. We ranged in ages from 15 to mid 40s (a former teacher and her son joined us) and we could have been an ad for the United Colors of Benetton with all the ethnicities we represented. Some had been the nerds, some had been popular. Some had been social butterflies and some had been the quiet kids who hardly spoke. But here we were, 13 years after our high school graduation, having dinner and chatting like not a day had passed.

The conversations were more grown up now. Not so much who kissed who and who was "talking" to whom. Instead, it was who was working/living where, who had bought a house, and who was expecting. But the overall dynamic was the same. And it was great to see everyone and catch up on everyone's lives.

We attended an inner city public high school. We went through metal detectors and had our bags searched daily. Local law enforcement and EMTs made appearances a couple times a week due to a fight or gun/knife brought to school. And as I looked around that table, I could not help but be proud that every last person at that table (with the exception of the 15 year old of course) had a college degree. Some had multiple degrees! Despite all the social hell we went through, we managed to rise above, educate ourselves, and do something with our lives.

The social hell spoken about in the song and the social hell we experienced are very different. Don't get me wrong... we, too, had the popular kids and the yearbook/newspaper nerds (I was one of them) and the athletes just like everywhere else. But there were much more dangerous things we had to worry about as well. So I guess I think the song is funny because, to me, it's about a high school that only exists in the movies.

What was your high school like? Do you stay in touch with anyone? Did you attend any reunions? If so, what were they like?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Easter!

Bailey was 38.5 lbs on Sunday the 16th.

One of the folks in our puppy class told me that their vet said doubling what a dog weighs at 16 weeks is a good indication of what they will be fully grown. So we are looking at between 70 and 80 lbs if this holds true. I can handle that. I was worried we might be looking at a 90-pounder so I am breathing a little easier.

So Bailey can now sit, lay down, and stay on command fairly consistently. She comes pretty well, too, but if she is headed in one direction and coming to me is in the other direction, the way she is heading over-rules. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be the street. So once she stops and returns back too me, how am I supposed to punish her or let her know how bad that was? All I can do is reward her for coming but I still feel she needs to know the street is dangerous.

We did have an issue over the weekend when she decided she wouldn't sit for me. She would for my husband and everyone in the puppy class but not for me. If I physically pushed her into a sit, she would lay down and/or stay depending on the command... she just would not sit... I guess she is just a typical adolescent and was testing her boundaries.... since Monday, she is sitting on command for me again...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Family Updates

This is for those of you who really know me, not just through the blogosphere:

My Marine brother (the youngest) is finally back from Iraq! He spent just over a year there. He is back at his base in the USA but has not been "home" since returning to the country. Still, we are so glad he's home!!!

My Biologist brother (the middle child) and SIL are doing well. SIL is working on her PhD in Chemistry. When she is done, my brother wants to go back for his PhD in Biology.

My Parents and Nani are doing well. Nani still gets out to go to the store with my mom and gets to church a few times a month. She has been in and out of the hospital lately with CHF (congestive heart failure) but her only complaint is that she feels weak and worn out... so she is not in any pain... and that is good.

No, I am not pregnant yet... please stop asking :-)

Monday, March 17, 2008


She likes to bury her face when she sleeps. I snapped this one while she napped in her kennel:

She is such a big girl!

Although Bailey is a puppy, she is not a small dog. So when I didn't see her on the bed when I woke up the other day, I was a bit concerned. Gizmo used to get lost under the covers all the time, but not Bailey. When I pulled back the covers, I found this:

Hopefully I can get some pics at the dog park... the way she darts around and plays, it's hard so keep your fingers crossed for me :-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Bailey does not know her own strength.

When she wants your attention she will sit at your feet. If you don't attend fast enough (about 5-10 seconds which isn't too bad) she will paw at your leg if you are standing, knee if you are sitting, or chest if you are lying down. It's the last one that causes me the most pain, as you might imagine.

She also is still a bit clumsy. Either that or she just doesn't care. When she goes to lie down, she will circle around a space then fall hard onto her side. She doesn't seem to mind this but the loudness of it startled my brother and SIL when she did it at my parent's house the other day. And she busted my lip and left a cut on my nose when she landed on my head as I was sleeping.

She is growing fast and is now able to climb into and out of my car unassisted. She weighed 33 lbs at the vet and the doctor said she was starting to lose her puppy teeth. The only problem I see right now is that the only pics that I can really get of her is when she is sleeping. She can't sit still long enough to take any while she's awake.

I will post more pictures soon, and hopefully they won't all be of her sleeping :-)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dog Parks

The weather was so nice this weekend that we spent a fair amount of time on both Saturday and Sunday at the dog park.

There are 2 within 15 minutes of my house so on Saturday, we went to one near the home of one of my co-worker's with the intent of letting our dogs meet and play together. Since I had never been to a dog park before, this seemed like a nice plan. Once we got there however, I realized I was clearly mistaken. Her dog, Daisy (a Bull Mastiff) and Bailey headed for opposite sides of the park to play with other dogs. So much for that idea :-)

Overall I was pleased with the place. The ground was mostly covered with wood chips so avoiding mud was manageable for the human visitors. The lake was blocked off for the winter for obvious safety concerns and the whole place was shaded by large trees and general wooded areas. There was a water fountain for the dogs and their people and Bailey had a great time. I was a bit confused about some of the etiquette, however. Although they provided trash cans and what appeared to be a dispenser for baggies, I saw no one picking up after their dogs. I noticed areas where there seemed to be more droppings than others but for the most part you really had to watch where you walked.

On Sunday we checked out the one a bit closer to our house with the intention of wearing Bailey out a bit before her class so she wouldn't be too wound up to pay attention (which has happened in the past). It was much more open with the only trees being the random stick figures scattered around the field and the nicely manicured evergreens in the corners of the fenced in area. There was a nice asphalt trail that circled the whole park so mud was not an issue for the humans who chose to remain on the path. They provided baggies and everyone seemed to pick up after their dogs.

Both parks had nice water fountains and benches for the humans to sit on and/or the dogs to lay under. Both had areas for the humans to walk without trudging through mud. And both had owners with varying definitions of "supervised". Neither park jumped out at me as better or worse for the dogs and they are both within 15 minutes of our home. I liked them both but they each had their own pros and cons.

So I pose this question to you: What do you look for in a dog park? Is it a big open field or a wooded area with plenty of shade? Do you prefer a trail or would a scattering of wood chips suffice? Do you care if owners pick up after their pooches or do you feel it's a dog's place where the owners can relax so we just need to watch our step?