Thursday, January 5, 2012


Living in the Hospital Part III

     Many days and nights had passed since the time I had started living in the hospital.  I hadn’t been home since the day the hospital had called us to come in.  I knew with the blood pressure issue I had to stay here so I could be closer to our newborn son, Nathan, and that was the only thing that could keep my wife Aba calm enough for the blood pressure to decrease to a safe number.  
     I was sleeping on the same two small chairs but now my aching body was used to pain and stiffness.  The night had been frigid as usual, even the comforter (I had now upgraded from my small sheets) had not been enough to keep away the extreme cold.  Now, it was morning and the rising sun was pouring in some warmth through the hospital windows. 
     Two nurses passed by on their way to their morning shift.  One of them called to me kindly and pointed to a small out-of-the-way box on the far wall and explained to me that if I was cold I could put up the heat at night when I was sleeping in the waiting room.  She told me that she imagined that it would be very cold for me here.  I quickly thanked her for her kindness and then she left with the other nurse.  You don’t understand how happy I was after I had heard those words from the nurse’s mouth.  The past few nights, I had nearly frozen to death and the comforter had done very little to keep me warm. 
     I reached up and scratched my chin, and I felt my beard.  It had grown wild and unkempt these last few days, so I made a mental note to remind my wife to bring me something to shave with when she came later today to pump.  Every three hours, I was up to feed Nathan and changed his diapers.  A lot of the nurses told me I should go home so I wouldn't collapse from sheer exhaustion, but I explained to them the situation with my wife and the blood pressure.  In afternoons my wife came, and she brought all the breast milk she had been pumping from home and then she would pump even more in the hospital as well until she left to go back to the house in the evening with my parents.
     The door swung open and a nurse stepped out.  I said hello and she responded to me as well.  As she was walking towards the elevator, she stopped and slowly turned around to face me. 
     “I’m sorry,” she said to me in a very concerned voice.  “I don’t mean to get into your business but I see you here every day and the way you treat your baby, it’s obvious you love your baby.  So what I don’t understand is why would your wife kick you out of your house?”
     My sleep-addled brain tried to understand what she was saying, and then it clicked.  Since she always saw me sleeping here at nighttime, she must have assumed for some reason that my wife must have literally kicked me out of the house.
     “Oh no!” I quickly explained.  “My wife didn’t kick me out.  I’m here, because they took the blood pressure and it was very high and even with medication it wasn’t coming down fast enough for her.”
     “I’m so sorry,” she said, looking a bit uncomfortable after her mistake. 
     “That’s not a problem at all.”
     After that she went inside the elevator and she left.  I checked my cell phone and It was time for me to go to see Nathan.  I cleaned up the area where I had slept and then went to the bathroom.  I quickly got myself ready, and as I did that I chuckled, because I remembered that movie with Tom Hanks where he lives in the airport.  I felt like him, really, but I now lived in a hospital instead of the ocean (grins).
     When I was done with the bathroom, I went to the door that led to the NICU.  There was a sink nearby where all visitors were supposed to clean up.  I took the brush, and soap so I could thoroughly scrub my hands.  As soon as I was done, I wasted on time to go to Nathan.  I saw the doctor and she explained to me that there was a problem that they found this morning.
     My heart sunk and I wondered how low Nathan’s blood sugar had dropped.  The doctor took Nathan’s arm and showed me.  There were two huge, reddish bumps on his arm and one of them was leaking pus.  They were both as hard as rocks
     “We found this abscess this morning,” explained the doctor.  “I believe it was caused when the IV was being placed on his arm when he first came to the NICU.  I’ll have to drain it, and send some of the samples down to the lab for tests.  Our biggest worry is that the pus might get into the blood and that would not be good.”
     I asked a few more questions, and the doctor answered all of them for me.  Nathan would be staying in the hospital for much longer now, because of the abscess he had developed.  Then I stepped outside so pus could be properly drained.  I went back to the waiting area.  My poor Nathan, not only had low blood sugar, but now two huge abscesses on his arm.. 
     I took a deep breath and dialed my wife’s phone number.  This wasn’t going to be easy for me to explain to her, and so I prayed that her blood pressure would not skyrocket from the news…

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