Transplant Day 6

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I consider it very good news to share that today was supremely, well.. lazy. Patrick is talkative and happy today.

Things didn’t start out that way. First of all, one anti-rejection medication requires vital signs, including blood pressure, to be checked very 30 minutes and so Patrick already wasn’t sleeping well. During the night, he kept rubbing at the staples around his belly button until he made the incision weep and we had a steroid fueled tantrum about 4 a.m. over whether or not I was a mean mommy for not allowing this.

Perhaps it was this or perhaps it was the effect of waking up sore and in the hospital again once more, but he was just plain sad getting up today. Respiratory therapy came in to do his morning breathing treatment, which Patrick has generally liked. But today it was a new person and he didn’t want anything to do with her. The nurse that was with her asked Patrick if the balloon in the room meant it had been his birthday. Patrick just broke down in tears. Yeah, someday he’ll get it. But right now, that added up to one very sucky birthday. It’s the first time he’s let go and cried about all he’s going through.

I think it was healing. Eventually, we got him to settle down enough for the breathing treatment and managed to change the tube on his nose, too. And then, he was ok. In fact, he was pretty darn happy. He sat up in his bed and played with toys all morning.  He made friends with everyone who came into the room.  He had a really good day.

We really were lazy all day. Patrick had some bleeding from his drains, which isn’t necessarily concerning.. just means that the suture lines from the transplant might still be healing.  But I decided that it meant he should rest. So I let him just play on the bed and took an extra long time getting dressed and eating lunch myself. Occasionally, as a treat, I dip some mouth sponges in water for him. That’s about the maximum level of our excitement.

After lunch, Patrick had a package from our Primary (children’s sunday school) full of gifts and pictures colored by his friends at church in the mail. Included in the package were several chap sticks that I’d been told were specifically intended to be used as a motivator in therapy.. so I told Patrick to earn one, he’d need to get out of bed. He walked to the chair, we sat there all day watching TV, then walked him back to bed.

The effort of walking back and then a diaper change left Patrick’s little body trembling, so we called that good enough for the day. And now here we are, being lazy till bedtime.

A few milestones today: Patrick has weaned off of oxygen support. If he makes it through the night and has a clear x-ray, he’ll probably be done with respiratory therapy. He also got to get rid of a catheter now, which means we’ll need to remember to check diapers.

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But that’s all the news, so in the absence of news, a few observations about life here. It’s different being here at yet another hospital. Grown up hospitals are different in so many ways from children’s hospitals. Some good, some bad. Here just a few things that have stood out:

1.  Adults are so much more serious about illness that the mood of the whole hospital is just much more serious, professional, and somber.

2. Because adult visitors go home at night, the cafeterias here don’t operate at full capacity at dinner time. We were getting really tired of sandwiches, grill, and chinese food. I finally remembered to eat there at lunch and use my packed lunch for dinner.  Eating a real meal (fried chicken and mashed potatoes) made me indescribably happy.

3. Also, because visitors go home at night, they like to shut down other parts of the hospital. Like half of the elevators and escalators. At first, when I was barely functioning, this really bugged me. Now, I welcome the excuse to take the stairs. After all, I have sat in a chair all day.

4. The PICU here is tiny. There are fewer than 12 beds. That means that it’s not hard to get to know the staff. Yes, the team rounding is still huge.. but it’s the same people, so I’m not having to constantly learn new names. It also means that I get to sleep here in the room if I want, (read: if Patrick wants.) And it’s really, REALLY quiet. Unlike the rest of the hospital, not sad and serious most days.

5. Being one of very few children in the hospital also means that Patrick is being spoiled out of his mind. You would not believe the pile of gifts and activities this kid is collecting! We were very well taken care of at Primary Children’s. Spoiled even. But this, this is almost gluttony. There are worse places to be planning to spend our holidays.

5. Finally, this hospital is huge. I spend most of my time floating around this tiny little corner of it. But probably this weekend, we’ll move out of the hospital’s family housing and a few blocks away into the Ronald McDonald house. I am trying to figure out how to make that work smoothly, given how long it takes to either walk to the Ronald McDonald house or to drive to a parking garage, park and walk through the building (without its escalators running.) This is going to break my hospital routine. Of course, not having Brian here to run all my errands and bring me food and clothes is going to do that anyway.

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