Tubeless

Well, it’s official. My Dad is off the respirator. They took out THE TUBE this afternoon after giving him another day to let his body recover from all the extra fluid he accumulated in his lungs after surgery. And let’s hope that extra day helped to improve his pneumonia with the antibiotics he’s been getting as well.

So far, things are looking great. When I visited him this evening, he looked ten times better (and happier) than he did when I came in earlier in the morning. I could tell he was better as he started joking around with us.

The next step is to transfer him out of the ICU. And if all continues to go well, he may possibly be home for the weekend. Woo-hoo!

Today at work, I officially started the paperwork to file for a Family Medical Leave. Although I know my Mom will be there to take care of my Dad once he gets home from the hospital, I want to make sure that I can take the time off from work whenever they need assistance.

While it might sound like I’m “babying” my Dad, I just want to make sure that the surgery to correct his heart was not in vain. I reminded him today that this surgery was not the “end all be all” fix for all his health problems. The surgery was just the beginning. Now comes the hard part … making sure he takes responsibility to keep himself healthy.

This means that there is no way my Dad will be going to any of his Doctor appointments alone for at least a year. I want to make sure either my Mom or myself is there so that ALL of us are aware of exactly what is going on with his health. And to make sure that my Dad will follow through with all his health issues.

Because honestly … I don’t ever wish that my Dad has to go through any major hospitalization again. But if he has to be, I want to make sure I know everything there is about his health history. That’s because two weeks ago when he was first admitted to the hospital, I knew little to nothing of how sick he actually was.

How bad of a daughter, let alone a nurse am I? (Yeah, I know this is an irrational thought … but somehow I can’t help thinking this way …)

Anyway, thank you ALL for your thoughts and prayers for my family. And thanks Mel, for sending support my way. Everything you girls have done has obviously worked! You are all so WONDERFUL!

Caring for the Heart

So it’s a go. Cardiac cath is scheduled at noon for my Dad today. I’m just hoping that everything will go smoothly and all the docs and nurses and anyone that takes care of him today do the best job that they can.

Ugh. I’m feeling so frustrated right now. Mostly because there is only so much I can do for my Dad at this moment other than just be there for him. The nurse in me wants to do more to help him but yet I don’t want to overstep my boundaries. Because believe me, when working the floors I absolutely HATED when visiting family members pulled out the “I’m a doctor”- or “I’m a nurse”- card, thinking that was going to scare me into making “triple”-sure I was doing the absolute correct thing.

But other than unrealistically flying Dad out to the best cardiology center in the US, I do have faith and confidence that he is getting the best treatment possible at this hospital at this exact time. The best I can do as a nurse is be there to explain to my Dad and Mom exactly what is going on and what to expect … basically be there to translate medical jargon into plain old-fashion English. That, and advocate for them exactly what their fears and concerns and needs are as a patient and his wife.

At the same time, poor Hubby has also been sick with a nasty cold. Which, if there was only more hours in the day, I would be babying him like he does for me when I’m sick. Unfortunately with yesterday being spent at the hospital, I’ve had no time to make him soup or hot tea and just generally be there for him. And I feel like such a horrible wife for that.

I bet y’all are saying … “WTF, Em? You advocate and care for your parents and Hubby, but you don’t advocate for yourself.” The past week (and previous posts) being prime example of not thinking of what’s the best thing for my own health.

Well, I have to tell you … and if you don’t know this by now … Nurses are notorious for not taking care of their own health. I think it’s in any person who chooses Nursing as a profession to care for others before caring for themselves. For me it’s not meant to be a self-sacrifice type of thing; it’s more that I feel that others needs appear to be more important and more urgent than my own. Then throw in the whole Catholic and Asian-American thing and it’s a golden opportunity for feeling the guilt.

Yes, I know it’s not always healthy. And I know that I do need to take care for myself before I can take care of anyone else. Every nurse gives that same schpiel to any of their co-workers (how’s that for the pot calling the kettle black?). But we’re a stubborn lot. We’re definitely a “Do as I say, not as I do” group.

I’m working on it though. This past year has been an exercise of learning to take care of myself. And think of my needs as a priority to others. I’m learning to say NO when I can’t take on anymore than I physically or emotional can. And I’m trying my darndest NOT to feel so damn guilty for doing so.

Right now? All my energy is focused on taking care of my Dad. Because that takes priority. Thanks for all your warm thoughts and prayers.

And if you can, say a quick one for Hubby, too. Because, he too, deserves the best.

Needing Some Cheese with my Whine …

Today I’m overwhelmed with baby and pregnancy news at work.

First thing I heard when I came in this morning is that one of my co-worker’s daughter had gone into labor last night. And just now, I overheard the conversation that another coworker had with her in which she was calling to tell us that her first grandbaby finally made her entrance into the world. Apparently they could hear the “new baby cries” in the background. To hear the excitement in this coworker’s voice describing her first grandchild was incredible enough as this particular gal is not readily excitable.

And then, as I’m doing clinical reviews for my assigned hospital I get one review that talks about a twenty two year old who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and completely overwhelmed by how much “morning sickness” she’s been encountering. So overwhelmed where it’s to the point that she was considering ending her pregnancy. And well … I’m sure it’s because she’s young(er) and completely unaware of what her actions (meaning the comments that she made) might portray her as insensitive or callous … but still. It just made me very very angry.

And I’m sure these feelings are a direct result of my most recent doctor’s appointment. But still … can’t I catch a break?

Okay, I’ll quit whining and get back to work.