Sneakin’ and geekin’…

Two steps forward, one step backward today in the cardiac ICU with Mom. Pneumonia threat has backed off – whew! That’s the scary one… And the intestinal problems have been managed more effectively, making her more comfortable. But the newest issue is a slight heart arrhythmia – common a few days after heart surgery.

An annoyance today regarding her IV’s. She had plugs and tubes coming from her neck, arms, and hands – and they began to get dicked up*.  Morning Nurse recommended a pericutaneous intravenous catheter to manage ports better – and it would also make Mom more comfortable.

In the meantime, the damn IV pumps would become “obstructed”, and alarms would sound.  Around lunchtime, Mom had been up all morning and was exhausted.  The IV pump alarms had kept her awake the night before, too.  She was trying to sleep, but the damn alarms kept waking her up.  The nurse would come in, play with the lines, then hit the “reset” button on the pump.  Alarm off for five minutes.  Alarm on again, waking her up.  Repeat for about 30 minutes…

Finally, since the nurse had explained that it was just the saline line becoming “dicked up”, i started hitting the reset button myself.  At least until Nurse Ratchet** caught me – and recommended that i stop playing with the equipment.  i apologized, of course, promising not to do it again – but continued to sneak over and hit the reset until Mom’s nurse returned from lunch and just shut the damn thing off…

It’s during the family medical situations that i regret not going into the medical field.  Unfortunately, i’m insanely squeamish about the gooey-sciences, and have a tendency to pass out at the sight of puncture wounds. 

But give me electronics and gadgets?  Hoo-AHH! 


* It’s a medical term. When i hang around hospitals long enough, i pick up the lingo… i’m a veritable sponge for occupational lingo.

** Not Mom’s nurse for the morning, so she wasn’t used to me and probably thought i was trying to “put her down” to collect the inheritance to pay off gambling debts or something…

16 thoughts on “Sneakin’ and geekin’…

  1. I would’ve thought the engineer part of you would have tried to disassemble, redesign, and rebuild the pump. Heck, you had 5 minutes—and you could’ve used the leftover 2 minutes to keep rewriting that will in your favor.

  2. arrhythmias are common. A regimine of digitalis usually does the trick.It’s amazing that the heart wants to do odd things after someone takes it from its normal resting place and squishes it around in their hands for awhile. It’s all sounding normal thus far. All part of the “experience”.

    Both dad and I were paramedics so we made it intolerable for the nursing staff.

  3. I dunno. The thought of you in the medical field conjures up images of laboratories, lightning, hunchbacked assistants heading down to the morgue on a brain run…

  4. lksn – thanks! she’s doing ok, although it won’t be quick, we’re optimistic that she’ll feel better than she has in 10 years once she’s on the other side of rehabilitation!

    gnu – it was the part of the line that was going into her jugular vein that was the problem [shiver]. i would have hit that reset button all day rather than touch a needle going into her jugular vein

    umdalum – that’s what i gather (nice thing about having wireless in the hospital room is being able to hit medical sites for real time info). the tachycardia was down from 140 when i got there to about 110 with meds. hoping today is better when i get there… Mom’s a nurse, and still keeps the staff hopping. DQ called last night and said Mom has started to complain – which is a very good sign that she’s getting back to ‘normal’…

    annie – i just keep talking to her about how good she should feel once this is all behind her. 10 years ago, she and Dad went to Hawaii, had been on a Medditeranean cruise, and all that!

    kyknoord – um, that’s me at work. although we have lightning suppression systems in my facility and the brain pantry is a bit sparse in offerings….

  5. I used to sometimes wonder if I was nursing the patients or the gizmos. Unfortunately, I was often more successful bringing the gizmos back to order. Damn humans think for themselves.

  6. Glad to hear your mom’s making good progress, dear. This reminds me of the time I was visiting my grandfather in hospital and noticed his cellphone battery was running low. “Here, plug the charger into one of these”, he said, ripping a couple of plugs from the socket panel next to his bed. Geez. Talk about cardiac arrhythmia… mine, of course. Fortunately he wasn’t plugged into anything important.

    (@Mandy: “Werewolf?” “Dere wolf…” I adored that movie as a kid – in fact, get me liquored up enough and I can still recite most of it verbatim.)

  7. nm – shamelessly swiped from the interweb, but it could just as easily be the kluge of wires in my home office…

    dolce – alas, she did not have morphine. i looked. The percocet are guarded too closely and i don’t have the heart to actually take one from Mom’s daily pill cup. yet. she’s getting much better, though, and it might toughen her up a bit to drop the dosage…

    silverstar – funny how that works – when the monitors are on, there is a tendency to watch the blips, listen to the squeaks and beeps, rather than ask the patient how she feels! i have to watch myself… me loves me a digital readout…

    MdW – she’s doing amazingly well! had she not attempted the re-plumbing, it would be a 3-5 year descent into heart failure, if not a heart attack. Brave, tough little nugget… AND I ADORE “Young Frankenstein” – next to “Airplane” it is my favorite comedy!

    bc – shoddy quality simply doesn’t seem to sell. no bidders yet. maybe i need a better photo?

    Mrs. B – Too funny! Is it possible your grandfather did it on purpose! Oh, and i can also recite the movie verbatim. “What Knockers!”

  8. (“Frau Blucher” *Neighhhh,*) It wouldn’t surprise me, actually. Just today he was complaining that his bionic knee (The $600 Man) clicks when he walks, so he can’t creep up behind anyone any more. Bless.

  9. Mrs. B – Perhaps your grandfather needs a skateboard to silence the Knee? (“six or seven quick ones then it’s off with the boys to boast and brag…” )

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