Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 17 Blog-off: NICU Days

I told you about my Tuesday Sisters, right? We follow the same format that Cary Tennis has implemented in his free-writing sessions at Cafe La Boheme—pull a prompt, write for several minutes, go around the room and read, next prompt.

Our Tuesday Sisters have been meeting for over a year now, and our writing stamina has doubled. When we started, we wrote for a little over an hour in ten-minute increments. This week we wrote for almost three hours—and we would have kept going if we didn’t have the impositions of real life.

Here’s something from last Tuesday.

The prompt: It hurts to...

When you watch movies or T.V. shows about hospitals, there’s a lot of yelling that goes on when there’s an emergency.

“Doctor, I can’t find the vein!”

“Nurse! Get me 50 ccs of blah blah blah!”

“We’re losing him!”

In real life there’s an inverse correlation between noise level and medical emergency. The more acute the emergency, the quieter the room gets. The first time I got to hold Michael—his “went gray like a baggy puppet moment”—I went from smiles and warm fuzzies to “Why is it so quiet? And why are there suddenly five nurses in here?”

Five people working wordlessly together, like choreographed dance. This one takes the little thing to “bag him,” that one moves the oxygen dial up, another one is doing, I don’t know what, because I just added some more soap to the bubble.

Nobody said, “We’re losing him!”

Because if everybody’s thinking it, nobody needs to say it out loud.

The day Wagner kept de-satting, they decided to take blood for tests. Why not? You know, just to be sure.

They couldn’t find a vein. His blood kept clotting too quickly. They tried in his foot, his hand, his arm. They got Cheryl, the charge nurse whose “thing” was that she could always find a vein.

Wagner never cried. He just didn’t. So it was no surprise now that he didn’t cry. But he was completely limp. They jabbed him with a needle to get blood and he didn’t react at all.

Matt and I watched with crossed arms, pursing our lips, too nervous to pace. It’s not normal to not react at all. But the nurses were talking to each other. So I knew it wasn’t that serious.

It turned out they’d given him a drop of sucrose on the tongue. In babies it has the same temporary effect as a dose of morphine.

Admit it—you liked this post! How could you not? There’s drama, tension, tiny babies (VERY tiny babies). It’s a scene I’ve written about before and thought about a lot. Because that’s what I do. Think and write. And now, with my fellow Write On, Mamas, I’m putting together an anthology. And that’s where YOU come in. Admit it. You want to see more.

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