Monday, April 12, 2010

hospital-inspired musings

One interesting thing I noticed while we were in the hospital recently with Donovan was how many different people were involved in his care.  We arrived at the ER around 7:30pm, and left the next day at 1:30pm.  In that time we dealt with 3 doctors, and at least 5 or more nurses.  I understand that nurses and doctors need to work in shifts and it's just not realistic to have one person be with you the entire time.  I'm not sure what other alternative there is for this type of situation.  But it seemed like having so many different people involved, coming and going at different times, led to some confusion and miscommunication.  For example, the ER doctor told us not to give D food or water while he was still having trouble breathing, as there's a risk he might choke on it. Just a few minutes later when we saw the pediatrics doctor, he advised us to offer him water regularly that it would be a good sign if he ate some food.  There also was some confusion as to when and which treatments he was supposed to get (a nurse came in at one point and started giving D liquids via IV, even though the doctor had said she didn't think that would be needed), and the Albuterol treatments he was supposed to get every 2 hours overnight didn't get started till 4:30am when the nurse realized no one had come to administer them.  And, when our 3rd doctor walked in the room and asked if we wanted to go home, I was relieved though a part of me felt a little bothered that this new doctor, who hadn't spent any time with D, was deciding we could go home.  Was she really sure?  How much did she know about his situation?  Though, it wasn't like I was going to request to stay any longer than we needed to.

Overall, I felt we got pretty good care.  At least, as far as I can tell-- the outcome is that D got better fairly quickly, and we were able to then go home.  But it did make me wish there were a better way, though I don't know quite how that would work.

It did also make me think back to labor and childbirth, and what a hospital birth would feel like-- having to deal with new nurses and doctors every few hours, each needing to get your information or catch up on your status all over again.  This was one big reason I was so attracted to using a midwife when I realized it was an option-- I loved the idea of (at least) one health care provider who would stay with me the entire labor, no matter how long it lasted, and that I wouldn't need to assert my labor preferences to a stranger because my midwife would be there and already knew what I did or didn't want.  I personally believe this is one of the biggest benefits of using a midwife and giving birth in a birthing center or at home.

As a sort-of related aside, after switching care providers so late in pregnancy with Donovan, when we recently started talking more seriously about having #2 I became determined that this time I'd research and find my midwife and back-up OB before even getting pregnant.  And I did. I found a lovely midwife with whom I've kind of fallen in love (her website has tons of really great information, BTW, on midwifery in general and also on homebirths), and even an out-of-hospital-birth-friendly OB in the area who I found through a friend's recommendation.

And, of course, as luck and life would have it, chances now look pretty good that we'll be moving out of the area sometime in the coming months (at least, it seems that way as we have a few potential jobs in other states, but none right here in this area-- at least as of right now).  Oh well.  I suppose it goes to show that no matter how well you try to plan for something, things don't always work out the way you'd envisioned.  ; )

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