Monday, September 27, 2010

Breastfeeding and Walking

When I was breastfeeding Micah, I learned to pump in the strangest locations...bathrooms, airports, and even in my car while driving. I used to worry that I'd be pulled over while pumping and driving, and I always wondered how I would explain THAT to a police officer.

Today, I learned that I can breastfeed in even stranger locations, including while walking from Radiation Oncology to the Rehab Unit at the hospital. Yes, while walking...with my arm half asleep and my back aching, but walking nonetheless. I had my nursing cover on while I held Maya close and walked. And they say some people can't chew gum and walk at the same time! Isn't the saying "Necessity is the mother of invention?" I guess I just have to roll with the punches and so does Maya, but at least we both seem willing to make it work.

Last night (with 3 children under the age of 4) went surprisingly well...Paige, Maya and I shared a room, and all three of us managed to get some sleep. Paige and Maya went to bed around 9:30. Paige woke up briefly around 3:30 am when I went to bed, but she quietly called me a goofball and went back to sleep. I learned that my niece is a kicker - she likes to turn perpendicular on the bed and jab me with her feet all night while she mumbles in her sleep. It was kind of cute...except for that kicking part. Maya woke up a little after 7 and woke Paige up as well. I tried my best to convince Paige to fall back to sleep, but she was ready to go. I turned on the tv and let her watch Hannah Montana while Maya and I snoozed...except Paige kept asking me questions like "Where is Hannah Montana? Who is that? Why did she say that? When does she put the wig on? Why?" I resisted the urge to tell her it was a stupid concept and I had no idea why she puts on a wig and suddenly no one recognizes her, but I realized even that would be a futile discussion with a 4 year old. I have decided I will never put Hannah Montana on for her again - we'll stick to Word World or Dora next time.

Around 7:45, Micah woke up. I was able to leave him in bed until almost 8 when Paige announced she was done watching tv and wanted to go get Micah. Paige, Maya and I went to get Micah. He was THRILLED to see Paige this morning - he started yelling "P" over and over again. We brought him downstairs, and I made Paige promise to jump on DH and wake him. I was amazed by how grown up Paige is...she took off her own pull-up diaper and threw it away and helped me get milk together for her and Micah. I decided to make apple pancakes for the kids for breakfast. Paige loved them...but I could not get Micah to eat anything for breakfast.

I made a few phone calls while the kids ate breakfast. I spoke to a family friend (I wanted to check on her mother, Della, and give her an update about Peyton and mom), arranged for Paige to attend Micah's music class, and I spoke to SIL to check on Peyton. Peyton is definitely improving, but she needed oxygen last night. If she can stay off of the oxygen tonight and they can safely switch her to nebulizer treatments every 4 hours, she will be released tomorrow. Otherwise, she could need another day in the hospital.

The babysitter arrived at 9:00, and she helped finish feeding Micah. I found 3 different outfits (with Paige's help) for the kids and handed them off to the babysitter. While she dressed the kids, I took a quick shower and got ready. DH ran outside and did a little bit of musical car seats before he left for his meeting so we could manage for the day. The babysitter left with Micah and Paige around 10:00 to take them to music class. My father arrived around 10:15 and I drove the three of us (including Maya) in his car up to the hospital.

We arrived fairly early at the hospital and we found my mother in absolute agony again. We were waiting for the social worker to come see us to give us an update about my mom's transfer today. As we were waiting, we talked to her nurse to see what we could do for her. After watching my mother's discomfort continue, I asked to speak to the doctor. I again requested that something be done for my mother's pain, and for once he seemed a bit sympathetic. Luckily, Dr. "Suave" and his nurse stopped by to check on mom, and when they heard about how much pain she was experiencing, they went and brainstormed a few ideas with the rehab doctor. Dr. "Suave" was quite funny...he has an accent, and he poured it on thick as he said "while that is the opposite end from my area of expertise, I will do everything I can to try and fix the problem." After a quick huddle with Dr. "Suave," the rehab doctor decided to order a special topical pain reliever for my mom (and I cannot believe it took him two weeks to finally agree to do this for my mom).

Before mom's lunch arrived, we managed to touch base with the social worker again. She said that there was a bed available at our #2 choice, and we were still waiting to hear about our #1 choice. She said she just did not know if we would be moving my mother today or tomorrow, but told us she would let us know later.

I just have to say, again, how wonderful the nursing staff at the hospital has been. We've especially appreciated the extra mile a few of the nurses have given. We've just been so thankful for these nurses who have spent so much time getting to know us and make my mother's stay at hospital more pleasant.

Today, our nurse was "Philadelphia" (my mom's nickname for one of her nurses, since she is from Philly and graduated from Temple University like my mom). Even though she was not assigned to us, my mom's other nurse also spent a ton of time helping out today, too. My mom always asks for her, even when another nurse has been assigned, and she has been so obliging - she always stops by and takes care of my mother. I think I will forever be grateful for the kindness she has shown my mom.

Philadelphia is about the sweetest person I've ever met...she is so kind and concerned, and always calls my mom "Mrs.," no matter how often my mom tells her to use her first name. Philadelphia, however, does not always catch onto my mom's sarcasm...yesterday, she was showing me how to give my mom a shot, and she told me to grab the "fatty part" of my mother's thigh. In her most indignant voice, my mother says "Did you just tell me I have fat thighs?" Philadelphia turned bright red and started stammering and apologizing, and tried to explain that subcutaneous shots are delivered into areas with fat, and that everyone has a layer of fat under their skin, so when she said "fatty part" she was not trying to tell my mom that she had fat thighs...After a few minutes of the apologies, I had to put her out of her misery and explain that my mother was just teasing her (especially since my mom had a huge grin on her face and kept winking at me)! She is just too sweet to be tortured. She seemed to be working her tail off today between doing things for my mother and her other patients.

After lunch, transport actually arrived early, for once, and we still went late to radiation because we were not ready to go (Philadelphia was running a bit late trying to get my mother's insulin together and take care of a few other odds and ends). We also were still waiting on the special topical pain relief medication for my mom, and unfortunately it did not arrive before we had to leave. Radiation was quick - once again, we spent the greatest percentage of our time waiting for the return transport.

We had a chance to speak to the radiology nurse and we discussed some of my mother's recent symptoms. He indicated that they would probably maintain her current steroid dosage for the rest of radiation. My mother's last day of radiation will be on October 14...the day before her 65th birthday. I think finishing radiation treatments would be a wonderful birthday gift!

We finally made it back to my mom's room at 3:00, and we heard the nurses and doctors making preparations for my mother's discharge. We were nervous because we did not like feeling so rushed to move her - we were afraid it would not give us enough time to make a smooth transition. Luckily, the social worker showed up and told us we had one more day of reprieve...they did not have all of the papers or prescriptions in order, and she was hopeful that tomorrow she might be able to get us a bed in our first choice facility. So, once again, tonight we wait. We expect to move my mother to a new place tomorrow after radiation - probably around 3 or 3:30.

Because of our anticipated move, my mother had no visitors today. She did make a few phone calls, however, and she was in good spirits late this afternoon. Apparently, the medicines they gave her relieved her pain and discomfort. My mom and I chatted a bit, and I realized that she had forgotten to tell me that her co-worker came in for a visit yesterday. So, thank you, for stopping by - it meant a lot to my mother, and she was thinking of you today.

My father, Maya and I left for the day around 5:15, and we made incredible time driving back. Maya only screamed for 20 minutes of the trip - a significant improvement. I wish she did not hate driving in the car so much. I truly hope she outgrows this soon. I convinced my father to come inside and spend a bit of time with Micah and Paige and join us for dinner. DH had made dinner...just spaghetti...but we all sat down and ate together. It was nice to sit at a full dinner table. I have to say, having Paige join us for a few days has been kind of fun for me. She is so articulate and entertaining, and I love having an "older" child around the house.

My father left pretty quickly to get home and do some work. Micah and Paige played together for a few hours before bedtime. Micah was cute as he cuddled up with Paige on the couch while they watched some tv together while I nursed Maya. DH put Micah to bed around 8:30, and Paige and I entered into negotiations about bed time. I told Paige bedtime was after Micah went to sleep. She told me she wanted to stay awake "later." I explained that it was later, and she disagreed. Maya fell asleep while nursing, so I told her that I wanted to take Maya upstairs. Thankfully, Paige wanted to join us, and I was able to get her into bed and put Maya down. Maya did not want to stay asleep, and after a few attempts, I brought Maya downstairs for another half an hour until she fell asleep. I brought Maya back up to the bedroom and found Paige sound asleep, sprawled across the bed. It looks like all three children may actually be asleep for the night. I hope they sleep through the night until morning!

Tomorrow morning, Micah has preschool and I am going to attempt to visit a rental house a few blocks away. My father and I will carpool up to the hospital again tomorrow, and we hope to learn which of the two facilities have a bed available for my mother. We expect to be moving her mid-afternoon, and we hope the transfer will be quick and easy. DH will be driving up with Paige (and possibly Micah) in the late afternoon to bring her back home for her dance class. If Peyton is released from the hospital, Paige will return home, but if Peyton needs to spend another night in the hospital, we will bring Paige back home with us.

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