Posts Tagged ‘IV’

Kids are tough!

November 23, 2010

Kids are tough. They just take whatever life hands out and keep on keepin’ on. When I was at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1977 for my second heart surgery, I met not one, but two perfect examples.

UAB had a playroom near my room, and it was the perfect destination. The “Adult” waiting room was right across the hall, so the folks would walk down there whenever the hospital room began to make them crazy. I’d go along too. I was 10/almost 11, and even though I was one of the older kids I could hang out and break up the boredom. Patients get a little bit crazy, too, you see. One of my first times down there I was trying to talk to one of the other kids – who wanted nothing to do with me – when this other little fellow ran up and asked “Mister – ”

What’s with this “Mister? I thought.

“Mister, can you fix this for me?” I had no idea but I took a look at the toy he offered. Turned out to be nothing; someone had put the battery in backwards but he was too young to figure that out. Thirty seconds later the toy was running and I was popular! I could fix things, and that was an important skill to have.

A couple of days later I was in the playroom and in walked a Mother we had met. Her child had an unexplained illness and no one had figured out what it was yet. Billy (I can’t remember many names from that trip to UAB, I guess too much time has gone by. So we’re going to call this young man Billy) was feeling better, would we mind if he came down to the playroom?

Certainly! Everyone needs to get away from the hospital bed every now and again, bring him on down! She left, and in a few moments she was back with Billy.

Billy was up and moving around but he was connected to an IV pole. That’s an common sight, but the needle led to a tape covered area of his head. Holy Mackerel, this kid has an IV in his skull, but it didn’t seem to bother him much. The biggest problem was when he was playing and got too far away from the IV. His line would go taut and pull him back, and Billy would have remember to pull the IV pole along with him. If that had been me, I’d have thrown screaming fits whenever someone mentioned the words “IV” and “head” in the same breath. Holy Cow, kids are tough.

Another person I met was Phil (another made-up name, I hate to say). Phil was a six-year-old with a growth on his spine and was scheduled for back surgery about the time I was having my heart surgery. By the time I saw Phil again, the playroom was off-limits (possibility of too many germs) but it was still a destination. That first week of recovery I’d walk from my new room to the playroom, turn around, and head back to my room.

I was just starting back towards my room when Phil came into my view, riding a Big Wheel. He was having fun, tried to pull a wheelie… and went over, landing flat on his back. Right on his incision!

Youch! His mom came running over, yanked him to his feet, and snatched his shirt up. I expected the worst, but his incision looked just as healthy as mine. Not only was he not hurt, but Phil wasn’t paying mom any attention. He was looking to get back on his Big Wheel and try again! Unfortunately (or thankfully!) Phil’s racing career was over, per order of his mother.

Kids are tough… it’s the adults who can’t take it!

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Complicated

February 24, 2009

I’m back, but still not fully participating yet. It’s one of those inconveniences of a Heart Defect, recovery time is always a bit longer. A cold, flu, or even mild food poisoning really throws you for a loop… and that is if you are healthy!

There are a lot of “ifs” and “buts” involved, too. For example, I’m on a diet designed to combat Congestive Heart Failure (CHF); one of the unbreakable guidelines is not to drink more than 2000 milliliters of liquid. BUT… I shouldn’t get dehydrated. So I am allowed to break that rule, gently. Drink as much as I need, but monitor myself for swelling. If I’m getting puffy, back off a bit.

Never, ever drink Gatorade or any other sports drink, because you don’t need all the salt and potassium they deliver. It’ll throw your system out of whack. BUT now that you are losing so much because of diarrhea, Gatorade is not only OK but is recommended. If you lose too many electrolytes without replacing them, you could start having skipped beats. I was asked which flavor of Gatorade I wanted and I didn’t even know that it was available in different flavors! The last time I drank Gatorade, all they had was the light green formula. And again, monitor your intake, because too much isn’t good for you.

I do have a good way to monitor my fluid/sodium intake, and I discovered it quite by accident. All I do is slide my MedicAlert bracelet until it is over the bone located behind my thumb, then turn it in a complete circle. If it moves easily, everything is cool. If not, I need to rein myself in. This works best when you don’t take the bracelet off – which I don’t do. I was in the ER once and the nurses insisted; it would interfere with an IV they planned to start. It took forever to get used to the new “setting” once I was able to put it back on!

Life gets complicated for someone with a Congenital Heart Defect at times, and it is the simplest things that make it complicated. But you can’t let it get to you. If you let every little thing ruin your plans, you’ll sit at home all day and the world will go on without you… and you’ll miss all the fun!