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Friday, March 30, 2018

1st time in the hospital?


(Shutterstock image)

Last night, a dear friend sent a text to tell me that her daughter was in the hospital. She said she needed my expert help. As a Certified Asthma Educator (AE-C), and mom of 3 grown kids with asthma, I knew I could help.

For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you know that my kids were hospitalized 12 times when they were younger (mostly due to pneumonia but once from smoke from a forest fire.)

So, I have had a little experience with kids in the hospital.

Things I wished I would have know when my kids were first diagnosed:



  • I once heard a doctor say if you wonder if.....and your next thought is "take my child to the emergency room", then go! The hospital has experts that can treat your child. If they just need to be treated and released, they will do that. But if they need to be admitted, you will be soooo glad you took them in to the emergency room. 

  • Ask questions! What is that pill? How often should she take it? What are the side effects? What is the IV for? What are you adding to the IV? What are you giving her for a breathing treatment? (I once had a new respiratory therapist give my daughter the adult dose instead of the child dose for an Albuterol treatment.) How do I know if she's getting better or worse? What should I look for?

  • Do you have a tooth brush? (Yes, the nurse or CNA can bring you a toothbrush, toothpaste and even a pair of scrubs if you are staying the night!) One time, I came to the ER after work with my son, and I was still wearing a skirt and high heels from work. I was not about to spend all night in those! So, the nurse found a pair of scrubs, slippers, and a toothbrush and toothpaste for me.
Let people know your child is in the hospital. When friends and neighbors ask what they can do to help, tell them! Ask them to pick or drop off other kids at school. Ask it they can get some bread and milk while they are at the grocery store. 

Let your child's teacher know. During one of the 12 hospitalizations for my kids, my son's 1st grade teacher came to see him at the hospital and brought a toy for him. Let all of your kid's teachers know that they have a sibling in the hospital. Your other children will need a little extra love and attention during that time. 

Most of all, be kind to yourself. Do some deep breathing to relax, have a good cry if you need one, eat a little chocolate. 

It's hard, but you can get through it!  




Monday, March 19, 2018

Ahh, spring and people burning brush.....Hey, wait!

(Shutterstock image)

It's finally spring out west! And neighbors are already trimming their trees and bushes - and burning the clippings. Argh!

On my way home from work, I drove past a home just long enough for my car to fill up with smoke from them burning brush. I was starting a cold, so my lungs were already cranky. By the time I got home a short 5 minutes later, I was in desperate need of my inhaler.

I love spring - but not when neighbors trim their yard and burn the brush.

When my kids were in elementary school, a big problem was a neighbor who had a small orchard right next to the school. He trimmed all of his trees and decided to burn the tree limbs - during lunch recess - when 500 kids were outside playing. The entire playground was full of smoke.

I was NOT happy.

Since my kids were hospitalized a LOT when they were little, I was always trying to protect their little lungs. So, I marched over to the school to talk to the principal. 

It wasn't just my kids I was worried about. Its ALL the kids in the school with asthma. 1 in 12 kids have asthma, which means 2-3 kids per class, depending on the size. Times that by Kindergarten through 6th grade, and that's a lot of kids in one elementary school with asthma. 

I wanted to protect all of the kids from the fire and smoke. School is out at 3:00, why can't the neighbor wait until then to burn the tree limbs? Smoke has been known to hospitalize kids with asthma (really - my son ended up in ICU from smoke) so fires and smoke me nervous. 

From what I remember, they had me call the Fire Marshall and work out details with him to keep the neighbor from starting a fire and filling the playing with smoke.

Is there another way to get rid of tree branches and bushes? 

We have a lot of trees in our yard - 8 full grown trees, plus lots of bushes and a wisteria vine that grows up our pergola. So when my husbands trims the yard, he ends up with a truck full of branches and clippings.
 
Do we burn them? No!
 
The Hubby loads up the branches and trimmings and drives to the landfill at the edge of town. Our town has a green waste at the landfill, and they use a chipper there to grind up the branches and make mulch. Our town also has green waste garbage cans that we can fill up each week with tree limbs, ivy clippings, grass clippings, etc.
 
All of that goes to the green waste at the landfill, where they combine it into mulch. Then the neighbors head to the landfill to get mulch for their gardens. Win win! Recycling at it's finest!
 
We aren't filling the neighborhood with smoke, we are getting rid of the green waste, and it's being recycled for other neighbors to use in their gardens.  

And most of all, we are protecting our lungs.

Anyone else have a tough time with neighbors burning tree limbs or leaves?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Thanking the hospital staff again


 
We had a nice, long weekend with a Family Member in the hospital. I always hate getting one of "those" phone calls, then jumping in the car and driving 4 hours to the hospital.
 
This family member was in the ICU, then moved to a room on "the floor". 
 
During the 3 days we were there, I noticed the usual - room after room of patients and family members. And staff literally running from one room to the next.
 
How do they do it? Work 12 hour shifts and take care of one patient, run to the next room and are pleasant and helpful in that room?
 
When the nurse, aide or respiratory therapist would come in to Family Member's room. They were friendly, answered questions, and asked if WE needed anything (not just the family member.)
I wouldn't ask them if I needed something,  they are way too busy! Since I was there with the Hubby, one of us could stay in the room and the other could walk down to the cafeteria.
 
After we left to pick up something for Family Member, we decided to stop by a popular sandwich and bakery shop. We bought all of the cookies in the display, had them boxed up and left them at the nurse's desk with a note thanking them for all of their hard work.
 
The nurse popped in the hospital room a few minutes later, and while wiping crumbs from her cheek, thanked us for the cookies. She said she was so surprised that we would do something like that. 
 
I was surprised that she was surprised. Don't they ever get families that thank them?
 
I told her that we see you. We see you run from room to room. We see you patiently answer questions for Family Member (even if you just explained it 5 minutes ago.) We see you being friendly when we know your feet hurt and your back is sore. 
 
We see you and appreciate you.
 
We were surprised to see how quickly the cookies were eaten (and how excited the staff was), so we did the same thing the next day, with a new shift of hospital staff (that's the cookie photo above.)
 
Hospitals can bring out the worst in some people, and I'm sure they are not treated kindly in each room. But, I would like to spread a little joy and love.
 
And if I can do that with a big box of cookies, sign me up!