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Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 73-Clinic Vent

Ella had clinic today. I lost another part of my patience today. It took 3 hours to find out today that her counts were too low and we were sent home till Friday. I totally understand the fact that her counts were low, but I don't understand why: only 1 oncology nurse was on duty when we got there, it took 2.5hrs to get her blood tests back, we sat in a waiting area for an hour and a half that was packed with patients and their parents.
Maybe I'm just too new to this, but it seems like a less than efficient system to call us into the clinic area to have her weight, height , and blood pressure taken, go into the clinic to be accessed, go back out to the waiting area because they are so busy that they are out of rooms, go back in to be seen by the Dr., go back out to the waiting area to wait for her test results, then go back in again when they get the results- or have a room available for you.  Today just didn't go smoothly. She complained of pain as soon as her port was accessed- and said if continued to hurt afterwards. She has never complained before- so I stood up for her and said it has to be "something" because she hasn't complained about pain after like this before. Nurse 1 agreed, and nurse 2 said she must just be stressed and letting off steam. Nurse 2 was called in because they were so busy.
Then we were sent back out to the waiting area that was completely packed. Jan and I sat on top of this little bookcase/bench because there were no seats. The oncology area shares a waiting area with the regular non cancer peds area and their waiting area was filled so the regular patients and their kids were sitting in the peds area. I watched this mom sit there and cough into the air and it was hard for me to not smack her! There is one little sign that says that this area is for oncology, but I don't think half the parents see it- and it's in English which isn't every patients first language. Also, the 1 bathroom in the area is on the oncology side- so every kid, sick or healthy, and every parent, sick or healthy, has to go through the area to go to the bathroom. They also have the entrance for another peds area at the end of the waiting area that patience leave and enter through, so they are also walking through the oncology area. This seems so counter productive to me! To me a separate area to keep them healthy means a separate area, not one that is used by everyone.

After we sat there for a while, one of the nurses from the "Regular" area that took Ella's vitals when we got there said that she just went to pick up Ella's meds so she would be called back shortly. Half an hour went by and Ella was still complaining of pain by her port, so I went back and told the regular nurse to tell the oncology nurse and they called us back. This is when they told us her counts were too low for treatment. Which means that they never got her meds, because they are not ordered from the pharmacy until the blood work comes back. AHRG!!! The doctor came in to tell us her counts were low and I asked him how safe it was for her to be sitting out there all this time, with every kids of patient, with her whites so low? Then I suggested that they get another sign so everyone can read it.  He also gave me a script to take Ella to our local hospital during this phase to have her blood work done the day before so we don't have to drive out there and sit while waiting for her test results. I can't tell you how stressful it is for Ella to sit there and wait for treatment. She knows its coming and that we are just...waiting. She heard the nurses voice that usually accesses her port today and she started crying . She was sitting on my lap and she grabbed my arm so she could wrap it around her more tightly. It just seems like there should be a better way. there isn't anything to keep her distracted during the waiting process. We bought her a Nintendo DS, but that only worked for 30 minutes.
So now, we go back on Friday to check her counts. It means we keep her away from germie places this week, and try to keep her safe.
Thanks for letting me vent. Please feel free to share your hospitals procedure with me if you are at a different one. I like the people, just not the process.

Happy birthday to my awesome hubby. I love you with all my heart.


  1. Having been through the process (although not with children) I totally understand your stress and frustration. It's hard to stay calm and to keep Ella calm. You are all in my prayers each day, asking for strength & peace. We love you..

  2. Ugh. We're going to have to start thinking like this with Talon (our new son) since the NICU docs told us he's going to need to be basically quarantined until next summer. I don't really think about it and know that I'll have to be better, especially with the girls in daycare.

    Thanks again for sharing all this with us. We wish you the best. And happy belated b-day to Steve.