Thursday, April 8, 2010

30 Wks, 3 Days: I've Been a Bad Girl, But I Have Excuses

For someone who is on bedrest, I have been horrible this week. I have done entirely too much, but with good reason.

First was the fiasco to cash my check on Monday, and we all know how that went.

On Tuesday, I get it in my head that I am going to go to the store and purchase the remainder of the baby items we need. I shouldn't have, but I figure I can use the little scooter. I got in the car, with J driving, and off we went. But I didn't feel well from the start. I had eaten a salad and a slice of pizza for lunch that sat on my stomach like a ton of bricks. But a friend who has just had a baby got tons of duplicates at her shower, and informed me that she had taken some of the never-used items to a consignment shop, and I was trying to get there and snatch them up. I'm hesitant to buy anything used, but these were brand new. We go to the store and of course her items are already gone. But then I think that maybe she meant another store, so we try to head there. Ha. About halfway there, I am too sick to continue, and we turn around and head home empty-handed.

And Wednesday? Wednesday was just a mess. J has not been feeling well for a while now. Nothing specific, just feeling blah. Looking back, I feel bad because I assumed that he was pulling a fast one to get out of cleaning while I am unable. But then I noticed that he was short of breath when coming up the stairs from doing laundry. This is my Marine husband--the one who used to run 5 miles twice a day for fun! Yes, he has allowed himself to get out of shape, but really? Up one flight of stairs? This is when I kick into Respiratory Therapist Mode. I listen to his lungs, thinking maybe the years he spent as a smoker have finally caught up with him, even though he quit some time ago....No wheezes, though that is the most action my top-of-the-line stethoscope has seen in months. So if it isn't his lungs, it has to be cardiac, and then I get really worried. He calls to make an appointment, and tells the receptionist he wants to be seen right away, but they are booked, so she is going to have to call back. Instead a nurse calls us back and talks to me, as J is asleep, taking one of the naps he can't seem to function without these days. I tell her what I am worried about, and she agrees with me on the course of action, and sends him for labs yesterday morning, first thing, then schedules an appointment for yesterday afternoon. I wasn't going to go with him for either, but instead gave him a pep talk about being sure to tell the doctor everything he is feeling instead of assuming the symptoms are all unrelated. At this point, I don't care what she orders as a result, as we have good insurance. Very good. But then, about 3 hours after he has his fasting labs drawn, one of the other doctors in the practice calls to inform us of his lab values and to make sure he is being seen pronto!

Of course by this time there is no question: I am going with him to the doctor. It turns out J is very, very, very diabetic. Normal fasting blood sugar should be 80 to 100, and J's is 368. What's more is he is also hypertensive. So we meet with the doctor, who is one of the third-year residents I work with. I love seeing the residents for uncomplicated stuff--they know me professionally, as we have spent years together in the trenches, working codes together in the middle of the night. They know that I know how to do my job well, and so they listen to me. The one J sees in particular. She does everything for my husband that I would have wanted. We know J can probably fix a great deal of this by losing the weight he has gained, but he is too far gone to wait, and she puts him on meds to control it while he is working on the weight loss. J tells her about the dyspnea on exertion, but when I tell her I noticed it, she gets concerned. She brings a nurse in to do the bedside pulmonary function test, and we all get a laugh when the doctor tells her to be sure to do a good job, as the patient's wife is a "pulmonary guru". J has a hard time doing the test as both the nurse and I bark instructions at him, as he is laughing too much. But it turns out his lungs are perfect, which I already knew. So I mention something about his blood pressure and the doctor raises her eyebrows as she is typing away on her computer. She asks what it was, we tell her, and she tells me to take it again for her, as the nurse has already left the room to print his PFT results. I do, and it is still high, so we add a script for an anti-hypertensive to the list, along with the glucometer, testing supplies, and diabetes medication. She also refers us to a diabetes educator, which I love. I was going to take it upon myself to schedule us a meeting with a dietician, but she says this will be better, serving to educate J about diabetes as well as any diet restrictions. And when I pointed to my burgeoning belly and told her I am a time bomb, she devised a plan to see J weekly to get this under conrol before Zachary makes his entrance into the world. Perfect!

So today, we have to go to the pharmacy and schedule the diabetes education. I need to go to both. As a medical professional, everyone in the family relies on me to keep abreast of all of the medical issues, to make informed decisions. I feel like I have to be there for J.

On a side note, I'm glad I went with J to the appointment. I have been feeling down about the work situation, knowing that I run out of FMLA job protection here in a few weeks,and knowing that my employer can post my job if desired. The doctor and I were talking about some of the newer RT's in the department, and she said that she had written one up who was "bitchy". Later, I guess she was telling some of the other residents about it, and they asked if it was me. Instead of being offended, I laughed. Because, yes, I can be bitchy. Residents may be doctors, but by all rights, they are also students. In order to get my credentials, I studied nothing but lungs and heart for years. So when I am working with them, and I think they are messing up in any way, I speak up. I can become a pitbull in an instant for one of my patients, especially in a critical situation. Well, she confirmed this for me. She said she told them that "Andrea is a good type of bitchy". That I'm funny, and if I am truly "bitching", they need to listen because I know what I'm talking about. I started to have images in my head of spending downtime with the residents, teaching them how I interpret blood gases or explaining the different modes of mechanical vntilation and why method A would be better for a particular patient than method B. And I realized that, in the event I find myself looking for another job at the end of this ordeal, I have a team of professionals from which to draw references. That there is an entire group of people in the hospital who trust me over the others. That I have done what I set out to do: gain professional respect. It's a really great feeling to have at a time when my professional life hangs in the balance.


  1. The title alone of this blog post cracked me up! Who can blame you for wanting to be present during something like that? I'm glad to hear your husband is being treated and it's probably a huge load off your shoulder. Now you can rest easy!

  2. Yes, I'm relieved. Though my now-diabetic huband has turned into the sugar police in the house. I came home today and slept for hours!