Thursday, 14 July 2011

Reflections on Code Blue

Really, this story starts last week when we went to get Nic's (hopefully) final round of blood tests done. For whatever reason we had to check into the Peds specialty clinic for the draw, which meant checking Nic in an outpatient at the hospital. We did all of our insurance information upstairs at outpatient check-in, then went downstairs to pediatrics where we were put in a room and asked to wait while they verified the test codes and assembled equipment.

The room we waited in was the standard pediatric room, I assume, and was equipped with hospital bed and all the usual odd and scary looking tubes and poles and devices. Nic thought those looked super interesting and desired to pull on them. I then realized that there is nothing for an active crawler to do in a hospital room that is both safe for him and the room and sanitary. Thus, as I struggled to hold an increasingly wiggly little boy, I was searching the room for something to do, which ended up being watching the introduction to the hospital on the room's tv(and in retrospect this was not the time-waster I thought it was). It was rather boring, so my eyes wandered...and landed on a nice laminated sign hanging under the patient info board. It read "To call a CODE BLUE dial ....." Now, Code Blue is hospital lingo for "your kid's heart just stopped working" and the nice little laminated sign bothered me on two fronts: 1) why remind a probably already panicked parent that their child might die in the hospital with such signage? 2) Why couldn't the nurses or doctors of whoever memorize such an easy number since it only involved two different numberals? And, if they couldn't (scary thought, because if they can't remember five easy digits, can they recall my kid's meds correctly?), why not post it more discreetly on the wall or on the back of a name tag, etc? Clearly the sign wasn't for parents to use or it would not have been written in hospital code.

Anyhow, this little yellow sign, and all the crazy medical equipment reminded me exactly why I am not fond of hospital visits (is anyone?). It also reminded me that I really didn't want to be taking Nic to the hospital. Yes, hospitals cure kids of all kinds of illnesses, but, his (at the time) probable illness currently has no cure, only pain relief and infection fighting. Every time we would go it would be with the knowledge that we would return. I didn't like that idea.

As we wrapped up the blood test, which involved only one stick but a horrifyingly long amount of time for the many vials to fill up during which Nic screamed bloody murder, I had no idea that I would be returning so soon to the hospital. Thank goodness, as it just would have stressed me out. I had an arbitrary goal of making it until Nic's first birthday before he had his first crisis/hospital visit, and I hate giving up my goals, no matter how ridiculously out of my control I know they are.

Anyhow, thanks to last week's visit, guess what little yellow sign was on my mind during the half-hour it took me to get to the hospital this week? As absurd as it sounds, by the time I followed all the PICU signs (which are black on yellow "minus" signs posted on the ceiling and not that easy to follow) and managed to get buzzed into Nic's room I was half-convinced I would find a crash cart there. Of course, nothing of that sort happened, and it was never probable that it would, but thanks to that sign it was on my brain. What a way to start our visit...

Just for fun, a cute picture of Nic - not taken at the hospital

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