Code Blue

I could’ve posted an entry last night about how well Gabriel was doing, but I didn’t. I try to revel in the happy moments, the muscle reflexes that look like smiles, the eye contact, the kisses I can give, the vent settings lowering, the oxygen lowering, the feedings, the progress… but I’m so scared.

Gabriel was doing better yesterday. They transferred him from the high frequency ventilator to the conventional ventilator and he did so well with the breast milk that his feedings were increased to 2 mL per hour continuously. Yesterday was a really good day, it was. Even in the good day though, Gabriel’s diapers weren’t very wet. Maybe I was just too tired last night to post a positive blog, or it was fear that tonight I’d be posting another difficult blog. As one of the nurses explained to me tonight, life in the NICU (especially for preemies) is usually one step forward and two steps backwards for a while… which is definitely not what anyone wants to hear.

This morning the doctor stopped Gabriel’s feedings (when I say “feedings”, I mean that he receives breast milk through his feeding tube) because his stomach wasn’t able to process it as quickly as he was receiving it. Then, his CBC (complete blood count) that is checked three times a week came back showing young infection fighting cells… meaning that Gabriel may have an infection. He has been started on antibiotics again and the nurse took blood from his arterial line, his new Broviac line, a urine sample, and a sample from the breathing tube that goes down to his lungs. Of course, that’s not enough for one day.

Pride and ego, according to the professional opinions of my mom and I, are the two leading factors in causing human error. Gabriel’s nurse today went to give him a once daily medication through his Broviac line and said “I’ll just let the IV nutrition carry this down the line”. This medication is NOT compatible with any other fluid, in fact, it can crystallize upon contact. The label reads, “not compatible”. Had I not been paying attention, this nurse could have caused a lot of damage! When I told her that it’s not compatible, her response was, “it should be!” Ahhhh, I was mad! What if I’m not there one day or if I step out of his room for thirty seconds??  If that wasn’t enough, an hour later, because this nurse pulled Gabriel’s feeding tube out of his mouth (which wasn’t supposed to be taken out) he started choking and coughed out his breathing tube!! This is a huge deal because it can cause damage to his trachea and then he has to be intubated again! When the tube came out, the nurse tried to push it back in and when she realized that it was fully out, she froze! I had to call for another nurse and then four nurses and the doctor came running! He was a code blue. I watched Gabriel go from being deep red and thrashing around to being pale, turning blue, and going completely limp because his heart rate and oxygen saturation rates were plummeting. I will never be able to get rid of that picture of him. On top of all of this, the nurse told the doctor that Gabriel pulled out his feeding tube and that’s why he extubated himself. She lied and blamed my son. Ego… and because of her ego, Gabriel is coughing up blood now.

My resolve in this traumatizing day was to make sure that she’ll never be our nurse again, and to be at the hospital for the entire day shift of a nurse that I don’t know, at least until Gabriel is doing better. I feel like I can’t trust anyone to care for him without me being there to check their every move. I realize that I’ve said this quite a bit lately, but I’m trying to forget this code blue scare, trying to block it out. Ultimately though, Gabriel is still here. Three babies have died this week in the NICU, and Gabriel was not one of them. Praise you, God, for my blessing and give strength to those families.

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4 Responses to Code Blue

  1. Beth says:

    You have learned so much, you are Gabriel’s best advocate!!! I am SO sorry it’s all been so hard and with so many setbacks. Take lots of pictures, enjoy all the positive moments you can, there will be “good” days ahead…hugs to you and he!

  2. Steph Haaser says:

    It may not seem like it will right now, but the image does fad with time. We’re just at two months since Sarah’s last code Blue, and honestly the thing I remember the most is my fear and panic that this was it. It wasn’t, we moved one, and she got better; Gabriel will, too.

    I hated reading about Gabriel’s nurse problems, but so happy to hear that you were there sticking up for and protecting your little man! I know it’s frustrating though, and it makes you uneasy about ever leaving the NICU! If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend talking to the Team Lead and possibly the NICU Manager. Nurses shouldn’t be making mistakes like that, and if they are, they need to redo their meds training and/or be fired!

  3. Taffie says:

    I’m Jennifer’s Aunt (Baby Reid’s great-aunt). I have been keeping up with Gabriel’s progress and I had to post that I’m awed by your strength and courage and most of all by your faith. I hope someone has been made aware of that nurse’s errors and she has been counseled to bnetter care for other babies..that is appalling! He has been added to our prayer lists and hope you are feeling the power of those prayers. Gabe deseves a really BIG BREAK…his time has got to be here soon!

  4. MoDLin says:

    I’m SO sorry you and Gabriel went throuh this and can only say thank goodness that you were there. I agree that you should speak with the NICU Manager. NICU nurses are responsible for so much and this type of behavior/error should not be made. I hope little Gabriel is doing better now and I look forward to more positive reports.

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