Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Night Nurse

In the wee hours of the night, that little red light on Jack's toe is about the only thing standing between life and death for Jack. Because Jack has an artificial airway and depends on a machine to breathe for him, Jack must be monitored 24/7. During the day, someone is almost always with Jack and we can generally monitor him by looking at him. While we sometimes keep the pulse-ox on Jack during the day, we don't keep it on him when we take him out. At night however, I don't have night nursing and I need to get some sleep. Therefore, I rely entirely on that little red light and the machine it is hooked up to, to alert me if there is a problem. Every night before I close my eyes, I say a silent prayer asking that I please hear the alarm if it goes off. So far, I don't think I've ever slept through an alarm. It's scary enough depending on technology to breathe for your child. It's even more scary depending on technology to blast you out of your slumber to alert you to your child's falling oxygen saturations. And even more scary at times, is figuring out why your child's oxygen saturations are falling and how to resolve the problem. Sometimes . . . this is all just too scary!

It's time for me to try and catch a few hours of sleep, but first I will send up my request for no alarms tonight . . . for me, for Jen, for Rachel, for Karen, for Dana, for Nikki, for Melisande, for Kristy, for Sarah, for Julie, and for all those moms sleeping with one ear open, listening for the dreaded alarm and relying on that little red light to keep their child safe tonight.


Rachel Marini said...

Thank you for that beautiful post. Having a child on a ventilator can seem so isolating, but it is so refreshing to know there are other mothers out there who CAN relate to the qualms of the ventilator, pulse-ox, nursing, insurance, etc. So glad our paths have crossed.

PS- I actually didn't hear any alarms last night. It was 'my' night to get up, too, if there had been any. :) Hope you had a quiet night.

julie w said...

Thankfully we don't generally keep the pulse ox on sam all night unless he is sick or we are doing overnight monitoring for the pulm. the little monkey pulls the probe off too much, I'd never get ANY sleep. However, the feeding pump often alarms when it occludes (which it does frequently cos he's a wriggler) and I head zombie-like into the bedroom. I often wonder how many kids of nearly 6 still need baby monitors and I have to admit to being ready for a night wear I can sleep without one ear open. Even on the nights when it is John's shift I often end up getting up cos he is so good at sleeping through alarms!
I hope you got a good night's sleep (((HUG)))

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your prayers. It is such a strange existence living with the pulse-ox. Logan was out of town this week for 4 days. The first time either of us has been away since Nathan's birth. He called me every night and asked to hear the beeping pulse-ox. Funny what you get used to...
I hope your week is peaceful!

Faith said...

And not to mention the dozen(s) of times it false alarms in the night.
Thanks for sending good vibes our way- here's to another night free of alarms.

Jen :)

Melisande said...

Thanks, Ann. God bless you and Jack too!

Anonymous said...

Rob caught Abby in the middle of the night taking her pulse ox off with her teeth in her sleep.
The other night when we had no power I slept on her floor because the pulse ox machine has no battery and I get so scared when that little red light isn't on. I have heard that the vent will just stop working at times with no alarm, so the pulse ox is a life saver on its own.
So I hear you sister.
Have some good sleep.

Dana said...

Thanks Ann. I think about you and all the other wonderful moms who don't have regular night nursing. I wish I could lend some of our nurses. Alarms are alarms and no matter I still hear them and wake up. YOur post made me cry at the reality of life for vent kids and parents. Prayers are the onlly thing that gets us through sometimes. The times I have prayed that she would just stop beeping. Hope Jack sleeps good for you. Can I put a link to this post on my blog? You just said it so well?

Ann said...

Dana -- sure thing. Feel free to link this blog.

Tess - I knew as soon as I started listing names I'd forget someone. Always sending up good thoughts for you too my friend.

Sarah said...

Thanks Ann! I too pray for no alarms for everyone. Irritating, scary, frustrating, and exhausting. Hugs!