"You can not do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A friend sent me that quote yesterday. She was passing on the message as a reminder to be aware of our surroundings and not to miss an opportunity to do some good in this world. I'm passing it on to you. I want to pass it on to the nurse in the neonatal unit where my new grandson is.
Last week we spent several days in the hospital with our son and his wife. She was expecting in mid-November but the onset of contractions ended in an early delivery! Colton Miles was born Friday, Oct. 8th, close to 6 weeks early! He's healthy and beautiful and big for a preemie ~ nearly 6 lbs. He will be residing in the NIKU for a few weeks.
Common problems with preemies are breathing on their own, maintaining their body tempt, and then learning to eat. They have yet to develop the suck, swallow and breathe technique. Little Colton has proven to be a mellow baby, easily pacified and many of the nurses have said he's a lazy baby, content to sleep and eat. Hearing that reminded me of his father, my son, who slept nearly the first year of his life. Simply put, Colton is not a fussy baby. Being a mother of three, a grandmother of three more, I am familiar with how quickly personalities are established in each person.
Monday night proved Colton is determined not to be ignored either. When my son and his wife entered the neonatal unit they immediately recognized Colton's cry. He sounded extremely upset and once reaching his bassinet his parents realized several things, the most important he was cold. He had scooted out from the bellyrubin light, pulled off his eye mask and had his head pressed up against the top end of the bassinet. The nurse on duty had not noticed any of these problems.
My daughter-in-law Shannon is a nurse, a very well trained nurse of the very hospital where Colton is staying. She wanted her son's temperature taken immediately. The nurse couldn't find the thermometer. It should have been in its proper place by Colton's bed. It wasn't. She had to go find another. Colton's tempt was charted and Shannon realized his temperature had been dropping all day and no one had done anything about it. The night nurse blamed the day nurse for not doing her job. She admitted the readings signified that Colton should have been transferred to an incubator several hours before. This nurse had been on duty for three hours and admitted she had not looked at her patient yet. The neonatal unit is a busy place, but each nurse is in charge of two infants. Two!
I'll have to say I'm proud of how well Nick and Shannon handled the situation. I would have gone off the deep end, letting my emotions take over. Shannon wanted documentation! They were not simply new parents over-reacting, they now have the paperwork to tell the powers that be something was amiss in the neonatal unit!
Colton was too exhausted to try to eat and I'm merely speculating, but I think the nurse knew she wouldn't have to bottle feed him if she let him cry long enough. When an infant is premature, eating is an exhausting experience and it takes awhile to bottle feed them. Her shift would be a little easier if she simply zipped his nurishment through his feeding tube and presto! he would have a full tummy. She also didn't know Nick and Shannon intended to come in so they could feed him.
I'm not bashing any neonatal units, don't want to show disrespect to nurses, I simply want folks to wake up to the fact when they chose a profession that affects others, they need to be at the top of their game - every day! Short cuts don't work. Like my son said, "how can I trust you with my son in my absence? How could you not look at my son, your patient? You were within five feet of him and you didn't glance to see he needed help?"
I'm sure that nurse is wishing she could do a do-over of that night. If she had shown a hint of interest in her work she wouldn't be facing the troubles ahead for her. I'm thankful Colton is doing great and I hope no other little baby has to go through what he did. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "you can not do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."
Til next time ~