Saturday, November 14, 2009


Theo was in the hospital for 2 days with RSV- a respiratory virus that is hard on young kids. It gave me some time to ponder a multitude of things:
- Two doctors can be in denial for a long time when it comes to their own kid. By the time we actually went to the ER, he was breathing about 60 times/minute and using all of his accessory chest and abdominal muscles to do it. Whoops.

- There is no good way to introduce the fact that you are a physician to the nurses and doctor who are taking care of your kid, especially when your Spanish is limited. No matter what, it sounds like you are shouting "Soy medico!" and pounding on your chest.

- Puerto Rican hospitals are freezing. Really, really cold, and there are no complimentary blankets. I guess the theory is that if you keep the place at about 50 degrees F, it will inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It also inhibits your patients from getting out from under the covers to complain about stuff. I'm not exaggerating about this. One night I was running in place to keep warm and my roommate (there were 3 patients to a room) saw me and loaned me her extra hat, scarf and gloves.

- Even though it's crazy cold, there are no blankets included, so Chris had to run home to get some for us. He brought two back for Theo and one for me, which sounds like enough but it actually wasn't. So I ended up sleeping in the crib with Theo, which was surprisingly comfy. Chris says they used to make fun of the Moms who did that. Doctors are so mean.

- I also had to pay, in cash, for TV privileges. Which got the TV turned on, but I think I was supposed to bribe someone to get the volume restriction removed (my roommates had clearly worked around it somehow). So after Theo went to sleep, I would stand on the chair so my ear would be right up next to the speaker. Then during commercials I would jump down and run in place, because standing on the chair put me right up by the air conditioner vent. I'm pretty sure they all thought I was completely crazy.

- I'm also pretty sure the nurses hated me. Doctors and nurses don't like taking care of doctors, so at first I was really trying hard to be agreeable. I didn't make a fuss when they used two separate pokes to draw blood and start an IV (you can do it with one). I held Theo down so they could run a test for H1N1, even though I am 100% sure that he already had it 2 months ago. I acted apologetic when I asked to review his lab results, and snuck off to look at his chest xray so I wouldn't seem presumptuous. But then we spent our first night and they started wanting me to wake Theo up for ridiculous stuff. At 2 am they wanted to give him some Tylenol when he wasn't febrile or in pain. At 3:30 am they wanted to give him a cough supressant when he hadn't been coughing. And at 4 they wanted me to wake him up to take an antacid. I was kind of embarrassed that i'd already said no twice at that point, so I took the syringe of medication from the nurse, turned my back to her so she couldn't see, bent over Theo and squirted the med onto the blanket next to his mouth. Then I rearranged the blanket, so the wet spot was by his feet. How do you say 'passive aggressive' in Spanish?