During high school and college holiday and summer breaks, I worked in a toy store. I worked in Customer Service. As dolls, toy cars, and battery operated toys were returned, I very seldom had to check the price in the computer. My memory for numbers has always been good, and most of the time I would simply remember the price. My colleagues sometimes tested my price knowledge, since they thought it was a useless skill to have. Before the age of cell phones, I would remember all phone numbers I needed. No need for an old fashioned phone book.
This number memory of mine has come in handy when we're in the hospital. Everything is a number. The chance of an error in a hospital setting is present. It's a human process after all. I am just thinking about the numbers associated with our own boy:
- 82 is the number of ml of fluids per hour. When IV fluids and formula are mixed, it's easy that a little calculation number suddenly decreases or increases the magical number 82. 82 adding up to 1968 ml of fluids in 24 hours.
- 50 medications in 24 hours, every single medication with a different dose. Some medications have a different dose depending on the time of the day. Some medications we change the dose daily depending on how Jacob is doing. Some medications having a new concentration as they are changing from oral to IV.
- Measuring every diaper to make sure Jacob's fluid intake matches his fluid output. Stool above 600 ml needs to be replaced with Pedialyte or IV fluids in a 24 hours period.
During this last hospital stay, we had a medication error. Jacob received one medication twice. He received it both orally and IV. We knew how it happened, and under the circumstances, neither Joakim or I were surprised. We also knew that the dose was safe for Jacob. He would not have an adverse reaction from it. Still as a parent, you do want to know when a medical error happens. Big or small.
We also found out we had a "near miss"event. A medication came up from the pharmacy, and the nurse did think the medication looked slightly different than the previous dose. Her suspicion was confirmed by the pharmacy. It was the wrong medication sent up. It had a slightly different name than the medication Jacob takes for his epilepsy. A "near miss" is a good thing. There was an error, but the error was caught before it reached the patient.
One of the best things to be home again is that I can lower my guard. As Jacob is in the hospital, it's the heavy weight of having a sick boy. It's very seldom straight forward to treat Jacob or he would not be in the hospital. I also feel we have to be that extra layer of protection for Jacob, checking every dose of medication, every pump of fluids, and being that extra set of eyes. After all, we know our boy best. As silly as it is to remember random phone numbers and toy prices, it's a blessing I have Jacob's numbers engraved in my head, Nevertheless, it's exhausting.
Today, we have been home for a week. Jacob's incision is continuing to heal. As always, it probably will take a little longer to heal than for you and me. Jacob's tummy still isn't great. We are using our cards wisely, and trying to keep our boy comfortable and HOME.
Sincere thanks to all of you who cheered our boy on in the hospital. We hope Jacob can continue to stay home, so we can keep the numbers game in our home court.