Sick Leave

Calling in sick to your job is easy. You call your boss, put on your best woe is me voice, and tell them that it’s best you don’t come in today, because you’re not feeling well. You spend the rest of the day in your pyjamas on the couch, watching bad daytime TV and feeling only slightly guilty that you were probably well enough to go in to the office, you just didn’t want to.

Calling in sick to the NICU is something else entirely. Calling in sick to the NICU sucks.

Don got sick, and I followed suit about four days later. As has been previously mentioned, you can’t go into the NICU when you’re sick. You just can’t chance it. So I spent four days—Don spent seven—in quarantine, away from our babygirl. Wondering if she was wondering where we were when she had her fourth blood transfusion on Tuesday, or her chest x-ray on Wednesday? Just wondering how she was doing, and wondering if she missed us as much as we missed her.

Maybe it was the NeoCitran talking, but I was feeling much better on Thursday night and determined to see her on Friday. I really did feel much better when I woke up, so after yet another morning of bureaucratic nonsense, finally made my way across the city towards Nyanaland. My grandma had called earlier in the day and met me in the NICU. If you’ll recall, she and my granddad missed their last visit, and Gran was looking for some Nyana love just as much as I was.

She looked so big! It had only been four days since I’d seen her and she looked huge to me! I checked her chart: 2,447 grams (5lb 6oz)!

Preemie lungs with chronic lung disease.

Preemie lungs with chronic lung disease. Image borrowed from the University of Manitoba.

So she’s growing splendidly, but still refusing to budge on the ventilator, despite the fact that she detests that tube down her throat. Oxygen requirements today were higher—in the 50s—and her chest x-ray earlier this week showed there were still no changes in her lungs. Nyana’s lungs still look the same they did a month ago, which is very much like this image here. All the wispy white areas are the scarred tissue, scarred from damage caused by the ventilator. Healthy lungs are more like the dark black areas you see. We have a long way to go.

But after four days without her, I didn’t care too much about all that. I just wanted to see her and touch her and smell her. I happily changed her diaper and took her temperature and helped the nurse flip her over. I sat beside her crib and told her stories about what I used to do with her great-Gran, and what the two of them can do together once she gets herself released. And I used Micro-san every time my hands even came close to my face, because I had a sad feeling nagging at me that I still wasn’t healthy enough to be in there. When the nurse reminded me that the leg cramps I’d been feeling all morning could be a flu symptom, I turned down a cuddle with Nyana, said my goodbyes, and came home. Even though I feel a million times better than I did three days ago, it would appear I still have at least one day of quarantine to endure. Fingers crossed that Don is well enough in the morning. One of us needs to get some serious Nyanalove soon.

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About Mrs. B

Wife, mother, marketer--not always in that order. Lover of fine food, good company, and exceptional grammar. Mother of one former micro-preemie and one full-term monster baby. Building childhood memories in Vancouver's suburbs.
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2 Responses to Sick Leave

  1. Shannon says:

    Take it easy, Karen (and Don)! There is a really nasty bug going around Vancouver apparently, I have my second cold in 2.5 weeks and I’m just glad that baby’s not here yet to get it too!

  2. Bubs says:

    Just think, a month today will be Boxing Day and here’s hoping that Nyana will be home with you and Don. I continue to marvel at how you and Don keep us informed of Nyana’s health condition. Without this information on your parts I’d be bugging you crazy by phoning you nightly for updates but this way I don’t have to.

    As much as I’d love to see you and Nyana I’m going to have to pass again this weekend as this damned cold of mine just won’t go away. It started the day Kim arrived and got worse daily for a week and then leveled off and that’s where it is now. Because of this cold I’ve had to cancel two appoints for surgery to correct a cataract in my left eye. One day soon I hope to be able to join Gran as I do miss seeing that growing sweetheart. Love to you all. Bubs

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