Ron and I had to bring Peyton to the ER on Sunday, March 21st. She was beginning to have all the symptoms of the illness that landed her in MUSC for 11 days just this past January. She was admitted with a possible viral infection and perhaps pneumonia.
You might be thinking - I thought this blog was supposed to be about GOOD things...about the blessings in our lives. Hang tight...I'm getting to it!
In the wee hours on Monday, I got up to change Peyton's diaper. I noticed her bed was wet so called for a nurse to come help me change the sheets. I also noticed it was wet near her shoulder and near where her central line is. I thought that was very odd - perhaps a connector on the IV line had come undone and fluid was spilling out. A nurse came in, turned on the lights and checked Peyton. She then asked me if Peyton was normally this puffy. I took a look and my jaw nearly dropped. The answer was a resounding "NO". I could not believe what I was looking at. Her whole left side of her torso, arm and neck were swollen up like a balloon. And so began the drama of the day - unraveling the mystery of what happened with her port.
Peyton's nurse, who was not the one who had come in to assist with the bedding, was called in and a whole lot of drama unfolded over the next several hours. In the middle of doctors coming in, her nurse was diligently working to try to bring some of the swelling down by loading her up with blankets and heat packs. Since you can't put heat packs directly on the skin, they needed to be wrapped. I wasn't paying much attention to what the nurse was doing - I was more concerned about how fussy Peyton was becoming. It was scary watching everything unfold. Peyton's nurse was wonderful. He really did everything he could to try to make Peyton as comfortable as possible. He was becoming pretty particular about those heat packs. He went out at one point and returned and began packing the heat packs into a pillow case. It wasn't a standard-issue hospital pillow case from their linen supply. It was a really nice soft color with a child-like design on it. What I later found out was that this pillow case was actually one for the cancer kids and that it was for Peyton to take home. Her nurse could have grabbed anything - a regular old pillow case, a sheet, a towel, etc. But he didn't. He went the extra mile and got something that was a lot more special and something that she could take with her when we leave here. He didn't have to do that at all...but he did. I could tell from the way he was treating her that he was deeply concerned about what was going on with her.
Shift change was at 7:00 a.m., meaning Peyton's nurse was getting fairly close to the end of his shift. As this time was approaching, Peyton was reaching a point where she had to start getting some IV antibiotics into her because she was no longer getting anything through the port. Everyone was waiting on surgery to say whether or not she needed to have a temporary PICC line installed til the port could be resolved. That wasn't happening fast enough so it was decided that she had to have a regular IV put in. I hated this for Peyton because she is such a difficult stick - this is the reason why she got the port put in in the first place in February. Peyton's nurse along with three others came in and all tried unsuccessfully for nearly TWO HOURS to get an IV started. Did I mention shift change was at 7:00?? Peyton's nurse was STILL with her at 9:00 a.m. when all efforts to start an IV had failed. In fact he stayed probably til around 9:30 a.m. to make sure she was ok. The whole experience was pretty traumatic for her and he stayed to tend to her.
I know that her nurse cared about Peyton and that she wasn't just some kid in a room he happened to be assigned to. Some people just care. It really meant a lot to me that he cared so much about Peyton. I was pretty impressed after the pillow case incident. But when he took two and a half hours after his shift ended just to make sure Peyton was being taken care of and would be ok...well, that just speaks volumes about him as a person, not just as a nurse.
So, while the whole port ordeal involved a lot of trauma and drama, it also gave me an opportunity to see how God can work through others.
P.S. If you want to check out the saga of her hospital stay, check out Peyton's website at www.caringbridge.org/visit/peytonfontenot.