Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Day in the PDH

PDH - Pediatric Day Hospital located on the 9th floor at MSKCC in the Bobst Building.

The first stop is always the IV room for a finger poke to determine if any transfusions will be needed that day and to get hooked up with the medication for that day. The waiting area is where you WAIT and WAIT, in between tests or to see the doctor. If you get there late on a Monday you might have a hard time finding a seat. Today Renee needed to be there early. She had a lots of test scheduled. A steady stream of people arrive. Younger children in strollers, older children, teenagers, and young adults in wheelchairs if they are too weak too walk, accompanied by their caregivers and puke buckets and IV poles. The younger ones are mostly going around with their bald heads, or with a few remaining strands of hair, often with big scars from ear to ear if they have had surgery for brain tumors. Parents give each other encouraging smiles as they pass each other.

The wall in the waiting area is adorned with very interesting pieces of 3-D art work done by the children of staff members. Some day I should sneak in there at night to take a picture to put on my blog. The play area is enclosed with a glass wall filled with an assortment of glass jars, vases and lights and a giant glass roof over the whole area including part of the bed area. The bed area is where you get to lie down to sleep or watch TV. This area is always very noisy with so many TV's all being on at the same time. Some days are quieter than others. There are usually a lot of younger children crying, and some are just whiny. The other day there was a toddler sobbing, "why? why? why?" and then with a piercing scream, "NOOOOO!" it was over - whatever the frightening situation was.

Renee needed a platelet transfusion today. They always have to pre-medicate her, and sometimes she still gets hives, which was what happened today. So they had to give her an extra dose of benadryl. Today Renee didn't get a bed. She was in the area where you just get a recliner chair. There is also always lots of kids of all sizes, including a lot of young adults stretched out or curled up in the two person bench seats, depending on their size, in the waiting area of the bed area or the main waiting area , sleeping off the effects of the drugs, often with a puke bucket nearby.

Renee was having a long nap, due to the benadryl and I went to a care giver's meeting. It is good to get together to share our experiences, but it is also kind of draining. One lady kind of dominated the conversation, but she was mostly quite interesting to listen too. One theme that almost everybody had in common was how hard this was on their marriages. I recommended the Love & Respect book. Maybe that book wouldn't help everybody, but it has made a bigger difference in our relationship than any other book we have ever read on marriage. When you are going through so much emotional stress, every little thing gets so blown out of proportion. A lot of marriages break up as result, just when they actually need each other more than ever.

I published this on Ray's blog by mistake, but I don't know if that makes any difference. I'm sure it is so boring that nobody will want to read it anyway.


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