Our Deepest Condolences

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 29, 2018

I have been a part of the Not Always Right community for a few years now. This past year, three of my submitted stories have been published: “With A Mother Like That, Pain Tolerance Is Through The Roof,” “Already Has A Big Baby To Look After,” and “Not The Formula For A Successful Doctor.” For those that aren’t familiar, I went into labor at 29 weeks, and gave birth to a beautiful little girl.

My daughter spent 70 days in the NICU. She was released to come home mid-September, with no extra care other than a multivitamin. She was happy, healthy, and so fiercely loved.

After a month of being home, I woke up at about six in the morning with a sinking feeling. I immediately checked on her in her crib, and she was gasping, struggling to breathe. I woke up my partner, and we were going to rush her to the urgent care down the road. As I was getting in the car with her, she stopped breathing completely and went limp. Her father began performing CPR as the NICU had taught us. I called 911.

A firetruck and couple of cops arrived, and paramedics got out and took over. My partner and I were pulled away and gave statements. After a few minutes, an ambulance showed up, and my baby was loaded in and taken away. One of the paramedics offered me a ride to the hospital, and I took it.

When I arrived at the same hospital where she was born, they had managed to restart her heart. They allowed me to watch and touch her while they hooked her up to machinery, and another nurse kept her breathing with a squeeze bag.

They flew my daughter to Children’s Health Care, one of the best hospitals in the nation; think Ronald McDonald house.

My partner picked me up from the local hospital, and we drove an hour to see her at Children’s. We waited for three hours before a couple of doctors pulled us away into a private room.

They told us that she was stable; however, CPR had been performed for more than 20 minutes before she came back. Without oxygen to the brain for three or four minutes, brain cells begin to die and swell. Our daughter was unresponsive, and the doctor predicted that her heart would stop again, and told us that the merciful thing would be to refuse resuscitation. He gave it a day, maybe hours. We asked for resuscitation, anyway; if there was any chance at all, we’d take it.

My daughter made it through the day, and even through the night. Her heart was beating, but she was on max medication, and a ventilator was breathing for her. She was still unresponsive, but the nurses continued to take care of her — and us. We spent the night on the couch in her room. The nurses were absolutely wonderful.

The next morning, the doctor sat down with us and stated that he believed our 14-week-old baby’s brain was non-functional; she was brain dead.

Later that afternoon, he performed what is called a brain dead test, basically dotting Is and crossing Ts on paperwork. While still supplying oxygen, they turned off the ventilator to watch for a breath; her brain should have sent this signal. Ten minutes went by. She didn’t breathe.

At this point, she couldn’t tolerate the test, and they tried to turn the ventilator back on. Her vitals were too out of whack.

Three months after she entered this world so suddenly, she passed away peacefully in our arms.

We are so thankful to every nurse and paramedic, and everyone that helped to take care of our little girl — and us — through this impossible ordeal. These people are angels sent from heaven. My baby girl will never be forgotten.

We love you, River Madeline. You will always be in our hearts.

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Not The Formula For A Successful Doctor

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 27, 2018

(My daughter is born almost three months early and spends the first ten weeks of her life in the hospital. The day she is born, I start using a breast pump, so that I can take milk to her. Shortly after she comes home, we quickly realize that breastfeeding is an unpleasant experience for both of us, so I decide to continue pumping, but to supplement with formula during the night. It takes three weeks after she gets home, and me jumping through hoops and making phone calls daily, to get her insurance pushed through and active, so I can finally get her to her first pediatric appointment. Because I do not have a running car, I make an appointment at the office just down the road, and my mother is generous enough to drive us there. We arrive about ten minutes before the appointment, but we end up waiting more than half an hour after the scheduled time to be called back. The nurse calls a name that is somewhat similar to my daughter’s, but is incorrect, and is often used as a last name. After she calls the name two or three times, and neither of the other two families in the waiting room move, I ask if she is calling for [Daughter]. She nods and waves her hand and tells us to follow her. Once in an exam room, we wait about another twenty minutes before the doctor comes in.)

Doctor: *not looking up from her paperwork* “So, what formula is she using?”

Me: “None. I currently give her breast milk.”

Doctor: “All breast milk? That’s great!” *goes on about how great it is that my daughter gets exclusively breast milk, and about the benefits of breastfeeding*

Me: “Thanks. I wanted to start giving her formula once in a while, but I’m not sure what kind would be best for her.”

Doctor: “Oh.” *suddenly less enthused* “Okay. So, he’s five months old, right?”

Me: “No. She is three months.”

Doctor: *pulling the blanket down from my daughter’s face* “Cute. Let me wash my hands.”

(I then receive a lecture on germs, about making everyone around my daughter wash their hands, and about not only keeping her away from anyone sick, but just not taking her outside at all or letting her around family. A few minutes later, while examining her:)

Doctor: “She’s cute. What’s her name?”

Me: “[Daughter].” *internally alarmed because did this doctor not even look at any of the papers*

Doctor: “[Daughter].” *sarcastically* “Hmm. Unique. So, how’s the breast feeding going?”

Me: “I pump, and then we give her a bottle. Since she spent the first two and half mo–”

Doctor: *interrupting me* “She has a suck reflex. She can breastfeed.”

Me: “We’ve tried a few times, but it just hasn’t worked out well. She does better–”

Doctor: *interrupting me again* “She can breastfeed.”

Me: “She falls asleep every few minutes, and I have to wake her up continually.”

Doctor: “That’s fine.”

Me: “After an hour or two of nursing, she still hasn’t had enough to be a meal.”

Doctor: “That’s fine. Just let her keep doing it. It’s good practice.”

Me: “Okay, we will nurse here and there for comfort or a snack between feeds, but I’m struggling with my supply, hence the formula. But for the most part–”

Doctor: *interrupting again, this time very forcefully* “There is no reason not to breastfeed! You need to stop using the pump, and your supply will increase. You don’t need the bottles. She can do it, so do it!”

Me: “Fine.”

Doctor: “Okay. Did the hospital give you a packet about [vaccine]?”

Me: “Yes. It’s in my bag on the chair.”

Doctor: “Get it for me.”

(Keeping my fingertips on my daughter’s leg, I stretch over and grab the packet. As soon as I stand up:)

Doctor: *scolding* “Don’t do that! Don’t ever do that! Don’t ever turn your back on your baby or look away! That’s how they fall off the table!”

Me: *defeated, flat* “Okay.”

Doctor: “I’m going to prescribe a formula for preemies; it has extra calories. You’ll get it when you go into the WIC office and give them this form.”

(I’m not on WIC, nor have I applied.)

Me: “Okay. Can I get it from a pharmacy? I have a bit of a transportation issue and may not be able to get there for a few days. Is there anything I can give her in the meantime?”

Doctor: *ignoring me* “You can take it there today, or tomorrow, or whenever is convenient.”

Me: “Where is the this office even located?”

Doctor: *waving me off* “Ask the receptionist when you check out. I want you to set up an appointment two weeks from now at our location in [City 30 minutes away] to get her next vaccines; I don’t do shots. Also, I want to see her back here next week so that I can check her weight. Does she have any other follow-up appointments?”

Me: *internally cringing at the thought of seeing this lady again* “Yes. She needs to see an audiologist. I just got the contact information for them yesterday. I was going to call them today, once we left here.”

Doctor: “Call them. She needs to go to that appointment. What about her eyes?”

Me: “She had her eyes looked at earlier this week at [office]. They gave her eyes a clean bill and said they don’t need to see her again.”

Doctor: “Do they need to see her again? What did they say?”

Me: *internally sighing* “They said her eyes are fine; she doesn’t need to go back.”

Doctor: “Good. But what about her hearing? Did they say anything about that? Do you have an appointment? Who with? When is the appointment?”

Me: “I haven’t made the appointment yet. I just got the information yesterday. I’m going to call them today.”

Doctor: “Make the appointment. Call them. She needs to go.”

Me: “Okay.”

(This went around and around a few times, with me confirming over and over. When we got to the checkout counter, I told the receptionist what the doctor said, and she was surprised. I asked if we could see someone else for the next appointment, and was told that until the doctor released my daughter as a patient, we had to see her again. The entire next appointment, unless I interjected or physically placed myself in front of her, the doctor directed every comment, question, or concern to my mother, who simply gave her a deer-in-the-headlights look. I assumed this was because though I am in my 20s and married, I look younger and the doctor assumed that I was some high school kid that got knocked up. Feeling frustrated, and still needing to get formula, I called the NICU that my daughter spent the first weeks of her life in. I explained the situation, and the charge nurse was very understanding and apologetic for my experience. She told me what formula they generally send preemie babies home with, and told me that I could pick it up at just about any grocery store with a baby section. I looked it up so that I could get a picture of the container to ask my husband to bring it home. Then, out of curiosity, I checked the paperwork with the prescription formula that the doctor gave me, and it was the same thing! I am currently looking for a different pediatrician.)

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A Meal That Didn’t Put A Foot Wrong

, , , , , , | Related | October 24, 2018

(I’ve just made dinner for my parents. Having a bout of creativity, I decided to make Halloween meatloaf, and twice-baked potatoes. The meatloaf is shaped like monster feet, with the toenails being little pieces of onion, and the twice-baked potatoes are covered in melted cheddar, with bacon bits forming a jack-o-lantern face. After eating, my dad comes into the kitchen.)

Dad: “[My Name], that was delicious. Thanks.”

Me: “No problem. Glad you enjoyed it.”

Mom: *to my dad* “What did you have? Toes?”

Dad: “No, I had the ankle.”

Mom: “Right. I had the toes, and [My Name] had the arch.”

Dad: *grinning* “Now we just sound like cannibals!”

Me: “It’s a feet-st!”

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A Dark Encounter

, , , , , , | Right | October 8, 2018

(I work as an usher, and every now and then someone will buy movie tickets for their friend or significant other, who hasn’t shown up yet. The conversation usually ends up like this.)

Customer: “Would it be okay if I left you a ticket for my wife? I want to go in and find a seat.”

Me: “Sure. That’s no problem.”

Customer: “Okay, I’m going to give her a call and let her know you have it.” *on the phone* “Hey, yeah, I’m at the theater right now, and the usher has your ticket, so just go up to him and he’ll let you through. Oh… Um… He’s tall… Has a beard… Glasses… Um… Uh…”

Me: “It’s okay. You can say it. It’s a description.”

Customer: *sighs in relief* “He’s black.”

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Waterdude, Friends With Rodent Guy And Okay Fella

, , , , , , | Romantic | October 5, 2018

(A few years ago, my husband managed to be in the right place at the right time, and he was cast as an extra in a movie. It was a negligible role, but he ended up meeting the star actor, a well-known heartthrob, famous for playing a certain underwater superhero. They look similar, most noticeably tall with long hair. However, my husband is fairly thin, and this actor is very muscular with a large frame. They both share a scar through the same eyebrow, a trait that they seemed to bond over when they met. It’s also worth noting that my husband and I have recently been looking for a new work truck.)

Me: “I read online that The Rock got his stunt double a new truck.”

Husband: “Really?”

Me: “Yeah. You’ve got a rapport with a famous actor. Maybe you should rekindle your old flame.”

Husband: *scoffs* “Yeah, sure. He’s Aquaman. I’m more like… Waterdude.”

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