Friday, June 12, 2009

School is in Session for Nurse Dad.

All of my training so far has been from Nurse Mom. Shana trained me on how to change the dressing on Devree’s double-lumen lines. It was so easy when Shana showed me how, but 2 days latter I felt unsure of myself. There is a certain way to do things to prevent kinks in the line and to keep things sterile. There were also some line ends that needed to be changed. So I had to have the nurse help me. As she went through the steps, it all came back to me. The nurse left and as I was thinking that Shana did a much better job, Devree said, “That line looks pretty iffy. I think it is going to get a kink and cause problems.” Within 5 minutes the line kinked and set off alarms at the nurse’s station.

The staff at St. Jude are now aware that Dad is on the job, but needs some training. I was unable to do the job on Wednesday night. Thursday I was enrolled in class. A trainer came by with all of the appropriate equipment and showed me how to flush the double-lumen lines. Then she watched and coached me while I opened all of my materials. A Band-Aid, saline solution syringe, syringe , alcohol swabs, line endings, and bottle of ??? that keeps blood from coagulating in her line. (I’m still in training. Go easy on me. LOL) There is a special way to draw liquid from a bottle that you jab a syringe into (You set the plunger on the syringe, then inject that much air into the bottle. The fluid in the bottle will then push plunger back out and fill the syringe with. Don’t forget to tap the syringe to get the air bubbles out. Don’t forget about the clamps on the IV tubes. Remember that the tubes are connected to Devree’s arteries and if you forget the clamp blood will spurt out. Count to 7 seconds each time you use an alcohol swab. I opened 3 alcohol swabs and had to think to remember what should be cleaned and in which order.

It seemed like a lot of steps and I definitely didn’t want to forget the clamps and have Devree’s blood spurt out. Shana comforted me by saying that it wasn’t that hard, and that I would get used to it. I felt more comforted when my teacher told me that I would have lots of hands on experience before I was left to do the task alone.

As soon as I got done with the first session another woman came in that represented an outside company that is in charge of TPN (tube feeding). She trained me on how to unhook Devree’s tube feeding backpack and flush the lines. There were not as many steps in that process, and a lot of the procedure duplicated things that I had learned in the earlier session.

Yesterday was mostly wonderful.

I woke up at about 6:30AM and Devree was sleeping peacefully. Then my heart began to skip and pitter-patter. I had slept so soundly that I was worried that I maybe I wasn’t there for Devree when she needed me. So I decided to try to sleep lighter so I could be aware if Devree made a sound. I stirred at 7:00AM, 7:30AM, and then at 8:00AM I got up (That’s 6:00AM Nevada time so I guess that means I haven’t adjusted to Memphis time yet. I also couldn’t fall asleep until 12:30AM). Anyhow, I went to go say, “Good Morning”, to Devree. She was awake and fine as could be. I asked her if she needed me in the night and she said, “No”. Then she told me that she had called to me sometime in between 7:30 – 8:00AM and I never heard her. (Note to self. Buy Devree a siren. Just in case.) Devree rang for her nurse, and got the eye drops she needed.

Devree did a few things yesterday that were exciting for us. Her nausea cocktail is still working. She didn’t need it until the evening though.

Exciting thing #1: Devree’s temperature got down to normal today, with the help of Tylenol and a mixture of broad spectrum anti-biotics. Woo Hoo!!!

Exciting thing #2: Devree asked if we had given her medicine to stimulate her appetite. The answer was no. She said that she was asking because the commercials about food were making her hungry. Woo Hoo!!! She was in the mood for corndogs. We got the message to Room Service and they quickly brought her 2 corndogs. The exciting part was that she was still in the mood when they got here, and she had 2 or 3 bites. Woo Hoo!!! (I guess it doesn’t take too much to make us happy. LOL)

Have a great Friday everyone!!!



PaulaShawn said...

You're too smart and capable to be nervous about your new responsibilities! You'll do fine. Plus, you're motivated by so much love and concern that you can't help but get it down quickly.

I never thought I'd be so happy for someone's request for a corndog! That's great!! I'll serve them to my kids today in celebration.

Have another improved day!

soggycheerios said...

Who'd have thought corn dogs would hit the spot? Hope you have another good day. Todd, you'll do great at playing nurse, maybe we need to send Devree one of those spray can sirens for the middle of the night.

angelicindy said...

It does sound complicated, but I'm sure after a couple of times you'll get the hang of it. I'm always suprised when someone says I don't think I could do what you do because I have to wonder that it's pretty straight forward: you just have to do what comes next. One foot in front of the other. Thanks for doing it with such a POSITIVE and LOVING attitude!

walkinourshoes said...

We are so glad that Devree's fever went down. How exciting that Devree was hungry, too. I guess that the commercials are good for something! We are excited to have the boys, back. Kylee really missed them. We are finally getting a sunny day today, so we can swim, with the boys. We love to hear that uncle told is schooling, well. We sure love you.
Craig, Koe and Kylee

Sheri said...

Hang in there Todd. It does seem like a lot of confusing steps. Corndogs do sound good. Yay for the fever going down. I'll keep you both in my prayers. Love you Devree.
Sheri Vidal (Wall)

Hamblin Family said...


You are so right, I am motivated by lots of love and concern. Today when I went through the procedures, I was surprised at how much I remembered. Now I can see myself doing these things, but that wasn’t how I felt at first impression. :-)


I’m with you. After not eating anything for days at a time, I’m not sure breaking my fast with a corndog would be my first choice. It sure worked for Devree though. :-)

Shana laughed her head off at your idea of the spray can siren. LOL

Cindy and Sheri,

You are both right about all those steps. Though it is out of my comfort zone now, I can see myself doing it with repetition and patience on the part of the nursing staff. Devree has been pretty patient to. :-) Everything is easy once you know how. Right?


Thank you for doing so much to help with the boys. Picking them up at the airport in Salt Lake City and taking them to Camp Hobe was a tremendous help. You are a life saver. Aunt Shana laughed and was grateful that you were doing laundry for the boys. I told her about Dane’s answer when you asked if he remembered to bring home his swimming suit from Cancer Camp. Dane said, “I think its mildewing in my backpack.” I’m pretty sure that on Monday Shana would have been opening a special prize of backpacks with wet & muddy camp clothes. Thank you again for taking such good care of the boys.

Thank you everyone!!! We really appreciate all of your prayers and support. Oh, and YAY for corndogs!!! LOL

Todd / Shana & precious Devree