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This isn't happy. Feel free to skip it. I would. 

I've debated posting this.  I didn't wanna rain on anybody's parade, spoil the holiday.  But I feel I need to. It hasn't been the best holiday season. I worked the Friday-Sunday of Christmas weekend. That in and of itself wasn't so bad. I had the rest of the weekends in December off to make up for it. Things at the hospital were pretty quiet overall.

I have such a hard time finding the words to tell what happened. I don't know where to start. But I feel like I need to get it out. It started a week earlier. On Friday a young couple came into the free obstetric clinic we run once a week. I'd seen the mom-to-be off and on throughout this, her first pregnancy. She was always very sweet, very enthusiastic. They were such a cute couple. She'd come to term, no complications. We decided to induce her over the weekend, so I scheduled it.  They were expecting a girl, but ended up with an adorable baby boy.  He did well - eating and peeing and pooping, all the required activities of a newborn.  Got a little jaundiced, but nothing overly concerning.  Then he came into the clinic last Wednesday at 5 days of life. Mom was concerned about his breathing. He was still feeding well, gaining weight. But then when I was examining him his color would get dusky intermittently, he would breath too fast, and he had a distinct murmur that he not been noted previously.  I called the peds cardiologist at the nearest referral center and got them a same-day appointment.  Turns out he had hypoplastic left heart, a severe congenital heart defect.  They admitted him and made plans to send him to the nearest university medical center for peds cardiothoracic surgery to evaluate him.  The cardiologist told me it was a good catch.

The next time I heard about them was on Christmas day.  The specialists decided that the prognosis was poor and there was nothing to do. The baby came home with hospice. The mom decided that she didn't want the baby to die at home, so they brought him into the ER. I happened to be there admitting a pregnant woman who had had a seizure after taking some of her mother's prescription medications, but that's another story.  That sweet little baby boy died in the ER on Christmas day after one week of life.  It seems like such a cruel parody. And however illogical it may be, I can't help but feel...responsible almost. As if things would have been okay if I hadn't discovered the problem that set them down that path. I know that's foolish, and a bit self-important. It's times like that I really, really hate my job.  

As for the rest of the holidays, I took the week after Christmas off. My parents came down from Chicago for a couple of days. It was good to see them.  I've developed some kind of tonsillitis/upper respiratory infection - started with a sore throat on Christmas and has just progressed in spite of all the tea and honey.  Guess I'll actually have to take something for it. This new year seems full of daunting challenges that I don't even want to think about, yet at the same time I feel acutely aware of the fact that I have so much to be grateful for and no right to wallow. But in this moment I'm just sore - both my throat and my soul.  


Jan. 5th, 2012 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words. Means alot to me.