Tuesday, July 03, 2007

CPE Random Dots - Week Four +

Today was a short day - I had a funeral of an elderly friend this afternoon. I spent the morning doing clinical visitation. I've got tomorrow off, too - a blessed relief.

Here's what's happening:
  • more very sick babies on my acute unit. We are all braced for the inevitable sadness with a few of them. It affects the whole unit.
  • I am getting a rep as a "baby whisperer," good at calming down fussy little ones. I claim to have grandma hands, and I can sing a whole bunch of lullabies. And yes, I do pray a lot with them.
  • the dad of one of our babies is a news anchor, and he and his wife are too gorgeous for words (the baby was born less than a week ago, and she is back into her original jeans, and shows up on the unit in full makeup - the only sign of recent birth is a luxurious bosom, which makes her hips and tummy even tinier). We all feel like schlumps in comparison. On the other hand, they're not surgeons or nurses or repiratory therapists or baby whisperers, so I guess even in our schlumpiness, we're useful.
  • a baby with (literally) half a brain, can still look in your eyes and you can feel the connection.
  • I'm getting better at talking desperate parents off the ledge when things are getting really rough. And I'm getting braver at asking the hard questions (do you understand your baby is really sick and may die? kind of questions) plus the follow-up hard questions (what's happening in your relationship with God with all that's going on?). No one has smacked me literally or figuratively yet.
  • anointing a sick child is the most transcendent thing I've ever done.
  • teen moms are not necessarily immature. Mothers of teen moms are not necessarily mature. No generalizations, just an observation.
  • some of the staffers are so goal-oriented, they forget they're working with people.
  • if I trust my instincts, I'm generally okay. If I worry about what someone else thinks, I'm generally not.

Tomorrow should be a quiet Fourth. PH is going on a long bike ride with his buddies, I'm going to attempt to sleep in, and we're going to see "Ratatouille" in the afternoon, then grill some steaks on the Weber. I should do my ethics project, but somehow I think I need a completely non-CPE day. Gosh, this is exhausting work.


Towanda said...

It may be exhausting, but it sounds to me like you are a gift to all of them. Enjoy your day off, rest, and enjoy Ratatoullie! We did!

(P.S., I moved my blog, my name will take you to the new one).

Cathy said...

It sounds like your experience in your CPE is life changing in so many ways. What a blessing you are to folks in need.

Sophia said...

Wow, I am in awe of your work!

I don't have any pediatric patients so I have no idea how I would handle these things...

I have a friend who has pediatric cardio-thoracic ICU as his main cpe responsibility. His observations are very similar to yours.

I hope you got some well deserved rest today. Hang in there.

Mrs. M said...

That last bullet point should be tattoed somewhere prominent on me... it's a doozy.

Whistle said...

I love reading about your CPE experiences. Such a rich learning time.

Trust your instincts and pay attention to your intuition.

Proud of you for working with patients at the hospital, being the "baby whisperer"

St. Casserole, not my cat Whistle

the reverend mommy said...

One day we will have a long talk I hope about CPE. Your experience and mine sound so similar -- it was the most exhausting thing I've ever done, but oh so good.