Holding babies…ruining puppies…random rambles

Today we had three hours of article presentations on the elderly and we still have a

bunch more to go! Topics included exercise, yoga, sexuality, suicide…interesting


Then OTS Brooke and OTS Meg and I went for a yummy lunch, then I hurried home for a

management meeting and we divvied up our Little People Wellness project, then I went

to the local pediatric hospital and held babies for hours.

I've talked about this before, but I'm thinking about it again and this is my

therapy, so bear with me. The babies I want to work with are medically fragile.

Their chances of dying are somewhat high. I say I distance them from myself and it's

somewhat true – I soak them in and love them, but at the same time I keep them

separated from the rest of my heart. To make a REALLY REALLY REALLY bad analogy that

will make people cry it's so bad, it's like having “contained” tuberculosis in your

lungs – it's there but inactive.

Anyway. I held this one baby whose cheeks were covered with scratches because she

rubbed her face so much. She had a NG tube and an IV and all her other typical

tubes. I eventually put her down and held another baby for a while. Then went back

to the first baby because she was screaming hysterically. I picked her up and held

her vertically against my chest, her head resting on my neck. Within about two

minutes, I'm not exaggerating (for once), she was asleep. She had one arm wrapped

around my right arm, one arm clutching my grown, my head resting on her head, and

holding her across her diaper. It was really sweet. I just held on her and loved on

her and I was happy she was sleeping so well.

When you think about the environment these babies are in – lots of noise, lots of

light, lots of pain, lots of chaos, very little pleasurable human contact, and

almost no opportunity for tummy time or movement or exploration. I know nurses,

doctors, students, pharmacology, specialists, blah blah blah, all have their job to

do. But it seems like people could be quieter, and that they could make the machines

not beep so harshly (almost always false alarms), and that, MOST OF ALL, they could

streamline their jobs in such a way that a baby sleeping soundly does not have to be

disturbed. Most of these babies don't sleep well anyway due to the issues I listed

above, so when a baby is finally deeply asleep, it seems cruel to wake them.

I had that sleeping baby in my arms and she was finally, finally, resting well, and

then some employee came to check on her. She did the stethoscope on her back with no

problem of course since her back was exposed. But then she wanted me to turn her

around so she could have access to listen to the front. I did so with no hesitance,

but I was upset. I know it's important to get their vitals, but she was stable,

hooked up to monitors, and sound asleep. I felt like that is the kind of thing that

hinders babies getting better – unnecessary intrusions. I'm sure someone will tell

me I just don't understand, and maybe I don't – but I was not pleased. I look at

these babies lying on their back, with so many overwhelming problems, and it DOES

make me hurt for them. I do feel the unfairness and the sadness. Especially when

there could possibly be a way to keep the babies safe AND promote their well-being.

The hospital I am at is very well-recognized and has a great reputation, so I can't

imagine what other hospitals would be like. The nurses are kind and good to their

babies, but it seems like so much is missing. (What's up with this weird formatting?)

I'm not an emotionless monster being able to handle dying babies without being upset  – I just contain my sadness and unfairness and try not to let it get the best of me, because I need to give these babies my positive vibes and energy. When I hold them. I call them my babies and I mean it. I soak them into me, I look into their eyes, I caress them, I sing to them, I stroke their heads, I try to let them lie in ways that lets them hear my heartbeat and feel my breathing…it's an experience. I wasn't even on schedule to volunteer today – I just called and asked if I could because I had a need to hold babies. I AM scheduled for tomorrow morning so I'm going again.

I then went home to play with my landlord's new puppy, before OTS Kerri came over and I went out to eat with OTS Kerri/Brent, and then OTS Virginia came over a while to study, and then I started work at 9pm. Fun day.

Two bizarre things:

1. Kerri told me about how a good friend of hers called her while she was assisting in anatomy lab, and since this was unusual, she picked up. Her friend said, What are you doing? And Kerri said “Dissecting a face. What about you?” LOL….that made me laugh.

2. I managed to ruin my landlord's puppy's training. Now when you say SIT, he rolls over. 🙁 He had learned “Sit” and “Down” and I was trying to teach him roll over. Yesterday I did the roll over sequence with him (Sit. Down. Roll Over.) like a thousand times in a row – I'd stuff the biscuit in his mouth while upside down on his back. I thought I was being helpful and I was proud of myself. Well, the doggie decided to just shortcut the whole sequence, so whenever I would say Sit, it would sit, lie down, then half-way roll over. It took me a while to realize I had officially ruined the basic command of Sit. My landlord was like DOH!!!!

Oopsie doopsie.

Feb 16, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1