Sunday, July 13, 2008

"The Call"

I guess I always thought I would be surprised by "The Call." I expected that it would come out of nowhere, out of the blue, like the first buds of spring. That's not at all what happened.

I was traveling off my unit to take my patient for some tests. I needed to stay with her because there was a fairly good potential for her to go down the tubes ("crumping" if they do it slow, "crashing" if they do it fast.) It had been a horrible, rushed day so far, and when I left my unit at 1pm to take her to tests, I still had not eaten or gone to the bathroom after 6 hours at work (with 6 and a half to go.)

The tests took forever and a day, or at least they felt like it. I had my cell phone with me, as I always do at work, and I could see that I had missed a call from "No Name" but I assumed it was the car donation service I had contacted about my donating my old car.

When I took my patient to her next test, she stopped puking and fell asleep. I was hanging out (I never know what to do in those situations... me, my patient, and a technician in a dark room together...) when the tech mentioned that I was free to use the computer. I logged on and accessed my patients charts, did some of my charting, checked my new physician orders, and whatnot. Since I had nothing else work-related to do, I hopped into my Yahoo account.

Immediately I saw that I had received tons of emails from the gladney_africa yahoo group, all of them expressing excitement. I quickly ascertained that the excitement was over the contents of a Gladney email, and I scrolled down to read said email. I was thrilled to hear the good news that progress was made with the court delays, and Gladney would resume issuing referrals starting today (Friday).

That's when I put 2 and 2 together. My missed call from "No Name." Yep, I was betting that was Jessica!

My hands started trembling and my stomach was in my mouth. I was internally freaking out... "they are trying to call me to give me my referral, and I am stuck in the pit of doom with my crazy lady and the never-ending tests!" Outwardly, I casually asked the tech how the test was going, and if there was anything I could to to help. That's called "Playing it cool."

I shot of some emails, posted to my blog, and hit "refresh" on every email and blog subscription I have. Finally, the tech was done and indicated that she would ask the patient transporters to come and take me and my patient back to my unit. Okay, fine. It was still only 1:30 in Texas... plenty of time, right? Just play it cool.

15 minutes later I tried maneuvering the honking-big bed that contained my vomiting patient out of the tiny exam room and into the hall. Transport was not there, she had puked and pooped everywhere, and I had a referral to get! Thankfully, my charge nurse came and helped me get my patient back to the unit. On the walk back, I informed my charge nurse of the likelihood of getting my referral, and she indicated that she would do everything she could to help me get that call as soon as possible. Talk about a lady who played it cool!

Unfortunately, when I got back to the unit, it was time to discharge one of my other patients to another facility. I had been gone for almost 2 hours, and nothing was ready. I had to clean her up (she had wet herself), get her paperwork ready, and call report to the other facility. Of course, I was running around like an idiot, unable to concentrate on anything!

During that time, I checked my voicemail, and it was indeed Jessica that had called me. I shot her an email letting her know I was at work and tied up with a patient situation, but that I would love to talk to her... (hint, hint.)

Once I discharged my patient, it was time to do another round of assessments on my 2 remaining patients (I work in a ICU step-down/step-up unit, so my patients are not on ventilators, but they are the people who are crumping or just came off a ventilator...) I hadn't checked on one of my patients in 3 hours because I was traveling with the other, so I had to see him first. He was... needy. But when I told him why I was grinning from ear to ear, he told me to get out of his room and take my call:) He's officially my favorite patient ever!

In the mean time, the test lady had pooped again (I am totally prepared for giardia, by the way.) So I had to clean her up. Whilst doing that, I was paged for a call. Internal or external call, I asked. Oh, internal, they said. I rushed to the phone, hoping it would be the doc I had paged, and hoping he would give me an order for meds to make my lady stop puking.

It was Jessica.

"Hi Grace, I have some really good news for you!" she said in her sweet voice.

"Um, and I would really love to hear that good news, but I am kind of tied up at the moment" I replied in my warbling voice.

We made arrangements so that I could call her back... but right before we hung up, she dropped the bomb that she did have to leave a little bit early today. WHAT??? How long did I have to get back to her? Jessica assured me that if she did not hear from me, she would call before she left.

Time seemed to change, and suddenly, tasks that should only take a moment seemed to be taking hours. I went back to clean up my pooper, and managed to get my assessments and vitals done and my medications passed. I was sure hours had gone by. I was sure Jessica would be gone for the weekend by the time I got to a phone. I felt sick to my stomach.

I grabbed my charts and headed to the front desk. That was the only place I knew of that had a long-distance phone and a computer with Internet, so I was about to meet my Sparrow with the whole world (or what felt like it) looking over my shoulder. At that point, any way of meeting her sounded perfect.

I dialed Jessica's number and logged into the computer while it rang. Before I even finished logging in, Jessica picked up.

"Grace, it is so good to finally give you this referral! You have no idea how happy I am to do this!"

"It must be like when I tell my patients that their test results came back normal and they don't have cancer or something!"

Okay, maybe that was a bad analogy.

Multiple interruptions later (seriously, doctors and nurses are nosey!) I had gone over everything with Jessica. In the mean time, John had run across the hospital to be with me, and was busy quickly plotting out growth charts and whatnot, (not to mention paging the pediatrician to get to my unit STAT!)

The memory is both vivid and faint, and I remember telling Jessica "This is not at all what I expected- this isn't how I expected to feel, or what I expected this process to be like." Really, I think that is true about parenting, and life in general. It never is what we expect. More often than not, God blows our expectations right out of the water. I can't imagine a more perfect way to meet my Sparrow.

Of course, I totally forgot to hand out the "It's A Girl!" gum cigars my mom had sent me:)


The Albertsons said...

Such a great story... and by the way, I hope those patients appreciate YOU!!!!!
Congrats again mama!!!!

Kristy -Mom to 4 and soon to be more! said...

What a great story that I can SO relate to spending time on a urology and telemetry unit back in the day! Oh the memories........
Congrats again on the referral of your sweet girl!
Hopefully, I will be traveling very soon and can take something over for you for her. :-)

Sara said...

What wonderful, lovely news! I've been checking your blog since Friday to get the scoop on your big call.

Zach and Erin Kennedy said...

We have been out of town so I immediately checked the FBI list when we got home. I am soooo excited for all of the referrals!!! Congratulations! I can't wait to see pics of your little girl!!!!!! If you are sending any out I would love to get it.

J, A & T said... definately won't ever forget the call....not that you would anyway!!!! :) Congrats again!

haze said...

Wow, I return from a blogging break to this GREAT NEWS!! I am so very happy for you. I can't imagine how you kept it so cool on The Call day.

I hope you write a post on how Abigail reacted to the news of her baby sister.

If you are emailing out pictures of your wee little girl, I would love to see her.

msl said...

What a great story you have to share with your little Sparrow!! And you really have nerves of steel girl!! I don't know how you stayed so calm!!

~Laura~ said...

okay, BEST STORY EVER!!! You are such a grea story teller. Love how you're up to your elbows in poop and puke and handling it with such Grace. I'd have called for backup for the pooper and bailed. I wouldn't make a good nurse would I? :)

I can't wait to see your little Sparrow.

nebraskaridge said...

I agree with Laura - best & funniest referral story ever! Thanks for the laugh & I'm thrilled you finally know your little girl. Come on court date & opinions!


Rebecca said...

You are an amazingly patient woman! I don't think I could have forced msyelf to wait even if I had wanted to. We are excited to see your little one's face! Hoping the rest of the process goes smoothly for you!

Sharon & Mike said...

Congratulations again! I am so happy to see things moving with Ethiopia. Do you know how long you have to wait to travel?

chrisandshasta said...

This is a great story, Grace! I'm so glad that I'm not a nurse - it sounds *icky* - but I'm even happier that you finally got to see your sweet Sparrow!

Heather said...

Great news and such a memorable referral story!

Amber said...

Oh my, I don't think I could have your job. You must have a strong stomach!
Congrats on your referral! That is awesome!

More Dorrs said...

great story!


Maria and Family said...

I am sooooooo happy for you !! Finally you have met Sparrow :):)
I can not wait to "see" her when she is legally yours !!Looking forward to following your journey.

Easties & Co. said...

Yea!!! Who knew that a referral could be surrounded by so much poop?! Your post cracked me up! I am soooo happy for you!

{B} said...

Yay Grace! I am so excited for you guys!!! Can't wait to see you sweet little one!

Leslie said...

Wow--that is so terrific!! I am so happy for you all!!! Tell Abigail congratulations!!!