Just call me Nurse Emily - OhBoyMom

Just call me Nurse Emily

March 25, 2014 in Hospital Tales,Medical Stories

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioner (Photo credit: Elva Keaton)

Right after Little Dude’s initial diagnosis (last June…), one of the nurses was explaining to me all the different medications he would be given, plus the ones I would have to administer at home. Then she joked that I would be almost like a trained nurse in no time.

The thing is, I never wanted to be a nurse, a doctor, or really anything in the medical field. At one time I thought I wanted to become a veterinarian, but after I volunteered in an animal hospital for a few months, and cried every time a sick or injured animal was brought in, I knew that field, or anything else that involved blood or needles, wasn’t for me. I come from a medical family: My dad, brother and sister-in-law are physicians and my mom was a nurse. I suppose you could say I was the one who went astray. I can kiss boo-boos and put on band-aids, but anything beyond that and I’m useless. I’ve questioned whether I can handle being a mom to three boys, who have already had numerous injuries over the years.

So when the nurse told me I’d have to give Little Dude daily shots whenever his white counts were too low, I felt dizzy. She reassured me that they would train me how to do it, but I already knew that wasn’t going to be enough. When she saw the extreme reluctance on my pale face, she offered another option. She said they could put in a temporary catheter that would stick out of Little Dude’s arm for the few days that he needed the shots. I could administer the shot into the tube instead of directly into his arm. Both he and I liked that idea, and it worked for us for the first few months.

But then when Little Dude was being treated at Mass General, man’s greatest hospital, the doctors said they could give Little Dude a long-acting version of the shot. This was the best news I had heard since this whole ordeal started. Not only would THEY give the shot instead of me, Little Dude only needed one poke, instead of one each day for several days.

When we returned to our hospital in New York, Little Dude and I insisted he receive the long-acting shot. [Note: There are pros and cons to the long-acting shot, but suffice it to say, we only considered the pros and convinced them to continue using it].

All went smoothly for the next several months until one day our reliable long-acting shot stopped being so reliable. I can’t completely explain the medical reasons behind it, but in simplest terms, Little Dude’s body needed more than just that one shot each month. Now he needed the long-acting AND several days of the short-acting. When we discussed using the arm catheter thingy again, Little Dude started to whimper. He hated that tube sticking out of his arm. I really couldn’t blame him. I knew there was only one course of action now.

I had to man-up.

I reassured Little Dude that if the nurse gave me a quick refresher course on administering the shot directly into his arm, that I could do it. At first he didn’t believe me (and I didn’t quite believe myself), but the nurse and I told him that she and I would do it together that first day.

Not to brag or anything, but I was awesome with a capital A. Even the nurse was impressed. When I had to give him the shot the next day at home without nurse supervision, Little Dude was a little nervous I’d lose my mojo. But again, I was like Super Nurse, sticking that needle in his arm like it was no big deal.

And now I’m wondering just one thing: do you think it’s too late for me to apply to medical school?

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