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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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Chester March 25, 2014 at 8:09 am

We do what we have to do for our children, and you certainly are doing it in spades, Emily. Kudos to you, and I hope Little Dude knows (as I am sure he does) what an extraordinary mom he has.
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ohboymom March 25, 2014 at 10:11 am

Thanks so much Cathy – I know you can relate doing whatever it takes for our kids.


Julie March 25, 2014 at 9:04 am

Yes- to piggy back on the above, the injection is only one example, and a concrete one at that, of all the ways that you’re rising to the occasion in an awesome-with-a-capital-A way! Just think of the myriad other things that you say, do, are everyday that aren’t visible but help L.D., your other Dudes and yourself get through this. I also like the idea of a Nurse “E” tending to L.D. with you….yeh? xoxo


ohboymom March 25, 2014 at 10:09 am

Yeah, I like that idea too. :) xo


Janine Huldie March 25, 2014 at 9:06 am

I totally think you could become a nurse and never too late to try! But seriously, give you props and tons of credit for administering these shots and all you do for all your boys. Totally a mom thing and know you are the best mom from all I have gotten to know you :)
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ohboymom March 25, 2014 at 10:09 am

Aw, thanks Janine, and even though I’m proud of myself for giving the shots, I think I’ll stick to writing as my 2nd career.:)


Joy Christi March 25, 2014 at 10:18 am

Good job, SuperMom! Overcoming any fear, especially for our kids, is one of the most empowering feelings in the world. Nothing can stand in the way of a good mother’s devotion! He’s lucky to have you.


ohboymom March 25, 2014 at 10:45 am

Thanks and yes it is empowering – I also felt relief that I could do it!


Haralee March 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

Good for you! It is amazing what love encourages us to do that we normally would have found squeamish. It is never too late for educational pursuits.


ohboymom March 25, 2014 at 11:34 am

True – although I think I’ll stick with my writing classes for now. :)


Carol Cassara March 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Glad you were able to rise to the occasion–you inspire me…I’m not sure I could do it. Bless you!
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ohboymom March 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Believe me, I surprised myself – you could do it if you had to!


Kerri March 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Oh Emily…one more freaking thing they forget to tell you when you go home with that (seemingly) innocent new born. I get the whole manning up thing. How often have I vented that I’m not a doctor, nurse, technician nor do I want to be. It just seems so unfair sometimes. But you are a rock star and of course you Aced it with an Awesome A. Let’s hope this is short-term.
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ohboymom March 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Thanks Kerri, and I’ll join you in that venting – I agree that it’s unfair. When I hear parents complain that they have trouble giving their kids some cold medicine, I think to myself that they have NO idea how lucky they are if that’s the only thing they have to worry about.


Kristi Campbell March 26, 2014 at 10:29 am

Emily! You are SO Awesome with a capital A. Seriously. And I’d say it’s definitely not too late to apply to medical school. In fact, being as you’ve already mastered this shot giving skill, I’d be willing to bet they’d wave some credits for you.
Thinking about you and Little Dude. Always.


ohboymom March 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm

The only problem with med school is I’m not real good with blood – Big Dude once split his cheek open and I just sat there screaming in horror – I’m not exactly the person you’d want in an emergency, but I’m trying!


Chris Carter March 26, 2014 at 10:54 pm

You know it’s amazing what a mom can do when she is brought to the test of things… and she is pulled to the end of things…and she is pushed to overcome the fear of things… you are a SUPER mom. And because of that- you have become oh so many amazing SUPER things. Super nurse is just one of them, I’m sure of that.
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ohboymom March 27, 2014 at 9:34 am

Oh thanks so much – I appreciate your praise!


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