A nurse in NICU found out the other day that she's expecting twins. Identical twins. Which immediately puts her in the higher risk category. As she was talking about this she said: "I hope nothing goes wrong because, honestly, I wouldn't let my babies go anywhere near some of the nurses here."
Let's forget for a moment the insensitivity of her saying this to parents whose baby is being cared for by the nurses she mentions. The fact is that she confirmed what we already know: that some of the nurses clearly aren't up to the job. I don't care how nice they are, or what pressure they might be under, or whether they've only just come on that shift and blah, blah, blah - really, I don't give a fuck. What I care about is whether they're doing right by my daughter.
Things have got a little better when it comes to them remembering to do certain things with Maggie: the speech therapy, the physiotherapy and the patience with her feeding. But that's because it's all written down and because Shannon has done a sterling job of constantly reminding them. As I've previously said, these things don't require any particular skills. It's just basic stuff that you'd expect anyone to be able to remember.
I know it seems as though I'm being negative about the nurses all the time. Shannon has got much more time for some of the "better" ones than I have. The thing that puzzles me about nurses, and about people's reaction to them, is that when a nurse simply does her job properly we're all supposed to sing her praises. Even though all she's doing is what she's supposed to be doing. With my job - and with anyone else's job - you don't expect to be praised for doing the fundamentals. But we're all expected to join a chorus of hallelujah when one of the nurses remembers to stick her finger in Maggie's mouth to stimulate her tongue.
Maggie has had a few very bad nights recently. Waking up and constantly crying for hours on end. Given her condition there was speculation that this might have something to do with fits or seizures. So the other night - and for most of the rest of the day - she was hooked up to an EEG machine to monitor her brain activity when she was having one of these episodes. So far it seems that her distress isn't directly related to any abnormal brain activity. So it could, perhaps, have something to do with her stomach and reflux. Or, as one of the doctors told us, it's that babies with brain damage cry more.
The night Maggie was hooked up to the EEG machine was the night Shannon spent in the hospital, along with Alice. Which was a shame because Shannon wanted to have a bit of quality time with her overnight. Me, I was out and dressed up like a chump at a glittering awards ceremony (which I attended in the hope of drumming up new business - I was, I think, moderately successful).
People keep asking us when Maggie's coming home. Or suggesting that, hey, wouldn't it be better if Maggie was home? The answer to those questions are: Maggie won't be home for a while because she can be better cared for in the hospital, despite my misgivings about some of the nurses. If her oxygen levels drop or she has difficulty breathing it shows on a monitor that goes beep, beep, beep very loudly. She's currently being fed (tube fed, let's not forget) every two hours - and every feed takes over half an hour. If she were home and doing that we'd be awake all day and all night - and Alice would have to fend for herself.
So here's the thing: Maggie is in hospital not because we don't want her home or because we're scared or because the doctors are being overly cautious. She's in the hospital because she's still very sick.
Talking of hospitals - if you're reading this Bob, we're wishing you all the best from over here!
From now on I'm uploading photos in a different way. Click the picture below and you'll be taken to a separate gallery.
That picture, by the way, is of Maggie with her favourite toy - a knitted doll from our friend Maria. She absolutely loves it.
* Update: Maggie was distressed all night last night and all this morning. The nurse who was with her has said that, in her opinion, she's definitely been having fits. We've yet to speak to the doctor about this.