Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 11/12: Monkeys belong on the stairs...not NICU

So yesterday was an interesting day. Either the tuna came back to haunt me or I have gastritis from eating so much spicy food. I'd rather eat spicy food than go on a daily long quest to the few places that serve a precious few non-spicy western selections. But more days than not it seems I pay the piper for that decision. I love Indian food so much more in the US where it is a special once in a while departure from usual fare that I look forward to and enjoy. Anyway, I'll stop complaining about the food again. I'm cooking oatmeal with peanut butter in my room for a momentary reprieve.

So last night I walked back to my hotel from the NICU in shock thinking over and over again "Holy crap I yelled at a NICU nurse Holy crap I yelled at a NICU nurse...."

Let me start by mentioning about a week ago during an evening visit a nurse that I got a negative vibe off of appeared to be teasing the male nurse (?) that I only see on occasion. I am only deducing the conversation from intonation and body language, but it appeared she was giving him a hard time and took it to far. He punched her in the shoulder. It looked like it was hard and he looked genuinely angry. She looked a bit contrite and everyone settled down after that. It bothered me a lot, and I pondered all the next day whether to say something to Dr. Kothiala about it. Don't get me wrong, I understand that the culture here is a few 100 years behind in women's rights and the way women are treated here is unacceptable...but I don't expect to change the culture. My problem is that I expect them to behave professionally in a NICU. I understand stressfull jobs with long periods of downtime, and the need to goof off a bit. I honestly don't mind as long as you do your job. But getting physical is inappropriate. However since it happened once and they immediately gained some sense of decorum I decided to let it go rather than make enemies of the nurses on the shift that will get the least supervision from myself or Dr. Kothiala or Suvarna, who I respect as a leader in the NICU even if officially she may not be supervisory.

Last night the male nurse was there, but two female nurses were goofing off and got into a playful shoving match. Right next to my daughter's isollette.

I'll let that sink in for a moment.

I didn't think or ponder, I just reacted. One nurse seemed to lose balance on one foot and almost bumped my daughter's isolette and had it continued she could possibly have fallen into it. I yelled, and the only way I seem to know how to yell anymore  is in my deep-voiced police 'command and control' voice. I sounded seriously pissed, and I physically grabbed the nurse that was closest to my daughter's isollette on the shoulder and pushed her back towards the other nurse. I yelled out "NAHEEN! RUKO!" That means "NO! STOP!" in Hindi, which I'm not sure if they understood, but they certainly got the gist of it from the sound of my voice and the look on my face. They instantly retreated back to the other room and settled down, and while they still seemed to be joking around for a while after that while I said good night to my babies, they seemed contrite and I got a bowed head or two as I left.

I didn't speak to Dr. Kothiala about it because hopefully I made my point, but three strikes and you're out. I did mention it to Suvarna this afternoon because I trust her and she understands the politics there. She agreed I was in the right and their behavior was inappropriate.

Before this whole fiasco though, I had been called into Dr. Kothiala's office. I was very suprised because it was 8pm and she was still there. I was scared to death that it was about a problem with either baby, which I guess is the instant fear for anyone in my situation. Fortunately, it was only mildly bad news. She explained to me that the 2nd surrogate wanted to go home in a week. Now that Manju is also gone, from the sound of it there were a shortage of extra surrogates to provide breast milk. Dr. Kothiala said that she felt the best thing was to start my babies on formula sooner than planned, and for next week she will do formula for every other feeding and see how they tolerate it. She originally planned a formula switchover in two weeks, but now we are doing half starting tomorrow and full the week after ( a week early).

I am still concerned this could raise the risk for NEC, but it will allow my babies to grow much faster and begin learning to coordinate the skills of coordinating sucking, swallowing, and breathing that they will need to be discharged. Hopefully once we give breastfeeding a try I can produce more milk and hopefully help them along a bit. And that is another exciting note: I brought my own milk for my babies today to be added to their feed! it is only a teeny tiny bit barely enough to wet each of their mouths with, but it's mine. I'm proud of the effort I've made and will keep at it in the hopes that I can produce more. I'm trying to force feed myself more despite my upset stomach in the hope that my reduced food intake and weight loss due to the diet changes here are a part of the problem.

Speaking of growth, Vivek is now officially over his birthweight at 1140 grams, or 2lbs 8oz. He was born at 1125. She is now at 1090, or 2lbs 6oz.  She was born at 920.

This morning was exciting for other reasons. I missed all the bathtime photo ops and didn't have any non-sleeping/covered up shots, but I have a good excuse. Monkeys.


 Okay, so they weren't blocking my particular stairwell...but still...MONKEYS!! I did a double take walking to the NICU when I looked up across the street to see what the dogs were making a fuss about. I was shocked to see an entire troop of at least 20 monkeys, including some babies and an obvious alpha leader who was large and perched at the highest point keeping lookout. I've seen a monkey or two in Delhi, but none in Anand and certainly never an entire troop of them! The locals seem to consider them a nuisance that are bad for business, and I'm curious if the one up top left in the first shot with the banana was given it or stole it.  I'm sure the white lady with the camera in the street with a big stupid grin on her face wearing a saree was of more interest to the locals. I also took a cool video that has the monkeys and then police and motorcycles and tuk tuks and possibly cows or some type of water buffalo I hadn't seen before moving through the street. An interesting slice of life just outside my hotel front doors.

Now if I can just see an elephant before I leave India I'll be satisfied.

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