Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Blood Whisperer


The Alberta Children's Hospital is the best place we could be right now. Opened in 2006, it cost $253 million and is designed to look like giant building blocks and explodes with colour both inside and out.
When Dom got there he immediately started hitting on the nurses, though admittedly that didn't last long. You can only smile at someone so many times while they hold you down and stick needles in to you.
One of the most important things the medical staff did in the early hours was take blood so they could figure out what was wrong. Though doctors didn't need too long to determine our boy had leukemia, which kind of leukemia was another story. And so, the needles continued.
The problem with an 11-month-old boy is that he's typically chubby. That means that finding a vein to draw blood from him is tougher than you might think. But these people are experts, right? Well, it turns out even experts have their challenges.
Each nurse gets two tries to draw blood. That's policy. Dominic saw around six nurses in those first seven hours in the emergency room. After each one left the room, Trish and I looked at each other in disbelief. Really? Really? This has got to end.
Finally they called in an older, short, Asian woman. "She's the best at this," our primary nurse assured.
Sure she is, we thought. What is she, the blood whisperer?
It was getting late. We were wondering if we'd ever leave this emergency room. The Blood Whisperer leaned in and got what she needed in less than two minutes. She left as quickly as she had came.
It was Thursday night and we finally got to our more permanent room in the oncology department. Though only one parent is supposed to room in with a patient overnight, none of the staff batted an eye as I dozed off in a chair while Trish took the tiny bed. Dom, now hooked up to an intravenous line and an oxygen sensor on top of his foot that glows red (think E.T.), slept on and off.
We had another long day ahead.

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