Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sick or Faking?

Did you ever fake being sick so you could stay home from school?

Did you pass down this wonderful trait to your own children?

When I was a kid, I would plot this out the night before. I would lay in bed and plan the whole decietful lie that would get me out of school.

First it would be a headache, however I knew that this would not be good enough, then my stomach would hurt. I would pull out my best sick, whinny voice and complain of the pounding in my head and the cramping in my belly. Mom would then put her hand on my forehead and check for a fever.

"Nope, cool as a cucumber. Now get up and get dressed you have to go to school today. ", She would say.

Ok, so this led me to more plotting. I had to figure out how to fake a fever. But until I got that figured out, I would work my magic at school. By 3rd period, I would make myself late to class, I would pinch my cheeks to make them red, splash a little water on my face and tell the teacher I was late because I was in the bathroom thowing up. She would send me to the nurse where I would get to rest for about 45 minutes. I would continue to complain of achy skin, upset stomach and such. She would take my temperature. . . NORMAL!!! Back to class it was for me.

Then one day I had it figured out. When I complained to mom before school, I would still be in bed. I had a waterbed, WITH a heater!!! I would get my hands really warm and rub my face making it a little warm too. When she came in to get me up, yep. . . no more "cool as a cucumber" for me. Off she would go to get the thermometer. She would put it in my mouth, you remember those old mercury thermometers, and then she'd go back to the bathroom to finish getting ready for work. While she was gone I would put the thermometer against the warm mattress of the water bed. Up it would go. But that didn't get it warm enough to get me out of school. So, I would rub it really fast against the blanket on my bed. Yep, 100.2! That should do it.

Next thing I know she is on the phone to the school and I am snug in my nice warm bed. After she would leave for work, I would take my blanket and pillow and find my spot on the couch. . . for the rest of the day!!!!

This rubbing the thermometer trick worked really good to get me out of class when there were missed assignments or tests I wasn't ready for. I would use the same technique as above to get me out of class and in the nurses office. She would have me lay on one of the beds in her office. Lucky for me there were curtains around each bed. After she had given me the thermometer, I would rub it against my jeans. Sure enough, my dad was there to pick me up within the half hour.

I will never forget the day it backfired. I was in my bed, trying with all my might to be sick. I had to get the themometer up there quick because mom was running late. I rubbed and rubbed really fast. Then I heard her coming. I didn't have time to check it. I quickly put it back into my mouth just before she got to my bedroom door. When she checked it it was 104!!!!

Yep, you guessed it. . . I went to school. BUSTED!!!!

What did you do to get out of school???

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Monday, October 5, 2009

14 and pregant. . .

When I was doing my OB clinical rotation while still in nursing school, I remember this 14 year old girl coming into the ER after giving birth to a very premature baby boy. She delivered this baby at home in the toilet.

She told the doctors she didn't know she was pregnant. She was dieting because she couldn't figure out why she was gaining weight. Then she was hurting pretty bad and went to the bathroom. Low and behold, she lost all that weight she had gained, right into the toilet!!!

She ended up being fine, the baby went to the NICU and never went home with his 14 year old mother. Instead he went home with a foster family after living in the hospital for about a month. He had no one except for the nursing staff and doctors for the first month of his life. What happened to him after that I will never know. I just have to trust that he is still alive, happy and healthy and with a forever family who loves him as their own.

What concerns me is that this 14 year old girl was pregnant and her mother didn't have a clue. What are we teaching our kids these days? Are we talking to them or are they learning by our actions? How can things like this happen?

I know it is not all that uncommon anymore for a young girl this age to be pregnant but are we doing anything to stop it from happening? These kids aren't ready to be raising kids. They can't even take care of themselves let alone be responsible for another life. Who is teaching them to respect themselves? Where was this baby's daddy?

My heart breaks each time I think of this situation. It has been 6 years since this incident happened. Where is this baby now? He would be in school already. Does he know someone loves him?

My heart breaks that we don't pay enough attention to our children to let them be children. . . to teach them what is right. . . .to give them what they need and deserve.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Are you educated?

She was 25 years old came into the ER with a bad cough and trouble breathing. By the time I had seen her she had been in the hospital already for about 2 weeks.

She had a bad case of pneumonia. However it was not just pneumonia she had. While inpatient they discovered she was not just HIV+, she had AIDS. This was very difficult for her to believe, as she stated she was NOT a drug user and had not had sex in 6 years. Not since her son was born.

Nonetheless, it was in fact AIDS. She was angry, almost hateful even. She was not very nice to the staff, and would not even talk to the social services people who were trying to help her. She was convinced it was not AIDS. There must be some mistake. She was sure she didn't have what they said she had. She demanded those words not even be said in her precense.

After being in the hospital a total of about a month and a half and after many tests, many new medications, many procedures, she went home. She went home with home health to care for her. She went home to spend what time she had left with her son, who during this hospital stay also learned that he was HIV+ as well.

How can a person live that long and look so frail and sickly and never learn the fate that is set before them. Did she not go to the doctor? Did she not have the financial means to get there? Did they not test her while she was pregnant? There are so many questions here.

Where did our healthcare system fail this family? Will it ever get better?

What can we do to ensure that each person has the health care they need and the education that is so important?

I am seeing this all too often. People come into the ER for what they think is something so simple. However they don't have a family doctor because they can't afford one. They come to the ER and probably don't even have the money to pay that bill and the hospital ends up writing it off. Then while they are in our ER, they learn that because of lack of healthcare, they now have a very serious illness. One that will now take their lives because they did not have proper preventative care. Now they have to live what life they have left with AIDS, lung cancer, breast cancer, an inoperable brain tumor. . . .

Our country as a whole needs to be focusing on education. People need educated!!! It is not just the middle or lower income people who are having this issue. It is also the higher income people. Those who just think they will live forever. Don't have time, don't want to spend the money to go to the doctor. Or maybe they have the attitude that, "It won't happen to me".

Let me assure you, it can happen to any of us at any time. These terminal illnesses do not discriminate. They don't care who you are, who your parents are, how much money you have or how important you think your life is. If you don't take care of yourself and have regular check ups with your doctor you could be that person that finds yourself in the ER with what you think is an easy fix, just to learn that it's not that easy.

Ladies, go see your OB at least once a year. Teach your daughters about annual exams, and how to do a self breast exam.

Gentleman, have your yearly check ups as well. You are not exempt. Teach your sons how to do testicular exams. Did you know that men can get breast cancer too??

When you become of age for colonoscopies and mammograms, GET THEM!!! Early detection is the key!!!

If you have questions, make an appointment to see your doctor. Don't let these things go!! Love yourself and your family enough to take care of your body.

There is a young man who will now grow up without his mother. There is a mother, who will miss out on the majority of her son's life. She will probably not live to even see his 8th birthday. Could this have been changed if she had been having regular annual check ups with her doctor? Who knows. There would have at least been a better chance of them catching it earlier and prolonging her life.

Educate yourself and the ones you love!!!