Our Moments in the 3 West Unit

While preparing for final release to move to the 3 West unit, we read over the hand out that was given to us for instructions to making this move.  One of the items we need to do was to go at 2 pm for a tour of the 3 West Unit.  So Maria and I went to lunch and was back in time to be able to make this tour before we move Joseph there.  We got there right on time and asked around where we should meet for the tour.  We were the only ones there for this tour and so there was nothing organized about it.  One of the friendly nurses bid to show us around, where the waiting area was and the “Quad room” where Joseph would first go into.  It was nice for the nurse to show us around but the tour left us wondering why there was such an organized MUST GO TO event when it was just to show you around.  We went back to CV ICU and waited with the nurse for final word.  They don’t move them in beds–they put them and the equipment, etc. all in a red wagon and wheel them there–Joseph was in the red wagon waiting along with us to make the move.  We wanted to Thank all the staff in the CV ICU unit–they sure did make you feel like your son or daughter was the only one there and that they were the only concern they had–even in the Pod when they took care of two children to one nurse.  The rest of the staff was always friendly and courteous, ready to answer your questions.  THANK YOU!

We were released to go.  The nurse actually pulled the wagon and led the way.  Within minutes, we were there and watching the nurses change of command of our little son Joseph.  This is usually a happy moment because usually not long now–we get to go home.  We finally greeted the Nurse–and then…


That’s all I can say.  We asked the nurse if we could run home (Ronald McDonald House) for just a short time and she replied, “Yes ,you can but I can’t guarantee someone will be in here watching your baby and he could be crying for a lengthy amount of time until we can get back to him.” Wow, what a change! We at least needed to go tell my mother-in-law of the changes and it looks like for the most part that Maria would be there for the evenings and I would be there for the day time hours, with her still needing to be there more often since she is breastfeeding Joseph.  We left and spent a few moments of time with my other son and raced back so Joseph would not be alone.  We were both going to spend the evening there but that was not allowed either–only one parent is to be there overnight.  SHOCK–That’s all I can say. Be prepared for differences within different units.  We sure were not.

Our lives have changed so drastically, it was very hard to absorb.  The nurses in CVICU were there for every need of our son and basically every need became ours even though we were so weary about the chest tubes and cables still connected to him and in him.  It was very uncomfortable even changing his diaper for fear we may dislodge a chest tube or remove a wire because they easily got tangled.  We finally had to ask for instructions on how to properly change his diaper and of course, when mom fed Joseph, she had to stand up and try to feed him in awkward positions.  The first night, I had to head home and poor Maria was up every 15 minutes or so to care for Joseph that night–finally Maria asked if he had been given pain medicine yet. The nurses replied NO, it’s not been recorded in the records and the last dose was at 2 PM before the move from CVICU to 3 West! For 10 hours he was without pain medicine!  They gave him Tylenol at first but he still would not settle down. Finally, Nurse Jen decided to give him morphine. This was around 2 AM already! Poor Joseph! He did rest for me through the next day.  Maria was taking the shuttle back and forth from the Ronald McDonald House-how nice that was because we only had one car and Maria doesn’t drive.  It was one of the many nice things that was available to us through the Ronald McDonald House.

Through the first week there, our time was filled with talking to the doctors and making sure Maria ate three good meals at least.  Since she was breast feeding, the hospital gave her three meals a day and she could order it to the room.  Eventually, after about a week or so–which seemed like forever,  we did find some nurses who were very helpful or friendly, and made the stay at least for my wife (who was there almost 24/7) a bit easier.  Joseph seemed to be getting better so they took his stiches out in 2 stages. Everything seemed to be alright. Pain medicine was coming down to tylenol. The chest tubes were gone and the the feeding tube going through his nose was also taken out.  He seemed to be gaining weight daily.  Then he seemed to stop gaining weight, and we had noticed some funny looking pus where his stitches were and he was becoming cranky again.  We asked the nurse, and she said it was nothing.  Later it was getting a bit worse and we asked the nurse again and she brought Joseph out to see the doctor and once again they said it was nothing.  Later that evening it was even getting worse and he was really cranky and nothing could settle him down.  Being his advocate, I requested the doctor to come in to look.  They said he would be there as soon as he could.  We waited for hours and hours. The clock seemed to tick in slow motion.  Finally, the doctor and the surgeon came in and confirmed that it was an infection. They cut his chest back open and took a culture and told us to wait. We did request some pain medicine for him before they cut the infected part open, though the surgeon said– “It’s okay, he wont feel this.”  Well, whether he could or not, my son was going to have some pain medicine before they cut it open.  After cutting it open, they cleaned the wound out and packed it with gauze and gave instructions to the nursing staff that the dressing will be changed and repacked twice a day.  What a strong and brave boy we have, enduring all these painful procedures for his recovery!

The next day, the doctors decided that he needed to have antibiotics administered to him.  All the while ,we waited for the culture to come back which it could take days for the results to return.  Another day went by and some of the results came back knowing it was a staph infection, but now we need to find out what type it was to give him the proper antibiotics.  He could be well enough from 14 days to 6 weeks or longer–again, depending on what type of staph infection it was.  I was so concerned because my time aloted for this journey from work was ending.  I needed to get an extension so I would not loose my job.  When I tried to contact work in Boise–noone knew what to do.  So I called our upper management Keith.  He was so kind and aided in comforting my worries so I could pay attention to Joseph and his recovery and all will be well with my position at HP.  Thank you and God Bless you Keith!

The next few days were exhausting, waiting and then we had a visit.  Staff from the government agency of infection and disease control came to explain that Joseph had a very bad type of Staph infection and they were going to be involved in his recovery.  The recovery required some very strong antibiotics but need to be put through his vein.  Prior to this, while giving him mild antibiotics until the results come back, his IV would fall out several times and they even needed to have one of the helicopter transport medic to help put one in since the regular IV team was gone that Sunday evening.  As little as he was, we decided with the doctors a PICC line would be installed into one of his veins.  It is a surgical procedure and they had to isolate him and his room and Mommy and I were chased out.  They did ask if we wanted to watch but I at least chose not to–I really was uncomfortable watching something that needed to be done hurt him as well.  They did give him some very strong sedative and pain medicine.  Joseph was rewarded with a stuffed panda toy, it gave us something to play with him.


The medicine was administered through a machine connected to the PICC unit.  Each day he gradually got a bit better.  The Healing Hand of God is Definitely with my Son.  Definitely!

 It’s been a while since Maria’s Mom has even seen Joseph so we made arrangements for her to come and visit Joseph while I stayed in the car with Christopher.

While we were there for a lengthy time, we became acquainted with several nurses who were friendly and helpful enough and several even went out of their way to help my wife when she needed sleep or other things she needed and helping me as well.  Here we would like to thank them:

Some we have pictures, some we only have names–the ones without pictures, we will say here and we are only sorry we do not have pictures of them.  They are: Jennifer, Sara, Cristina (who gave Maria malunggay leaves to help increase milk supply) and Tammy.

And of course the last picture is the talented life saving surgeon Dr. Reddy.  He saved our Son’s life and we are forever grateful.

It was exciting and yet scary but we would be realized to bring him to the Ronald McDonald House but we would need to return that Friday morning so they could have one final checkup before we travel Home.  We would like to make special mention about our case worker at the hospital-Joan.  She was so very helpful and helped us obtain plane tickets for Maria and Joseph and Christopher to fly home.  Thank you so much Joan!


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Father of Joseph

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