This post is a continuation of the things we have experienced since the end of March. The posts in chronological order can be found on the Timeline page.
Wednesday at Mayo started early for Francis. Of course, I didn’t make it there before the doctors did that morning. We would learn that if I wasn’t there by 6:15 a.m., I was likely to miss them altogether.
This morning, however, I decided to stay back at the hotel a bit longer so that I could be there when Couper woke up that morning. It had been the longest we had gone without seeing him, and it would probably help him (and me) to see that I was there despite the strange surroundings.
With surgery scheduled for Thursday, Wednesday meant a day of prep.
A specialty nursing team arrived that morning to place a PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line. I found the procedure incredibly fascinating. Francis, who has an aversion to needles and blood outside the body where it belongs, did not appreciate my fascination. Also, I suppose if you are the one having the invasive procedure, it isn’t too much fun!
A PICC line in many ways is better than a traditional IV. It can stay in place for up to a year, where an IV must be changed every few days. It also reduced the need for multiple pricks for blood draws, because they could draw blood for lab work directly from the PICC line. Tallahassee Memorial did a horrible job of finding veins (something I would personally experience later on), so Francis was already black and blue on both arms. We were thankful not to have to continue that abuse.
Francis would also receive nutrition through his PICC line. Called TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition), it looks like a giant plastic bag full of whole milk and was mixed specially for Francis’ dietary needs. One bag would be started daily at 8:00 p.m., and would last through the night. Francis was excited to have “food,” but disappointed he would have to wait all day for just 4 hours of “food.” At midnight, he would be restricted in preparation for surgery Thursday.
The nurse delivered the first of two rounds of Milk of Magnesia, a much more gentle way of cleansing the colon than the fluid used in Tallahassee, just after noon. It also worked more quickly than the giant jug of Golytely in Tallahassee. While we knew that enemas were likely on the docket at some point in the surgery prep process, we were hoping to avoid as much of that experience as possible.
Overall, Wednesday was a day to get acquainted with the Mayo Hospital culture and spend some time talking about preparing for Baby Gibbs to arrive.
Mayo, as I’ve said before, is nothing like any other hospital I have visited. When you arrive in the hospital building, it is reminiscent of a very nice hotel lobby. Francis compares it to checking into a hotel in Las Vegas with people wheeling overnight bags, people in electric and companion-pushed wheelchairs, a giant glass lighting sculpture, and ceiling to floor waterwall near the elevators. By all accounts, the entrance and lobby of the hospital is beautiful.
The rooms are also more comfortable and spacious. Francis shared a room his first two nights at Mayo that had plenty of space for a pull-out, twin-sized sleeper couch, and a recliner all on his side of the curtain. We would soon find out that his private room was the same size as the shared room, so we were much more comfortable there than in the tiny private room in Tallahassee with a recliner shoehorned between the hospital bed and outside wall.
I’ll take a step back here to bring you up to speed on Baby Gibbs also. One of Francis’ high school classmates, Missy Wilkins, works in hospital administration for Baptist Hospital. We called her for help on our way to Jacksonville on Tuesday morning. She told me she’d make some calls and then call me back.
By the time we arrived in Jacksonville, Missy had a nurse for me to contact and paperwork for me to fill out waiting for me in my email inbox. Once I faxed the completed paperwork to the nurse, I’d get a call back to schedule an appointment. By mid-day Tuesday, while awaiting the initial doctor’s appointment with Francis, I had a confirmed appointment with an obstetrician in Jacksonville for that Friday.
Missy really came through for us on this. It was a huge relief that there was one less thing we had to worry about. Once again, we were reminded of how wonderful our friends are.
I should also mention that it’s unusual for an obstetrician to take a patient in their 38th week of pregnancy. As a matter of fact, for liability reasons most won’t. I am still extremely appreciative of all the help that Missy gave us by making these phone calls and arrangements. I’m also thankful to Women’s Physicians of Jacksonville, Ann Dollison, R.N., and Dr. Sharon Desmarais for taking me on as a patient and taking such good care of me. I would highly recommend this practice and Dr. Desmarais to anyone in the Jacksonville area!
Now, back to Francis. Apart from sitting in a hospital bed all day, there wasn’t too much excitement on Wednesday. Most of the day was spent resting, watching TV, and using the bathroom. I left Francis to have dinner with Couper and put him to bed before going to bed early myself. We weren’t yet sure what time surgery would be on Thursday, but I needed to be there early just in case.
Early to bed, early to rise for both of us.