Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Monitor Effect

The last few weeks I have spent too much time staring at a screen. Not a fun screen, like a television or a computer. It's a necessary but annoying screen. It is the dreaded......oxygen saturation monitor.

If you have been reading my blog, you know Jaycee's been battling respiratory issues for literally 2 months now. She already has obstructive sleep apnea, which is treated with a bi-pap, and has asthma, so any hiccup with her respiratory system can turn into something serious or something that lingers on and on. We've had 3 trips to the hospital in the past 2 months. There are times in her life when things are crazy like this. But, she did have 10 healthy, hospital free months prior to all of this.

Back to the monitor, I have a love/hate relationship with this monitor. We got it a few years ago when she was having so many breathing issues. It was hard to be at home with her wheezing and deciding on if she was truly bad or if she just sounded bad. The oxygen saturation monitor has helped us easily decide whether or not we need to take her to the hospital. Under 90% (the red number), she needs oxygen and we need to get to the hospital. For that part, I'm thankful to have the monitor.

In 2011, this monitor probably saved her life. Jaycee was acting weird and we didn't know what was wrong. I hooked her up to the monitor just to help try to figure out what was wrong. Her heart rate (the green number) which is set to alarm when it hits 140, read 220! This monitor caught her tachycardia and we immediately rushed her to the ER where she was transported by helicopter to a children's hospital.

Sometimes, the monitor drives me insane though. If I see 91 or 92% during the day, it starts to worry me. I see that she's getting close to the 90% cutoff and I get nervous. Sometimes, a spot check to see where her oxygen level is leads to me checking her too often because I'm nervous.

Jaycee has been having trouble breathing at night lately, so she wears this monitor while she's asleep. Typically, the monitor is in her room next to a baby monitor. The receiver is in our bedroom. Throughout the night I'll hear the beeping. Sometimes, she alarms because the sensor isn't reading. Sometimes, it alarms because Jaycee has thrown the bi-pap off and her levels have dropped to 89%. I hate the 89% alarms when everything is fine yet she's dropped for an unknown reason. Fortunately, repositioning usually helps the number to go up and all is well.

Last weekend, we spent a couple of nights in a hotel. By the time, I lugged up the monitor, bi-pap, and meds, I was rethinking the trip. Since our beds were close together, her monitor was placed on my nightstand. Bad idea! Jaycee had a rough night. She started out at 90% with her bi-pap on. Not good... I just kept staring at the monitor wondering if she'd worked her way back up to the upper 90s or if she would dip lower and we'd have to go the hospital. It's hard to fall asleep when 90% is staring me in the face. I wanted to shove my husband who was peacefully snoring next to me knowing what her oxygen level was. Maybe his 13 hour shift at work helped him. Maybe that's what I needed!

Actually, what I need to do is to have faith and calm down. Monitoring her to keep her healthy is great. But if the monitoring is causing me stress (and it is), then it's not a good thing. I need to be able to separate the two and not get so emotional when things look shaky. Fear causes me to assume the worst will happen. Why can't I assume she'll get better and her numbers will improve? Why does my mind instantly go to the negative? That's the million dollar question. And that's what I'm trying to work on right now.

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