So, it's official. We'll be out of here on the day that starts with "F"... we're not telling Faith any specifics, don't want her to pull any tricks or decide the docs here need one more lesson from her. And, St. Patrick's Day isn't a real holiday since we're not Irish, so Faith will be out of the hospital by the next holiday, like we told her she needed to do at Valentine's Day.
Dave and I got almost everything packed up tonight. He took three boxes, a big suitcase, and a bunch of miscellaneous bags home (good thing he had the truck!). Both of us commented that we don't think it will feel real until we pull into our driveway. And I'm pretty sure Boston won't feel real until I've been there at least a week... even knowing we have our ticket, it still doesn't feel like it's going to happen.
So, in honor of the 4+ months I've lived at the hospital, I decided to do a post sharing all of the little things I learned along the way that would be helpful to someone else in this situation.
-The best magazines are in the surgery waiting room, on the second floor. I'm pretty sure they put the new ones out on Mondays. Not that they're actually new, but if you haven't read them, who cares if they're from Thanksgiving and it's actually Valentine's Day. They're free, and if you're like me and you enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, it doesn't matter when the magazine was printed. I don't understand why, but the NICU waiting room has a very odd assortment of magazines, very rarely is there anything I would read. They have magazines like "Avid Golfer", "AARP", "OT Practice"... not magazines I think most of the people with kids here would be interested in. Down on the second floor they've got all the "Better Homes & Gardens", "Woman's Day", "Cooking Light", and I even found a couple copies of "Real Simple". Good recipes, neat ideas for things I wouldn't think of on my own, and overall just a good distraction. So, make your way down to the second floor on Monday nights (I always go after hours, so there's no one at the desk to think I'm a weirdo stealing magazines!) and pick up some reading material. :)
-The best food in the cafeteria is the "Beast" breakfast burrito. Dave and I heard rumors that it existed, 4 months ago when we first got here, and the dad from the room next to us was telling us about it. He said the cook was a rather large woman, and something about not trusting a skinny cook... He said it was like $5 and he couldn't eat the whole thing (and he wasn't a small guy!). He got to meet John Elway at his restaurant, by the way... it was a cool story. But I digress. The burrito. Maree had told me about it once too, and how this woman down there at night would cook you pretty much whatever you wanted, and how this burrito was so gigantic she couldn't even eat half of it, and took the rest home for her husband... So, this one day when I was down there at breakfast time, I decided to try the breakfast burrito. It wasn't big at all, and I was thinking, seriously? This is what everyone's making such a big deal about?? I mean, it was good, but it wasn't huge, I had no problem polishing it off, and it just didn't live up to the stories about it. Tonight though, since Dave and I were busy packing and missed dinner, we decided to have a "last supper" of sorts at the hospital cafeteria. We headed over there, and saw a "late night" menu I had never seen before. And sure enough, on the menu- the Beast, for $5. So we each had one. The large woman I had heard about (I think her name is Stephanie) cooked them fresh for us. And let me tell you, that was one GOOD burrito. It came with salsa, green chile, and guacamole. I only ate half, I saved the other half for tomorrow. Dave and I could easily have split one. So, when you're here late at night and you're hungry, head down and have her make you a Beast. You won't regret it! (The only thing I regret is that it took us 4 months to have one!)
-If you need something to snicker at, go outside in front of the hospital towards Colfax around lunch time. That is when everyone goes out for their lunch time cigarette, and stands and smokes about 2 feet from the sign that says Children's is a smoke free campus. Every time I have gone past the people standing there smoking, I have wanted to take a picture. I laugh every time. Maybe I have a weird sense of humor. But I just can't help finding it amusing that they seriously stand right by the sign and smoke. I think the only thing that would make it more amusing to me, would be if someone actually leaned on the sign while they smoked.
-Room 60 in the NICU is a 3G dead zone. You know the ones they talk about on those TV commercials that try to spoof scary movies? Yeah, that's where we are. Dropped calls, random voice mails without the phone ever ringing, cutting out to the point where you swear the person on the other end has started speaking another language... But, room 60 has its advantages. It's the corner room, I'm pretty sure it's bigger than the other rooms, it's nice and quiet... but 55 has a better view of the courtyard area out behind the hospital. Whatever room you're in, if you're going to be there awhile, buy a cheap universal remote for the TV. The TV's don't have remotes, and it's super annoying. When we moved from 55 to 60, we lost probably 4 or 5 channels on the TV because for whatever reason they aren't programmed, and since we don't have a remote, we can't just go directly to that channel. I wish I would've just gotten one way back in the beginning...
-It might seem like the kitchen in the Family Hospitality Suite on the second floor should be really nice, since it's big and open to everyone, but really, it kind of sucks. There aren't plates, the coffee maker doesn't work, and there is no microwave. But there are microwaves and even a toaster on the first floor between the cafeteria and the day care.
-Tuesdays are fresh fruit and juice days in the NICU kitchens. I always grabbed a couple of apples and saved one for later, because they're always gone the first day, and I'd find myself wanting an apple later in the week when none were left. Tuesday is also free lunch day, when the March of Dimes comes in and does a little lunchtime talk on some topic that applies to some NICU parents, and they have free food and drinks. And, they give out a door prize. The first time I went, it was just me and one other set of parents, so we both got door prizes, and I got a $25 gift card for King Soopers! Definitely worth the time to go sit in the conference room for an hour, and sometimes the topics are actually interesting. And they do scrapbooking once a month, I went to that this month for the first time, and it was a very nice break from things. And it felt good to get some pages in Faith's book done.
I think the biggest thing I can say for advice, that really applies no matter what hospital you're at, is to always remember that YOU are your baby's parent, not the doctors and nurses. And really, they can't do anything to your baby that you don't agree with. Informed consent applies, even in the NICU. Don't let them pressure you into doing things you don't really want to do, and don't be afraid to say no. And, just because it's never been done before, doesn't mean it can't be done. Probably all it means is that you'll have to do the extra work to figure out how it can be done without causing extra work for the doctors and nurses, and then just tell them it's what you're going to do.
And on that note, here are some fun pictures!Nathan and Mama picked out this apple for Faith. It's great, and the best part is, it's almost like her tubing in feel, so she's already used to it!Someone suggested on rounds today trying to see if Faith would wear a mask for the flight. Yeah, probably not.Worn out!All smiles :)I have more cute pictures to post, but right now, I'm falling asleep, so I have to put the computer away!