Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The (un)Tidy Baby

The nurses at the hospital like "their" babies to be tidy.

At least that is what one of them told me as she changed Berean's sheets and bundled her up like a little burrito for the umpteenth time.

I had never heard of a baby being "tidy" before and it amused me greatly.

So now whenever Berean has spit up on her face, snot in her nose or poop in her diaper we dash upstairs in order to make the baby "tidy". And I giggle.

I watched carefully each and every nurse who tidied up my baby. They all had great skills in the burrito technique, but they each put their own spin on the process. Some used 2 blankets to wrap. Some used one to wrap and than tucked one over and put the ends under the mattress. Some snugged up the arms real tight, some left a little more freedom. But I marveled how every style made the baby truly look tidy. It is a definite skill. Every time I tried it the baby looked like a rumpled mess.

It must be subliminally taught in nursing school- this need for our patients to look "tidy". No matter how a patient feels, they must look like they feel good.

We certainly do it in the ICU. We are pros at linen changes- of course doing so with the patients still in the bed and just rolling them side to side- and every nurse has their own style. Some put the pad at a diagonal. Some put two pads on. Some horizontal, some vertical. Some use powder, some love lotion. Everyone has their own way.

And can you imagine the horror of a drop of tube feeding landing on a newly placed sheet? The twitching starts and the nurse just can't help but replace the sheet- even if it is only a drop.

No matter what, the patient must be tidy.

But there is a point of ridiculousness. For example you can't keep a withdrawing patient tidy. That, of course, doesn't stop a nurse from boosting the patient up 2 minutes before change of shift and than apologizing profusely for how untidy the patient continues to look. We reached that point of silliness at the hospital with Berean.

Berean is a spit-up-er, and although it has gotten much better in the last 2 weeks, her first couple days of life were rife with spit up.

So the nurses kept changing her. Because, of course, above all else, she must be tidy.

And they would give me new ninja shirts and blankets so that I could make her more tidy.

But here is the thing: I am not hung up on tidiness, nor did I think she needed to be changed when 5 cc of spit up would hit her blanket. See, here is my secret- ICU nurse or not, I believe that unless there is a massive disaster, linens only need to be changed every 2 hours.

So I thanked the nurse for the extra blankets, gave Berean a kiss on her untidy forehead and let her sleep until her 2 hours were up.

And then, and only then, I got down to the business of tidying her up.


stpaulgirlie said...

ROTFLMAO!!! So true about 5cc of tube feeding...... I am glad to hear that her spitting up is definitley less....

Thia said...

Sounds like those nurses were around a lot. With my second and third I barely saw them at all, which was fine with me. Unless of course I needed something and then couldn't find anyone.

Heather A said...

As someone who daily works in a hospital, along side nurses, and occasionally in and out of ICU, I totally agree with the "tidy" comment. :) Even as a therapist, I like to keep my patient's "tidy." Maybe that is the obsessive compulsive nature of my personality coming out, maybe just the hospital culture that is now ingrained in my brain. I have helped many an ICU nurse with the rolling sheet change!