I am so proud of how you and Dan are coping and responding to all the joys and challenges of caring for Audrey since her leukemia diagnosis last September. It is with much admiration and awe that I have watched you handle each new hurdle and challenge that comes up in caring for Audrey at home.
I remember so well when you and your brother Jeremy were small children. When I was a nursing faculty member at Avila College, you and Jeremy previewed with me some of the nursing films I brought home to review before my next lecture. One of my memories was reviewing a film on at how to insert a naso-gastric tube. You and Jeremy were both sitting on the floor looking at this film with me when you were in grade-school. I remember both of you saying “How can you do this, mom? UGH, I don’t want to ever do this!”
Now, you and Dan are able to do everything asked of you by the physicians to care for Audrey at home. You have both administered chemo injections for Audrey since last September. I volunteered to go over to your house to watch and supervise you giving that first injection to Audrey. With that safety net, you called me and said you would be able to do this yourself just fine the first time. Audrey wasn’t so sure of what Mommy was going to be doing and cried a lot with Daddy holding her and you giving her that first shot! Now, Audrey doesn’t even flinch with any of the chemo injections that you and Dan have had to do at certain times over the last few months!
Audrey went home recently from the hospital after getting a blood infection. When a person has temporary zero immunity factors as a result of chemo, these infections can happen even with meticulous nursing care in the hospital. The normal bacteria on the skin can cause infections when there are no immune factors present, so even a small cut on the skin or normal bacteria in the stomach may cause a blood infection. The treatment is intravenous antibiotics for the prescribed time for the particular organism causing the infection. These are started in the hospital and then continued at home.
I watched with satisfaction while you practiced how to administer the IV antibiotic with the home care nurse in the hospital. He showed you how to do each step of the protocol for administering the flush, then the IV antibiotic, next the second flush and ending with a heparin solution to prevent the IV access site from clotting until the next dose is due in 8 hours. You had watched the nurses administer IV antibiotics to Audrey over several hospitalizations and you already knew the steps! You practiced several times and felt confident. A home care nurse was just a phone call away if there were any difficulties encountered. No phone call was needed that evening!!
So, I have enjoyed watching you and Dan being able to do everything medical and nursing that is asked of you to do for Audrey at home! And I respect your ability to administer the chemo shots and intravenous antibiotics that nurses are trained to do and perform easily many times each day on their jobs!