Prepare for power blackouts!

Day 7  Cagayan de Oro Medical Center
May 18, 2012

Vitals:  taken at 8 am
Blood Pressure – 130/80
Temperature: 37
Heart Rate:  72
O2 Sat: 100 
Respiratory Rate: 27

“There was a brown out, and the generator can only be turned on by a staff who was away and couldn’t be reached by phone.”

Melit with family during Manang Lucy’s Diamond Birthday Gala.

Our attitude:

We cannot be dependent on doctors and nurses, no matter how good they are, like ICU Supervisor Amy, the epitome of an excellent nurse or even young ones like Jedi and Girl. That is what we decided today. Yes, Melit is in a delicate health condition, but we need to learn how to deal with emergency situations without calling doctors or nurses right away. Melit is dependent on us; we have to be stop being dependent on medical professionals – they are partners, not messiahs in this journey.


Our Observation:

Just like today. Comatose patients, especially post-surgery, cannot breathe on their own, thus the mechanical ventilator.  But what happens during power blackouts, especially when the generator-in-charge happens to be in a nearby town and doesn’t have cellphone? Well, nurse Joy introduced us to an amazing life-saver: the ambubag. It is a manual ventilator, attached to an oxygen supply. We volunteered to take turns in pumping so that we would  learn the technique. We reckoned we don’t need a nursing license to pump oxygen into Melit’s lungs.

The rest of the day we volunteered. ICU nurses are trained to do their jobs alone but we asked to participate. We did the sponge bath, the morning care, and the changing of the bed linens.

We learned few essential SOP’s such as back tapping in order to help the lungs release some fluids as well as aerate the skin. Simple things! Melit developed rashes in her back, so Joy told us of an over-the-counter topical medicines called Calmoseptine, which eventually became the best friend of Melit’s skin.

Our doctors said:

Dr. Garcia made some physical tests and told us that we have to decide because it might take two months before Melit wakes up and she needs intesive care the whole time.

Our Action:

Today, we made a crucial decision. We cannot afford the ICU rate of a private hospital, but we couldn’t stomach the ICU setting of the public hospital, even the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC). So we planned to transfer Melit to a suite room in NMMC and transform it into an ICU Unit. We would rent mechanical ventilator, follow ICU SOP, and hire a PDN (private duty nurse) because we know the NMMC nurses handle several clients at the same time, unlike ICU.

But first, we got the permission of Dr. Garcia and Dr. Cadiz and explained to them that the reason is really financial and they understood. Next, we have to get Dr. Vilma Jane Yacapin, a noted neurosurgeon, to be our admitting physician in NMMC. Dr. Cadiz is not yet a diplomate, and she said yes right away.  We trust that she could take care of Melit’s post-surgery needs.

Then we hooked up with people who can help us get one of the most difficult luxuries in NMMC – the suite room. We had insiders who worked it out and who gave us assurances. We are set to go with this decision, which eventually helped us save around P300,000.

Our Feelings:

Grateful for people like Congressman Peter Unabia and Arlene Adanza Jane  for making things easy and possible for us.

Our Conclusion:

People in general are good-natured. They are willing to lend a hand – not just money  but connections and lessons and tips and everything that helped the load a bit lighter each day.

Meds today: MannitolTelmisartan,  RanitidineCiticolineLeviteracetamOxacillin, and Axera.

Diagnostic Tests today: Xray


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