Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Stethoscope

(Setting: I sit across from the pediatrician with my sick baby girl coughing on my lap.)

Dr. Z: "It's down in her lungs now. You can hear the faint wheeze. If you had a stethoscope, you'd hear it too."
Me: "I have a stethoscope."
Dr. Z: (smiles) "Of course you do."

When I brought my baby girl home from the NICU, she came with a lot of equipment... oxygen tanks, tubes, monitors, etc. Because she could not safely drink from breast or bottle due to concerns about aspiration, we needed to learn how to feed her through a naso-gastric (NG) tube. This involved threading a thin, flexible tube through her nostril, down past her throat, and into her stomach. Once the tube was inserted, before each and every feeding, we needed to do something called "checking placement". This involved attaching a syringe to the end of the tube and pushing a small amount of air into her belly while listening with a stethoscope pressed against her abdomen. Correctly placed, we would hear a faint "whooshing" sound. This sounds like loads of fun for those 2 am feedings, doesn't it? Well, just like anything else, you get used to it.

I still have my stethoscope. Fortunately, I no longer need to use it to check placement; my daughter was able to start drinking thickened milk from a bottle about two months after our homecoming.

But that doesn't stop me from whipping out my trusty stethoscope. This tool has allowed me to hear the faint wheeze in my daughter's lungs that tells me she needs to be nebulized. It has enabled me to confidently call the pediatrician to report the rattle deep in my son's chest. It has also helped me fall back asleep at night after hearing clear, easy breaths that reveal sinus congestion but no chest issues. There's no question that I've been able to relax a whole lot more thanks to this little piece of equipment.

Do I love my stethoscope?

Of course I do.

For more tools that help you relax, check out Toolin' Up Tuesday, hosted at Life as Mom!


Ryann said...

Hearing the wooshing sound is strange, I can attest to that. We brought Addy home on August 21st and had to do the checking till November 16th when we finally had her g-tube surgery... now no more checking for placement or feeding the tube down her nose. We have a few stethoscopes, wonder if I could sell them at a garage sale? I'd probably be better off donating them at this point. I'll be sure to keep one for those nasty colds I'm sure she'll get over the next 18 years!

JessieLeigh said...

You may be able to sell them at a garage sale-- seems like whenever the older nieces and nephews were around they were utterly fascinated with that thing! You probably wouldn't make much, but I'd bet there are some budding scientists out there who might enjoy it!