On Tuesday morning the latest BlogNephew was born:
Picture of cuteness, no? He was born via Caesarean, so he came out looking pretty pink and cuddly...rather than pinheaded and scrunched up. (Yes, that's a medical term I'm sure.)
By Thursday afternoon BlogSister and her husband were ready to go home, as they never got into a private room, and my sister was feeling pretty good. She felt this time around the surgery and post-surgery effects were easier to deal with...and not just because she knew what to expect.
My mom, of course, thinks it's unconscionable that they send women home that soon after what is, after all, major surgery.
Before they left they were hit with the news that BlogNephew has jaundice.
There are several points to be made about medical personnel-to-patient communications that come out of this story...
First of all, my sister and her husband feel that everyone had Kaiser displayed consideration and follow-through.
That being said, it is the nature of people who know something very well to forget what it's like to hear about something for the first time.
So, while the medical personnel my sis talked to were great at reassuring and allaying fears, they weren't so great at talking about possible ramifications and what would indicate that there was something going wrong. BlogSister and her husband left for home still nor really sure what jaundice is, and still not really sure what was bad about it (and how to tell if that bad thing was happening.)
I think it's great that they don't want to panic people. I've written before that it sucks when a doctor assumes you'll know something isn't serious, and meanwhile you're imagining cancer.
But on the other hand, people do like to know what to look out for and what it makes sense to be worried about. Skipping that lets people imagine the worst.
So what was my sister and brother in law's response to their continuing confusion?
"We'll spend some time on the Internet!"
Frankly, I know this will sound harsh, and particularly my friend Dr. Warren Magnus will roll his eyes at me, but shouldn't the rates for doctors start to go down, since the Internet has alleviated the need for them to actually explain as much?
Yesterday Kaiser sent some technicians over to deliver my nephews phototherapy blanket (which is a misleading name, since it's hardly a blanket.) The Wikipedia link above shows a baby wrapped in one of these "blankets."
Again, the people dropping it off were very nice, but again far more rushed in reciting the instructions by rote...to parents who were still a little sleep deprived and overwhelmed. When it came time to put BlogNephew on the "blanket" for the first time, none of us was actually sure how it worked and unbelievably the instruction manual had illustrations, but not of what it would look like once on the baby!!
On the plus side, Kaiser called over there this morning to see how it went, and whether they had any questions, so my sister was able to ask about the placement of the "blanket." Turns out it can go either horizontally or vertically, so perhaps that's why they don't show the "right" way. MIght be good to say that in the manual though!
I tend to think that people want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. They want to feel informed. And frankly I'd still like to hear that from the actual doctor first.