Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Nurse.  Mom.  Nurse-Mom?  Oh, I wish.  I am the WORST when it comes to my own kids' health.  A complete emotional train wreck.

First of all, I deal primarily with the acutely ill ADULT in an ER setting.  Second of all, I patch people up and move them out and onto a different place in the hospital.  Gunshot wound to the head?  Easy.  I'll slam the biggest IVs into both your arms, hydrate you to the max, give you some blood, help the doc get you intubated, and off to surgery you go, and then ICU.  Heart attack?  Fine.  Again, I'm going to give you a jumbo IV, draw your blood, pop you an aspirin, nitro and heparin drips, and Cath Lab will be here in a jiffy to whisk you away.  Thank me later for helping to save your life.  It's honestly that sterile. There's a pattern we follow for every disease and most traumas. It's not that I'm not emotional about it - I love taking care of people and even their families.  I feel accomplished in what I do; strong and capable.  Every day I work I feel that I make a difference.  Confident in my skills.

In the ER, right after IV insertion.
But kids?  Kids in the ER frighten me, just a little.  There are patterns for dealing with kids just like adults.  But kids are touchy. Smaller airways, smaller veins, smaller everything.  And there is something about kids that bring out the very emotional side in me.  The way they cling to mom's shirt or hang onto dad's necks.  The way they look up at you with the 'please don't hurt me' scared look.  Thankfully, we don't get all that many kids through the ERs I work.

Enter my own sick baby.  Oh, heartbreak and fear!  I took him to one of the ERs I work, knowing our pediatrician admits there. And my RN friends that I trust are there, too.  The comforts I find in my (adult ER) work, the confidence I typically walk in the halls disappear. I look at it from a different view.  The wait, the worry.  The doctor telling me Kellen has pneumonia.  I don't understand.  He was just in to the the pediatrician the day before for diarrhea.  The respiratory symptoms came on so quickly.  That's the thing about kids - like I said, smaller airways, smaller everything.  Equates to sicker everything.  Kellen should be admitted.  Yes, I agreed.  IV started, antibiotics initiated, tears mist my eyes, continued fear.  I tried to call Jason and couldn't get a hold of him.  I had to email him the information about Kellen.  Email. How awful.  But my husband is stronger than I am and he called me as soon as he could; and reassured me.  He always is my rock.  

Confidence returned to my step.  I went back into Kellen's room and fed him.  He threw up all over me.  Tears from me again.  Now I've been up for nearly 24 hours.  I've worked two shifts in the past two days and I had been taking care of an increasingly sicker baby.  I know I am not coherent or logical.  But I am truly scared and very frustrated.  No matter what I do, he's sick.  I've followed the guidelines, read everything in the 'book' (What to Expect the 1st Year - my third kid, my third time reading it!).  He's sick.  I am relieved that he's admitted to the hospital.  The nurses tell me he's positive for RSV.  Exhaustion.  I hear the clicking of the IV infusion pump and its sound means something so different to me at this moment than when I am working.  How many viral infections can a 3-month old have?  I know I shouldn't ask those questions.
He finally kept something down!

Now, here's the other great thing about kids.  They are sicker faster; but they also recover quicker. I managed to get an hour of sleep and it helped.  My sweet little man woke crying and hungry.  I fed him and he kept it down.  And then he fell asleep on me.  Oh, I've written about this before - this is one of the most heavenly things in the world.  The trust, the love, the please-take-care-of-me-Mommy.  We both slept for a couple of hours.  The nurses came in and checked on him. He was hydrating well, lungs sounded clearer, and he was improving.  I saw it, too.  But I don't trust my judgements on kids, especially my own.  Their assessment meant the world to me.  The pediatrician confirmed and told me that Kellen could go home that night.  Jason called (his timing is always perfect!) and I gave him the great update.

Kellen slumbering well...at home!
Kellen has been home for a day now.  And while he's still sick, he's getting better.  As for me holding the coveted title of Nurse-Mom? No.  I don't really ever see myself dealing well with my kiddos being sick, no matter how many books I read.  I just can't step back and look at them through my sterile nurse glasses.  I remain humbly...Nurse.  Mom.  But certainly not Nurse-Mom.

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