Friday, April 20, 2012


I understand,

Kaiser's Women & Children's Center.

That means that women, and children go to that building for their health needs, right?


Taking care of both women's & children's bodies.

Supping them up, making them work properly again, shipping them home in good order.


What about their precious little, or big should I say, hearts?

Did Kaiser think about their hearts?

Their working, beating, thinking, feeling, hearts?

They forgot.

They forgot about the hearts of these women.

They accidentally forgot about my heart.

Heart Hurt One

I remember after many months of trying to get pregnant, we finally decided to seek help.

I was filling out the paperwork at Kaiser....

Sample Question 1: What's your malfunction junction?

Sample Answer 1: I'm not quite sure. That's why I'm here.

Anyway, I began to see all of these pregnant women coming and going,

Laughing and smiling.

Innocently chatting with the front desk clerk.

Each time I carried my brown bag of sperm in, 

after yet another failed turkey baster attempt,

I had to listen to the same big bellied baby lady/receptionist exchange.

It usually went something like this ~

Receptionist: Oh hi Big Belly Baby Lady. How are you feeling today (ha ha ha)? Are you here for your 42 week appointment? (I don't know weeks because I've never been pregnant, so it's all the same and a foreign language to me.)

Big Belly Baby Lady: Why, yes I am (ha, ha, ha) I feel so good. My gosh! You know, we've already been thinking about baby #5, since it's so easy for us. We're thinking after this one's born, we're going to get pregnant again in April. What do you think?

Receptionist: You're right. It sure has been easy for you. I think that's wonderful. Have you been having anymore cravings lately?

Big Belly Baby Lady:  Well you know...I've been craving Western Bacon Cheeseburgers, Triple Bacon of course (get this) with the actual Oreo milkshake poured directly over the top of them. I then use both hands and just shovel it in. Then, I order another one! Ha, Ha, Ha. I have them all hours of the day! I just tell Tom, "hey Tom, I'm know what that means, now get, and he goes." Ha Ha Ha. Isn't that weird?!? Can you believe that? Eating for two. Eating for two.

Me: Gag!!!! Looking down at my latest brown bag. "Sheesh, I thought it was you that would make me gag, but listening to these tri-weekly interactions will do it every time!!" And by the way, your baby is tiny in comparison to you...may I remind you, it's not eating for two! Never eating for two!!


I call for a redesign.

How about a little redesign?

How about putting all the pregnant chicks somewhere far, far away from the chicks who can't, and in my case, never did get pregnant?!?

What a brilliant idea ; )

Heart Hurt Two

After Aviana's accident she was at Sutter, and then U.C. Davis.

Both were fine.

We then were transferred to Kaiser.

Upon arrival, I was quickly reminded of the good ol' days.

As I was trying to make my way into the lobby to get a badge.

Yeah, a tighter than Shawshank.

I was blocked by a barrage of It's a Girl balloons.

I thought, WHAT THE???

There were a ton.

Mylar. Pink. White. Mylar. Pink. Pink. Mylar.

It took everything in my power to not swat them out of my face.

Tons of family and friends, giggling and laughing, smiles plastered across their faces.

"Oooohhh, Ahhhh....Don't you just love the name??? I just love the name."

"She's adorable! Isn't she just adorable? Oh you haven't seen her yet? Well, she's adorable."

"Did I say adorable? Because she's adorable. Adorable. Adorable." 

"Adorable. Adorably. Adorable. Hee."

Good times.

As I stuffed myself into the elevator with this jolly crowd, I thought...

My kid just got hit by a car. 

She's fighting for her life.

We aren't sure if she's going to live or die.

She just had the most horrific transfer from UC Davis.

She's "storming" and it's the worst site my eyes have ever seen.

And wouldn't you know it,

All thanks to another of Kaiser's well thought out designs,

The whole time I'm here...

Labor and Delivery is the floor below the PICU.

Yep. We all ride up together.

Some elated.

Some distraught.

All together.

The elevator doors slide open.

Some step out with balloons, smiles, happiness and bliss.

Arms filled with baskets, stuffed animals, and soft blankets.

Elevator doors close.

We stay.

Elevator doors open again.

The rest of us step out; faint, gaunt, pale.

With tear stained faces, we hold each other tight.

We carry with us hollowed and heavy hearts.

Cancer, Traumatic Brain Injury, Near Drowns, & Car Accident.

These are the types of things the PICU has waiting to welcome us.

Thank you Kaiser.

Thank you for the extra squeeze on the already aching,

No, I'm sorry...

Already trampled upon, heart.

Each time I want a little snack,

I must venture through the sea of ~

It's a BOY.

It's a GIRL,


What about when your kid gets hit by a car?

What then?

It's bothersome because it affects the simplest of tasks.

Every time I get a thirsty,

I get caught in the wave of balloons, and banners,

The euphoric joy of the newest baby's arrival, or the first trip home.

I'm not mean.

I'm not a mosquito.

I do not wish to suck the joy out of others.

I just hurt on so many levels.

But you know what?

When I really think about it.

It's in my face, all the time.

Everywhere I look.

There it is.

But, definitely not to this degree.

I suppose at Kaiser,

It shows itself when we are at our most vulnerable,

And to a direct and an exact contrast.

It shows itself when we are staring straight into the eyes of life versus death.

I'm not saying bad things don't happen in Labor and Delivery.

I'm not naive, I know they do.

And boy am I sorry they do!!!!!!!

I'm just saying what I have seen time, and again.

The direct comparison again hurt my heart on our most recent trip back to Kaiser.

I know it's not intentional,

But I do think something needs to be done.

I'm not asking for a separate building,

But how about a separate elevator,

Or hallway,

Or entrance.

We never ran into this problem at UC Davis,

Or Sutter.

It makes me wonder.

At these other hospitals,

Are not only our bodies taken into consideration,

But also our very fragile hearts too?


  1. I clicked on "encouraging comments", but I can't think of anything really encouraging to say. I think hospitals are first about the patient and second about the money....or maybe I have that in the wrong order. I think the rest of us are just collateral (accompanying but secondary).

    I know I've said this before, but I'll repeat myself to make the point. I spent 2 months at the closest Children's Hospital to you (I believe) with a foster baby that was "mine". I was the only person who knew her, visited her, stayed with her, worried and cried about her. Over the course of 2 months, two doctors, two CNA's, and one nurse treated me as her mother, and the rest ignored me. One PICU nurse even accused me of burning her even though their defibrillator was the cause. They did the surgery twice, and they screwed up the surgery...twice. If I'd been her "real" parent, I could have sued and probably won. Ten years later, I can relive it in a heartbeat.

    At Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, there are banks of elevators and most or all are designated for specific floors. If that were a possibility at Kaiser, it seems like a pretty simple fix.

    I think you and parents like you are in a position to effect change by writing letters, bringing their shortcomings to the attention of anyone who might listen, and suggesting ways to improve the hospital experience....for everyone.


  2. I understand what you mean. My wife had a misscarriage and they put her in the Labor and Delivery floor. First nurse came in and asked our son if the baby was a boy or girl. Ouch.

  3. I'm so sorry. There was a gift shop next to the elevators at the hospital where Trina was the week she was dying. I hated those "Get Well Soon!" balloons. What I hated even more was when I realized she had been moved to the fourth floor, the "last of life" floor. She had been on the 3rd floor when she first got there, back when it was "just" a blood transfusion and complications from chemo. Then the 1st floor for ICU (the WORST thing they could have done). After ICU realized there was nothing they could do they moved her to the 4th floor. And disconnected all the machines that monitored her vitals. How I hated that machine that was staring at us, shut off. No need to monitor her vitals since she was on her way out.

    That said, EVERY nurse she had on the 4th floor was amazing. They were so kind, patient and very compassionate. After talking to one of them it turned out she had spent a year volunteering in Guatemala. I asked her privately outside of sissy's room how long she thought sissy had. She was very kind but honest in her opinion. The only thing was she was too generous in her estimate of 12-24 hours, sissy died about 8 hours later.

    Another kind thing the 4th floor did was bring in a room service type cart into Trina's room full of fruit, juices, water, coffee, cups, bowls, etc..... They were always quick to refill anything and asked if there was anything they could get us. They were very nice..... except for the fact that they made a major mistake and were underdosing her pain meds by 10 times.

    Hospitals can suck.

  4. i can relate on so many levels to your first heart trampling.....i can't bear to go to the lady doc anymore. i flat out refuse....i have enough trauma/drama trying to stay positive for those i know who are blessed (honestly i don't curse them....i just feel sorry for me) but to have to face complete strangers and not think bad thoughts -- more than i can handle.....and i don't WANT bad things to happen to lucky's just. yea well you know....

    as to the hospital layouts i've never had to deal with a kaiser......but the hospitals in the City when i was there for various events i have to say we never crossed paths with the ecstatic or overjoyed.....we were allowed to keep our sorrows and pains with out interference from the happy people

  5. That is awful, Jen. For how much they say they focus on the "whole you", it was just plain bad design. Sitting there forever, waiting for a badge in front of that gift shop and a ton of visitors had to be rough. Same with the elevator.

    After the last hospital stay, I don't want to go back. At all. Everything about having a kid in intensive care SUCKS. I got stuck right by the elevator and got to watch visitors coming and babies going home while I was wheeled down past the Nursery, through Labor & Delivery, and to the NICU. I cried the whole way for the first few days.

    Yep. They suck. Screw the administrators that can't think about the hearts of the families that come and go.

  6. You should send this post to someone high up in Kaiser. Send it to admin and let them direct you to the right person who can make a change. I completely agree that there should be some sort of privacy or at least a choice for privacy for those in a state of sadness and mourning and worry...not having JOY and ELATION shoved up their noses every time they come and go. I honestly can't remember anything like that during our stay at Loma Linda.

  7. That is just terrible. Sounds like some engineer or architect somewhere designed that place and did not factor in the human equation. I agree with Katrina. I know you are very busy but perhaps consider sending Kaiser a copy of this post in the form of a letter. The more people that speak up, the more chance there is of things changing. Obviously there is a lack of planning and compassion there, but they can find a way to fix it if they're motivated to.

  8. Oh Kaiser is a winner. How about this one, I got to lay miserably in Labor and Delivery for 3 weeks, tripping on Magnisium, listening to women laughing, crying, sometimes screaming(only once in a while, but in the damn middle of the night most of the time!), babies' first cries, joys of birth while I was trying to hold back my 1-1/2 lb babies from being born. The nurse were at least good enough to chekc on me during the rough nights and try to close my door and make me more comfortable, but let's just say Labor and Delivery is not a place that is condusive to holding back a delivery. I am grateful I was there because it gave my babies a chance to get to 4-1/2 lbs but man oh man they sure didn't think about what being in that place did to my brain while I was there. 3 weeks of listening to other women give birth and hearing healthy baby cries, hoping I would make it there.

    Yes, I have quite a few bones to pick with Kaiser and their sensitivity levels. But I would be on here all day!

    Lvoe you Jen,
    Love Jess