Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hey, thanks a lot doc!

A classic game
As you know if you've read the last posts, we recently added a baby Salaryman to the family. Baby Salaryman was born in a quite typical Japanese maternity clinic, which is nothing negative as the care and service is very good and they do not rush people out the door the moment they've popped the baby out. Some other interesting features of maternity clinics are facial treatments and sales pitches of powdered milk, those are something I'll elaborate more on in another post when I get around to it.
.
The first days after he was born, Baby Salaryman did fine, drank both the bottle and the boob in the volumes that he's supposed to. However, after a few days it became evident that he didn't really increase the volumes of milk the way he was expected to do, taking over an hour to get him to drink 50mls of milk on his third day or so. This was discussed a little on the fourth day with Mrs. Sunshine and the doctor expressed some concern over it and mentioned that they might want to have him sent to a larger hospitals to make sure that there was no serious underlying cause for this. This of course made us a bit worried, but as he otherwise was healthy we weren't overly concerned. Then a few hours later, I get a call from Mrs. Sunshine, crying and close to panic, saying that they would be sending Baby Salaryman to the NICU (intensive care unit for newborns) of a nearby university hospital in an ambulance for treatment. As we talked I could hear the sirens in the background...

I quickly dumped Toddler Sunshine (who I was watching at home) with a neighbour, who we don't particularly care or like, but has kids of her own and happened to be home and willing to supervise Toddler Sunshine while I headed off to the hospital as soon as I could. I arrived just as the ambulance came in and watched Baby Salaryman get carried into the NICU in steel "baby box" (reminding me of a cat-box), told that they would now initiate tests and was asked to wait outside until they were finished. With very limited information on what actually was going on now, me and Mrs. Sunshine were under the impression that Baby Salaryman was on the verge of death, making for a very nervous and unpleasant wait. 

After an hour or so, I was called into the unit as the results had come in. To my surprised Baby Salaryman wasn't actually in the NICU with all the scary machines, but in the GCU (Growing Care Unit - think nursery) next door. The young female doctor sat down with me next to our sleeping little baby and explained the battery of tests that they had been performing (blood work, ultrasound, x-ray etc etc.) and that everything had come back fine. 

However, they had also in the end performed another test... The final test was apparently putting a finger in Baby Salaryman's mouth to see if he had developed the fine art of sucking and breathing through his nose properly at the same time... It turned out that he had not yet completely mastered this fine art, but was already getting better at it. So the reasons for his low volumes of milk was simply that he got out of breath and really tired and fell asleep before drinking as much as he ideally should.

As the doctor was actually really nice and I was so relieved that everything was fine with the baby, I managed to hold back on aggressively asking them why they didn't just test that finger-in-mouth-test FIRST before starting to do the other more invasive tests... But hey, in the Japanese health care system, the more tests you make, the more money the hospital can rake in...  

8 comments:

Ἀντισθένης said...

Bet those hospitals make money on formula!

Used to be the same in N.America, and guess what. Suddenly there was an epidemic of babies 'not getting enough milk' from their mothers (cough... BS). So then they suggest co-feeding, which of course means the baby switches wholly to the bottle, since it comes out more easily; and parents like it because it's a calorie-dump that lets them sleep for hours. Never mind anyone with a brain knows they lose a bit of weight between birth and getting used to drinking; never mind the benefits of colostrum; never mind the fact that their chances of metabolic disorders, vulnerability to infections, and need for orthodontics are slashed on the boob.

Sorry, profit-first really makes me angry.

Chris said...

Falling asleep while sucking a nipple...life was so simple....too bad were too young to realize it until it's waaaaaay too late!

Glad all is well :)

Momotaro said...

Hey, glad everything worked out fine in the end.

kathrynoh said...

Doctors love to overreact. Good that it all worked out.

Will said...

You had me worried till the last part of your post. Congratulations on the safe delivery and all that. And good to hear your new kid is...good.

Persianxrose said...

Wow! Thank goodness everything is okay, that's not fun at all to endure...my father went through the same thing with my sister only it took them three days to figure it out and by then he was frantic.

kamo said...

Glad it's all good now. With ours, one of the nurses did the 'finger in the mouth' thing on the second day, but that was more to keep him quiet than check for anything.

If only Baby S had screamed a bit more he might have saved you some time and bother. Something to think about next time you're up at 3 in the morning, at least ;)

Evacomics said...

YES! That's what I hate about the Japanese medical care here! They always instill fear factor in you that the worst might happen and then tell you to go for many tests. I definitely don't want to live in Japan after graduation.

Related Posts with Thumbnails