By Judith, a patient mom
Daniel is our 3 year old who was diagnosed by the doctors as having severe Hemophilia B and described by the nurses as having a “strong personality.” To date, he hasn’t had any joint bleeds or spontaneous bleeds so we haven’t gone the route of prophylaxis. This means that when he does have a bleed, we either head down to the clinic or just as often (because he likes to bleed on nights, weekends and holidays) to the Children’s Emergency Room in St. Paul. That is okay with him - he isn’t picky; the clinic has really cool toys and the ER has Stephanie who will play endless pretend games involving dinosaurs and tigers!
Several months ago, we went to the Emergency Room. My 15 year-old daughter Kelsey was with me. Because this was going to be her first time seeing Daniel get factor, I had spent time preparing her for how Daniel was going to react and by letting her know that he would probably get very upset.
Once we got back into a room, we were offered the option of giving Daniel some nitrous oxide. My own experience with nitrous oxide at the dentist’s office made me think that this might be a good idea because it would make him more relaxed. The nurse proceeded to go through a checklist with me to make sure that nitrous was a good option for him. Daniel was able to choose a “flavor” which was rubbed inside the mask (the elephant mask!) and he then proceeded to take some deep breaths. It was amazing!! We made it through the entire infusion without a single tear (although not without hearing various animal sounds and a rendition of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”). Kelsey was probably thinking that
I had completely exaggerated the trauma of past visits! I hadn’t – this was by far our best experience with getting an infusion as evidenced by the fact that it took only three staff to administer the factor versus five!
Since that first experience, we have had nitrous oxide in the clinic and just last week, in the ER again. Each time, the nitrous oxide has helped to make the process easier on all of us.
As Daniel continues to grow and mature, he’ll be able to make his own decisions on how he gets his factor. For now, the nitrous oxide makes things go more smoothly. I’m glad that this has become an option in both the ER and in the clinic.