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To think being in hospital with a baby on chemo isn't a 'break'?

(78 Posts)

I'm in hospital with my baby who has cancer and is having chemotherapy.

The nurse we saw earlier asked if I had older children. When I said yes, she replied, 'Oh, so being in here is a bit of a break for you then.'

I replied, 'Er, no, it's not really a break having a baby on chemo and I also miss my older ones.'


(I'm sure she was just trying to make conversation and am not really annoyed but just had to share... But please be nice to me... You understand why.)

Not even remotely like a break.

She probably just had verbal diarhoea but I would have been hmm

I hope baby is responding well to treatment and that you're getting some rest

JaneFonda Fri 11-Jan-13 00:09:28

Oh bless you, poor you and baby. sad

I'm not even going to answer if you're being unreasonable or not, you can be as unreasonable as you please when you're in such a horrid situation!

I'm sure she was trying to make polite conversation, but probably felt very embarrassed after she realised what she'd said, a bit of a foot in mouth moment!

Hope all is going well.

Lyrasilvertongued Fri 11-Jan-13 00:10:39

how awful, YANBU. Sending lots of well wishes your way and I hope the treatment goes well.

Autumnalis Fri 11-Jan-13 00:11:06

What a stupid choice of words, whatever ward your DD is on, let alone for chemo.

I hope your DD is coping ok with the chemo and that you have some support too.

canyou Fri 11-Jan-13 00:11:29

Your poor Baby I hope everything runs smoothly and you are both soon home to the madness of family life
I totally understand your point of view, no it is not a break it is the stress of worry about the baby and worry about those left at home,
And yes she was just trying to make conversation and be nice but don't worry she will not have been upset or offended by your reply, we as a society have lost the idea that some times we need to be honest about how we feel.

5madthings Fri 11-Jan-13 00:12:29

What a tactless crap thing for her to say!!

No you are most definitely nbu!

TraineeBabyCatcher Fri 11-Jan-13 00:13:13

Not unreasonable at all. She's is likely cursing herself for saying it but no, it is definitely not a break.

Hope your baby gets better and the chemo works for you.

Cabrinha Fri 11-Jan-13 00:14:59

I agree the nurse was probably just being daft - hope she's mortified reflecting on your answer - and thinks twice next time! I'm glad you replied as you did - better than stewing, and of course you were right. Don't think twice about it now!

I hope that treatment goes well for your baby (Beatrice? Kisses to baby Beatrice xxx)

Unacceptable Fri 11-Jan-13 00:15:09

shock What a very odd thing for her to say!
Hopefully her bedside manner isn't always that tactless

i bet as soon as the words were out her mouth she was kicking herself- & no, your reaction wasn't unreasonable, i'm not so sure i could have stayed so calm myself!

i hope your baby responds well to the treatment & is well again & home with you & your family soon xx

SageYourResoluteOracle Fri 11-Jan-13 00:17:59


Talk about not engaging brain before opening gob.

When I was pregnant the 20 week scan showed DD was measuring very small for dates so we were rushed up to the fetal medicine unit to be told it was a waiting game and that things didn't look good. The (female) consultant on hearing everything else that had been going on for us including that DD was IVF patted my knee patronisingly then suggested I go home and have a gin and tonic. Silly bint! (DD was very small at birth but okay, very fortunately)

Sending all positive thoughts your way for you and you little one.

PaellaUmbrella Fri 11-Jan-13 00:18:03

Of course YANBU. Sounds like a very ill thought out thing for the nurse to have said.

Hope the treatment goes well and you're all home for good soon.

Smellslikecatspee Fri 11-Jan-13 00:20:18

Verbal diarrhoea, I once asked an amputee to 'just hop out of bed' while I changed the sheets blush
If s/he has been kind considerate otherwise pass it off as a brain fart.

I known when I said my hop out, I died inside for weeks, even though the patient and her husband thought it was hysterical.

Chances are s/he is still banging thier head against a wall chanting idiot idiot idiot idiot.…

ll31 Fri 11-Jan-13 00:23:22

yeah, hope your baby 's doing well, just a silly thing to say, good luck

Thanks all for the messages and well wishes. Weirdly enough she didn't blush or look embarrassed or show any sign of realising what a daft thing it was to say... She seems perfectly nice otherwise but obviously busy and quite young (I've clearly got to that age...)

Smellslikecatspee Fri 11-Jan-13 00:24:12

Oh and hope all goes well.

If its ok may I light a candle for you LO on Sunday?

carpetsw33per Fri 11-Jan-13 00:24:50


About fifteen years ago I asked a tetraplegic woman in a wheelchair to "Run across to the shop" for me.

I still hate myself...

Smellslikecatspee Fri 11-Jan-13 00:26:27

Chances are she froze once she realised what she said, I know I went grey.

carpetsw33per Fri 11-Jan-13 00:28:29

I hope things improve for you. You must be exhausted. X

Thanks smells, that would be wonderful. I'm well into that as my nickname suggests.

And yes, she's called Beatrice :-)

SageYourResoluteOracle Fri 11-Jan-13 00:57:18

In that case, I'm praying for little Beatrice x

SageYourResoluteOracle Fri 11-Jan-13 00:58:05

(Stoopid- didn't twig with NN! blush)

LoopsInHoops Fri 11-Jan-13 01:07:59

Silly woman.

Still keeping my fingers and toes crossed for Beatrice. smile

When I was in hospital with prem DTD2 after DTD1 had been still born, one of the NICU nurses said
"so have you got any other children then?"
I started to cry, so she continued with "oh no,
I didn't mean that one, any live children?"

Even the most professional people in caring roles get foot in mouth. sad

splashymcsplash Fri 11-Jan-13 01:09:16

Bad choice of words, but I'm sure she was just talking before thinking.

Don't take it personally. Sorry to hear you are having a hard time.

SageYourResoluteOracle Fri 11-Jan-13 01:09:40

Loops sad

I used to work at Social Services and said a couple of absolutely fucking stupid things to people. Even the professionals get it very wrong sometimes and rock and hug themselves in the toilets afterwards.

I'm sending healing thoughts your way Praying.

CuriousMama Fri 11-Jan-13 02:45:13

How very strange of her? hmm

I remember sitting with my dsis and dn when dbil was having the tests done after they switched his life support off. The nurse next to us was joking away. Until she got the look off me. I had to sit with each of them as they test twice. Horrific.

I'll pray for Beatrice too so sorry to hear this x I've just found out today my neighbour's toddler has a rare cancer, they only found out this week he's on chemo already. I'm still in shock. Their other ds plays with my ds2 he adores his brother sad

Take care chick xx

pigletmania Fri 11-Jan-13 07:21:02

Well praying for you and your little Beatrice for a speedy recovery. As a professional she should know better

HDee Fri 11-Jan-13 07:30:19

I will go against the grain and say YWBU. You were being rude and mean, and the nurse was just making conversation. Hyper-sensitive reactions are the reason I don't talk to anyone any more - whatever you say, someone will manage to take offence.

I can't count the number of times when my babies were in hospital that I heard that line, but you must have known what she meant? For what it's worth, I probably did have an easier job than my husband who was at home juggling four other children/school/house/work/homework blah blah blah.

I hope your daughter is better soon, but you will need a tougher skin if a throw-away comment upsets you so much.

rocketeer Fri 11-Jan-13 07:34:12

I don't see where the op was rude and mean Hdee, she just replied to the question put to her.

merlottits Fri 11-Jan-13 07:35:33

No it's not a break you poor thing.

Nurses are just people though and say stupid, foot in mouth things all the time. What she probably meant was that its a break from the monotony of packed lunches/homework etc?

I'm the nurse who asked the amputee why they had a pile of 'single' socks, why the reflexologist only needed half the usual time and where her 'other' shoes were (over a few months). Told the paraplegic who was paralysed in a car accident that their room was so messy it looked like a car crash <kill myself now>, told the post-mastectomy women that men are all the same they love a nice PAIR of boobs and recommended a novel I had just read to my terminally ill patient's husband called 'how to talk to a widower'.

I need to be locked in cage.

I hope things are going OK and good luck for the future X

pigletmania Fri 11-Jan-13 07:38:50

HDee te op was not rude just truthful, what do you want her to say hmm. Op replied to the question n the best way she could at the time. It must be heartbreaking being helpless watching your very sick chid, not knowing the outcomes, whether teir going to make it or not! sad

ledkr Spain Fri 11-Jan-13 07:40:47

Just wasn't thinking I expect. Of course it's nit a break.
Poor you and poor baby.
How is she doing? How are you doing?
I have spent weeks in hospital with two of mine and its horrible and draining.
Can you get home now and again if dh or you mum sits with Beatrice?

strumpetpumpkin Fri 11-Jan-13 07:45:54

HDee, WTAF???

OP ywnbu, im so sorry youre going through this.

GrannyRatOnAScooter Fri 11-Jan-13 07:48:29

The Op is being rude and mean??? Are you for real HDee ? I think you need to re-read your post to see who is rude and mean.

The OP is hyper-sensitive - perhaps but her BABY is in hospital with CANCER


OP, I am sending you and your precious baby and other DCs and famly my very best wishes. You are in my thoughts.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Fri 11-Jan-13 08:06:20

YANBU she was incredibly insensitive and thoughtless, I hope she does reflect on what she said and think before she opens her mouth next time!

I'm sending positive vibes for you and your dd.

I'm a mental health nurse, I've been known to make comments about things driving me mad to my patients blush We have a constant noise in our clinic room which is noticed by everyone and is very irritating so it's been taken in good humour I think

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 11-Jan-13 08:19:36

No prizes for a way with words but hopefully outweighed by her professional adeptness.

Thinking of you and baby Beatrice x

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 11-Jan-13 08:21:53

HDee I am sorry you've obviously had a tough time with sick children but disagree with you that OP was rude and mean.

CuriousMama Fri 11-Jan-13 08:35:23

merlottits you need gagging!

threesocksmorgan Fri 11-Jan-13 08:43:30

I mean wow. silly cow.

I hope you gave her a death glare

valiumredhead Fri 11-Jan-13 08:58:07

When ds was prem and very ill and in SCBU a nurse said "Go home and enjoy the peace and make the most of the break."

Dh had to practically restrain me hmm

Very sorry you are going through this OP x

McNewPants2013 Fri 11-Jan-13 09:07:40

Having a child in hospital is not a break.

Many parent go without having a proper meal, proper sleep and its lonely and a very worring time.

Hope your Daughter gets well soon.

CuriousMama Fri 11-Jan-13 09:13:00

Valiumredhead sad People like this really should make other career choices imo.

Badgersnatch Fri 11-Jan-13 09:13:44

Very trivial but the dentist once suggested that I'd enjoy going for a scale and torture polish because it would be a break from the children.

My thoughts are with you and DD.

giraffesCantGoFirstFooting Fri 11-Jan-13 09:16:33

Some people say fuckin stupid stuff, I remember a nurse telling expat she would "look back and laugh about how worried she was about this all one day" as her dd was about to embark on a bone marrow transplant to try to save her from leukaemia. Yes it is hillarious hmm

Thinking of you op x

mackerella Fri 11-Jan-13 09:24:00

Apart from anything else, it's hardly a "break" to be responsible for all of your child's increased care needs 24 hours a day (have been there myself with a baby on chemo, OP, so I really sympathise)! My DS was on a specialist paediatric oncology ward and the nurses were completely busy just dealing with chemo, IV antibiotics, meds, routine obs - they didn't do any of the "normal" care, which was all done by parents. The other posters on this thread have mentioned the stress and worry of having a child on chemo, but I actually found the day-to-day stuff far more exhausting (clearing up endless vomit and diarrhoea, giving NG feeds every 4 hours day and night, trying to entertain a grumpy, ill baby who is tethered to a drip stand...)

I hope your DD's treatment is going well, OP - hang in there! smile How much longer have you got in hospital?

GirlOutNumbered Fri 11-Jan-13 09:25:01

A policeman told my mother (I was 13 and had just experienced a peeping tom at my window) that I should be flattered someone was out at that time of night leaving me love notes. She also had to be restrained.

I'm sorry you are going through this. Human beings are stupid, but most of them don't mean to be mean.

I hope things work out well for you all.

extracrunchy Fri 11-Jan-13 09:27:20

God that was insensitive of her! I'm so sorry you're going through this. Thinking of you x

expatinscotland Fri 11-Jan-13 09:28:20

What a stupid thing to say! Yes, being with my child with a life-threatening disease is a break.

I got that, too, from some ignorant gits, when DD1 was in onco.

I'd tell them, 'What an odd thing to say, when I'm worried sick about this child (my child died) and it's impossible to get a full night's sleep in here.'

Yes, I remember being told I'd laugh about this one day. I can't say I ever have or will. In fact, most days, I wish I were dead. If my husband were competent enough to look after my surviving children, I would be. Since he's not, I'll hang round till they grow up, if I'm lucky. After that, adios.

And I won't be laughing.

CuriousMama Fri 11-Jan-13 09:29:23

expat and these people survived how?

expatinscotland Fri 11-Jan-13 09:31:16

Oh, some said a lot of things like that, Curious.

I even got 'At least you have other children' after DD1 died.

I was far too exhausted to even respond.

giraffesCantGoFirstFooting Fri 11-Jan-13 09:32:35

expat I just posted the laughing thing a few posts above you! Utter utter cow!

If you can't think of anything supportive to say then say NOTHING, a smile, a hug, a touch on the arm, but don't blurt out utter shite!

MrsMelons Fri 11-Jan-13 09:38:29

For some reason in awful situations people feel the need to try and make 'normal' conversation when really you want people to be supportive and acknowledge how difficult it is.

It is in no way near as bad as your situation but when DS1 was born he wasn't breathing and they couldn't find a heartbeat at first, he was taken to intensive care and was there a week.

After about 24 hours a midwife came in (they knew I had no baby as it was in my notes, I had to wear a ribbon so people knew to be sensitive and had no cot with a baby in by my bed) she stood there and said' I've got some bad news . . ' I just froze - she went on to say 'you have to have another anti-d injection as your baby is positive blood type.

I actually wanted to punch her - I am not a violent person. Just so so insensitive but I am sure she would not have said something like that maliciously as she was actually quite nice but I wonder if working as a nurse kind of makes bad situations quite normal to them.

Expat that is digraceful!

Thanks to all for your supportive comments.

expat it's so brave of you to share your experiences and your feelings. I am so very sorry for your loss.

MadameJosephine Fri 11-Jan-13 10:17:49

As a student midwife I once asked a woman on the postnatal ward if she was planning to breast or bottle feed only to find out that her DS had just died in the NICU sad That was 9 years ago and I am still mortified now. I hope she learns a valuable lesson from your reply, I know I did!

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 11-Jan-13 10:37:54

MmeJo - they shouldn't have let you be in that position sad

Expat - it's beyond awful the things some people say isn't it?!

Praying - you did well to control your response to her! Mine would have either been rude or heavily laced with sarcasm!

Yadnbu what a stupid and irresponsible thing to say. Does she work on that ward? Because if she does, she needs some serious retraining. Or sacking, actually. My dp is an ex-nurse and he is utterly horrified that someone could be so lax.
Best of wishes to you and your baby too thanks

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 11-Jan-13 10:53:29

Possibly one of the most ridiculously stupid things she could have said.

Hope your baby makes a full recovery OP,it must be such a difficult time for you and your family.

FloraPost Fri 11-Jan-13 11:19:23

So sorry OP, hope your DD makes a full recovery.

DS was rushed back into hospital at 5 days old (first of many), coinciding with my baby blues, and was in for another 2 weeks. One of the night nurses told me most people in our situation would have had him adopted and didn't understand why we hadn't. I think she meant we were brave keeping him hmm but actually it was a hugely offensive comment.

HDee - ridiculous. Parents of hospitalised children deserve consideration, it's not hard.

chocoluvva Fri 11-Jan-13 13:10:12

Aww - poor you, OP.

Try not to dwell on it. - it's hard to know what that nurse meant - maybe she meant break, in the sense of having a 'change' from your normal routine or she thought she was being amusing by acknowledging that having more than one child is hard work.....

IME of hospitals - even children's and onco specialists - there's usually one health professional who doesn't seem cut out for their work.... which is a shame.

With a bit of luck, that nurse will have a long holiday coming up!

I hope Beatrice's chemo 'journey' goes as smoothly as possible. This must be very difficult for you and your family.

spatchcock Fri 11-Jan-13 13:18:48

Jesus, that's really insensitive. I hope your baby recovers really soon and you're all reunited again. It must be so traumatic for you all.

When my mum finished her chemo treatment for breast cancer, one of her workmates said "you'll miss the excitement now that it's over, won't you?" Um... no.

Thanks all. We're ok. Beatrice is having a blood transfusion right now so hopefully that will perk her up a bit. We're due to finish at 12.30 am and we can go straight home. Only in for a couple if days a fortnight, really not too bad but very intense while its going on.

Words fail me. So sorry Op, hope your baby improves soon.

Expat, I wish I could do something to take away your pain. I know that I can't though so I'm sending you so much love. I pray for you most often and still light the candle for your dd1.

Lemonsole Fri 11-Jan-13 17:26:23

I was about to congratulate you on a unanimous "No!" in AIBU - but there's always one lurking somewhere in the undergrowth... <sighs>

Ridiculous comment - and one that she'll remember with shame once she's got even one DC.

Love, hugs and prayers to you both.

betterwhenthesunshines Fri 11-Jan-13 17:27:39

When DS was born premature and still in intensive care someone said to me "At least you've got free babysitting" Oh yes, because when your baby is in intensive care you go out partying confused

Someone also took away his stats monitors. You could see those machines from the door of the NICU unit, but not see his cot because of a low wall so when I arrived that day I though he had died and they had cleared the space out ready for someone else. Only for the 30 seconds it took me to walk around the wall, but it was the most sickening feeling I shall never forget. The nurses though it would be a nice surprise for me. hmm

People say and do silly things - they aren't usually meant to be malicious. Unfortunately when you are feeling vulnerable they can really hurt and tend to stay with you.

I also remember the (not particularly close) friend of DH who wrote us a lovely card which just said all the right things in a very simple straightforward way. He has had a special place in my heart ever since!

It must be really hard for your whole family at the moment. TRy and keep in touch with the people who do make you feel supported. x

expatinscotland Fri 11-Jan-13 18:02:16

'IME of hospitals - even children's and onco specialists - there's usually one health professional who doesn't seem cut out for their work.... which is a shame.'

We had two and only two. Thankfully one didn't last long and was soon transferred. I thought it was just me, and kept my mouth shut, until one other parent put it more succinctly, 'I think this person is too immature to work in this unit.' I guess plenty of others complained because as I said, she didn't last long.

Badgersnatch Fri 11-Jan-13 18:06:02

I know exactly what you mean sunshines. SIL didn't acknowledge DS2's birth until he was three weeks old because she'd had a cold; he'd been in intensive care and SCBU. When she met him at five months (as did all the in-laws including his paternal grandparents - ignorant arses) she asked me why I wasn't breast feeding. Erm because it's hard to establish breast feeding when your baby is being fed through a tube in NNICU in a hospital forty miles away from the one you're stuck in because you were unlucky enough to have to have a crash section in a hospital where they don't have the facilities to deal with babies that poorly. BTW you don't have or want children Judgemella so do please fuck proper off!

ledkr Spain Fri 11-Jan-13 18:20:48

Expat I agree. When dd was in hospital at six days with cleft palate and pneumonia I was naturally worried. I had also had a section and felt shit.
Nurses were lovely apart from one who was simply vile. Told me to hurry up when I was shuffling along, insisted on doing dds cannula change when she was already hungry, snapped at me when I told her dds alarm had gone off. If I'd have been myself I swear I'd have nutted her. Instead I said loudly "why would you be like this on a children's itu when parents are worried?" She didn't answer. Wouldn't even give me any left over dinner off the trolley like the others did. I could hardly pop to the chippy!
When I mentioned a horrible nurse to the others they knew who it was straight away.
I should have complained but you don't do you?

How are you feeling expat?

2old2beamum Russia Fri 11-Jan-13 22:05:18

Having spent 15 months in hospital with DS as Expat has said people can be very insensitive They have no bloody idea. We were nearly 100 miles from the rest of the family and we saw them once a week. Apart from his death it was the worst time of my life IT WAS NOT A BREAK On the whole other parents gave me strength
BTW it was not cancer
Wish you and your family our love and positive thoughts and keep strong XX

MrsDeVere Fri 11-Jan-13 22:13:17

praying are you at the shared care hospital?
That is where we got most of the dumbass comments hmm

On the oncology ward they were far less frequent.

Sending lots of love to you and your dear little girl.

Thanks again, all.

Blood transfusion is finished, and she's absolutely transformed. So perky and full of beans, absolutely lovely.

MrsDeVere we're on the oncology ward at a well known children's hospital...!

Anyway, I wasn't really upset, just a bit gobsmacked and needing a bit of support -- and I got it. Thank you.

VicarInaTutu Fri 11-Jan-13 23:34:20

not unreasonable at all praying

glad your baby is feeling a bit more perky.

when DS was in hospital in a coma with meningitis the nurse said that it was "really interesting" for her.

not so much really interesting for me though....if i had been in my right mind i may have challenged her. but i wasnt. i was sleep deprived and out of my mind with worry. her comment has always stayed with me though.
it wasnt fucking "really interesting" it was a 2 year nightmare for me and 20 years later DS lives with the consequences of that "really interesting" time.

some people just dont think.
best of luck and i pray the outcome is a good one for you.

gimmecakeandcandy Fri 11-Jan-13 23:42:24

I'm sorry to hear about your little girl. Please let us know how you both are and keep updating xxxx

gimmecakeandcandy Fri 11-Jan-13 23:43:54

Expat, I'm so sorry. Words seem so useless. I'm so sorry for your loss x

How's she doing today?

Thanks for asking ck. Up and down today. Terrible nappy change at 5am (the chemo drugs make the wee literally toxic) so awful screaming ending up in a puke... But she brightened up a bit later. Didn't eat a scrap though. Thank goodness for bf!

We're all still here thinking about you, Praying. Poor Beatrice. I hope she feels better soon.

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