Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dante missed this one.

One could argue that we had quite a scare this week, Batman. Last Friday, we had a routine ultrasound (at which point I realized that I have literally no idea how many ultrasounds I've even had at this point) that revealed a pericardial effusion – fluid around your heart. Your Dad and I did our damndest not to panic despite the doctor (one of Dr. Fuckhead's colleagues, since his office knows now not to put him and I in the same room) telling us that we would likely need a cardiology appointment right at the beginning of the next week. I think we did any okay job, considering that I only really started to melt down Sunday night, and your Dad kept himself together about as well as he always does (which is admirably).

Now, I've railed against the internet as a source of medical information before, and doubtlessly will again, but this particular medical condition might have been the single worst thing I ever could have attempted to get information about on the internet. One website reported that 44% of babies have some kind of visible effusion at some point during pregnancy, most of which are benign. Another website basically condemned any child with an effusion to death: period. Yet another website claimed that an effusion could only be attributable to one of several specific conditions, none of which you have. I'm pretty sure I stood as much a chance of getting reliable information about this one medical anomaly as I did making a pony appear if I closed my eyes and wished for one.

I got a call Monday morning telling me that I have been scheduled for a noon appointment on Tuesday to get your heart looked at. I'm also told that this is the single available appointment for the week, and that the cardiologist wants to see me immediately. That was comforting. I spend Monday in a haze, stuck in a recursive loop of imagining hideous fates for both you and myself that just escalated in intensity and horror as the day wore on. Much like the weekend in between finding out that there was something wrong with your heart and finding out what the something wrong was, I was uselessly panicked and terrified. Every time you kicked was a stab to the heart; I couldn't settle myself in to the possibility of something going truly wrong, but I couldn't go on as if everything was hunky-dory. 

This morning – Tuesday – comes, and I make the hour drive to work, just to work three hours before rushing the hour back for this emergency appointment. While sitting in the waiting room (for about half an hour, by the way), I start to wonder if doctors just schedule appointments so that their nurses know whose charts to pull...or so that their investment in magazines and crappy chairs is worthwhile. There is clearly no effort to actually have the appointment on time, nor is there any consideration for the patient's schedule. I was nearly shitting myself with terror while watching the asshole black fish in the waiting room tank terrorize his tankmates when I was finally called in, and within about ten minutes, your cardiologist determines that he can't find anything wrong. This effusion, which really isn't as bad as it looked last week, is just sort of a thing that showed up. There is no specific cause, despite the potential causes (none of which were present) being kind of scary, and as long as it doesn't really change, there's not even any cause for additional concern.

For the first time in four days, I breathe. This cycle of panic and calm, tsunami and stillness is definitely wearing me out. We don't seem to be able to go more than a few weeks without some crisis presenting itself, but so far, even the biggest crises are capable of being resolved somehow, and some end up being entirely benign. Of course, even the smallest crises have required what feels like an outrageous amount of effort and energy on our end to muddle through. Today is, of course, no exception. I don't want to sound upset with your cardiologist because he is not only a super nice guy, but is someone I genuinely trust as a medical professional. Even though this morning has assuaged my panic and stopped me from feeling like a walking time bomb, I am absolutely furious that he immediately sent me down to Dr. Fuckhead's office for...something?

I spent close to an hour and a half alternately convincing this office that yes, I am supposed to have some kind of appointment and sitting and waiting with zero idea of when I might be seen. I was in waiting room purgatory, my companions including a horde of chatty women (one of whom I guess must have been pregnant) who were loudly debating the merits of going to Macaroni Grill as opposed to Burger King after an ultrasound, a mother who looked to be substantially younger than me who left her sixteen month old in my care for about ten minutes – without asking or even saying a word to acknowledge why she was leaving or where she was going, and the massively overweight, six month pregnant woman who vigorously complained about her doctor trying to get her to change her eating habits while tossing back a bag of cookies, an entire tin of honey roasted peanuts, and three – count them, three – extra-large Powerades. Oh, and there was a bible-thumping family of four girls under the age of ten with an almost scarily detached mother who all kept loudly commenting on the potential sinfulness of the other people in the waiting room...and a guy who tried to smuggle a lit cigarette in, poorly...and, of course, at least four or five other women who looked as weirded out by all of this as I was.

Yeah. I was finally called in for yet another routine ultrasound, and you were your normal stubborn self (not letting the technician get the images she wanted by picking an impossible position and kicking at her non-stop) and got out quickly enough after that, but I know my fate. I scheduled every ultrasound we'll need from now until you pop out; our fates are sealed.

Given that I will now have weekly appointments here to have you looked at, I'm pretty certain that I need to add a feature called “Dr. Fuckhead's Tedious Carnival of Madness.” This waiting room is filled with such an amazing kaleidoscope of insanity, weirdness, and...yeah, basically just madness. I'm pretty sure I'll feel better about the inevitably torturous waiting if I can write about the craziness I am forced to witness, so brace yourself!

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