Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Clear sailing, for the moment...

Finally, some entertainment! (I hate that I've gotten so jaded, bitter, and frankly sadistic just six months into what will become a lifestyle peppered liberally with medical appointments, but I guess we'll call my amusement a silver lining.) I walked into Dr. Fuckhead's waiting room this afternoon to find a relatively packed house, among them a few choice and exciting characters. Perhaps most visible was a massively pregnant, furious-looking African woman who was breathing heavily enough to suggest an asthma attack (but reeked of Dr. Fuckhead's office's favorite aromatic: cigarette smoke). Her male...er...partner? ...son? ...husband? ...friend? (I couldn't tell: he looked to be at least ten years younger than her, and she was definitely not much older than me, so I didn't want to jump to any conclusions)...whatever he was, he was slumped so far down in his chair that no part of the lower half of his body was even close to the seat. I think he was asleep, but I couldn't tell until she was called. He exhaled with clear annoyance, muttered something that included the word "fuck," and glared at her while she more or less failed to get herself vertical without an unseemly struggle.

Also quite exciting were the two dudes I ended up sitting closest to: both were shaggy, ill-kempt, stank of cigarettes, and were glued to their cell phones. One appeared to be texting, but the other was playing some kind of game that apparently rewards or punishes the player with either canned applause or a fake studio audience boo. I couldn't help but notice that their behaviors seemed to line up suspiciously with the noises from the second dude's phone.

Guy #1 picks his nose really, really obviously: boo.
Guy #2 clearly gets a text that makes him happy, and he smiles broadly: applause!
Guy #2 then drops his cell phone and swears loudly in front of the half dozen children under the age of six who are quietly watching a PBS science show: boo.
Guy #1 scratches his crotch: applause!
Guy #2 notices that his knock-off Timberland boots are untied: applause!
Guy #1 goes back for another dig at some boogers he missed the first time: applause?

This continued until Guy #1 wandered up to the desk and asked to be let in to the exam room with his girlfriend, and Guy #2 just left altogether without any woman rejoining him. I was left with five women sitting quietly by themselves, one dude peacefully doing a crossword puzzle, a mother with two delightfully polite, happy-looking kids, and a gaggle of women clustered around an obvious mother-to-be who was just reveling and glowing in the onslaught of attention they were delivering her.

Batman, this was by far the most populated AND pleasant the Carnival has ever been. The most unhappy or unpleasant person left was a woman who just looked sort of uncomfortable, but all the kids were getting focused, loving attention from their parents, all the other women seemed calmly resigned to their wait, and any men left over seemed perfectly content to amuse themselves for as long as they needed to. All the folks who brought truly offensive odors to the room cleared out fairly quickly, and no one even had a phone visible. It was almost like a normal waiting room!

Of course, this reeked of foreboding. I've developed a lot of weird superstitions about this office, several of which are frankly embarrassing. In order to NOT have something show up on an ultrasound that either indicates a new problem or raises a warning flag, all of the following conditions must be met. I must be wearing my Ganesh necklace. Your Dad can't be there (seriously: every time he was, we got some kind of bad news). I have to arrive at least five minutes early. I have to grow at least mildly annoyed with the wait. I have to park on the side of the lot closest to the exit.

This appointment, aside from being the second to last one before your intended arrival, was kind of a huge deal. Last week, I was told that my amniotic fluid levels were an eight out of twenty, which is two points away from a score that would require them to pop me into the hospital immediately to get you out as quickly as possible. What I was left wondering was a) what the hell can I do about this? (drink more and rest a lot), b) has this been progressing at a rate that someone should have warned me about sooner? and c) what the fuck? How many more things can go wrong? I pulled into the lot reasonably early, Ganesh necklace on, Dad at home, already somewhat irritated by the crappy traffic in town, and there were no spots where I normally park. I've even gotten to a point where I wear the same pants for every ultrasound day (not just because they give the easiest access to my belly), and I was totally wearing the right pants! After a panicked moment (because the only spot I could see was on the other side of the lot, where I had to park the day we found out there was something wrong with your heart), I saw a spot on the correct side of the lot, just in a different aisle from normal. We were okay. I've parked there before. The off feeling remained, though.

After a hefty-ish wait, I was called back by this one particular ultrasound tech whose almost unintelligible Eastern European accent is simultaneously comforting and disconcerting. I can never quite make out what she's saying the first time she says it, but hearing excruciatingly detailed information in her accent (once I get it the second time around) somehow sounds more credible than if it was coming from anyone else. She looks you over, and pronounces that there is basically no way that my amniotic fluid levels could have dropped as low as they did without me having some kind of virus or major illness, which clearly I would have known about, so her theory was that you were just stretched out in such a way as to "hide" pockets of fluid from easy view. All that chugging water, all those inconvenient bathroom trips, and all that panic for nothing. We're both given clean bills of heath and sent on our way.

Batman, of course I'm thrilled that everything is fine and that they didn't have to frantically induce me a week and a half before we'd planned. I don't think I can accurately express in words how excited I was to drive my car home tonight, walk upstairs, throw my stuff down by the door, and kiss your Dad hello. Just like normal. I know normal is going to completely change soon, and I'm prepared for that, but I was definitely not ready to lose it quite yet, especially not on anything resembling our terms. A semi-bonus of this whole experience, though, was learning just how tired and worn-down I really am. Even one day back to school - even a fairly quiet day - completely wiped me out. Conversely, the five days we spent lying around thinking that bed rest was basically the safest mode to operate in were just amazing. Lesson learned: I'm throwing in the towel a few days early, and not going back to school for the last two days of this week. It's time to pay attention to you, Batman, not sixty other peoples' kids.

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