I have never experienced anything quite like this before, and I found it all more terrifying than The Ring. I would have preferred to suffer the horror with dignity in the privacy of my home. I was told dehydration can lead to preterm labor, so I went to the hospital for fetal monitoring and an IV.
Because I'm with child, I didn't go to the ER, I went to OB Triage. There, I had to go through the motions of being admitted for delivery (signing consents for c-sections and such.) The nurse who was taking my medical history said this was like a dress rehearsal for the big day. That same nurse also asked me how to spell melanoma, so I considered asking to verify her credentials. At this point I was hooked up to my IV, not puking, and enjoying a cup of ice chips, so I couldn't be bothered with particulars like whether or not this woman was really a Registered Nurse. I did text Amy (also an RN) to ask if it was typical for nurses not to know the spelling of common diseases, and she said that it wasn't.
She also asked me about my birth plan. "Birth plan?" I had read about these in my pregnancy books and websites, but I thought they were just for those women who took Lamaze classes and applied headphones playing classical music onto their bellies so that their fetuses could be cultured. Most chapters addressing the birth plan state that, while it is important to make one, it is also important to know that it will more than likely go right out the window when you're actually delivering the baby. Always a fan of consolidating and expediting, I figured I'd cut out the middle man and just not make a birth plan. Done and done.
Nurse Can-You-Spell-That?: Yes, your birth plan.
Me: Um, not a c-section. That's my birth plan.
Nurse: Do you want an epidural?
Nurse: Are you having a girl or boy?
Me: It's a boy!
Nurse: Will you be having him circumcised? Tubal ligation?
Me: Yup...er, what? Yes to circumsizing. Tubal what?
Nurse: Tubal ligation. Do you want to have your tubes tied afterwards? So you can't have more children.
Me: Oh, no. [shaking head]
Nurse: Is this child being placed for adoption?
Me: What? Ahh, naw, he's mine. I'm keepin' him. [as I scoop into my cup of ice chips like it's chocolate mousse]
Soon after this, Steve arrives and the nurse leaves us alone. "That chick asked me how to spell melanoma," I said, pointing towards the nurses station. "Seriously? Jeez..." Steve says, returning his attention to his phone. "You seem a little better," he says, not looking up from his phone. "Yeah, this IV is the ticket," I said. "Phenergan?" he asked. "Nah, something better that won't knock me for a loop. My plan is to get stabilized and get the hell out of here. I'm not trying to make a day of it." Steve laughs, "They're not letting you go anytime soon." "This gurney sucks!" I hissed. "I wanna get in my bed, with my fluffy pillow and I wanna spoon with my dog!"
Just then, another nurse (one of the five who will take care of me during my six hour stay) comes in to check my IV fluids pouch. They used another term, but I like pouch, because it reminds me of Capri Sun...Strawberry Cooler...I am soooo thirsty. "How are you doing?" the nurse asked me. "Remarkably well," I replied, crunching on ice chips, "In fact, that nausea medicine has kicked in, so if I could just take some of that [shaking my finger at the IV pouch] in a to-go cup, along with a prescription for more nausea medicine, I think I can be on my way and I can continue recuperating in the comfort of my own home. And my own bed. I'm operating on about three hours sleep here, and I'm growing weary."
"Well, Dr. Farrow wants to monitor you for a little longer," the nurse said. We need to wait for the lab to come back with your bloodwork, we need to check your ketones, and we need to see you eat a little something and hold it down. Then you can go home. That gurney isn't the most comfortable, is it?"
"No it is not. And I can't stop thinking about big jugs of ice water, and Powerade, and Sprite, no, 7-Up, but not present-day, 7-Up, 7-Up from the 1990's, before they reformulated it to be "all natural." It just isn't the same. That's what my mom used to give me when I was sick."
"Ahh, yes. My mom used to give me Ginger Ale," the nurse said. "Ginger Ale is good," I reply. This is the second time in as many hours that I have told a stranger that I want my mom. What is it about illness that makes us regress to our childhood selves? If Mom were here, I'd have a bed of fluffy blankets and freshly ironed pillowcases on my favorite pillows on the couch, where the coffee table would be stocked with Kleenex, the remote controls (with Disney movies already playing in the VCR), 7-Up, a mug of chicken noodle soup, and a lined trashcan within arms reach (for puking, of course.) Moms are so attentive and comforting when you're sick, and there's just no substitute. My mom stands in contrast to the preoccupied husband sitting in the corner still playing with his phone. I can't really get mad at him, though. Unlike me, Steve has no memories of fluffy pillows and Disney movies and mugs of chicken soup. I realize at that moment that it's going to be very important for me to do a kick-ass job taking care of Robinson when he's sick, otherwise he will grow up without caretaking abilities because he has no experiences to draw upon. "It really is too bad you didn't pursue a career in medicine," I declared pointedly. "With your lovely bedside manner, I think you missed your calling." "Mmm..." he said, not looking up from his phone. "Hey, check out my new wallpaper on my phone! he exclaims enthusiastically as he shows me this picture:
"That is funny," I respond. "I'm glad you're enjoying your day at the hospital."
The next few hours were spent eating jello and drinking apple juice (because I'm four) and watching daytime television. I learned that I do like orange jello (I previously turned away any flavor that wasn't cherry.) I also reaffirmed my belief that I am way better at Family Feud than the actual contestants...and that contestants on Family Feud are super nerds. One family wanted the prize money to fund a family ski trip to Switzerland, and the other family wanted to buy lots of diapers for one pregnant family member. I was so irritated by how dorky they were that I shouted at the TV, "I hope you both lose!" I also got to witness a touching moment on Maury Povich, when his lie detector revealed that Kendall was being truthful about not sleeping with Cheetara's sister.
The baby's movements and fetal heart monitoring throughout this ordeal all indicated that he was completely unphased by my illness. After four days recovering in bed, I still look like hell, but am well enough to return to work. Let's hope this is the last of my medical melodramas.