Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Post-Traumatic Statistic Disorder

C had to have a little procedure done today. A muscle biopsy, if you must know. It was originally scheduled for the Tuesday after, what I know refer to as, when the ISH hit the fan. Ironically that week it was I who was to be caring for him after a grueling stay in the hospital. Whatever--shit got real and plans had to be changed and here we are, a month later, finally able to get this procedure done.

The particulars of C's procedure I'll spare you--suffice it to say he's doing OK post-incision, and we're awaiting the results patiently. But this procedure involved me taking him to, and waiting for him in, the hospital.

Have I mentioned what happened the last time I spent any stretch of time in a hospital? I felt a little like a veteran revisiting her tour of duty: there's some shit that went down out there I never want to see again.

We weren't at the same place where I delivered both E and Calla, but hospitals, despite their differences, are strikingly similar. The ubiquitous, indecent, faded gowns, covered with prints so boring the eye can barely discern a pattern. The hex carts, from which hang IV bags and blood pressure contraptions. (I remember when in labor with Calla, my IV hex cart had only five wheels. DB mamas don't need the good, fully-functional carts, I guess.) The instructions, the patience of nurses, the call button, the dry-erase boards. The landscape of a hospital floor is indistinguishable from one place to the next.

Most unpleasant was the cafeteria, where I promptly dropped my container of salad and watched it smash open on the floor. Not unlike in the school cafeteria, I was waiting for everyone to start clapping. I was distracted by the hugely pregnant woman in line across from me. Dammit, I see them everywhere. (Preggos, not salads.) And boy, oh boy, do they make me nervous (again, the preggos). Like I said, I've seen some things I never want to see again.

When I think about labor and delivery, I am permanently scarred from this recent traumatic experience. I flinch thinking about it, from start to finish. It's the inevitable end to physically carrying around another human in one's uterus, and for millions of years women have taken to this task. The whole go-to-the-hospital-come-home-with-a-live-baby thing is completely out of my realm of understanding. But I know it happens--I've already lived through it. So have most of my friends.

Being in the hospital today made me realize I am on an edge I never thought I'd reach. I was always a worrier, but never a firm believer in statistics. One in a thousand? Half a percent? Well heck, that probably won't be me. Except it was, is. KABLAAAM, we were the half a percent. I asked my doctor, at our two-week-post-hitting-the-fan appointment how often this happened. Out of the 500+ deliveries the doctors in my practice perform, MAYBE one per year. ( I dryly noted that 2010's was out of the way.)

What I'm getting at is this: all those statistics, small percentages--they're meaningless to me now. Today the doctor told us that the risk for infection, for complications for C's procedure was very, very low. Unfortunately, if the odds aren't zero, they're never going to be low enough for me to exhale. I've seen some shit go down in the hospital, shit I never want to see again. No matter how low the risk for the worst happening, it's not zero, and never will be.

That's the new me: scared of hospitals, nervous around pregnant women, trust in the law of averages shattered. Being a statistic myself, I can't take the risks lightly anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Great, real post. Bless you--Julie