Monday, December 1, 2008

A Modest Squat

One year ago today, I rode in an ambulance (no sirens, damn) to Tacoma General Hospital, with two 8-1/2 month old babies inside me (who were fine BTW). Diagnosis: pre-eclampsia. I felt fine, but my high blood pressure and Pillsbury Dough Boy ankles were a dead giveaway for the condition, which can be very serious for the mother's health. Hence, me riding to the big city hospital in an ambulance. A ride without any exciting ER drama. The word "STAT" was never shouted, nothing beeped or flashed inside the cold & dark cabin. Nope, it was just me...unceremoniously hoisted (hard to feel dainty when you are hoisted) into the vehicle, a stone faced driver, and a Wilfred Brimley look alike who reminisced about small town ER calls. I spent the previous night in our local hospital, so was already dressed accordingly: a tidy bowl blue open backed johnny gown. As pregnant as I was, and this being a two hour trip, I had one overriding, panicky thought on my mind: How would I go to the bathroom?

"Oh, don't worry, we have a bedpan," shouted Wilfred over the road noise, gently rocking in the swaying vehicle.

As I imagined heaving my whale sized body up from the stretcher, I had a vision of how modest and squat really don't go all. Walking was difficult at this stage of pregnancy, let alone balancing and aiming, and in a speeding, swaying vehicle. Ever try not spilling an open cup of coffee in the back seat? I had to keep some diginity.

"Um, I'll be fine", I said through gritted teeth.

So I held it, held it and held it, and then held it some more, and a little more after that. Pretty soon, the only one saying "STAT" was me.

I won't bore you with the day-to-day details of my ten day hospital stay. After seeing the insurance co-pays, I prefer to remember it as my $1000 per day suite, complete with room service, scratchy white towels (sanitized for my protection), and a bottomless glass of ice water. (If you can call a big gulp sized mauve plastic cup with the obligatory straw, a glass.) There was even a plastic chair in the shower, in case I grew tired of standing, which I did.

The best thing about it though was at check out, they handed me two healthy, perfect babies.

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