Friday, May 15, 2009

Get Out of Jail Free

Today was my last day in the office until I return from maternity leave. I will be working from home until Zygote is born, but my commute can now suck it. Sweatpants, t-shirts, and flip flops and helping YG recover all sound a-okay to me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What I'm Reading

The only benefit of frequent insomnia and hours in hospital waiting rooms is that you get to catch up on reading. Some recent reads:

1. The Best American Essays 2008: Kind of a snore. My last writing teacher suggested I read more essays since that seems to be my genre of choice, but I didn't particularly enjoy the whole collection. I found the one on end-of-life healthcare fascinating and loved the one on lesbian weddings. The fact that I can't remember many of the other ones leads me to question the "best" title.

2. Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem: LOVED it. I read Motherless Brooklyn a few years ago when everyone was Lethem crazy, and I just didn't get it. I found it boring. I approached this one thinking I'd feel the same way, but it feels so different. It's gorgeous and passionate and heartbreaking at the same time.

3. Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother by Peggy Orenstein: I have devoured everything Peggy Orenstein has ever written and look forward to essays that she writes. Interestingly enough, she was researchingFlux, one of my favorite non-fiction books in recent years, while going through the infertility treatments detailed in this book. It's very personal, but also offers insight into the infertility business. Quick read too. I've had it on my shelf for years -- bought it at City Lights the first time I went to San Francisco a few years ago.

4. Opting In: Having A Child Without Losing Yourself by Amy Richards: Appropriate timing, I guess. It wasn't an academic read and covers a lot of ground, but I don't feel like I learned much new. I did enjoy the chapters on the work/stay-at-home debate and how that needs to be larger, and also liked that she covered the changing nature of female relationships after baby comes. I'm hoping to still have a life post-baby and also hoping to maintain my relationships with people who have chosen not to have kids. I know how fucking boring it is to listen to endless kid stories when you have none of your own, or even when you do -- I don't want to subject anyone to that. Again, she didn't cover too many tips, but I liked that it was a topic.

And now, I'm in the middle of Operating Instructions which is exactly as awesome as I expected it to be.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Last Couple of Days: Serious Suck

Exhausted and reeling and over being scared, but not quite over being freaked out.

Saturday, May 9
MG’s 10th birthday. We have a great day and drop her off at her mother’s house. We decide to use a few leftover gift certificates to go out for a nice, adult dinner since we’re not sure how many of those we have left before Zygote comes. We leave the zip code. We actually leave Cambridge, which never happens. We go to Ivy and have some awesome antipasto and pork and risotto balls filled with prosciutto. YG drinks red wine, but mentions that he’s been dizzy and that his ear is ringing. We play Dr. Google once we get home and figure that he just has an ear infection.

I am having major Braxton-Hicks contractions on and off. We wonder if the baby will come early.

Sunday, May 10
Mother’s Day. We go to church and then drive out to Concord to meet YG’s family for lunch. I eat my weight in pasta and we have a nice time chatting with everyone. YG mentions the dizziness and that his ear hurts. His sister reassures him that it’s probably just an infection, leftover from a cold. His sister’s fiancĂ© says, “or it could be like my aunt(?) who thought she had an ear infection and it turned out to be a tumor.” We all laugh.

Sunday Night
I cannot sleep. At all. Zygote has me up all night now. YG also can’t sleep. He feels like shit and is tossing and turning too. I get up around 3 and watch Superbad in its entirety.

Monday, May 11
YG wakes up and tells me that he cannot hear, at all, in his left ear. He’s freaked out. I’m freaked out. We call Harvard Vanguard Urgent Care up the street, but they won’t let him come in because his primary care physician isn’t located there. He finally gets an appointment with his doctor out in Acton. The doc couldn't figure out what was wrong, so he was shuttled around to different specialists and they found absolutely NOTHING and basically told him that there is some study going on a Mass Eye and Ear for early hearing loss, and that he should sign up as a candidate for that because they can't find anything. They tell him to either go there, or to come back tomorrow. How does someone just immediately lose their hearing?

YG calls me at work and asks if I can come home. YG NEVER asks me to come home, so I dump everything and head out. I can’t stop thinking about that comment about thinking one has an ear infection that turns out to be a tumor.

At home, we finally get through to the woman running the Mass Eye and Ear study and she says that he needs to get to the emergency room immediately and get started on treatment.

We decide to go. Initially, we were going to take the T, but YG is dizzy and throwing up and I know I won’t be able to hold him up if he faints or falls. We decide to drive. The ride over was just fab. In rush hour. With him throwing up every five minutes in a bag. I wonder for a minute if the people at Old Navy and Gap know how useful their bags are for cleaning up cat shit and catching puke. I’m guessing no.

At MGH, we wait for a while among a gaggle of people wearing face masks and with bandaged eyes. I try not to stare, but I can’t help it. When a woman comes out with a tube in a big, bloody nose, I almost gag. I end up calling the ECT to spare YG from having to deal with her. Of course, there is drama. She is panicked and freaking out, until I tell her that she needs to pick MG up from school and take her to the orthodontist because YG can’t drive and I want to stay with him. The tone changes. She hems and haws and says she’s not sure if she can do it. She’s busy. It’s an inconvenience. For her. Her ex-husband is half deaf and dizzy and puking, and his 37-weeks pregnant wife are sitting in the skeevy hospital waiting room, but I go overboard and tell her how grateful I am that she can help us out with this inconvenience. I think I am reserving my place in heaven.

We wait for about an hour and are finally seen. Apparently this hearing loss is very common.

The bottom line is that YG has been diagnosed with SSHL (Sudden Sensorineaural Healing Loss) which is apparently more common than we knew, especially in young men. Very strange with no real known causes. Studies have shown that it could be viral, but they are inconclusive. The doctors have him on a high dose of steroids (known to help restore hearing about 60% of the time within a few months). We’re told to come back the next morning.

I realize on the drive home that I’ve never driven over the Longfellow Bridge. We stop at CVS on the way home and pick up the prescription. I get a burrito at Qdoba and pick up some Gatorade for YG. We are frazzled and a bit weepy and watch Superbad again. YG pukes again.

YG goes to sleep. I toss and turn in the bed for two hours before going and reading for an hour. I’m so paranoid that I keep creeping back into the bedroom to put my hand on YG’s chest and make sure that he is still breathing. I allow myself to lose it a little. I silently beg Zygote to stay put for a while.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
We leave the house around 7:30 and head back to MGH. We take the T this time. YG pukes up a lemon-lime stream of Gatorade in the street, and a guy (somewhere in between friendly neighborhood dude and crazy) tells us to drink lime water and honey.

We make it to the hospital with no more puking and YG is a bit more steady on his feet.

YG takes a hearing test. I’m sitting in the room with him and he’s wearing head phones. The high pitched noises coming through the left ear are so loud that I can hear them and am uncomfortable, but he hears nothing. It freaks me out. The doctor tells us about the clinical study on SSHL and tells us that we’re in good shape because we did something early and that steroids are known to help.

We go back downstairs to the ER. We talk to a couple with a baby in the elevator. The baby is 9 days old. I didn’t imagine that I would be in a hospital for anything but baby stuff.

The ER doctors examine the test results and again tell us that SSHL is pretty common and they see numerous cases a WEEK. They remind us that some people get their hearing back and others don’t. They prescribe Ativan, of all things, for the dizziness. YG is going to see another specialist on Monday, and everyone wishes us well. I manage to ask the doctor, "how do you know it's not being caused by a tumor?" and he said that was highly unlikely given the symptoms YG was presenting, but that you never can be 100% certain.

We take the T back and are weepy again. We’re early for my doctor’s appointment in Davis, so we stop at the daycare center and watch all the toddlers for a little. We listen to our kicky baby at my appointment, and then head home.

YG eats his first real meal in two days and we both try to work on our laptops. We take a nap. We go out for a walk. We’re trying to be normal. We need to call our families and tell them.

What a mind fuck.