Thursday, July 26, 2012


Today hasn’t been the best one, as I literally bit my tongue while eating a bland sandwich* and failed to do so figuratively when Heather questioned me about some weird news from Nashville. 

Yesterday, Heather had an estrogen/progesterone test at the lab here in Memphis, and we checked our voicemail in Nashville to see if there were any messages about it.  There weren’t, but we didn’t know if they were going to update on that anyway.  My beloved had left her cell phone at the house, and of course that was the number they called.  If I did this baby thing over again, I would just give them my number and leave Heather’s out of it.  Alas, it’s too late now, and of course what Nurse Jordan said was, “Oh, well, I’ll leave a message in your voicemail.”  Nary a message, nor a chance to talk to anyone in the office at 7PM.  Fuck.
I told Heather about the situation, setting off an immediate anxiety attack.  “What do they want to tell us?  What if something’s wrong?”  And on-call doctors, I imagine, don’t carry the files of every current NFC patient, so calling to ask what Jordan wanted to say about the test results would probably be a wash.  I repeated to Heather that Jordan’s message hadn’t sounded all that tense; maybe it wasn’t anything big.  Still.  Still.  It was out there.  I promised I would call first thing in the morning to ask, but she didn’t feel any better and I couldn’t really give her a reason to perk up. 

Likewise today.  I left a message for Jordan at eight this morning and heard back from her at eleven (stowed away in the greeting-card aisle at Kroger).  Turns out that they weren’t super-pleased with Heather’s hormone levels and want to supplement them by increasing her dosage of progesterone from 1cc to 2cc each night and by giving her estrogen suppositories.  One of Heather’s first reactions was horror, noting that suppositories are messy.  In my mind, her lady parts have been invaded so much and so often that surely soft little inserts couldn’t make much of a difference, but I guess those invasions were temporary and less… sticky.

Next reaction: “Babe, do you think the low hormone levels are going to keep us from getting pregnant?”

“I don’t know.  Maybe.”

And I should have taken another tack, probably, but the whole business of being her rock can be painful.  I keep wanting to say, “Shit, Heather!  I don’t know!  I don’t know!”  Maybe it makes me mad because I think I should know—that my role as researcher and administrator should truly encompass every possible fact and consequence.  It sounds unrealistic, and it totally is.  Still, when Heather asks a question, I feel like a failure if I don’t know the answer.  I feel like a failure a lot.  The bonus, I suppose, is that I’m so preoccupied with being defensive that the bad news, or iffy news, or ambiguous news, that I don't have any real feelings about it.  I'm more focused on safe-guarding Heather's feelings when I convey the information.

After work, I went to the store for Heather's suppositories, where the pharmacy tech inquired whether the patient was "at all pregnant."  I said no, not just to expedite the process but because we're in such a murky state that it didn't even occur to me.  Still, once Heather started reading the packaging, she saw all these warnings about how you shouldn't take it when you're pregnant or trying to be pregnant because it could cause a variety of birth defects.  Jesus fucking christ, man.

I e-mailed Nurse Jordan, for lack of any other options at the moment, and assured Heather I would call first thing.  A quick Googling suggested that estrogen suppositories (estradiol, in our case) wasn't an unusual treatment for women after egg transfer, and I know the Nashville people are very cautious, so I didn't worry a great deal.  Or, rather, I wasn't so upset that I was distracted from focusing on damage-control with Heather.  She seems okay right now, so I guess I have a reprieve till I talk to Jordan. 

*There are those who would argue that my no-condiment, no-topping policy with sandwiches is at fault.  Those people can suck it. 

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