Phil goes in for surgery this month. The battery on his built-in heart pacer and defibrillator—a unit that works 100% of the time, no breaks, and without it, his heart would stop completely—runs out within a month! These things are supposed to last for seven years or so, but because it’s always going, he needs one sooner. Fast! I am very nervous, despite the fact that this is “routine,” “overnight” surgery. There are leads, plugs really, anchored into his heart. These leads/wires are attached to a device. The device is low on battery power and needs to be swapped out for a new one. Phil wants to switch to a new manufacturer, a different machine, one known to have a longer battery life (from Medtronic to Scientific Atlantic)… and yes, this makes me think of my TV Cable box. They are both designed to work with the same leads… you do NOT want to mess with those, but they’ll also likely have to go through Phil’s groin, to set up some secondary support during surgery… because the heart needs the support 100% of the time, and how do you swap and set it all up in a matter of seconds without the heart shutting down? You rig up a backup unit or some such thing. Then there’s recovery. And that waiting room. A new waiting room, on the North Shore of Long Island this time, but still. The “could go wrong” thoughts are willed aside. But in the meanwhile, I have cramps just thinking of the surgery date being added to my calendar at the end of this month. Jan 27th. I’ll be here, in a waiting room, but here, on the blog, hiding.
“I’m so happy to know you,” dear missed friend. I’m speaking of my irregular spot, now that I’m a 37-year-old girl supposedly in menopause, spinster outlook really, to the point where I feel like admitting my life, that if you looked at my family album, you’d ask “who’s the fat lady with all the hair and heavy brows?”, and I’d say, “my aunt” then look away, betraying my high opinion of myself. I’m heavily drugged.
My doctor yelled at me this morning. There’s no other way to say this, so I’ll just put the graphics out there like meat on butcher paper. I soaked through, everything. I woke up as if I’d killed someone. I didn’t want to alarm the kids, sending them to take their own showers. Lucas wouldn’t. I wouldn’t fight him, promising he could bathe after school. I didn’t have the strength.
My pajamas looked like evidence. I tried to be casual about all the blood, as if I were a girl in summer, reaching for a sweatshirt to conceal a massacre. I’d left a message for the doctor last night, explaining that I was the patient she’d been seeing since July, on 1mg of Estradiol and 200mg of Prometrium, for 10 days a month, the latter designed to shed the uterus lining all at once, to simulate a period. Only, in truth, I stopped taking the Prometrium, believing that I was about to ovulate. I thought for sure I was right, because in skipping the prometrium I did indeed get a period. The next month too. And then this month, I bled nearly every day, not extraordinary, just there. But yesterday and today have been crime scenes, extraordinary. Way too much information, I realize, but this Greek Tragedy blog could use some blood, plus it’s a record, and I will forget and need to look back at the proof.
The doctor returned my calls this morning, sounding thoroughly annoyed. Not understanding why I’d stopped taking the Prometrium, not understanding that I thought there was hope, that I felt there was a natural period about to happen (and there was, no?!). Maybe my diagnosis was wrong. Maybe going Paleo fixed something. Maybe I’m not in premature menopause. Maybe I can fix this. She said, “You won’t shed the full lining unless you take the Prometrium, so what’s happening is now you’re bleeding through.” I didn’t know what this meant. I was on my car hands-free speaker, enroute to the pharmacy for tampons and Midol. I didn’t want to sound like I was shouting, so I just listened, a wimp. She must have been responding to my first message, where I’d told the receptionist, “I’ve been bleeding off and on all month.” That makes sense, bleeding through, not shedding the lining all at once without the prometrium. But what about this EXCESSIVE blood, worse than when I’d miscarried, soaking through jeans and tampon and tissues? “Are you bleeding now?” She asked? This lead me to believe that she clearly didn’t get my 7am message this morning where I called to say, “Something is really wrong… for me.”
“Yes, very much,” I said.
“Then you need to take the prometrium right away.”
It’s now 11am. I just purchased storage bins for holiday ornaments and a Dyson Ball (DC 41 Animal) vacuum cleaner for $600, hoping to spend the day cleaning up pine needles and storing a perfect Christmas in a box as I watched “Now, Voyager,” where a psychiatrist helps a Boston spinster, who finds a man. Prometrium is a drug you take at night because it makes you dizzy and exhausted and loopy (my kind of drug, quite frankly). But “right away” means now. So, now I’m drugged with the door unlocked, in case I pass out, and the kids return home on the bus and no one answers the doorbell. Here’s to hoping they don’t find me passed out in a pool of blood on the sofa.
This, dear reader, is what happens when you try to wing it and play doctor… with yourself.