When the hospital called around 4 o'clock, we headed over. As soon as I got off the elevator on the surgical floor, I panicked. My heart started pounding and I realized I was sweating. No, no, no, I thought, I shouldn't be here. It's not too late to go home. It's not too late to get out of this.
I don't know what I'd expected, but when I saw the alcove where I was supposed to undress and wait, everything in me rebelled. This was a hospital, where people have operations. Surgery. Major medical interventions. This couldn't be right. I shouldn't be here.
I kept feeling this rising tide of panic, which I tried to beat back by reminding myself that nothing I could do would save the pregnancy, which was already over.
As Paul parked the car, I got settled in my alcove, changing into a gown and slipper-socks, getting my blood drawn, and generally trying to stave off a system-wide freakout. Every doctor and nurse who stopped by had a kind word, making me cry all over again each time. Every gentle pat on the knee. It's the kindness that gets me as long as everyone is matter-of-fact I can hold myself together.
My usual doctor stopped by and asked if it was okay if someone else did the operation he'd been in the OR since early that morning. "I don't care if the parking lot attendant does it," I answered, "as long as it gets done," and managed a bleat that passed for laughter.
Now a brief digression while I ponder this question: Why do I need to entertain my doctors? And why am I so intent on seeming impervious to every dreadful thing that's happened? And how scarily robotic does that make me seem? Truth be known, one of the main reasons I trust my usual doctor is that he seems only occasionally nonplussed by my primary personal coping mechanism: breathtakingly inappropriate humor.
We had a short discussion about the current score. One ectopic, one miscarriage. I'm 0 for 2! Maybe next time we can go for the hat trick. We talked briefly about the possibility of doing another IUI with injectibles rather than a full-blown IVF, but agreed to come back to that in a couple of weeks. I wasn't entirely equipped to be making major decisions just at that moment.
Then the anaesthesiologist came in. After a cursory inspection, I was relieved to conclude that he didn't look like a junkie. We had an awkward moment when he asked me if I was here for "completion." I didn't know what he meant. "Are you pregnant?" he asked. And I didn't know what to answer. Yes, there's an embryo inside of me. No, it's not alive. Completion. Indeed.
Finally, around 7 PM, I was wheeled into the operating room. An oxygen mask was fitted over my nose and mouth. The anaesthetic was introduced into my IV. Next thing I knew, I was awake, unspeakably groggy, smelling smoke.
Burned toast. The nurses give toast to patients emerging from the anaesthetic, a kind and merciful act considering that I hadn't eaten all day. When I felt well enough, I ate some toast (buttered, white, delicious) and drank a little water. Correction: Since they wouldn't let me leave until I'd proven I could urinate normally, I drank a lot of water.
At one point the nurse asked me if I was in any pain. "A bit of cramping," I answered, expecting to be given a couple of punk-ass Tylenols. To my surprise, I got a scrumptious hit of morphine right to the IV. I was shocked by how quickly it took effect; within five seconds I was feeling just fine, thank you. So I didn't win the jackpot at least there was a nice little consolation prize.
Once I'd made it to the bathroom and demonstrated my urinary prowess, we were cleared to go home. I dressed, keeping on the funky disposable underpants I'd been diapered in while still unconscious, and Paul drove us back home. Two Tylenol with codeine, for forgetfulness, and I was out like a light.