Loose ends, and other matters not pertaining to my GYN exam
There's just so much I want to tell you. I sit down to write with fifty things I mean to say, and then realize I don't have the wit, the energy, or the sharpness of mind to say even one of them well. It discourages me, so I let a day pass, and then another, and before long I feel like I can never keep up.
But this is not some mopey lament about how over blogging I am. Having a blog isn't getting me down; I am getting me down. I miss my blog. I miss here. I miss you! I miss keeping up. So consider this a bit of a catch-up, today and tomorrow, to clear out some of the backlog. I want to get back in the habit of communicating and connecting, instead of dicking around for days as I search for le goddamn poste juste.
This week I went to my OB/GYN for my annual exam. Aside from the pleasure of seeing Melissa's book there on the table in the waiting room, just where I left it some months ago but now looking visibly worn, the visit was...mildly annoying. Not tense or fraught or suspenseful or anything, in fact, but a chore to be crossed off the list. Take car for oil change. Call insurance agent about updating homeowners'. Battery for laptop. Spread 'em like it's Fleet Week.
How strange to be there for no other reason than routine, to sit there slightly bored rather than stiffly alert. To...not really care...about any of it, to tune out juuuust a little when the doctor took out a chart to show me what hormones do (or what they should). Been there, cried about that. I just feel past it all.
So gynecologically disengaged am I that I almost forgot to mention the mid-cycle bleeding I've had on and off for about a year now. That was an "Oh, wait..." moment as he stood to leave the room, jellied glove halfway to the garbage can. Upshot is, I go back in two weeks for an endometrial biopsy to rule out blah blah blah Charlie Brown's teacher -- told you I tuned out -- but I'm pretty sure everything's fine. My money's on either a fibroid or menopause. If it's a fibroid, I...do nothing. If it's menopause, I...do nothing. Okay, no: I'll probably laugh. Because the idea that menopause might bring my rich and fecund childbearing years to an end forever! -- well, it is kind of funny when I think about it.
The doctor advised me that I should "take a few Advil" before my biopsy. This is one of the few in-office reproductive pro-ceeeeee-dures I have not yet experienced. I'm guessing "take a few Advil" means "good thing you hoarded those Percosets," right? What do I need to know?
Stem cells. Fucking stem cells, man.
I don't even know how to talk about this without getting all spitty. I wish I could be a more reasonable advocate. But when I start to type my fingers go off in eighty different directions and I start speaking in tongues and handling snakes and typing incomprehensible gobbledygook like
adfh]hr ibnoqr -9 2r-JJ_9j--hn9]0
) 0]9 WRY) 0yr y0 rh0 QTH]JPOSW G
...which makes me pause to wonder if maybe I'm being haunted by the miserable shade of Stieg Larsson, who I guess must have needed a break from tormenting Nora Ephron, and in the middle of whose third book I am currently hopelessly mired...
Like that clause? Do you like that clause?
...Do not fuck with me when it comes to gibberish...
...And then I go for the big Voynich Pentecostal Esperanto finish with
Jesus goddamn, can't you people keep your laws off my body and out of my cryo tank?
It makes me feel a little stupid, because I read about incursions against stem cell research, and I think, But they're mine.
Those three embryos, frigid in stasis, belong to Paul and me. If we wanted to transfer them to a ready uterus, it would be allowed. If we wanted to donate them to another recipient, the only barriers are logistical ones. If we wanted to destroy them outright, the clinic would do so. If I wanted to show up with block of dry ice in a SpongeBob Thermos and say, "Load up the children! We're going on walkabout!"...
Well, they'd think I was quite insane, but I think I've made my point.
So the idea that we can't donate them for stem cell research and have a reasonable expectation that they'll be put to productive use for the public good -- to continue efforts begun years ago that are just now coming to fruition -- aggh, it makes me craaaaazy.
This is a very primitive response. I understand the political implications of all this. I know exactly what initiatives like this may one day mean for reproductive freedom. (Lean in so I can whisper: Ix-nay on the abortions-hay.) It's the foot in the door, the thin end of the wedge. I know that, and I'm infuriated. I recognize and fear the farther-reaching consequences of these actions.
So it feels like a picayune gripe, this specific, personal anger I have that anyone dares to tell me what I can and cannot have done with three tiny clusters of cells. But like those embryos, that rage, while small, is mine.
Some days I get it right. Last night Charlie was having a hard time getting to sleep. He'd called from bed three or four times for this or that. He wanted water. He was feeling lonely. He'd heard a train in the distance and thought that I should know.
And I was getting irritated. Charlie goes to bed at a reasonable hour, between 7 and 7:30, and reads for about 20 minutes before lights out. But he seldom goes to sleep before 9, despite every sleep cue we've managed to thrust upon him. I've never worried too much about this; as long as he's in his room, in his bed, with the lights out, and quiet, I figure the rest will take care of itself. But, God, does it get on my nerves to hear that third or fourth call down the stairs. On more than one occasion I've told him I don't want to hear another word unless he is on fire, and I will ask the smoke detector to corroborate that.
Last night, I don't know, I was feeling sympathetic. The last week and a half has been hard for him, I know. He's loving kindergarten ferociously, and has been nothing but sunshine around the house. But it's easy to see that it's stressful for him. I think the act of holding it together is pretty taxing. He's fragile, more dramatic than usual, quicker to fall into misery or fury.
Knowing this, I've wanted to be kinder. Last night, even though I was muttering, "You'd better be missing a limb," as I climbed the stairs, I approached him with intentional gentleness. I soothed him, suggested he take off his pajama top if he was hot, got him some water, turned on the lullabyes he deemed too babyish earlier this year. Basically just loved him, I guess, in a way he could understand.
And then went to the laundry room to unpack the bag of assorted items that came home with him on his last day of preschool. Odd socks, spare pants, innumerable crumpled pieces of paper that are surely special treasures. And the journal he kept in his classroom, a blank book filled with mostly scribbles and bizarre-looking stick figures.
And I looked at this and thought, Jesus, what a good day when you find this after you've been nice.