Why I Wore Designer Shoes To My D&C
First of all, let me say thank you to everyone who has sent me a message through this blog, Twitter, Facebook, email or phone over the past few days. Hubs and I have truly been overwhelmed by the support and love we’ve felt from all of our friends and family.
Second, now that the cat is out of the bag about my miscarriage and I’m feeling rather exposed, but oddly prolific, I thought I’d share yet another piece of this week’s journey. Gentlemen, we’re going to cover some of the nitty-gritties of a Dilation and Curettage (D&C), so if you’d like to stop reading now, there will be no hard feelings.
I’m sure I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who likes hospitals–except maybe doctors or nurses, though I personally think people who choose to spend their time around sickness and blood are in a (strange yet commendable) class of their own. I, however, HATE hospitals; and as my parents and Hubs can attest to, the minute I set foot into one, I become the worst version of myself. So, needless to say, I was less than thrilled to find that I would be spending almost an entire day dressed in a backless gown, laying on a gurney this past Friday.
In a desperate attempt to keep my evil hospital alter-ego (who I will call “The Niffer” for purposes of this post) away, I decided to look nice for my hospital visit. By 9:30 a.m., my hair was perfectly coifed, my makeup was fresh and I had my Tory Burch flats on as Hubs and I headed out the door for the hospital. If I was going to have to go through with this D&C, I was going to go through it in style.
I felt my body tense the minute Hubs parked the car in the hospital parking lot. And despite how sweetly the 80-year-old volunteer receptionist (who I will call Thelma) greeted us as we walked in the door, I knew instantaneously that (usually) mild-mannered Jenn had been replaced by The Niffer.
“What are you here for, sweetie?” Thelma asked.
“A D&C,” The Niffer snarled, her fangs glowing in the florescent light.
Thelma shot The Niffer a sympathetic look, handed her some paperwork and told her to “sit down, someone would be with her shortly.”
Here’s the thing I don’t understand about hospitals in the digital age. No matter how high tech the equipment is, the computer systems seem to have a problem sharing data between floors. This means, you have to show up three hours early to any procedure you need to have done. You’ll be asked 5-15 minutes of questions each hour (depending on how intense the procedure you’re about to undergo is) and then spend the next 45-55 minutes of each hour sitting in your skivvies thinking about what’s about to be done to your body.
The paperwork Thelma handed me asked the same questions I had already answered for the “early check-in” nurse who called me the day before my procedure; and the HR lady who came to retrieve Hubs and I from the waiting room asked me those same questions for a third time.
By the time the HR lady called Thelma back to escort me to the nurses’ station upstairs, The Niffer was hot-to-trot and not in the mood to make small talk. Unfortunately, my perky nurse Michelle, who greeted me on the second floor, was. She ushered Hubs and I into a room with four hospital beds, pulled the privacy curtain around my bed, asked me to take off my clothes and put on my hospital gown and said she’d be back to (you guessed it) ask me some questions in a minute.
“I believe you can ask me the questions before I change into my gown,” The Niffer barked at Nurse Michelle before she had a chance to escape. “I see no reason to change right now. In fact, I see no reason to be here this early at all. My procedure is not until 1 p.m.”
Apparently, along with her RN degree, Nurse Michelle had a PhD in Niffer-handling and shot The Niffer a disarming smile, while quietly saying “I’m sorry you have to be here so early and have to answer so many of the same questions (How did she know?) Our computers can’t seem to cooperate with one another. (Was Michelle also a mind reader?) If you go ahead and change now, I can prep you for your procedure and if the doctor can perform it earlier, you’ll be ready.”
This reasoning seemed to satisfy The Niffer. Earlier prep could mean earlier procedure, which could mean earlier hospital exit. The Niffer changed into the gown, but left on her undergarments and Tory Burch shoes (e.g.- kept her dignity). She also chose to sit on the edge of the bed rather than lie down. After all, she was not an invalid.
When Nurse Michelle returned, she did, in fact, ask the same questions I’d already been asked FOUR times now, took my blood pressure and then disappeared for (you guessed it) 55 minutes. During this time, The Niffer informed Hubs of her Golden Rule of hospital procedures.
“I always get a present after I have surgery,” The Niffer said in her most princess-like tone of voice.
“Is that so?” Hubs asked, unamused.
“Yes. Ask my parents,” The Niffer instructed.
Knowing that now was not the time to defy The Niffer, Hubs dutifully texted my parents to ask if, in fact, I “always got a present” after surgery. My mother replied with this message: “Yes. She does. Stuffed animals used to suffice, but I think this is going to require something larger. Sorry, Russ.”
About that time, Nurse Michelle came back in to start my IV. She then left for 30 more minutes until Nurse Assistant Jonathan came in to take me down to the first floor for more procedure prep. Jonathan told Hubs that he could not go down to the first floor with me (which I’m sure was somewhat of a relief for him as his sweet wife had left the building hours ago). The hospital would call him when my procedure was over and I was in recovery.
At this point, The Niffer was also asked to take off her undergarments and shoes. She agreed to do away with the undergarments, but decided the shoes posed no surgical threat and fought like it was Custer’s Last Stand to keep them on. In all my outfit planning, I had failed to account for one thing: There is no metal allowed in surgery, and my Tory Burches have a gleaming metal buckle on the top of them.
The Niffer cursed silently (even she doesn’t use profanity out loud in public) and took them off, watching her last piece of dignity be placed in the plastic “Patient Belongings” bag.
Now, here is where the second worst part of the D&C happens. You are laying on your hospital bed, undergarment and designer shoeless, and you are being wheeled past all the people at the hospital who seem immensely more attractive than they really are because your virtual nakedness and the needle stuck in your forearm make you feel the least attractive you’ve ever felt in your life.
Unfortunately for me, Nurse Assistant Jonathan decided he wanted to get chatty with the hot blonde medical saleswoman and Dr. McDreamy Jr. who were waiting for our elevator. I figured I had two options: Fake sleep (probably not the best choice, since I’d made eye contact with both blondie and McDreamy Jr. just a minute ago) or become intensely interested in the imaginary fuzz on my hospital gown.
Once off the elevator and imaginary fuzzless, I was taken to another room to meet with my surgery nurse and anesthesiologist. Surgery Nurse Melissa was (of course) cute and blonde too and had we met under different circumstances (e.g- were she not about to become well acquainted with my private parts), I think we would have been friends. The Niffer chose to be nice to her as well as to the anesthesiologist. After all, he had drugs.
I don’t remember anything after talking with Surgery Nurse Melissa and the anesthesiologist (that dude must have been GOOD). The next thing I knew, I was waking up in Recovery Room Number One, with Recovery Nurse Jane smiling at me, welcoming me back to the world.
Since The Niffer knew that being nice to Recovery Nurse Jane was her ticket to Recovery Room Two and ultimately to leaving the hospital (and because she was also still a little groggy), she got along swimmingly with Nurse Jane and was transferred upstairs after only 20 minutes in Recovery Room One (they had initially told me I’d be there for an hour after I woke up).
Hubs returned to me in Recovery Room Two and with him came a new nurse, Nurse Nancy. For whatever reason, The Niffer did not like Nurse Nancy, so when Nurse Nancy told The Niffer that she would be in Recovery Room Two for the next hour, The Niffer went postal.
“AN HOUR? I was released from Recovery Room One after only 20 minutes, and see no reason to stay in Recovery Room Two for a full hour. Can you give me a reason why I have to stay here for an hour?”
“Well, your doctor said you needed to stay for an hour, and I can lose my job if I disobey his orders,” Nurse Nancy sputtered (clearly she had not taken any Niffer-handling classes in college).
“Can I speak to my doctor? I have his office number and will be happy to call him. I see no reason to stay here for a full hour,” The Niffer was NOT kidding around.
Fortunately, Nurse Nancy got the memo. She took The Niffer’s vitals, gave her some water, juice, crackers and pain medication and left the room. When she returned 15 minutes later, she said “I spoke to the doctor and you can leave now.”
At this point, I believe The Niffer did a victory dance. I, however, was too busy enduring the worst part of a D&C: The cramping. Think stomach flu, gas like you just ate a bowl of chili and a diet soda and menstrual cramps and then multiply that pain times ten. As I said earlier, however, Nurse Nancy had given me pain medication and I can assure you that Vicodin is a powerful drug that kicks in quickly.
The cramping stopped in no time (thank you, Lord) and do you know what the first thing I had the presence of mind to ask for was? My Tory Burch shoes. I put them on before I took off my hospital gown or put on anything else. Dignity? Check!
Shortly after putting my clothes back on, Nurse Assistant Jonathan returned with a wheelchair to escort Hubs and I out of the hospital. As the automatic doors to the facility opened, I felt The Niffer leave me (probably to go harass Thelma at the registration desk again). A ray of sunshine caught the metal buckle of my Tory Burches. Nothing about Friday felt normal, but as I looked at my shoes, this thought crossed my mind: “I’m so glad I chose the Tory Burches with the gold, not the silver buckle”; and I knew that the old Jenn was still there and regardless of how long it might take, she was going to be just fine.
PS- I’m lobbying for a Burberry Scarf…Hubs still does not seem amused.