The Life and Times of Poopwa Foley

Archive for the ‘doctor’ Category

In the early part of August, 2012, I got an interesting phone call while at work.
Daughter:  Mom, if you had to hear some big news, would you want to hear it on the phone or in person?
Me:  (at work, busy, surprised and happy to hear from the child.  Yet somehow I know exactly what it is she’s about to tell me.  I’m cold all over and am able to astrally project to her location and smack her on the back of the head, hard.)
Daughter:  Are you there?
Me:  What.  WhatWhat is it?  Just tell me.  (Even I can hear the desperation in my voice)
Daughter:  Well, (tears start) I took three pregnancy tests and they all were positive. 
Me:  (I’m unable to speak.  I fumble for my insurance card and touch it several times for comfort.)
Daughter:  Mom??
Me:  I’m here.  And if three tests say you’re pregnant, then you’re pregnant
Although I’m still in shock, I make the appropriate it’ll be ok noises through frozen lips and hang up to call the insurance company.  Oh, God.  Although marriage has been talked about, they haven’t made it official, and now there will be a baby. 
Babies are a blessing.
The next few months fly by and I see her figure blossom from a lithe, lanky camisole & tight jean-wearing 20 year old to looking like she was shoplifting a big pumpkin. 
Feeling the baby kick was new and magical.  The baby squirmed and pummeled her bladder mercilessly.  Privately, I alternated between crying, being excited, and giving thanks that the baby was healthy. 
It is a girl.
I want to tell my daughter all the things that would change when the baby came.  Number one on the list that will change: 
1)  EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO, EVERY DAY, ALL DAY LONG, FROM NOW ON, FOREVER. 
As you can see, it’s a short list.  As a new mother, running to the store, running anywhere, takes on a whole new dimension.  You can’t just hop in the car and go.  You have to orchestrate it just right, which means to say you leave once the other parent tags in.  You’re done sleeping.  You’re done thinking of things to do for the weekend because you already know it’s going to consist of diapers and formula. 
I also want to tell her that despite the lack of sleep, the endless feedings and diaper changes, the 200 pounds of equipment you need everywhere you go, there are also moments of absolute bliss and they far outweigh the bad stuff.  The sweaty, solid weight of your child against your collarbone.  Their unbelievably good baby smell.  The tiny, trusting hand resting on your chest as you rock.  The first smiles.  The first words.
I try to tell her giving birth is going to hurt but those of us who have given birth know it’s a pain unlike any other and therefore hard to describe.  I also don’t want to scare the living daylights out of her.  I needn’t worry.  She listens respectfully but tells me that the tattoo she has going down her side from boob to butt was really painful and if she can get through that, she can get through this.
I listen and laugh.  And later, privately, I cry.  She doesn’t know.
I’m so glad for her when she comes home after work on her birthday and there’s an engagement ring hanging off the Christmas tree.  They’re happy.  That’s a wonderful thing.  I help her paint the baby’s room, roam through Babies R Us, plan her baby shower, and fall a little more in love with this granddaughter I haven’t met yet with each ultrasound picture I see.
This latest picture looks exactly like my daughter.  Exactly.  Same cheekbones.  Same forehead.  Same nose, lips, chin, and hands.
Her due date comes and goes.  She’s so big that MY back and feet hurt to look at her.
at 2 weeks pregnant.  (Just kidding.  More like 29.)
I have been eating for two her entire pregnancy out of nervousness.  I don’t tell her all the bad things that can go wrong.  During pregnancy.  During delivery.   I find myself in tears now and then and pray for an easy pregnancy and safe birth. 
I’m scared in a way I haven’t been in a while.
Finally, her doctor has her admitted on a Sunday night to have her cervix dilated.  Twelve hours later, the dreaded pitocin drip is administered.
The word pitocin sends chills up my spine.  It’s not pretty.  I remember doing backbends in labor with the force of a pitocin contraction.
It’s not long before it kicks in, and I hear her low moans start up.  The daddy, me and my other daughter have all been in the hospital with her for almost a whole day.  I’m grimy and tired from spending the night in a chair.  She’s in more and more pain and I hunt down the anesthesiologist in the hallway, because he should have been in there half hour ago. 
My daughter’s in pain, I tell him.  I watch him like a hawk as he administers the epidural block.  He doesn’t want me to watch because he says I could faint.  I tell him I’ve had two spinals myself but he says it’s different when it’s your child.  He’s right but I watch anyway.  He cautions me that if I faint he’s going to administer New York CPR.  I’m not amused.  He says, do you know what that is?  I just kick you til you wake up.  It’s not funny but I appreciate the effort.  I only laugh at his feeble joke because she’s not in pain anymore.
We’re told it could be a few hours now, so my oldest daughter and I run home so I can shower and change clothes.  I take a hurried 2 minute shower and while dressing, I get the phone call that a certain someone is about to meet her grandmother and if I wanted to be there, I’d best get down there quick.  What happened to “it’s going to be a few hours now?”
We’re there in no time, stopping on the way to quickly buy three stamps and jam three state tax returns into the post office box so they’re not late.  It’s tax day.  Way to procrastinate.
They’re ushering visitors out of her room and into the hallway once we get there.  She is about to begin pushing and my other daughter and I each are in charge of a leg, as she won’t be able to move them very well because of the epidural.  We are given instructions to push her legs backward to help with each contraction.  Dad stands, wisely, at the head of the bed.
Everything happens quickly.  She is told to take a deep breath and hold it and puuuuuuuuuuussssshhhhh!!!!! 
Unfortunately we too hold our breath and push with her.  As embarrassing as it is, I believe I pee a little.  My oldest daughter, holding her breath and the other leg, almost faints. 
I’m amazed at how hard the obstetrician grasps the baby’s head and pulls with each contraction but before you know it; the little shoulders are slipping out.  The proud daddy cuts the cord with shaking hands.  I’m a snotty mess.  I have not only just witnessed the unbelievable miracle of birth but also the birth of my first grandchild.
The Alyssa bun, fresh out of the oven.
At 8 pounds 2 ounces of beautiful, little Alyssa Rose makes her way into the world.  I’m amazed at how roughly efficiently the doctor and nurses handle the baby.  They competently towel her little slippery body off, throw drops in her eyes, diaper her tiny butt, weigh her, wrap her in a blanket and give her a hat with a bow before handing her to her tired, happy mama.  I begin to take pictures with my phone and those waiting in the hall see pictures of her on Facebook before the child is even 10 minutes old. 
It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  My tears are streaming, uncontrolled.  I feel honored that I got to watch the birth.
The new mother tells me later that I kissed her big toe repeatedly during Alyssa’s delivery.  She seems to think that is hysterical.  I seem to remember that it was the only safe place to kiss during delivery. I felt I needed to help her relieve her pain in some way and kissing a safe area, i.e. the big toe with the freckle on it, seemed to be the only way I could do it.  It made me feel better, in any case.
Time passes quickly.  The baby is now 6 weeks old.  Each time I see her, I fall a little more in love with her.  It’s funny, because I told my husband that after I met him; I was done falling in love and I meant it. 



How could you NOT love this little face?



But you can fall in love again.  I was wrong.  I didn’t know how a grandchild could make you feel.  How hard it hits you in the stomach when you lean in close and croon, “How’s Grandma’s girl?” and you’re rewarded with adorable crinkly eyes and a big gummy smile.  Ermehgerd.
Between then and now, I bet I’ve taken 1000 pictures or more.  My friends and family and coworkers can back me up on that.  I say I’m taking them for my family who lives south of Rockford, but it’s not true.  I just can’t believe how amazing and perfect she is and want everyone to see her.
 



say Cheese!!

I believe she is easily the most beautiful child ever birthed, and although I am certain I am not the first grandmother to think that, I am the only grandmother who’s actually right.

Who says gynecologists aren’t fun?  Me.
If you haven’t read about my recent invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound or even more invasive, painful biopsy, please do so now.  It will prepare you for the next chapter in the hopefully closed book of my female health.  I’ll just wait here.  I have some wine, anyway. 
Oh, are you back already?  Ok.
At the end of Fun Female Field Trip Part 2, I discussed the next step my doctor thoughtfully laid out for me in my pursuit of gynecological wellness, also known as “being able to get some sleep at night and quit worrying” syndrome.
I was assured, repeatedly, by two nurses and the doctor, that the test I needed to have to determine why I was surfing a never-ending crimson tide was quick and most importantly, painless.  This test would be done with water and ANOTHER trans-vaginal ultrasound.  I learned a long time ago not to Google things of a medical nature but I would have Googled the shit out of it if I could have remembered the name of it.  I didn’t remember the name of it because my mind had blocked it out.  It tends to do with traumatic experiences. 
For those of you who skipped ahead and didn’t read the other posts, obviously you failed in “listening and following directions” in grade school.  A trans-vaginal ultrasound is just fancy talk for an ultrasound wherein you can’t pee for approximately a week in preparation, and then a gigantic “wand” is used to view what’s going on from the inside.
Ladies, beware and trust me on this.  If you enter an ultrasound room and there’s both gel and a “wand” covered with a fresh condom, you can bet money that wand is taking a trip to hoo-hah land.  It’s messy.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s embarrassing.  And in my case, it was inevitable.
The day of my test, I was sick with anticipation but just wanted to get it over with.  Surely anything I was imagining was far worse than what actually would happen.  What’s a little water, after all?  I like swimming and baths.  I got to the doctor’s office at 12:45 p.m. for a 1:00 p.m. appointment, and was immediately weighed (a story for another day) and unceremoniously tossed into a back room.  I was handed a sheet and given a look that clearly said you know what to do.
There I sat, getting more and more nervous, for 45 minutes.  45 minutes is not a very long time if you’re going out for ice cream, seeing a movie, or getting a massage.  However, if you’re naked from the waist down under a tiny sheet, and more importantly if you’re me, it’s a very long time.
The nurse finally came in and explained that Doctor (they always do that, too, don’t they?  Call them Doctor like you or I would say “Tom” or “Ray”) was delayed at the hospital but would be in shortly and sure enough, within a few minutes, she was there.  Let the festivities begin.
I knew I was in for an hour of fun when I heard the word catheter and uterus used in the same breath.  Oh, joy.  I was subsequently speculumed and although they tried strenuously to put the catheter where it belonged, it wouldn’t go.  I have to give them snaps for effort, however.  Those ladies were determined.  I have the scars to prove it. 
However, their amusement was bought to a halt when water ran everywhere except into my uterus.
They figured out pretty quickly what was wrong, adjusted things slightly and YEP, YEP, OH YEAH, THERE’S THE WAND.



Silhouette Sorceress by Sattva/freedigitalphotos.net
um, not that kind.
She meandered around down there for a few seconds, but couldn’t visualize whatever it was she was supposed to see.  Because I had been put in this room and abandoned for a very long time, my bladder was too full.  Oh, sorry, totally my fault.    
Great.  Tools that recently were inserted were now un-inserted and I was told that the hallway was “pretty deserted” which was a good thing, considering the sheet I had to hold around me was the size of a tissue.
I took care of business, hopped back up onto the table, and the speculum process began all over again.  Once she was able to visualize the actual area she wanted to see, Doctor was very complimentary about my bladder emptying.  (I have been waiting for years for someone to compliment me about that very thing.  Good things come to those who wait, people.  Good things come to those who wait.)
Doctor fusses.  She harrumphs.  She seems very annoyed and finally says to her cohort in torture, “Go get (name withheld).  She can work the wand while I push the water.  I need to be able to visualize the complete uterus and blahbitty blah, blah, blah blah” which I didn’t hear because my brain was stuck on work the wand.
I have nothing against Germans.  I myself am part German.  However, the woman (and I use the term loosely) they pulled in to assist with my procedure was half German and half agony aficionado.  She took “work the wand” to new levels. 
I exhausted all my deep breathing techniques and Zen thinking and concentrated only on crab climbing backward up the table to get away from my persecutors.   At this point, I’m not sure what was so attractive about having this done in the doctor’s office as opposed to in the hospital under my good friend anesthesia.
I hear the German say, “I see zee problem, Doctair.  She haz zee floppy oss.”
I finally find my voice.  “Hey, that’s a little personal, lady!  I’m right here!  It’s only floppy because I just haven’t been able to work out much lately!!”
I’m ignored.  No surprise there, because apparently (TMI, turn away now if you haven’t already) she was saying “floppy os” which is Latin for “mother of three.”
Finally, FINALLY, they see what they need to see.  And then some.  And it’s all normal.  Which is great news but I still have three women all standing between my legs, while more sensitive regions are covered by this tissue sized sheet.  Oh, wait, no, they’re not covered because the sheet has been pushed up for maximum humiliation and embarrassment.  (Or for them to be able to see, but I’m totally going with the humiliation thing.  I’m still bitter.)  Um, we’re done here.  You can go now.
The two nurses finally, finally leave the room.  Doctor pats my leg comfortingly (she thinks) and says, a glint in her eye, that I’m probably just going through early menopause.  “Don’t worry.  You won’t ever have to see me again.” (#youbetyourfloppyosIwon’t) A chirpy laugh burbles out of her and I think, of all the people on my shit list, you’re at the very tippy top right now.  I will do everything in my power to stay away from this office.
I am holding back tears, mostly angry tears because I’m pissed that my roundhouse kick to the German’s butt missed. 
I settle for letting the air out of her tires on my way to get ice cream and a 45 minute massage, floppy os be damned.

Part deux 

After my last medical visit a la the ultrasound from hell, I wanted to know when I’d find out what was going on in my “downstairs area”. 
Me:  How long will it take to get the results?
Them:  at least a couple of days.  Rest assured, you’ll have plenty of time for worrying.
Me:  (heart hammering in chest) Ok.
It didn’t take a couple of days to get the results.  The phone rang the very next day, less than 24 hours after the ultrasound, while I was lost in Naperville trying desperately to find Edwards Hospital, so that I could make it on time for my mother’s gall bladder surgery. 
It’s never good when they don’t waste any time calling you with the results. 
I listened to the results with half an ear while On Starring and Bluetoothing, watching desperately for street signs, looking for my turn, catching various words here and there out of the speakers.  Abnormal.  Hyperplasia.  Polyp.  Cyst.  And my absolute favorite, Biopsy.
I’m sure you’re all wondering how serious this really was.  And the answer is:  It was very serious because I was really, really lost.  When I finally found the hospital, I told all this to the valet parker boy, who actually yawned when I told him what an adventure finding the hospital was.  Your tip is going to suck, buddy.
Three hours I waited with my sister and stepdad for Mom’s surgery/recovery time.  Three hours is quite a bit of time to freak out reflect on the doctor’s choice of words.   
The hospital aide came out to tell us that Mom wanted coffee, and she wanted my stepdad to make it because he knew how she liked it prepared.  We all knew then that mom was recovering just fine. **
My biopsy was schedule for two weeks from that day.  Two weeks have never gone slower. 

Biopsy day

Two weeks have never gone faster, and before I knew it, the nurse called me to take two ibuprofen before the procedure, because I’d get a little crampy.  That day, I learned something vitally important.  What you think is crampy and what I think is crampy are two vastly different things.  The nurse on the phone advised me to take two ibuprofen before the procedure.  The nurse I actually saw that day in the room of horrors procedure room felt bad that I didn’t have the afternoon off, even though I sit down at my job. 
Of course, I took my cue from her facial expression, (pity mixed with compassion and a side order of sympathy) stiffened up, and unfortunately stayed tense the entire time, making it even far more difficult for the doctor and far more painful for me.
Doctor:  Relax! 
Me:  I’m trying!  (I am not trying.  I’m not relaxed at all, and I don’t know how anyone could be.)
I had the biopsy.  Here’s what I think they used… 



ntwowe/freedigitalphotos.net
There were many more sharp things sticking out of the tool they used on me.



…but it felt much larger. 
Me and my new friend Cramps went back to work that day for a couple of painful hours, then went home and curled up on the couch where I would spend the rest of the night milking this for every single second I could. 
It worked.  I got pizza that night.  And a nap.
They told me I’d get my results back within a couple of days.  I selfishly hoped that I wouldn’t get them back on my birthday, so I could sail through my 46th birthday blissfully ignorant of anything biopsy-related.  They granted that wish and called me the day after.
This time it was with a good word:  benign.  It even sounds nice in your mouth.  Say it with me:  Beeeenine.
Despite the pleasant tastiness of that word, I have to go back and be poked, prodded and ultra sounded one more time, and then my doctor will make a decision on what to do with my whiny self at that point.  Obviously, the female issues are being caused by something and they’d like to find my tolerance for pain figure out what it is. 
I’d like for them to figure out what it is too.  There are some *cough activities cough* that we’d I’d like to resume.  While I’m still young.
***My mom:  recovering nicely.  Her surgery that day was at 10:45 a.m.  She was home drinking coffee at her kitchen table by 3:30 p.m. looking for all the world like we just popped in for a visit.  It was amazing and we’re all glad she’s ok.


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  • Mary Fran Says: Thank you for contributing to Sweeps Week! We make a great team. Maybe we'll collaborate in our next lives? SISTERS! lol :)
  • Mary Fran Says: What's better than a Baby Shower aka Early Baby Birthday Party? Baby's FIRST Birthday Party! (Although it's hard to call them "baby" by one! They grow
  • Ann Jones: I'll have to check it out, thanks for the heads up!

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