Tuesday, February 24, 2009

needles ahoy

Daniel: "We've done bloodwork together before, haven't we?"
Me: "Yes."
Daniel: "I remember your vein."

Way to make me laugh in a stressful situation, dude.

Monday, February 23, 2009

how you are in the world

This was not the most successful day ever, from a keeping-the-nice-lady-calm perspective. Having learned my lesson from my first ultrasound, I belatedly took the advice my friends gave me six weeks ago ("You are a tiny woman. You do not need to drink the entire litre of water they're telling you to drink. That's ridiculous.") and so I was at least not as uncomfortable this time.

Not so good was getting into the little room and having the woman who was supposed to do my ultrasound tell me that I was only seventeen weeks pregnant, and therefore it was too early to run an anatomy scan. Now, I have done the math on this several times, and had a number of different other people do the math, and come up with a different answer (and so had my doctor) but do you know, people? She was right. Except I had fucked it up somewhere along the way and thought this last Saturday marked eighteen weeks. Well, hell.

The good news is that the systems for determining how pregnant you are are so nonspecific that when she did the ultrasound, she said to ignore the math because based on the baby's measurements, my addled calculations were actually closer. She did, however, move our due date back into late July from early August. (Relax, Team Leo--barring something unexpected, the shrimpbaby is still one of yours.)

We then went upstairs to get the accompanying bloodwork done. While I waited at the counter, spook went out to put more money in the meter. The guy at the desk looked at my paperwork and said "We need the form for this. This isn't the right form. Go back downstairs and tell them you need the right form." I went. Downstairs, the very nice woman at the desk said "They always do this. Wait a sec, I'm gonna send you up with a note. They don't need a form for this. They need a form for the first part of this test, which they did six weeks ago." She wrote a note, including her phone number in case the guy had any questions, and the instruction "DO NOT send patient back down." Upstairs, the guy was all, "This isn't the right form." As calmly as I could, I said
"Well, the people on six say you don't need a form."
"We can't do anything without a form." He tried to hand it back to me. I didn't take it.
"Perhaps you could call the people on six and sort this out with them." I watched him think about refusing, then put in a perfunctory call. He hung up immediately.
"It's their answering machine. We're not associated with the radiology department. They're a different company. We need a form, we won't do anything without--"

I walked away on him. Not politely.

Went back downstairs. The nice lady, April, was just getting on the elevator as I got off.

"The guy up on eight says they won't do a damn thing without a form." I told her, and burst into tears.
"Oh, no. Okay. I'm going to fix this for you. You need to get that test done. Come with me."

She called my doctor's office, was transferred around a bit, explained the situation to them. Told me that my doctor's office was going to call upstairs to wrangle unpleasant guy. "I'll come with you." she said, and did.

When we got back up to the eighth floor, we ran into spook, who had been frantically searching for me for some minutes now. "What happened?" he asked. "I'll tell you later," I said, grimly wiping away tears. Stupid pregnancy hormones.

April went through the same routine with surly guy, who by now I think disliked me almost as much as I disliked him. Then she turned to me and said "If your doctor hasn't called in half an hour, you come down and see me, and I'll call them again."

We sat for twenty minutes and then determined that even if my doctor's office did call at this point, we were going to get towed waiting for my blood work, because we were flat out of change. spook went back downstairs to confer with April, who reassured him that in fact we could go to another lab, one where they were not assholes, so long as we went soon. As we were gathering up our stuff to leave, another woman in the waiting room asked if we'd been there a long time. I said no, but there was some paperwork mixup. She said "Yeah, I've been here before. These people are not nice."

In the lobby, spook called my doctor's office and told them our story again, asked if we could come in and get my blood drawn by the sweet nurse there instead. "Because here they were mean to my wife and made her cry." So we're going in tomorrow morning, and Daniel will tell me a funny story and reassure me that my terrible fear of needles is just an extreme response to very old programming that tells our bodies not to let other people stick things in us.

This is a thing I will remember in my work, when I have the opportunity to make something easier for someone. The guy at the desk could have said the very same thing to me without being an asshole about it, could have suggested that we call my doctor, or, y'know, offered me the phone so I could do it. And while my job does not involve facilitating important medical tests for people, I still think it matters how I do it.

Thanks, April.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

the Time Traveller's Fife

...okay. More like the Time Traveller's Harmonica, but that does not a witty book title reference make.

When I was in university, my friend and sometime room-mate Adam was in a band called Aardvark and the Crumpled Sleeve. They played punk-blues: loud, fast, and with uneven levels of proficiency (the band got better over time, but there were other factors, such as the drummer's tendency to speed up with every beer, that cannot be overlooked). They were a wall of noise, which I usually hate.

I went to every show they played, except for the ones which happened while I was out of the province, and many of their rehearsals.

Understand, at that point in my life, music was What I Was Doing (which is one of the reasons I don't have a degree, but I digress). Adam was in another band, with me, many of our other friends were musicians, we were all writing music all the time, and listening to it, and performing it. So going to another band's rehearsals didn't seem as crazy in that context as it sounds in this one. Besides, you never knew when something incredible might happen, like the time Nathan's amp spontaneously caught fire mid-song. You can't pay for that kind of entertainment.

They played a reunion show last night, which I really ought not to have attended. They didn't even go on until 10:45, which is an hour after I have usually gone to bed, and I had to work today. But miss it? No way. Dude, I still remember the words, at least all of the words I could understand over the general blare. Before their set, Adam looked around the room and said "Huh. This is way more pregnant than our audience used to be." But what I was surprised by was how much it seemed like no time at all had passed. Looking at them under the stage lights, no one even looked older. Of course, offstage, we're all older. Eleven years older, in fact, with jobs and kids and better glasses. But it was a kind of magic--time travel--and I'm glad I went.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

kooky adaptation? or kookiest adaptation?

So...assuming that you don't live under a rock, you may have heard about the book He's Just Not That Into You. Working in a bookstore, it was impossible to avoid. The authors made multiple appearances on Oprah. People swarmed the store. After much, much head-shaking, I caved and read it.

And you know what? It was pretty good. I was expecting to find it condescending and awful, poking fun at women for the bad behavior of men, and in fact the whole thing reads like this: "You are an awesome lady. This thing that your crush is doing? This is an asshole thing. Do not waste any more of your awesome lady time on this asshole. Out there is someone who wants to treat you like the queen that you are. I hear that you like this guy and would like to make excuses for his assholery, but seriously, best case scenario, what's that going to get you? A half-hearted relationship with an asshole. Run, don't walk." Um. Loosely paraphrasing.

I would like to go back in time and give my 17-year-old self a copy of this book. Hell, I would recommend this book to women my own age now. And while I think it's depressing that there are so many women who have lowered their expectations into nothingness that this book could become a runaway best-seller, I think it's maybe heartening that it did.

All that said, I have vocally expressed the opinion that a self-help book is not a good basis for a feature film, even though a large number of people with enough money to make it happen disagree. But I may be proven wrong yet again, if this is anything to go by: