Thursday, January 7, 2010

Doin' the Limbo Rock...

December's theme of Wait-And-See has spread it's raunchy fingers into January.

Lemme give you the timeline...

October--I'm on my way to our homestead in the forest with the thought in mind that we'll know something about whether or not we're staying a third year... I'll know "by the end of November."

November--I find out about my kidney stone and amongst the hustle and bustle of having the stent put in, Thanksgiving at my place for 25, Nanowrimo and Ryan's birthday party, the whole are-we-moving/staying question moves to the background but still scratches at the inside of my spine. Needless to say, "by the end of November" we still don't know about making this a trilogy.

December--We've been assured we'll know something the Wednesday before Christmas vacation. Part of me is FURIOUS that we don't know and that no one seems to care what this kind of limbo does to me psychologically. Another part of me couldn't give two shits--and that's the part that can barely walk, can't really stand for longer than a couple of hours and is told over and over by the medical community that there is nothing they can do for the pain, not even take out the damn stent until January or February.

Wednesday before Christmas Vacation--We still don't know and are told that we'll know the week OF Christmas. We find out I have some sort of staph infection attacking me at the stent. I'm not surprised as I have been pissing blood all month. Doc prescribes me some mild antibiotics but when asked for pain medication, I am prescribed Tylenol. *eye roll* He caves under our unrelenting hounding and schedules to remove the stent January 4th.

Week of Christmas--We are asked by Sam's boss to essentially "give him a deadline." Sam says, "We need to know by the end of the year." Meantime, the pain gets so bad, we call and beg the urologist and the OB to give me some pain medication but to no avail. I declare that, though France is WAY ahead of the U.S. in terms of many kinds of treatment (namely affordable access), they are MEDIEVAL in terms of pain management.

The End of the Year--Comes and goes and my husband only says, "I'm not calling him until next week." I am not surprised, but am still somehow disillusioned. I'm sick and tired of being surrounded by amoebae. Why can't anyone grow a spine? Why can't the boss make a decision or call the freakin' decision-makers and get an answer? Why can't my husband stick by his end-of-the-year deadline? I start to pack my bags in my heart... Why? Because I was ready to stay here another year under certain conditions. I had the baker's license project, but without knowing when we're leaving, I can't rightly even register for classes. Also, because of the lack of pain managment, I'm getting nervous about delivering my baby here in France.

January 4th--I go in for my stent-removal operation, fasting, and tell them to please jack up the dosage on the anesthesia so I don't wake up in the middle. The doc is supposed to take out the stent and then send a camera up in there looking for the kidney stone, find it and remove it. I find out that since I'm past week 15, I am safe for a higher dose of drugs and shouldn't wake up! I do a painful happy dance. I go in for surgery, the guy uses gloves to take out my tongue piercing this time, doesn't warn me when he flushes the druggies through my veins and I barely have a chance to say goodnight before I'm out. I wake up in the recovery room, NOT INTUBATED AND FIGHTING TO BREATHE, but rather comfortable. Elated even. Knowing that it's all over and it's not even 2pm. But, as the anesthesia wears off, a pain in my left side starts to gnaw and then over an eternal quarter hour becomes so intense I'm gripping the bedrails, hyperventilating and crying big fat tears. The anesthesiologist comes in and shoots me with morphine into my IV (which is in my hand... BURN like crazy) and after another eternal quarter hour, I'm not in so much pain and very out of it.

When I get back to my room, my sweet hubby is there, worried and waiting. He breaks out the cards and I start to cry with gratitude. I beat him at Milles Bornes and then am told by the nurse I can finally drink. Good thing because I have a splitting headache I can only compare to moments of dehydration and hunger. I drink and drink and play more cards. My "collation" (essentially a big fat breakfast) arrives and I start to dig in... You ever seen a fasting pregnant woman eat? Not pretty. Crumbs were flying. Slurping noises echoed down the hallways. I'm sure I belched loud enough to rattle the windows.

The doctor came in and said that everything went really well. That he put the camera all the way up in my kidney and that there is NO OBSTRUCTION ANYWHERE. That means either the stone fell out on its own or it came out with the stent. Either way, it's GONE. \o/ We talked a little about pain and morphine and whatnot. I told him that other than some tenderness, I was fine but that I hadn't peed yet. He said he thought I should stay the night. That going home and chasing after the three kids was not what the doctor ordered as far as recovery was concerned. Sam agreed with him. I did not. He told us to think about it and to call him later. I thought about it and thought no. I didn't want to pay the 70 Euro for a night in a private room and I didn't want to spend the night with a roommate. I wanted to go home to my own bed; my soft warm bed that smells like Sam and the kids. I wanted to be petted and kissed by my babies.

All that water ready to make its exit, I got up to pee. Think tiny razor blades floating in lemon juice, squeezing out of your pee hole. Yeah. Now multiply that time a hundred and you'll have how freakin' bad it hurt to pee. It was so bad, I called Sam into the bathroom to help me to the shower so I could put some warm water on my parts.

I stood up from the toilet and got very dizzy. I broke out into a sweat as though I had been Zumba-ing for three hours (eh, Lisa?). The room started going grey and I had to keep swallowing to dam back the bile. Sam barely got me back to the bed before I threw up, in three sequential ralphs, right into my hot chocolate bowl. Grody, but convenient. Sam flushed it.

"You're staying."


We called the nurse in and told her about it. She called the doc and told HIM about it.

My head hurt worse than ever. I figured I had just puked up everything I had eaten and drunk, and now I was going to have to start all over. Sam had to leave to go get Lolo and he wouldn't be back until noon the next day.

I lay down and try to doze a little.

After a short mix-up on room numbers (they TRIED to stick me with a roommate, but I didn't think that would be fair to the roommate... I don't sleep well in hospitals and I tend to stay up all night reading), the nurse got me to my room and brought me in some dinner. Stuffed tomatoes and hot wheat cereal in its juice, a thin (but yummy) soupe, a roll and a pear. I ate this VERY slowly this time. And I drank very slowly, too. And every time I got up to pee, it got easier. And every time I peed, I drank another glass of water before I lay down. And eventually, my gut didn't hurt anymore, but MAN was my head still KILLING me and mostly just behind my right eye. While I was ecstatic that my gut problems were over, I was very worried I might have some kind of blood clot in my head.

I didn't sleep. I read an entire Laurie Halse Anderson book. Not that that means I stayed up all night, I mean the book was only 300+ pages long and it's not uncommon for me to knock one of those out in a few hours. That's just to say that I didn't sleep well. I dozed from time to time, but my headache finally woke me up for good at 4am. The nurses came in at 5:30 and gave me some Tylenol. I didn't want any more damn Tylenol, but it hurt so bad, I was willing to try anything. I had already finished off two 1.5 litre bottles of water and asked for a third. My new theory was that I was having a reaction to the morphine they had given me after the operation and that the best policy would be to flush that shit out.

Breakfast (bread and chocolate and LOTS of water) came and went.

The doctor came in a 9:30 to check on me and was surprised to find me curled up in pain with an ice pack pressed to my right eye. He seemed relieved that I was no longer in pain in my gut, but said he would send the anesthesiologist up to see me about the headache.

The anesthesiologist got there about 11:30. Funny thing is, at about 11, I realized my eye didn't hurt as bad. The pain was completely gone when he got there half an hour later (but the third bottle of water was also gone).

Sam came at noon and ate a sandwich while I had my hospital lunch (roast turkey with mushroom gravy and mixed vegetables), we stopped in the lobby to check out and for the doctor to wish us good luck with the baby and then Sam took me home. I was sore and groggy and still a little unstable as far as balance is concerned but for the most part, pain-free.

I slept the rest of the afternoon and jumped out of bed at 6 when Sam and the kids got home. I was SO happy to see them and to be able to hold them and not hurt. A few minutes later, a new (American) friend showed up with a steaming pot of soup his wife had just made and two yummy baguettes. I was in Heaven! To come home, to be stent-free, to NOT yell at my kids AND to not have to cook dinner (cuz while I like to cook, I wasn't feelin' like it).

Wednesday was a LEEEETLE rough only because Lily and Ryan were here all day and I was still sorta groggy. And the headache seemed to be coming back. I mean, the kids were good and played well together (I didn't even have to turn on the TV until 4:30!!!) most of the day, but I did end up taking a nice long nap when they did.

Thursday, yesterday, I woke up a new woman. Rested, pain-free, invigorated. I got up early and got the kids clothes lain out and started breakfast. We were all ready in record time. Sam dropped us off at the school and I was proud to stand there beaming and rosy-cheeked. The teachers and other parents were happy to see me and all kissed me happy new year.

I felt so good, I decided to go shopping for sushi supplies. I passed a homeless guy on the way there but didn't have any money. Since my organic store wasn't open yet, I crossed the street to a little grocery to get my surimi, avacado and a couple of other things. I picked up a sandwich and a box of cereal bars for the homeless guy, and since the organic store STILL wasn't open after I got done shopping, I walked back down to where he was. He didn't speak French OR English (probably from Eastern Europe from his features and accent) but seemed to appreciate the food. I felt bad I still didn't have any coins to be able to give him. Now that I think about it, I should have just led him to a cafe and bought him a coffee...

I got my nori from the organic store and walked home with a spring in my step. I almost stopped at this little international bookstore because Lily really wants this book about Meg and Mug, but I figured Sam and I could go after my OB appointment at 10:45.

I went home, put away the stuff and played on the internet until time for to see the doc. Sam met me downstairs and walked me over there, telling me that he spoke with his boss both here and back in Lynchburg and that he would have an answer no later than next Friday. I want to believe it. I do. He also said that he checked the baker's thing and got an email back saying that the courses run from September on and the whole thing lasts 8 months. So, if we stay, I can do the baker thing a few months after the baby is born.

We get to the doc and talk about all the stent-free happiness. She sends me into the next room to check me out. The scale says I've lost two kilos in the two months I've been seeing her. That makes her say, "Huh, looks nice and stable." *eye roll* Can't impress her, I guess. She does a quick pelvic and says the cervix is nice and firmly closed. Good news. She starts doing an ultrasound and says that the baby is growing just fine. Nice skull size, femur size, bladder is there, I see a foot! But then she says, "Hmmmm."

I hate Hmmmm.

She digs around a little while. Then, a little while longer... Then, after an eternity, she tells me that she's concerned there isn't very much amniotic fluid around the baby. Very little, in fact.

She sends me to the hospital to have a leak test done. If it's positive, at least we'll know it's a rupture of some kind and can act accordingly. If it's negative, and there is no leak, it could mean some sort of developmental abnormality in the baby.

She digs around a little more to make sure. To the point that my gut is actually SORE from her pushing on it.

I go home, pee, Google the whole "low amniotic fluid" thing and start to get worried. Sam and I get on the bus, stop at a new place (VERY YUMMY) for lunch and then take the car up the hill to the hospital.

Ironically, we get the same guy as last time. He's nice, but he's young and wears his inexperience on his face and in his flirty mannerisms as he interacts with his shadow/intern. SHE does a quick pelvic to take the leak test sample. HE does a quick ultrasound to check for amniotic fluid. THEY call in another person to verify. SHE does ANOTHER ultrasound and immediately confirms. THEY ALL call in their "boss" who does ANOTHER ultrasound to confirm. THEY ALL lead me to the stronger ultrasound doctor who can't take me that day. (Oh, by the way, the leak test comes back negative... BAD.) They give me an appointment for 11am the next day.

I'm PISSED. In the States, per my experience, I would have been sent right away to an ultrasound lab somewhere to get results as soon as possible. I want to see this baby's kidneys. NOW. If the baby does NOT have kidneys (hence, Potter's Syndrome... Google it, but beware if you are not strong in stomach or have a sensitive spirit... I cried a lot when I looked at it), I am going to let the little guy go. I do not want to have that baby squirming around in me only to have him or her stillborn later. I'd rather go ahead and say goodbye to the poor little sweety right now than to put him or her through a full term of pregnancy SMASHED in there with no water and lots of pain. Just thinking about it breaks my heart. Both things... The baby being in pain in there. AND thinking about saying goodbye.

I mean, I've already met this baby. I've seen its little feet. I've watched it dance on the screen. I'm in love. I want it to have little kidneys SO bad. Just thinking about it being in pain is like thinking about there being something wrong with Lolo. It's my BABY. My little PERSON. But I WON'T put my own wants ahead of it's comfort and peace.

I got online last night and asked around. Other moms came forward and told me that they too had had problems at 17, 18, 20, 24 weeks and that in those cases, they were just dehydrated. Maybe that's what's wrong here. Maybe I'm having a reaction to the procedure I had done on Monday. Maybe it's just a matter of drinking enough water to get things moving again. I DO feel dehydrated in spite of all the water I'm drinking. I wonder if there's something internally wrong with my kidney or something... SOMETHING keeping me from holding onto this water... Keeping me from using it.

Either way, I have been FLOATING away on water and juice since I found out it could be dehydration. I mean, that's the best case scenario. I'm still a little headachey, too. And my eyes are dry. And my mouth. And my calf muscles are cramping. MAYBE it IS just dehydration. I'm hoping so. I'm going to go have my ultrasound today. And then, I'm supposed to have another one next Thursday. In between now and then, I'm going to drink gatorade, water and juice like a madwoman and HOPE and PRAY that my water comes back.

So, a lot happens next week. Well, it's only two things but it's two HUGE things. One, we find out where we'll be living in May, whether or not we'll be going to VA in February, whether or not I'll be learning to be a baker. Two, we'll find out if we're going to still be having a baby.

Pray, light a candle (or two, even), burn some incense... do what you do... keep me in your thoughts, please. If not me, then the little baby's feet dancing in my gut.

I'll let you know what happens. And I'll post some pix again soon.

Happy New Year, by the way.