Thursday, July 1, 2010

Not fit for public viewing

Went to the eye doctor today. Tried to skirt around the dead baby issue, but it didn't work out for me. After telling the person who comes in before the doctor (what are those people called?) I was on prenatal vitamins and my thyroid medication was different from what was noted on my chart she was rather confused. "Are you pregnant?" she asked me. I shook my head no. She paused for a moment, waiting for me to elaborate, and then left the room.

A few minutes later she came back in and said, "Do you have a baby?" I started crying. She started crying and said, "I'm a community crier. I'm trying to stop. I'm really sorry." She made crying sound like an addiction: "Hi, I'm one of those people you see at the eye doctor before the actual doctor comes in. I've been a community crier most of my life. It's been zero days since my last community cry."

It was awful and awkward and the awkwardness was compounded by the fact that I couldn't see. Being in a panic inducing situation and not being able to see your way out of it sucks. I would've left the room, shot down the hallway and hit the parking lot at a dead run, but I couldn't see the community crier sitting two feet in front of me, much less the door.

After that incident the appointment dragged on and on. Community crier ducked in and out of the room a couple times. The doctor came in, dilated my eyes, and then I was sent to the waiting room. After my eyes dilated a different person fetched me and put me in a different room to wait for the doctor. I didn't see the community crier after that. I have to go back next week. Hopefully the entire office will know not to ask if I have a baby.

I drove home, crying through my dilated eyes, and crashed into my safe spot on the couch. Through hazy, blurry eyes I read this: "There are fulcrum moments in life when you can feel your world pivot in a new direction. Everything that mattered doesn't. There is no adjustment period between the old and the new ... Here is how your life will go from now on." Thank you for that, Sloane Crosley.

8 comments:

  1. I was just thinking about that fulcrum moment in the bath today. (One of my thinking places.) How when the doctor said, "There is no easy way to say this..." my entire life changed, and starkly. I don't feel like this is some transitional period in my life- I feel like it is Before and After, two separate and distinct lives.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Community crier"?? I've never heard that before. What an awful experience.

    Agree with Annette. The moment I heard, "this is the heart right here, and I'm not seeing any activity..." my life was forever changed. I will like it will always be, "Before Stevie died" and "After Stevie died." The two periods of my life.

    <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. My life is also divided between 'before Jacob died' and 'after Jacob died'. I will never again be the person I was before Jacob died. Today my husband asked where my old chatty self was and I said, 'well I haven't been that way in a month' and I didn't even really realize that until he said it. I knew I didn't talk much, unless it was about Jacob, but it helped me see how he saw me.

    I went to the eye doctor just over 2 weeks after he died. I had laser eye surgery a year ago and missed an appointment in May since I needed an ultrasound due to light bleeding. Anyway, I told her I was there because I eyes were blurry and that I know that pregnancy can affect vision and I my baby was stillborn at 21 weeks on June 1. She seemed to be listening, until she said "Congratulations!". I just said "He died". She grimaced and said she was sorry.

    I couldn't see if she wrote it down on my chart and I assumed that she would tell the eye doctor before he saw me. When he did come in, he didn't seem to know so I told him. He asked if I was breastfeeding! I said no, that my baby died, and he was really apologetic. It just showed me that they didn't listen to me at all. It was hard enough to say that my baby was stillborn once, then to have to say it again, and then for them not to have listened to me.

    I'm sorry for your experience.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Last week I had lunch with someone whose son died at 28. She told me this: There is before your child dies and after. The rest of your life is now the after. There will be hard moments, but there will be okay moments too, and you will get through this.

    I don't really like living in the after.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What is with the eye doctor appointments? I went to my eye doctor yesterday and he asked when my last doctor's appointment was. I stuttered and stammered and said "Uh, err...well, uhh you mean regular doctor?" He said "Yes, the regular doctor or whatever doctor appointment you've had recently". I was frozen. I garbled out a partial sentence of something like "Well, I had a doctor appointment...well, I went to the ER, I was ...well, I had a baby. Then I could tell my eyes got really big and I said "She passed". I was like a deer in headlights. I was frozen in fear not knowing what to say. Would I make any sense...would I fall apart? Well, of course, I started to cry. He gave me a hug and told me how sorry he was and asked if I was talking to anybody about it. He was actually very sweet and told me to just take my time with it. Thank goodness I've been going there for 11 years. If it was a stranger and that happened, I would have felt stupid. I don't know why--it's reality and it's human. I had the same sort of thing at the dentist. I said I had a baby, but she died and I don't know if the lady heard me and just kept talking because she didn't want to deal with it or if she dind't hear me. The whole thing is so awkward. It's like a secret I don't want to keep.
    Hang in there...I understand what you are going through. We are in the worst club in the world--nobody wants to be a member, but we are forced into it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. it was the dentist with me. on new year's eve, about five weeks into the 'after', my tooth broke. new year's day found me at an emergency dental clinic. i had to fill in forms, and it asked if you were under a doctor's care for anything. i should have kept my mouth shut, but i can't ignore instructions like that. i asked the receptionist whether i really needed to fill in that, because it was really entirely irrelevant to everything. she said yes, really snottily. 'we DO need to know.' i told her. her eyes filled with horror. i think she regretted pushing me but by then it was too late and i was in tears.

    she did then let me go and sit somewhere more private to wait for my appointment. i think she felt guilty. i kind of feel bad for her now. she was working at 6pm new years' day, she'd probably been dealing with bastards all day. it wasn't her fault that my baby died.

    sometimes i think we should print leaflets. 'hello, i lost my baby. please don't make me talk about it out loud. the following paragraphs hold the basics. please don't ask me anything else unless it's absolutely essential.' wouldn't it make life easier?

    ReplyDelete
  7. What is with the eye doctor appointments? I went to my eye doctor yesterday and he asked when my last doctor's appointment was. I stuttered and stammered and said "Uh, err...well, uhh you mean regular doctor?" He said "Yes, the regular doctor or whatever doctor appointment you've had recently". I was frozen. I garbled out a partial sentence of something like "Well, I had a doctor appointment...well, I went to the ER, I was ...well, I had a baby. Then I could tell my eyes got really big and I said "She passed". I was like a deer in headlights. I was frozen in fear not knowing what to say. Would I make any sense...would I fall apart? Well, of course, I started to cry. He gave me a hug and told me how sorry he was and asked if I was talking to anybody about it. He was actually very sweet and told me to just take my time with it. Thank goodness I've been going there for 11 years. If it was a stranger and that happened, I would have felt stupid. I don't know why--it's reality and it's human. I had the same sort of thing at the dentist. I said I had a baby, but she died and I don't know if the lady heard me and just kept talking because she didn't want to deal with it or if she dind't hear me. The whole thing is so awkward. It's like a secret I don't want to keep.
    Hang in there...I understand what you are going through. We are in the worst club in the world--nobody wants to be a member, but we are forced into it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My life is also divided between 'before Jacob died' and 'after Jacob died'. I will never again be the person I was before Jacob died. Today my husband asked where my old chatty self was and I said, 'well I haven't been that way in a month' and I didn't even really realize that until he said it. I knew I didn't talk much, unless it was about Jacob, but it helped me see how he saw me.

    I went to the eye doctor just over 2 weeks after he died. I had laser eye surgery a year ago and missed an appointment in May since I needed an ultrasound due to light bleeding. Anyway, I told her I was there because I eyes were blurry and that I know that pregnancy can affect vision and I my baby was stillborn at 21 weeks on June 1. She seemed to be listening, until she said "Congratulations!". I just said "He died". She grimaced and said she was sorry.

    I couldn't see if she wrote it down on my chart and I assumed that she would tell the eye doctor before he saw me. When he did come in, he didn't seem to know so I told him. He asked if I was breastfeeding! I said no, that my baby died, and he was really apologetic. It just showed me that they didn't listen to me at all. It was hard enough to say that my baby was stillborn once, then to have to say it again, and then for them not to have listened to me.

    I'm sorry for your experience.

    ReplyDelete

thank you!

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