Day 10, evening: Nurses run the gamut from mad grandma drug pusher,to aged and lazy ex-Vegas dancer-looking tart, to sexy librarian, to extremely bright Amy Adams with long, dark ringlets, to aging Cinderella to, well, everything in between. Some nurses are earnest to help you in every way, to remove your dinner tray and pick up your towels. Other nurses poke your arm purple, complain about their commute and groan audibly just being there doing their job. I guess it’s a gamble for them, behaving perfect and pure, or horrible and waiting to see if their patients remember their name tags and praise them or complain.
I will praise this last nurse who handled my NST. She was the brunette Amy Adams in every way, and she made me self-conscious of my current, croaky voice and bad skin. But she tucked me in, charmed me and put me at ease. She asked me my baby girl’s name and this time I wanted to share it: Dakota (probably). My little girl Dakota, not to be confused with the proposed crude oil pipeline or the northern states.
Why am I still here? Nurses who don’t know me ask why I’m here. I keep asking myself. Why? Why me? Why? Maybe I don’t know the full story. Maybe I don’t understand the brevity of the situation.
Dr. Roberts had said, when I asked her what would have happened fifty years ago, “neither of you would have made it.”
One nurse back home had said my blood pressure could have caused a stroke. Yeah, but this is me. I was a cross-country champ in high school. Why isn’t my pregnancy perfect? Why is pregnant Blake Lively walking around in heels and designer dresses looking amazing?
I didn’t take an ambien tonight which seemed fine at first but my head is racing. I was brushing my teeth and refilling the humidifier with water when the nurse came in and I struggled to fill my humidifier and talk with a toothbrush in my mouth an hour after I should have been asleep.
I keep thinking it’s very surreal to be here. I don’t feel like I exactly like it or should like it but I also don’t know if the alternative of being in my own new wonderful Taos Mesa home would be good either. I’d probably be arguing with Charley and stressing out about cat towers and little stupid things that married people only stress about when they don’t love each other (which we do) or when they’re immature idiots (which we are). So instead I’m enjoying Charley’s small window of sweet sobriety, talking numerous times a day and exchanging texts with smiles and hearts. I am his wife and I love him and I’m thankful to have this retreat- a nurse-saturated oasis- away from the desert I chose.
Day 11, 7am: 6:30am and Linda the RN wakes me to check my weight. I’d been dreaming I was at a Trump rally as a reporter and people were trying to shoot me and a couple of other reporters so we escaped behind the bleachers and a long black curtain until we found our cars and rode out through tall, Auschwitz-like wire gates. I felt like a Jew in WW2 but then I transformed into a spy probably because I also had a little black gun and was shooting back at the crazy crowd of murderous Trump supporters running after me. They all had yellow teeth and bad skin.
Instead of falling back to sleep I worry about my dad in Taos. He’s just shelled out thousands of dollars to help with the move and no one in my husband’s family was going to drive him to the Santa Fe Airport. It was a blow. And here was my husband being sober and sweet but how long would that last? I was lying in a pool of sweat so I change into another polka-dot hospital gown, but I still feel sweaty, enormous, bothered and annoyingly gross.
A little after 7 am, Linda brings in Susan the RN to switch from night to day shift. They talk about me for a couple of minutes.
“Did they draw your blood this morning?”
“Yes… No. Yesterday morning. Not this morning. Not yet.” It was 7am, it wasn’t a new day yet, it was still dark and who could possibly be doing things yet? I just want to sleep.
“Don’t fall into a depression,” a little voice keeps saying in the back of my head. “Not now. Don’t do it.” Just as I shake my head and worry about Charley and the animals, that little voice shakes its head and worries about me.
Allen from the lab is here to draw blood.