Thursday, March 4, 2010


i think i just need to talk a little. is that ok?
sometimes when i feel like torturing myself, i read all the reviews of new restaurants in philly. i know philly doesnt seem like anything special, but it is. or it was, to me. for starters, this was across the street from my house: i mean, really.
i was in CVS today and it made me nostalgic for the CVS a few blocks from my house where i used to walk the dog to, run in, get some milk, and run home. people would stop, want to pet baci, the leaves were turning and covering the sidewalks, there was a crispness in the air that we dont get in the south but maybe once or twice a year. or maybe it was just me, breathing differently. how lame is it that CVS triggers this for me?
i wrote this the sunday night in a fit of egocentric emotion (oh shit, are there any other kinds of emotions?) >>
it has been an emotional week, and i needed to get all this out somewhere, so here it is.
tuesday, i was at candice and jeremy's cooking dinner (like we do every week for LOST or mad men) when my best friend from grad school, amy (who lives in boston), called. i immediately picked up, because i had asked her to call me whenever she got a minute- she just had her first baby last friday. i was excited to hear all about natalie, and her birth, but was devastated when i actually heard the story. although both natalie and amy are both fine now, there was a little time there when amy didnt think they would be.
amy's blood pressure was a little high at her 39wk appt, so her doctor admitted her to monitor the baby and draw some labs. things didnt look too bad, but the doctor recommended an induction, so they started pitocin and after her cervix had dilated a little, they broke her water. the water had meconium staining (common complication, where baby actually poops a little before they are born- not that big of a deal, but it can be if baby aspirates it during their delivery) and after the bag was broken, the baby switched out of its good position to OP (sunny-side-up position, which can be very difficult to deliver vaginally). around this same time, amy started to spike a fever, which she assumed was related to a stomach bug her husband had a few days prior. these 3 things together prompted the doc to recommend a cesarean. keep in mind, amy is a labor and delivery nurse at this hospital, as well as a women's health nurse practitioner, so she was very aware of all of these things and was understandably disappointed about the need for the cesarean, but knowingly obliged. they took her in for her cesarean and had given her some pain meds (i forget, maybe percocet?) which caused her to be very nauseous and vomit throughout the cesarean. when natalie was delivered, amy barely got a peek at her before they took her to the NICU for monitoring (because of the meconium and fever). when amy was telling me all of this, i was thinking that this was the climax of the story, that all of this sounded so terrible and the story was over- it wasnt. after the delivery and surgery was complete, the doctors expected amy to stop bleeding and her uterus to start contracting back into shape. it didnt. this is called uterine atony and it is a very dangerous complication which can lead to hemorrhage, shock, and death. the doctors caught on that amys bleeding was not decreasing and started pushing medications through her IV to help her uterus contract. this was not working. at some point, they had to kick amy's husband and sister out of the room as things were becoming desperate. amy was freaking out, very sick and weak, and knew exactly what was happening to her. on top of all of this, she had been working the week before when one of her patients died on the table from atony and hemorrhage. the doctors started looking in her neck to place a central line (an IV into one of her carotid artery) and that's about all amy remembers. she woke up a few hours later, got to meet her daughter for the first time, but was still pretty out of it for a while. she got a blood transfusion, which gave her a lot more energy. Four days later she and natalie were released from the hospital and they are doing well.
i cant tell you how much amys story affected me. i was sobbing on the phone with her, imagining her on that table, when they had to kick her husband and sister out of the room, and how scared she must have been- especially because she knew exactly what was going on. she could have easily died on that table, women die like that every day, and i know that, as a clinician, but when its your friend, its the scariest thought in the world. you never think it will be your sweet friend, who has been waiting for this baby for years, who has done everything right in her life to get her to this point, and she could have died. its not fair that shit like this happens to the sweetest, most undeserving people in the world.
so that sucked. yeah. all i wanted to do was scoop her and natalie up and hold them forever, but she is hundreds of miles away. that was really hard for me.
i was feeling a bit better on wednesday and looking forward to wednesday night because we were invited to the "don't let me down" wrap party for dave to DJ and for me to "assist." i had pulled some strings with a friend and got to work as an extra on this movie a few weeks ago because i really wanted to see gwenyth paltrow. yes, i know how dorky and lame that is, but listen: i saw great expectations in the theater when i was 13 and it kinda changed my life. i saw everything, especially art, in a completely new light. i have (embarrassingly) loved her every since. the opportunity to see her in person was too much for me to pass up, so i was really excited to be an extra- but the bad part was, she wasnt even working that day so i didnt get to see her. so yeah, i was really excited about this wrap party. we went, she showed up, she danced all night and sang karaoke. i danced with her to journey. it was really really fun, and i loved getting to see her in a casual atmosphere with her guard down. i didnt expect her to stay for hours, but she did.
however, the next day i was pretty hungover and slept in too late to call in sick to work! friday, i did call into work because my allergies were really bothering me and i needed a day off. i had a lovely lunch with my friend tracy who is about to have a baby in the next couple of weeks. then shelby and i had a marathon shopping trip to tj maxx with baby michael (i got to carry him in her sling, which i loved).
when i finally checked my phone friday night, i got terrible news, though.
i had a few texts from jeremy that candice's pathology from her lumpectomy last week was back, and that it was positive for breast cancer. we had every expectation that it was a benign lump, considering her age, and that she had a normal biopsy a few years back. but when she had shown it to me, before she had it removed, i had a terrible feeling in my gut. it was strange, because everything in my head was saying the logical stuff about it- its firm, but mobile, its tender, it fluctuates through her cycle, shes only 31, etc. but yeah, my gut was saying something different, and i know she saw it in my face. my heart skipped a beat when i got the news, i immediately burst into tears and called jeremy for the full story. my crying wasnt about the fear that this will kill her, because even my gut is telling me it wont, it was more just sadness about how much shit i know her and jeremy are going to have to go through to get rid of this. i couldnt stop thinking about how scared jeremy was when she just got the lumpectomy, and how scared they both must be now that there are so many unknowns. this is forcing them to think really concretely about their future, whether they are expressing that or not. i went over to visit her last night for a bit, just to check on her and hug her and tell her that i know she is going to be okay. they seem to be doing as well as anyone would expect, and they are trying to stay really positive, especially until they know more about her diagnosis and plan.
all this really brought me to my knees friday night. all of this mortality. all of this bullshit. and on top of that, i felt like shit because my entire head seems to be filled with snot. all i could do was crawl into the fetal position and cry and say nonsensical things about mortality, and how this only ever happens to the really good people, and how im afraid for all of the people who i care about, and how sorry i felt for myself because i feel like im gonna be the last one left to mourn all of the people i love. i know how ridiculous all of that is, but i couldnt/cant help it. >>

its clear im overdue for my therapy session this week. crystal clear. guhhhh

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