Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the category “Ob/Gyn”

A Moment In Time: The Daily Post

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Moment in Time.”

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I am a traveling doctor and I have a new job for a few months, in Fargo, North Dakota.  Brr.  Everyone is really nice here, and the facilities are awesome.  In the center of the hospital is an atrium that goes all the way up to the top floor, which is where I work.  The first time I leaned over to look, I got dizzy.  My next thought:  I gotta get a picture of that!  Then I thought:  I will probably drop my phone over the edge!  It took me two days to work up the nerve to take the pic, clutching the phone with both shaking hands, visions of the phone falling six stories and smashing into a patient at the bottom.  Good thing the phone had vision stabilization.

The Truth About The Myths Of Pregnancy

There is so much that your doctors don’t tell you about being pregnant, because they consider the information trivial and they just don’t have time in a busy clinic to go over little, normal stuff with you.

There are many things that your friends, family, and complete strangers WILL tell you.  A great deal of it is wrong.

The national hobby is scaring pregnant women.  As soon as someone finds out you are pregnant, they will immediately start telling you their worst horror stories, most of which are greatly exaggerated.  I find this strange, because if they found out you had, say, diabetes, they wouldn’t tell you horrible stories about having toes cut off, heart attacks, blindness, and arterial bypass grafts.  So why is it OK to say these things to pregnant women?  Actually it’s NOT.  But everyone will do it anyway.

People, usually other women, will tell you the stupidest, most ridiculous folktales about pregnancy.  You may, say, be reaching up to pull a book off a higher shelf, and a random person may walk up to you and say, “If you reach above your head, your baby will strangle.”  WTF?  That makes no sense at all.  And yet, I have gotten calls (usually at 3 AM) from sobbing mothers who have been convinced that getting soup out of the pantry has killed their baby.

If it sounds ridiculous, or impossible, it probably is.  Check with your doc if you’re concerned.  Just not at 3 AM, please.

They will also tell you that if you get in a swimming pool, the baby will drown.  Really?  Because that kid’s floating in a bag full of fluid right now.

They will tell you that if you eat pears, the baby will be affected somehow.

They will tell you if you have heartburn, the baby will have lots of hair.  How the hell can those be related?  Hint: they aren’t.

They will tell you that the heart rate can tell you the sex of the baby.  Bullshit.  The heart rate changes throughout the pregnancy.  Does that mean the sex of the baby keeps changing?  Uh, no.

They will tell you that whether you are “carrying the baby high or low ” determines the sex of the baby.  Not.

They will tell you about their horrible 72 hour labors.  They will tell you about how they felt everything in their C-section.  They will tell you about how they had surprise twins at the last minute.  They will tell you about a “dry birth”, whatever the hell that is.  Ignore these people.  They are not helping.  They are just trying to show off and make themselves look more important and special, that they survived these “horrific “situations.

Strangers will touch your belly.  Strangers will tell you they know the sex of the baby.  Strangers will tell you that you don’t look pregnant enough, that there is something wrong with the baby.  They will tell you that you look too big, and that you will have the baby early, or that there are secret twins in there.

News flash.  These people did not go to medical school.  They did not do a 4 year specialized residency.  They mostly just go to Walmart.  Apparently they bought their medical license there.

Do yourself a favor.  Do me a favor.  Ignore this crap.  Tell them to leave you alone.  They are NOT trying to help.  They are trying to scare you.  And it’s working.  Stop the madness.  Tell the back seat drivers to go bother someone else.  Or better yet, bother no one at all.

Sex Stuff Teens Should Know

I realized that my OB/Gyn self should make a post for the teens, since you are new at this stuff.

1. Yes, oral sex counts as sex.

2.  By law, your doctor can’t give any information about you to your parents, or anyone else, unless you sign a form saying it’s OK.

3. No, I will not be the one who tells your mom you’re pregnant.  You gotta tell her.  I don’t want to be around any flying bullets.

4.  Yes, you can get pregnant the first time.  And the second, and the third…

5. You can catch diseases having sex that can kill you.

6. There are some sexually transmitted diseases that can keep you from ever becoming a mom if they don’t get treated.

7. There is a safe vaccine that prevents cervical cancer and genital warts.  It’s almost 100% effective.  You can get it between ages 9-26.  Ask for it.  Ignore people who try to talk you out of it.

8. There is nothing shameful about giving up your baby for adoption.  If you are strong and smart enough to do it, you’re a hero.

9. Some states still require that we notify your parents if you are seeking an abortion.  Google your state laws. 

10. I don’t do abortions, but I won’t hate you, judge you, or stop seeing you if you have one.

11. Ask questions when you are talking to us.  We won’t think you’re silly, or slutty, or dumb.  We don’t judge and we will tell you the truth.

12.  If your friend told you something about sex that sounds crazy, it’s probably crazy.  Ask one of us.

13. Guys are dogs.  Especially guys your age.  They will screw anything that holds still long enough.  They will say anything to get laid.  Just sayin’.

14. If you are under 18, and the guy is over 18, they can be arrested for rape.  Even if you are OK with this, if your parents find out and call the cops, your guy will be arrested and will be a registered sex offender for life.  That is a life wrecker.

15. Do not lie about your age.

16. If you are in high school, any college-aged guy who wants to sleep with you is immature and shallow and will screw you over and dump you.  And if the guy is over thirty and he tries it, he is a FREAK.  And a pedophile.  He is not in love with you.  He might want to kill you and bury you in his basement.

17. I am totally not kidding about #16.

18. If it sounds like a bad idea, it probably is.

19. Parents are a pain in the butt sometimes, but they actually know about more than you think.  If they warn you about something, they are not trying to ruin your fun, they are trying to save your ass from horrible shit.  Same from us doctors.

20. 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.  That’s a LOT.  Be smart.  Don’t be one of them.  Watch your drug and alcohol intake around guys, especially ones you don’t know.

21. Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know, and never walk away from a drink without one of your friends watching it.  Date rape drugs are out there.  A lot.

22. Travel in packs.  Predators are more likely to go after you if you are alone.

23. IF YOU ARE RAPED, go to the hospital ER immediately.  Do not shower, bathe, wash your hands, clean your nails, douche, or change your clothes.  There is evidence against your attacker in all of those.

24. You can be raped by an acquaintance, a date, a friend, a boyfriend, or even a husband.  If you said no, and they made you, it’s rape.  The law supports you 100% on that.

25. Use condoms.  Carry them with you.  I know, blah blah blah, they’re no fun, guys don’t like them, whatever.  USE THEM.  They will protect you from getting pregnant, and from some really nasty diseases, some of which we can’t treat. 

26. A guy who brings his own condoms is a SMART, COOL, and CONFIDENT guy.

27. If we tell you not to have sex while we’re treating you, don’t.  You’ll catch whatever it is back again.  Make sure the guy got treated for the infection too.  Don’t have sex with him if he didn’t.

28. If you feel like you don’t trust the guy, you probably shouldn’t.

29. Don’t jump into having sex.  Once you start, it is very hard to stop.  Make sure your partner is someone you care for and trust if you’ve gotta do it.  If you start out having sex with someone you don’t care about, it will mess up your love life forever. 

30. Anyone who threatens to dump you if you won’t have sex sucks.  Dump them.

31. Sexting will screw up your life.  Once you send a naked picture out, it belongs to the whole world.  EVERYONE can find it and see it.  Like your parents.  Your minister.  Every guy in your school.  Once you put that pic out there, you can NEVER get it back.

32. I am totally also serious about #31.

33. Never EVER tell a stranger online your real life name or address, and no pictures.  His avatar may look like a hot high school guy, but if you don’t know him, he really might be some forty year-old guy with yellow teeth, or a baby raper who wants to tie you up in some building.

34. Never use sex to pay for drugs.  If you start that, you will totally be screwed, in more ways than one.  When you were a kid, did you really wanna grow up to be a crack ho?

35. Ask your doc about what to expect if this is your first visit.  Ask to see things and find out what we will do and why.

36. Using birth control does NOT mean you are a slut.  It means you’re smart as hell.

37. There are a million ways to get birth control that are free or very cheap.  Ask your doc; we really don’t want you to be pregnant at a young age and we will do ANYTHING to make sure you can afford and get birth control.

38. If you have unprotected sex and are worried about getting pregnant, call us within 72 hours of having sex and we can get you a pill to help keep you from getting pregnant.  And no, the medicine does NOT cause abortions.

39. Don’t be scared of your OB/Gyn.  We can help you with LOTS of stuff.  We’re not looking to bust you.  Believe it or not, we’re mostly pretty cool people.   You can tell because it doesn’t freak us out to talk about random sex stuff. We get paid to talk about it.

40. Telling ANYONE anything about you in our office is against the law unless you sign a form giving us permission.  They can fine us up to 10,000 dollars if we do tell anyone.  We really don’t want to throw away that kind of money.

41. Some sexually transmitted diseases must be reported to the health department, so they can find and treat your partners.  They do NOT call your parents.

42. Having sex with lots of people is a terrible idea.  Your chances of catching diseases, getting pregnant, and other bad things go way up.  You are considered high risk if you do.

43. If you are wondering if you might be gay, or you feel confused about that, we are happy to answer ANY questions you  have.  3% of the population is gay.  We take care of GLBT people all the time.  We don’t judge.  And we won’t try to “talk you out of it.”. If one of us does try to, find a new doctor.

44. If anyone, even a doctor or a coach or a teacher or someone you babysit for, says things about sex that make you nervous, or asks questions about your sex life that are creepy and none of their business, stay away from them.  If they continue, tell a parent or some other adult you trust.

45. If someone in your life is hurting you, abusing you, or having sex with you against your will, your OB/Gyn office has phone numbers on little pieces of paper that you can hide in your clothes.  Call the number, and someone will come pick you up right away, no questions asked, and put you in a secret safe place.

46. If you are pregnant and hiding it from everyone, DON’T.  If you have the baby in secret, DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT KILLING OR HIDING THE BABY.  Almost every state has a law that you can drop a baby off at a hospital without being arrested.  Don’t be a baby killer.  They’ll catch you, arrest you, put your picture in the paper, and put you in jail.

47. If you are pregnant, the earlier you find out and make plans, the better.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to make any decisions.

48.  If you plan to stay pregnant, find an OB doctor right away.  Most pregnant teens can get health care.  We will make sure you and the baby are growing safely.  You or the baby are more likely to die or get sick if you aren’t seeing a doctor.

49. Be honest with your doctor about drugs you are taking, even if they are illegal.  We are not your parents.  We are not the cops.  We’re not going to bust you.  We just want to help you get off the drugs if you need help.  If you are pregnant, there are special things to do for you and the baby that will help keep you from dying because of the drugs.

50. We are here for you to use, for information, help, birth control, advice, and laws dealing with the things you are dealing with.  Use us!  We are like Google for female stuff. 

51. Ask your friends about an OB/Gyn that they like.  Your mom should almost certainly be seeing one of us.  Chances are, she would rather take you than let something bad happen to you.

The Cynic’s Stages Of Pregnancy

1)  Thinking About Having a Baby:  has no effect on whether or not you will actually have one.  The universe will pregger you pretty much as it chooses,  (or not) any time that it chooses.  A general rule of thumb:  your chances of conceiving a pregnancy are inversely proportionate to how much you want to be pregnant.

2)  Conceiving a Pregnancy:  Did you really think I was going to give you instructions here?  I will say, standing on your head may be helpful.  If you need to have conception explained to you, call your mom.  And then enjoy watching her freak out.  Especially if you are older than forty.  The internet is jam full of very interesting videos (OK, porn) which will offer you limitless ideas for different approaches to conception.  Or gonorrhea.  You’re more likely to get gonorrhea.  Fact:  pregnancy IS a sexually transmitted disease.

3)  Finding Out:  First, you have to deal with the baffling intricacies of the pregnancy test.  Most people choose to pee on an average of at least 6 sticks before they accept the verdict.  The home pregnancy tests available over the counter are exactly as accurate as the much more expensive Doctor Ones.  I’d do them at home unless you are having problems.  You may get the dreaded “kinda pregnant” result with the little faint pale fuzzy line.  Just repeat in a week.  If still fuzzy, call your doc to get sorted out.

4)  The Response:  divides more or less into three camps, although they may intersect somewhat.  You will either be Team Ohhhhh Noooo, or you will be Team Yessssss, with Team Ambivalent hovering in between.

5) Telling Everyone:  may be as follows: The OMG So Excited Twitter FB LinkedIn Email Text Phone Call Billboard strategy, also affectionately known as The Drama Approach, b) telling your partner, your family and your close friends, also known as the Moderate Approach or c) telling only your partner until you hit 12 weeks and your risk of miscarriage is pretty much gone – which is a very smart approach.  Up to 1 in 3 early pregnancies may end in miscarriage – if something happens, do you really want to face the painful questions and watch your friends fumble to think of the right thing to say?  This is the Cautious Approach, and as an OB, I must say I recommend it.
6) Early Pregnancy: you will look like you are getting fat and letting yourself go instead of looking pregnant. It is possible that you may barf up your toenails your entire first trimester. Maybe longer. Your boobs will hurt really bad and you will want to assassinate your partner for merely dragging the bed sheet across your chest. Your refrigerator and your trash will smell so bad you will vomit, because your sense of smell becomes so acute.
7) Your OB: by now, you’ve probably found one. Your first visit will be interminable, you will be asked all sorts of embarrassing questions, and they will remove approximately half of your blood from your body for labs. The ultrasound is really cool, though.
8) Second trimester: you will actually start to show, and get a baby bump, thank goodness. Your raging hormones will chill out a little. You may actually feel almost normal. I will warn you, the “glow of pregnancy” is actually grease.
This is when strangers will start to touch your belly and ask questions. Because the national pastime is scaring pregnant women to death, they will give you wrong and scary advice, tell you horrible stories, and you will call your OB in tears multiple times. One major plus: you get to feel the baby moving. Sometimes your partner can’t feel it yet and gets really jealous. Another bonus: you get to find out the sex of the baby. Or you may argue vigorously with your partner about whether you are going to find out the sex of the baby.
9) Planning For Delivery: you will be terrified of the impending delivery until you are so uncomfortable near your due date that you no longer care – you just want that baby OUT. If you are gung-ho, you will most likely have read at least 8 books about pregnancy and delivery, all of which made you more terrified than you already were. If you are really intrepid, you may have created a birth plan, or you may have gotten a doula or a midwife to attend your delivery. This is all OK with us, but OBs have a cynical expression:  “Birth plan + doula = C-section.”. This is not because we want you to have one; we want you to be happy with your birth, but it seems that the universe always conspires to make those who really want a natural birth need a C-section, which sucks for us and for you.
10) Delivery: I won’t delve into this much because everyone’s experience is different. This is a good time to give yourself a pep talk about control. As in, you don’t have any. We happily try to accommodate you, but what we need to do in labor is completely dictated by the baby’s well-being and by what your body does, and you can’t control either. This will help you to accept that you will have no control over most of your parenting either, because kids are little people and they often have other ideas about how any given day may proceed. Also, during your delivery, your partner may or may not pass out.
11) Bringing baby home: a properly installed car seat is a must. Then there is that moment where you pull up your driveway with a whole new person and you look at each other and think, ” Holy crap, what did we just do?!? “. And so it begins…

How To Survive A Trip To Your Gyn

This post may seem somewhat redundant, and rather lengthy.  I am putting this out there because every day a search term such as “do you need to shave your legs to go to your gynecologist?” is the predominant search that brings people to my blog.  Obviously people are desperate for information.
And you men.  I see you about to click out of here.  Not so fast!  A truly wise man will absorb the wisdom here so he can a) sympathize with a woman when she is about go through this frightful experience and b) look like a totally cool guy who pays attention to women’s issues, which may get you laid.
So.  How to survive a visit to your Gyn in a few easy steps:
1)  Decide to make an appointment.  This may seem obvious, because we women can come up with two hundred thousand excuses not to go.  You need to go.  Go.  We may catch something early that will save your life!
2)  Make an appointment.  Do not overlook this important step, friends.  Making an appointment is NOT “just popping by because you were getting groceries up the street.”. Dropping in will make your Gyn grumpy.  And you don’t want a grumpy pants poking a speculum at you!
3)  Show UP for the appointment.  Otherwise you totally wasted steps 1 and 2, and you will be put in the Gynie Book of Shame.  (Just kidding.  We don’t have that book.  But if we did, you would TOTALLY be in it.)
4)  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Literally.  We don’t care if you shave your legs.  We won’t even NOTICE that you didn’t shave your legs.  Unless you apologize for not shaving, in which case we will feel obligated to look.  It’s not your legs we’re looking at, ladies.  Also, don’t fret that it’s been a long day and “you’re not that fresh down there.”. This is a concept invented by the feminine hygiene products corporations.  And they sold you on it, didn’t they??  Unless you smell like a Tibetan Yak after a goat milk bath, which would be exceedingly rare, we don’t notice that either.  Last, don’t attempt to scrub away any “odor” with toilet paper.  It rolls up into little balls that get all tangled up in your pubic hair, and we have to figure how to work around them without embarrassing you by telling you they are there.
5)  We don’t care what you’re wearing.  With ONE exception.  If you are wearing leather shoes or boots without socks, your feet STINK.  Trust me.  And that smell can render an exam room unusable for a few hours.  PLEASE wear socks (plus, you can wear them for your exam so your feet don’t get cold – we’re not looking at your feet either) with any footwear, and try to avoid that pair of stinky Sperry’s you’ve been wearing all last year.
6)  We want you to tell us anything that might affect your female health.  If you’re a lesbian, speak up.  There are some health issues and screenings that are different, believe it or not.  You being gay is just a piece of information we need.  We are discreet.  We are NOT going to out you.  We will not put up a billboard.  I PROMISE.
7)  Please feel free to tell us about any of your sexual practices and habits that you think might be “unusual”.  Trust me.  They’re not unusual.  Unless you’re having sex with llamas, in which case, we need to talk.  We need to know because there is knowledge that you need regarding certain things that we do.  We aren’t fishing for information so we can tell funny stories.  Again, I promise.
8)  When it’s time to get undressed, the nurse will tell you exactly what you need to do.  If you’re confused, please ask.  Many doctors will leave your clothes on until we chat, because we know it’s a little disarming to meet someone when you’re stark naked.  We may have you immediately undress when you arrive if we know you, because it saves time.  But if you prefer to leave your clothes on until the actual exam, then ask the nurse.
9)  You are totally not expected to dress up for us.  After all, it’s not your clothes we’re looking at.  We don’t care if you’re wearing your best underwear.  We aren’t even going to see it.  Clothes that have at least been washed in the past week would be nice though.
10) We can’t do a very good breast exam if you leave your bra on.
11) Equipment:  if you’re just having your yearly, and not having specific problems, we don’t need much.  The main object of terror is the speculum.  Your friends may describe it as “the duck” or “the clamp.”. It is not a duck.  It kinda looks like a duck’s beak, I guess.  But there will be no quacking of any kind.  Now, about the clamp thing.  It is NOT a clamp.  It is the opposite of a clamp.  We just use it to hold your vagina open enough so we can see your cervix up there.  If you are clamped by a speculum, we are doing something wrong.
12) Other equipment:  if we are doing a pap, all we should need is a tiny brush and a jar to swirl the brush in.  On occasion, a q-tip may be used.  None of these are scary.  There is no cutting or pinching or whatever Gothic fear you may have about what we are doing up there.  We just sweep (in a circular motion) with the little brush.
13) Special equipment.  If you are having a particular problem, we may need some different equipment.  A lot of the time, the nurse will have these terrifying-looking implements laid out on a tray.  Do not look at them and panic.  Most of the time, we aren’t going to use all of them.  They are just there in case.  If you want to know what one is for, ask.  Some patients prefer to know NOTHING about what is going to be done.  If so, just say so.  I will stop the discussion about the Kevorkian biopsy forceps immediately, and I will distract you by talking to you about your cat, or your kid getting expelled from school, or any other topic you care to introduce.  If you are too terrified to talk, I will talk.  I will talk your ear off.  Many times my patients say, ” aren’t you going to use that q-tip?”, to which I will reply, “I already did.  While we were talking.” Gynies learn to be very good talkers, because a distracted patient is a more relaxed patient.  On occasion, I have a patient laughing so hard that I tease them that they are about to cause my speculum to fly out in my lap.  Which has actually happened on a couple of occasions.  Which was very funny.
14) You can bring someone in with you if they help you to relax.  Just be warned, I am going to assume that if you don’t mind being naked in front of them, you don’t mind me discussing things in front of them.  If that is not true, please let me know when I walk into the room.
15) I love to teach people about their bodies.  Unless you’ve been to medical school, there are TONS of things I can tell you about which will be really cool to know.  I’ll start with one now: the female parts on the OUTSIDE of you, the parts anyone could see if they just looked down there are called the vulva.  Not the vagina.  The vagina is the part on the inside.  That’s the part that we have to put something in there to see.  That’s where the tampons go.  Vulva = outside.  If it itches, or has bumps on it, it’s probably your vulva.  Because you can see and feel that part.  Vagina = inside.  You’d have to stick something up in there to feel it.  Now you will look really really smart when you next talk to your Gynie, and she will be very impressed.
16) Your Gynie should notify you of your test results somehow, by mail, or a lot of offices are going to email or web sites.  The old “no news is good news” system does not let you know if your test might have been overlooked or lost.
17) Some of the rules of testing have been changed.  You may be told that you don’t need a pap every year.  Don’t worry.  Be happy.  Same deal with mammograms.
18) More bleeding is usually more worrisome than less bleeding.  At worst, less bleeding might mean pregnancy or menopause.  Increased bleeding can be any number of things, some of them not benign.
19) We like to quiz you on which you hate worse, your gynecologist or your dentist.  People seem to be divided on this.
20) Please pay us.  I know people think we are rich, but we are paying the nurses, the receptionist, the coders, the billers, the phone people, the transcriptionist, the schedulers, the ultrasonographers…  You get it.  And we’re paying their health insurance, their 401k, our staggeringly horrifying malpractice, and on, and on…
21) Don’t panic!  We want to make this easy for you.  Also, if the receptionist was mean to you, or you had to wait 5 hours, please tell us (nicely) – we need to know.
22) Please no drama.  No fights in the lobby about whether the guy with you is the father of your baby, or yelling on the phone to your old man because he’s in jail, fistfights – we’ve seen it all.  And calling security is such a bummer.
23) We keep your information secret.  Not just because it’s the right thing to do, it’s the law.  We get fined around $10,000 if we give out any information.  A corollary to this:  we give you a form when you come in where you list the people we can give your results to.  If the person is not on the list, whether they be your husband, your sister, your teenaged kid (we are only allowed to give out a minimum amount of information, even though they are minors.  Otherwise kids would be too scared to ask for birth control, or tests for diseases, or pregnancy tests), we can’t tell you anything.  Not even that the person is a patient here.  We’re not being jerks.  If they sign that Mom can get all results, then we’ll tell you.
24) You’ll feel so much better when you’re on your way out the door!  Granted, you will have the icky gel stuff leaking out of you for the rest of the day, but your health is totally worth it.  I trust we’ll see you soon!

Things Your Doctor Really Doesn’t Want To Hear

1.  It’s been 17 years since I seen a doctor.
2.  I brought you some articles to read from the internet.
3.  I have a list.
4.  Sorry about all the blood.
5.  Isn’t there just a pill for that?
6.  Why do I gotta pay my copay up front?  Don’t ya trust me?  (No)
7.  I just got back from Liberia.
8.  What do you mean, herpes?  I’m married!
9.  I think I lost something in there.
10. I’ve already seen every doctor in town.
11. It’s all a conspiracy by the medico-political establishment.
12.  Hell, no, I don’t vaccinate my kids!  They might get sick from the shots and y’all are just trying to make money off us.
13. No, I can’t pay my bill.  I just bought a new truck!
14. It smells like road kill down there!
15.  Yes, I do feel like killing someone!  Like, today!
16. Why did I have to wait 3 hours?  I was only an hour late!
17. I hate doctors.
18. I may as well just tell you, I’m not gonna take these.
19. Sorry, I’ve had diarrhea and been throwing up all day.  (Why the hell did you come in for your yearly physical?)
20.  I think my ex followed me into the waiting room.  I’ve got a restraining order, but he looks really pissed.
21. I had to bring my 3 year old.
22.  Can you test me for everything?  (What?  No!)
23. We’re going to need like 4 people to get my mom up on the table.
24. She’s pretty calm in the group home, but if you piss her off she bites.
25. The aliens have been texting through Morse code even through my safety hat.
26. My other girl I got knocked up is right up the hall.  Can you make sure they don’t see each other?
27. I don’t believe in deodorant.
28. I think I’ve got them crabs.
29. That drug is dangerous.  I know because I googled it.
30. Can you put something in my chart so I can sue my other doctor?
31. Can you get the guard to just take these shackles off, doc?
32.  Hey, what’s that?!  What are you doing?!
33.  I’m not asking for me, I’m asking for my friend.
34.  I pass out when I get pap smears.
35. Can you tell if my daughter is a virgin?
36. Can you please tell my husband I haven’t been cheating on him?
37. Can you take me off work?  I can’t stand up at the cashier’s desk, seeing as I’m 7 weeks pregnant.
38. (At 3AM) Naw, I’ve had this about 3 weeks now.
39. I want all natural bioidentical hormones.
40.  I won’t put any chemicals in my body.  (Doofus!  Your body is MADE out of chemicals.)
41. I know I’m allergic, but today I really had to have some catfish.  Can you get the swelling to go down before my job interview?
42. I don’t have a phone, but I’ll give you the number for the guys down the street.
43. My pimp said you’d get me fixed up.
44. Hey, doc.  Can I just get a few lortabs for the weekend?
45. I’m allergic to the stuff you just put on me.  I forgot to tell you.
46. I’m pretty sure I’ve got poison ivy down there.
47. While I’m here, can you look at my toenails?
48.  I know I don’t have an appointment, but I just went ahead and came.
49. No, I don’t have my insurance card.  Why would I need it?
50. No, I don’t really drink.  Just a case or so on the weekends.

A Momentary Lapse of Fear

I did something unheard of today.  I went ballistic.

I am a cautious person.  I have strong thoughts on many, many subjects, but I reveal my true nature to a few people whom I really trust.  My entire life, I have had trouble standing up for myself.  I was an only child, and I was so overtaken if a kid my age confronted me, I had nothing to say, because it was always a situation I hadn’t dealt with before.  Maybe if I’d had siblings, things might have been different.

Middle school crushed me.  I was unafraid to be who I was until then, even though I didn’t know how to argue, until seventh grade slammed my face into a wall made of an inconvenient truth:  if you don’t fit in, you are NO ONE.  I grew up in the south, where this point is made obvious even more than other locales.  The phrase “You ain’t from around here, are you?” tells you everything you need to know about where I grew up.

I spent the next two decades hiding.  The things that made me me, my intelligence, my wit, my loathing of “PC” and politics and politicians, my right to question authority, my right to reserve judgment about who my higher power was, my desire to wear “odd” clothing that expressed my personality, my streak of cynical darkness, were all things that were to be hidden at all costs.  In the south that’ll get you a cross burned in your yard, a hanging in a local tree, or, most likely, complete social ostracism.

I was who I was with safe friends, family, at concerts and art shows, but when I was dumped into “social” activities, I had to hide.  I learned to fake the southern accent that I deliberately chose not to pick up (I’m a great mimic), learned how to fake hug and say “How arrrrre yewwww?” in a fake sugar sweet accent, learned that the dictum about discussing politics and religion was my greatest ally.

Despite my mimicry, and some social standing as a physician, I have NEVER fit in.  I can think of two times in my life when I really did:  the year I spent doing research at the NIH in Bethesda with 50 top notch med students from around the country, and my residency in New Orleans, where people work to live and not live to work, where no one gives a shit if you dress odd and like to have a good time.

Why do I not fit?  I’ve always been really pretty, after my ugly duckling stint in middle school, I’m funny, I’m nice (I think), and now as a doctor I have money, status and power.  Why do I not fit in?  Because I am TOO DAMN SMART.  Too smart for my own good, as they say.  I am a certified genius.  My IQ testing was off the charts. I’m not bragging, because this is the one big trait that makes my life shit.  I just can’t hide that.  I can fake sweet, and I can “dress normal” and I can drag my speech out like dripping honey, but you just can’t hide intelligence.  Try as I might, I could never fake stupid.

Since they destroyed my soul in middle school, I have never been able to stand up for myself.  A childhood where I didn’t learn to argue, a fear of letting people know who I am and what I stand for, a fear that people won’t like me, a fear of burning bridges.  You see, most of the views I hold are unforgiveable in the rural south.

I don’t even complain in hotels, or restaurants, even when a complaint is warranted.  Afraid they’ll spit in my soup, not wanting to look like a bitch, afraid of causing a scene.  Afraid I’ll be seen as high maintenance, or as throwing my weight around as a doctor.

So my entire life, I’ve been a fake and a fucking coward.

A hypocrite.

My friend told me that I would learn to be more aggressive when I had a child.  That if I couldn’t do it for me, I could do it for them.  But that hasn’t come up yet.  My child hasn’t needed defending.  And I continue to hate myself for being afraid.

Today I was sitting in my hotel room taking physician call when my fire alarm went off.  There was no reason for it to.  I called the front desk and was told they were doing state mandated alarm testing and that “it would be pretty noisy all day.”  They told me there was nothing they could do.

It wasn’t just the alarm in the halls.  It was the actual  smoke detector in my room as well.  The shrieking was piercing, it made my eardrums fibrillate, it was incapacitating.  The desk said maintenance would be by in a bit.

A knock on my door.  Maintenance.  In desperation I’d used bandaids to tape a washcloth and a mouse pad over the alarm.  “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

I had finally hit my tipping point.  I was no longer at a loss for words.  I was no longer afraid to say them.

“I am a DOCTOR.  I am taking CALL.  I can not only not carry on a conversation on the phone, I cannot even hear it fucking RING.  Do you understand me?!?  This is UN.ACCEPT.ABLE.  FIX IT.  NOW.”

The maintenance man looked at his partner, and said, “I know, ma’am, I understand, ma’am.  We’ll try to do something, ma’am.”  And the way he looked at the other guy, I could tell he thought I was a damn bossy bitch.

And you know what?  I didn’t care.

And you know what else?  Those alarms that were supposed to be on most of the day?  They turned off a few minutes later, and they never came back on.

So I found my voice.  For a minute.  A small thing, I know.

And you know what else?  I might find the strength to do it again.  ‘Cause know what else?  It felt REEEEAL good, honey.

One Thousand Suckers Born Every Day

This week I hit an amazing milestone – over 1,000 followers! I wanted to make a very special post to commemorate this and it struck me – I don’t know what to say.

I never dreamed I would have such a following. I started this blog as a way to hone my writing skills while ranting about mundane issues that no one else wants to hear me rant about.

This blog was started several years ago, but it has only been active the last two. I began with the near-daily postings when I found myself in a soul-crushing job that, thanks to the wonders of computers and “paperless” technology, had had its productivity slowed to a screeching halt. So while I waited for my nurse to do the hour’s worth of computer processing necessary for each patient, I was sitting and staring at my laptop. Miserable. Angry. And suddenly I remembered this little blog thing I had.

The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. Funny stuff, indignant stuff, deep stuff, angry stuff. I learned how to add pictures – big advancement!

I’ve been taking a look back at my older posts and I would like to encourage you not to read them. They’re not very good. They’re not so well written, and they make me look like an irritable old curmudgeon. (Which I am, if a woman can be curmudgeonly).

As I wrote, I became aware of this little thing called “Freshly Pressed”. I had been nominated for a few other blogging awards, but this Freshly Pressed thing became my holy grail – my quest – a measure of my worthy blogitude. I never thought I would get it, but I kept writing. I even wrote a post about wanting to be freshly pressed.

I got Freshly Pressed. It was a blog about my daughter’s softball practice and you can find it here: https://beadstork.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/everybody-move-up/
It was personal to me – so much so that I cried while I read it to my husband. Maybe that showed. At any rate, It happened!

I was ecstatic. Wanted to tell everyone I knew. Didn’t. Told the people who count though. Then, the weirdest thing happened: I stopped writing. It seems that attaining my seemingly unattainable goal told my brain, “Welp, nothing more to do here.”

After nearly daily posts, months went by before I got back to it. I grant, I had just begun some fairly extensive traveling for work, which was a big adjustment, but I could have written. A lot of that work time was sent sitting in hotels waiting for a call from Labor and Delivery.

And suddenly, I wanted to write again. I felt embarrassed about neglecting my blog – I had put so much into it, and when success happened, I bailed. Reverse psychology.

But this week I hit it big. Over 1,000 followers! Holy crap! I will say, guys, that I wish you would comment a lot more. I love comments. It even says so right in my blog. I will answer them all.

I’ve been following my stats with some interest. Of course, my most popular post was the Freshly Pressed one. But I never suspected that this next post would make it so big.

I am a gynecologist, and I have written a number of posts on that subject, humorous or not, angry or not, or just plain boring. The MOST frequent search term BY FAR, the one that gets me multiple hits daily is some variant of “does my gynecologist care if I shave?” I wrote a post some time ago, the one that everyone on the net seems to read, which you can see here: https://beadstork.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/things-your-obgyn-never-tells-you/ If you don’t feel like reading the post, the answer is, no, we could care less if you don’t shave. We only notice that you didn’t shave if you say, “I’m sorry I didn’t shave.” Then, of course, we feel compelled to look. But we still don’t care.

My two favorite posts are silly, and they are pretty similar. They will be funny to you if you are a) a woman or b) have ever been involved with one. The first is funny things my patients have said to me: https://beadstork.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/things-my-patients-say-to-me/ and the second is about funny things that men have said to me: https://beadstork.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/things-that-men-say/ .

So. 1,000 followers. I am honored beyond belief. Looking back at some of my old posts, I’m not sure what on earth you see in there. But the presence of 1,000+ followers is sure a motivating factor to produce some writing of quality. So I am going to try my best. (Which may result in a drastically decreased number of postings).

So thank you for following! (Bows down multiple times). “I am not worthy! I am not worthy!” But I hope to be.

Birth A La Mode; No Cherry On Top

I miss the good old days. I admit, it’s hard to miss something you never actually witnessed, although that’s how things were when I was an infant.

No one who had a baby in the early sixties remembers giving birth. When women arrived in labor, their husbands were promptly dispatched to the waiting room, and the mothers were taken to a labor room.

They would not have signed a consent to give birth. The lawyers had not yet mucked up the entire medical system. What a laughable thing, signing a consent to give birth. What the hell happens if you refuse to sign the consent? That thing is coming out anyway; I can assure you of that.

On admission, they were administered a cocktail of at least two medicines: Demerol, a powerful painkiller, in doses calculated to make one gutter drunk, and scopolamine, also called the zombie drug, because if you give enough of it to someone, they are in a trance-like state and will almost certainly be suggestible and compliant with any orders. Scopolamine also has a powerful amnestic effect: given in sufficient doses, the recipient will remember virtually nothing from the time the drug was given.

Doctors back in the day tell me that those women were still awake; they still felt pain and yelled, but they did as they were told and didn’t remember a BIT of it. My mother remembers nothing about giving birth to me. And she doesn’t seem to regret that one bit. She told me, “Well, I had some contractions, so I did the laundry and vacuumed the house, and went in to the hospital. When I woke up 2 days later, I had a baby.”

That would be AWESOME. And I say this not because I am a narrow-minded misogynistic control freak, but because the pendulum has swung WAY too far in the other direction. The change began in the late 1960’s when the hippies decided that childbirth was a beautiful and natural experience and they wanted to live every bit of it. Grudgingly, the physicians agreed to allow the husbands to be present at the delivery. That meant no more doping the patient, so now they were dealing with a wide-awake very scared little person in massive pain, because they didn’t really do epidurals back then. And then they had to deal with the baby’s FATHER (I don’t say husband, because that was around the time of free love and marriage while procreating was optional at best).

I can just imagine the ambiance. The physicians at that time would still be all male, serious as all get out, and doing things the way they were done in the 1950’s: clinical and sterile and blue gowns and drapes and sterile instruments and obedient nurses all doing things very, very seriously.

And in the middle of all this would be the father of the baby (which we heretofore will refer to as the FOB, which is what we call the biological paternal unit, even on the chart, because it gets rid of all need to establish whether or not the patient is married, or if the guy in the room is indeed even the one who donated the DNA, or just some new guy). The FOB would be intoning things like, “Just stay groovy, baby. We want the little dude to have a peaced out aura. Like, so, you probably shouldn’t be screaming and stuff.” At which point, the woman in labor would probably do what all women in labor do at this point, and scream, “Shut the hell up, and get this damn thing out of me!” Hispanic women in labor scream this in Spanish. It is universal.

And then IT happened. After the major adjustment made by the obstetrical community, and the drastic move of allowing fathers in the birthing room, the slippery slope began. The logic being, well, if my FOB can’t be here, can my mom be in here? Which then extended to, well, if my husband or my mom can be in here, can they BOTH be in here?

And that is when stuff just fell all apart. It became anarchy. Allow me to describe a common scene when I enter a labor room: the patient is in the bed, hanging out comfortably with her epidural. Her boyfriend is in the bed with her. The mom and the mother-in-law are both there, because if HER mom can be there, then why can’t mine? Grandma is there too, over in the corner, reeking of gin. There is some young girl with low rise jeans and her thong hanging out sprawled in the recliner meant for the FOB, and her boyfriend is sitting on the armrest. We are not sure who she is but we think she might be the patient’s half-sister. It is explained with some giggling that the boyfriend in the bed is, well, not the FOB, because the FOB is in jail right now, but he didn’t do anything. There is someone’s toddler on the floor. No one is watching him; his diaper is dirty, and he is fondling the patient’s foley catheter bag.

When I enter the room, there are cries of, “Who’s that?” from the imbeciles who arrived late, and from those in the know, cries of “Hey doc, has she done dilated yet? Can we have this baby now? We done waited a long time!” I announce that I am going to examine the patient. Nobody moves. I pointedly say to the patient, “I am going to uncover you and check your cervix. Would you like anyone to step out?” The patient shakes her head. Over from the corner, where it emerges that the patient’s own father is lying on a sleeping bag on the floor, the father yells, “Naw, I done seen it before! Done changed her diapers all these years!” Again, no one steps out. There is a mass craning of necks (from the ones NOT passed out) and they all wait eagerly for the verdict. This is better than reality TV for them. We get more visitors yet on days when there is nothing good on cable, and they’ve already seen that episode of Duck Dynasty.

Now you may ask, why do you put up with this? The answers are multiple. First, this is now part of the birth culture. These people have already attended multiple other labors and would not understand why they were not allowed to hang out for this one too. Second, most of the time, they aren’t really hurting anything; they are just being picturesque and inappropriate. If they are really in the way. I will boot them out. If they are upsetting the patient in any way, we will boot them out, with the help of Security (or the police, if need be), and yes, I cannot begin to enumerate the number of times cops have been called to drag out feuding potential FOBs or belligerent family members.

The other reason for the tolerance is this. All these clowns seem to reduce the anxiety level of the patient and FOB by distracting them, and they are not staring at the baby monitors and pushing the nurse call button multiple times and yelling down the hall, “Hey, the baby’s heart beat done went down!”

Also, we are not nearly as tolerant at the births. After all, birth requires focus. And there can be complications of a birth, certainly, and you don’t want a room full of panicky bystanders with camcorders getting down every second of it. Most hospitals allow two guests at pushing time, usually the FOB and one of the moms. If the patient and family are well behaved, I may allow one more, so we have, say, the FOB, his mom, and the patient’s mom. I reserve the right, at any time to boot everyone out.

Everyone who has been shooed out into the hall for the pushing phase now gathers in the hall. Despite multiple warnings from the nurses, they ooze back out of the waiting room and materialize right outside the door. From out in the hall, we hear audible speculation on what is happening with each scream that is heard. Usually, there is a pool for the weight of the baby or the time of birth. Wagers are cast. I have literally exited the labor room to get something during the pushing process and had people who were pressed up against the door actually fall halfway into the room.

The plague of locusts is rousted one more time, hopefully timed so that the poor girl gets some privacy during the birth and her creative swearing and screaming may not be heard. I hand over the baby, give my congratulations, and head out to the desk to do the paperwork.

After the paperwork is done, I usually swing by the room to make sure everything is stable and mother and baby are well. At this point, all the starlings have come back to roost and are perched on every available semi-horizontal surface and playing Pass the Baby. The TV is blaring. Multiple cell phones are in use. Pictures of the baby and the bleary-eyed mother are being uploaded to every single social media site known to man. I can barely see or speak with my patient because the room is so full of family, friends, and random acquaintances who may have just wandered in.

So this is where we are. It is a far cry from the calm, controlled circumstances in the 1960’s, and all dignity pretty much seems gone from the process of birth. So, I feel I can hardly blamed for being nostalgic for the good old days, where the dads were out pacing the waiting room with cigars, and the moms were pliant and drugged to the gills. There is a happy medium somewhere between where we are now and where we were then. But since when does mob mentality settle for happy medium? We’re just another reality show.

Take Your Vitamins

Most of you are familiar, I believe, with the concept of vitamins. They are compounds that are essential (or at least damn useful) to the physical well-being and development of the organism taking them. Many of us take vitamins. Some take them religiously. They have been seen as possible cure-alls for almost everything. My husband superstitiously takes magadoses of Vitamin C whenever he feels like he is getting sick, which I think is a crock, but it probably won’t hurt him. The problem is, when I feel like I might be getting sick, he tries to foist them upon me too, and he becomes indignant when I refuse to take them. My dad, in the past, has dabbled with mega-doses of various vitamins and minerals. Usually when you take hyperdoses of vitamins, your body takes out what it needs, and dumps the rest into the toilet, wasting your investment

I will stand on my Doctor Soapbox for a moment, and remind my gentle readers that it is actually dangerous to take excessive doses of the ADEK vitamins (a mnemnotic for vitamins A, D, E, and K), which are the fat soluble vitamins, and they can actually hurt you in excess. It has been discovered that Vitamin E, taken in dosages higher than recommended, can cause heart problems.

Among other things, excessive vitamin A can cause birth defects in a fetus who is conceived when Mom is on megadoses. The acne medicine Accutane is actually a form of extremely high-dose Vitamin A, and they medically recommend abortion if you become pregnant while taking it – it often results in babies born without brains, which, needless to say, is an extremely undesirable outcome. Physicians are required not to prescribe Accutane for a female of childbearing age unless it is verified that she is on a reliable form of birth control. Accutane has been linked to suicide in some users. I don’t like Accutane. It is nasty stuff.

Then there are “medical vitamins”. These are not actually vitamins, but are very useful medications. Anything we medical types jokingly call “Vitamin” is usually a drug that gives immediate results, typically for a patient who is anxious, in need of immediate intervention, or a pain in the ass.

Vitamin K is a good one. There is an anesthetic drug out there called ketamine. Some of you may know of it. It was initially used as a veterinary anesthetic, because when they tested it on humans, it caused pretty intense hallucinations. It is seeing more widespread use now in people. My specialty uses it frequently to boost pain control in an awake patient who is having some discomfort during her c-section with a poorly functioning epidural. This results in the patient saying some pretty darn amusing things. I was actually given it during my c-section, because I had a hot spot in my epidural and was in a lot of pain. I watched the anesthesiologist squeeze something into my IV really fast and then I was out. When I awoke a few minutes later, the pain was gone, but all I could see were blue brains. Fortunately, I am not easily rattled and pretty much realized they had just dosed me with ketamine. The blue brains turned into blue triangles, and then I realized it was just the blue surgical drape that was placed over me. I couldn’t remember what I was doing for a minute. “Oh,” I thought, “I’m having a baby. Is it a normal delivery? No. It’s a c-section. What’s a c-section?” We also use it to quickly sedate uncooperative patients who need to undergo anesthesia. We hit them with something called a ketamine dart, usually in a sneak attack on the shoulder. Most typically this is used for patients who are unable to understand or cooperate, or who may be outright combative. I have a fairly large group of patients in a state facility who need annual pelvic and breast exams, but they may be violent or scared and unable to be awake for them. They are brought in, given a ketamine dart, and then their IV is placed after they are asleep. In one particularly funny episode, we were sedating a large and dangerous mentally handicapped female patient who struck fear and respect into everyone she came into contact with. She is missing one eye, and legend has it that she is so mean, she removed it herself. At any rate, she bites, spits, and hits anyone who comes near her, and she packs a mean wallop. Our anesthesiologist danced around her like a prizefighter, trying to sneak up on the side of the missing eye to administer the ketamine dart. She caught sight of him anyway, and administered a massive blow before he could duck away. She was finally successfully sedated, but not without a lot of expletives from the nurses and the anesthesiologist. Ketamine is also a street drug, prized for both its general anesthetic and its hallucinatory properties. On the street it is known as Special K.

Vitamin A is Ativan, which is a drug in the same class as valium and it works great on addled little old ladies who are in the hospital and causing a fuss. Typically the anxious patients are placed on this medication, or others in its class, as outpatients, to calm nervousness and the bad habit of calling the office daily with imaginary problems.

Vitamin H is Haldol, which is less commonly used, but extremely useful in the case of a violent or psychotic patient as it is a rapid acting antipsychotic and has an almost immediate sedating effect. We will frequently call for “a butt full of Haldol” for an out-of-control patient, because they aren’t going to cooperate with any pills given them, and pills wouldn’t act fast enough anyway. The key is to, well, corral them enough to pin them down and administer the aforementioned Haldol Butt Shot.

Vitamin V, or Versed, is also an antianxiety drug that is extremely potent. It is used for situations where a patient needs to remain conscious but sedated for a procedure, and combined with a good pain med, it keeps them calm and comfortable. Vitamin V is used routinely in the OR holding area, where the patients waiting for their surgery are almost certainly anxious, whether they seem so or not. Versed also has a powerful amnestic effect – that is to say, once you are given it, you will almost certainly not remember what transpires in the next few hours. This is handy, because the patients will not remember the ride back to the cold OR, the positioning on the table or preliminary and potentially frightening discussions about instruments or other such. Best of all, should a patient have an extremely rare consciousness experience under general anesthetia, which I understand is terrifying, they will probably not remember it. Having been given Versed myself, I can testify that the stuff is AWESOME.

Watching a patient being given Versed is a wonderful thing to see. At the bedside, in preop holding, your patient is trying to hold it together but it is obvious that they are tense and aprehensive. After your preop chat, where you address any final questions or concerns, it is nice to be able to then say to the patient, “Anesthesia is going to be coming in a couple of minutes, and they will be giving you the equivalent of at least 3 margueritas in your IV. Once you get that stuff, you will be grinning and telling me that you’re so psyched, you’re having surgery!” They look at you skeptically, and you hang around because it is so merciful and fun to see that stuff kick in. When anesthesia arrives with the syringe of Versed, you tell the patient, “Here come your margueritas!” They will eye their arm apprehensively and watch as the needle pushes the medicine into the IV. Then, about 30 seconds later, you can see them visibly relax, and almost sink into the bed. A lot of times they will look at you out of stoned eyes and slur, “Thish shtuff is AWESOME! I’m having Shurgery! YAY!” Gives me a kick every time! And a lot of times, they will tell you some REALLY funny things. One patient, after her Vitamin V, became convinced that the handsome CRNA was a doctor whom she needed to seduce and make her sugar daddy immediately. She pinched his ass repeatedly, making him yelp and jump every time he tried to check her vital signs. She kept offering him fascinating sexual favors, some of which are only available online, and he was so embarassed that he turned bright red, which was hysterical because he is normally an obnoxious and non-embarassable person.

My husband has a very funny history with Versed. After we married, for the first several years, he seemed to need a surgery almost every year, usually in November. For his first ever surgery, I accompanied him to the holding area because I am a doctor and I can. I also had some concerns. My husband, in his right mind, is a blabbermouth who cannot keep a secret even if he really means to, and has very little internal filter regarding whether something might be inappropriate to say. He has mortified me on numerous occasions. Rarely, I have seen him drunk, and am surprised he has not been arrested (or at least had the shit beat out of him) for some of the things he says. He loves women and doesn’t have any problems with discrimination against women, near as I can tell, but what he thinks is subtle sexual innuendo, out of his mouth, can be freaking AWFUL. No filter. Then he brightly looks around and says, “Oopsie! Was that my out loud voice?” I maintain that it is his out loud OINK.

At any rate, I had concerns about his behavior under the influence of Versed. It was entirely possible that he would began to disseminate details of our intimate personal lives, or the last awesome video he saw on YouTube, all of which would render me humiliated and my colleagues confused as to what kind of person would marry someone this awful. So I was there to police him, at least until he was wheeled back to the OR. Well, Vitamin V knocked him on his ass. I somehow kept him on track until they wheeled him back, but I am still worried about what he may have said on arrival to the operating room. The problem is, it may have been embarassing enough that my colleagues would not report it to me. I will never know.

After the surgery, my husband waxed lyrical about the amazing stuff they gave him on the way back to the OR. “I never understood how anybody could crave or be addicted to drugs, but I could sure see wanting more of THAT stuff!” He did remark, however, that he found it extremely disarming that he could remember nothing after the injection was given. That could be disturbing for a bona fide control freak, which he most certainly is. At any rate, despite that, he found the stuff quite enjoyable.

A year later, we were back in the holding area, getting ready for another surgery. My husband had told me that he was psyched, because he was looking forward to the Vitamin V, but that this time, he was DETERMINED not to forget events that followed its administration. I told him that was probably not possible. He insisted that his superior intellect would absolutely make memory of the event possible. I found this immensely reassuring, because, distracted by the work of recalling all events with his “superior intellect”, he would be unlikely to say anything inappropriate, because he would be focused on remembering everything around him. I also found this extremely amusing, because a fiendish plot was forming in my mind.

Prior to the administration of the Versed in the holding area, I pulled the CRNA, who is a friend of mine, aside. I explained to him the whole dislike of forgetfulness and loss of control thing, and about my husband’s determination to use his “superior intellect” to beat the amnesia. My friend, who is my friend because he catches onto things very quickly, smiled a sneaky Grinch-like smile at me. “I’m doubling the dose.” he told me. This did not concern me as it would not harm him – he was about to be put all the way to sleep. It would, however, be wicked funny as hell.

Sure enough, my friend loaded up enough Versed to drop a rhino and pushed it through my husband’s IV. He was WHACKED. I watched him ride back to the OR, pointing at objects on the way back to the operating room and slurring, “I’ll remember you DOOR and I’ll remember you WINNOW and I’ll remember you LADY and I’ll remember you DESK…”. Awesomesauce. Never laughed so damn hard in my whole life.

After the surgery, I asked him how his memory was. He was indignant, because somehow, the drug had overcome his superior intellect. He couldn’t understand it. Of course, at that point, the final stop in my plot arrived – I told him I had arranged to have him DOSED and he couldn’t have remembered his name if someone had asked for it at that point. He was downright incensed. And then he laughed. And laughed. Because he loves a good joke, even if it is on him.

So as a medical person, I must say, it is essential to remember your vitamins! And not just the ones that come in expensive bottles at the GNC…

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