Now completely de-boned!
(*overhead cyberpaging system*)
Ahem...urrr...is this thing on? Oh! (*feedback*). Ummm...well...if anyone finds a lost spine, could you let me know? I thought it was white but, now that I think about it, it must be a sort of yellow color. I think I lost it a couple of weeks ago at Dr. Meow's office, but it could also have been on the drive over, or the drive back. Maybe somewhere along the route? Anyway, if you see a yellowish spine, not very big, lying around anywhere in Oakland or San Francisco, I'd really love to have it back. It's not worth much but it has sentimental value. So if you find it, call me, OK?
If I could write poetry, I'd pen an Ode to My Missing Spine. Because it's gone. Just...vanished, with a quiet Pffft. (O, Spine! How I did take thee for granted.)
Until a few weeks ago, if questioned on the subject, I would have said that I was a give-me-the-bad-news-first kind of gal. Be prepared!, I would say to myself at every opportunity. Know what could go wrong. Pick at it, prod it. Think it through. Don't get taken by surprise. Dee-fense. Dee-fense.
This was how I managed every stressful life event from eighth-grade algebra tests to buying a house to receiving performance reviews. If I knew where the weak spot was, I could find a way to strengthen it, or work around it, or at least throw up some decorative screens. (Sometimes, to be perfectly honest, I even secretly reveled in bad news, simply because I had seen it coming.)
Since the day I picked up The Orange Folder, however, I haven't been able to locate even a little bit of balls (a little bit of ball? Nothing sounds right here.). I took The Folder home, fully intending to pick it up and dive in immediately, as I had with everything else on the subject--read every line twice, at least--but instead...instead...
Instead, I put it on the green-tiled coffee table and admired the contrasting colors for a week. When guests came one day, I moved it to the bedroom bookshelf. A few days later, still intending to pore over it thoroughly--any minute now, really--but beginning to chastise myself for being unusually chicken, I placed it on the kitchen table. Where it sat, untouched except for my one calendar-grabbing foray, for a good two weeks. Every time I went near it, something in my brain rebelled, telling me I should back away slowly, no sudden movements.
Other tasks would be unnecessarily invested with urgency--my brown heels for a nonexistent interview have a tiny scuff: must polish them now!--but I was becoming less and less inclined to open the damned Folder. Finally, two days ago, I managed it. Not because I had found my spine--nosiree, Bob--but simply as an act of self-flagellation. I was feeling so low about not having a job, not having a baby and not getting up the energy to do anything productive with my life that I figured I should just heap it on. More guilt-ridden misery, please! So I opened it up.
To be honest, The Folder wasn't quite as bad as I had anticipated. Not quite. Yes, in the "Informed Consent and Disclosure for In Vitro Fertilization" form, there were some doozies about OHSS and attendant ruptured cysts, severe vomiting, visual disturbances and shock, with the words "life-endangering" tossed in lightly for flavor, like a dash of aged balsamic. But the very next warning on the list was, "The performance of blood tests might result in discomfort at the time of venipuncture and a bruise developing at the needle site." Seriously: a full bullet point devoted to warning me about a blood-draw bruise. Kinda made the whole thing seem silly.
There is the "Informed Consent for the Administration of GNRH Agonists in Conjunction with Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation" form, which promises headaches and fatigue along with the teaser that it might kick in a little short-term memory loss, just for fun. The "Informed Consent for the Administration of Gonal F, Follistim, Fertinex, Repronex, Pergonal, Humagon, Metrodin and hCG" was even more entertaining: significant abdominal distention! Emotional mood swings! High-order multiples! Hypertension! An "unclear but possible link between the use of fertility drugs and ovarian cancer!" Hoo-boy, this is the good stuff.
But the form that really got to me in the way I had feared was the "Informed Consent and Disclosure for Cryopreservation of Embryos." In this one, The Patient and The Partner are asked to select from an array of options in case one of us dies: "In the event that the Patient should die first, Patient and Partner agree to the following disposition of the cryopreserved embryos...." Does the Partner want to have them destroyed, donate them to the physician for research or have them transferred to another uterus? And vice-versa--all are options. Bizarre, disturbing, sad options, but ones that need to be spelled out, I suppose.
We pondered briefly, but agreed that "The Survivor" should have unfettered rights to do with the embryos as he (or I) see fit. And we laughed a little over the "Disposition of embryos in the event of divorce" section: can you imagine how odd it would be to take custody of frozen 8-celled globs in exchange for, say, relinquishing your stake in the living room furniture? How strange it would feel to consider them simply property, to be divvied up like any other asset?
The process is still daunting to me--the thrice-daily injections, the side-effects, the horrible waiting and fearing and hoping--and my blasted spine is still missing. Will I be too big a wimp to make it through without a breakdown? Will I be pathetic, lying around whimpering and saying, "Woe is me"? Probably. But at least The Folder is no longer lying orangely on the table, gathering coffee rings and reproaching me.