Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The family way -- Part 6 -- What the answering machine told

Scroll down or click for Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.

It has become obvious, even to me, that it would take a writer with skills far exceeding my own to realistically impart the mixture of tension, fear, hope and longing that gripped the Curmudgeon household in those first days after Long Suffering Spouse and Younger Daughter returned from their errand of mercy in Indianapolis. So we must advance the narrative.

Older Daughter was obliged to get up off the couch and return to work on Monday. But she was not plunged immediately into the chaos of the pediatric emergency room. Her manager (who'd been through IVF herself) arranged a "light duty" schedule for Older Daughter. (The manager told Older Daughter that her own first try at IVF failed. She blamed the tugging and lifting and pulling and bending that an ER nurse has to do. "I was trying to be so careful," she told Older Daughter, "but when a crisis came I plunged right in like I was trained to do. I'm sure that's when I lost the child." She looked at Older Daughter sadly, but with respect. "You'd do the same thing. I know.")

I was never clear exactly what "light duty" involved, although exit interviews and telephone follow-ups were part of it. She was taking all sorts of medications throughout, including shots that her husband had to administer each morning, to help her "hold" the child.

Still, by Wednesday, Older Daughter was getting worried. She'd experienced some cramping. There were other symptoms, too, I suppose, but they just didn't register with me. I was having a hard enough time just coping with the concept that there might be some problem. Once that datum penetrated my thick skull all else went largely blank. We were at DEFCON 2 at least. But there was nothing -- nothing -- Long Suffering Spouse or I could do about it.

You know, when the saber tooth tiger roared into the mouth of the cave recently occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Troglodyte and their offspring, the adrenaline level of the pater familias would surge for a reason: The cave man would have that split second to decide to fight or flee, and he could use that hormone boost in support of either decision. My adrenaline was slopping over the sides of my mental bathtub, but I had no decision to make and neither fighting nor fleeing would make anything better.

This brings us to Thursday.

Long Suffering Spouse stayed late after school as usual, tutoring students, talking with a couple of colleagues, readying the classroom for the coming day.

It wasn't dark out yet -- the Sun lasts a little longer in mid-February in these latitudes than it did even a month before -- but it was near dusk and the blinds in the den were closed anyway.

Thus, she couldn't help but see, almost as soon as she got in the house, that the red message light was flashing on the phone.

She pressed the button.

It was Walgreen's.

Younger Daughter's prescription was now ready for pick-up.

"Younger Daughter?" thought Long Suffering Spouse. "What is the matter with her now?"

If you've been following this narrative, you know that Younger Daughter's health history has been pockmarked with illness. The stress of the situation with Older Daughter may have gotten to her, thought Long Suffering Spouse, as she reached for her cell phone.

Younger Daughter answered.

"What's the matter with you? What have you got?" Long Suffering Spouse was in no mood for idle pleasantries; she went straight to the heart of the matter.

"I'm not sick, Mom."

"Don't give me that, child. The pharmacy called. Your prescription is ready. What's wrong this time?"

"I'm not sick, Mom. It's just vitamins."

"Vitamins? You don't get vitamins from the pharmacy."

There was a long pause.

Then the sobbing started.

"Mom! The wrong daughter is pregnant!"

To be continued....

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i don't know what to say and trust me, that rarely happens... just wishing everyone all the best.

smiles, bee