This morning, Cait said, “I wonder what the disaster du jour will be.” I immediately told her to bite her tongue, though I secretly worried that she might be right as it seemed like I was headed for yet another sinus infection. My throat has been quite sore and I woke up today so dehydrated that I felt like an old book whose pages crumble into dust as you leaf through them. Those of you who share my membership in the Bloodletters R’ Us club know that’s never a good sign. Indeed, when my favorite tech (the one that I will allow to draw blood from anywhere – if he said, “Your earlobe looks good today,” I’d say “Go for it!” confident that he could remove the needed sample painlessly) worked on my elbow, it required so much poking and prodding that I had to call Cait on my way to work to report it. On the good news side, our favorite nurse reported that she was able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reserved for us on our day off next week, and she’d confirm the time when she called with the results of the beta.
As usual, she didn’t call. The results line is open from 2:00 –3:00 for patients to call in, but the nurses usually call you. In the beginning our nurse was pretty good about calling the number I specified, but about six weeks into the merry-go-round she started calling numbers seemingly at random. If I asked to be called at work, she’d call the cell. Ask for the cell, get a message on the answering machine. I finally gave up asking. Now that the beta is negative, she sometimes doesn’t even call at all. Since I have other doctor’s appointments to schedule, I decided to call in for my results. Luck was with me and she was the nurse on duty.
“Oh, hi, it’s me,” I said, sure to specify my last name, as a few weeks before she’d brightly told me that my estradiol was up and my FSH was right where we wanted it – and then realized I was a different Jennifer. “Did Dr. Reserved give you – ”
She interrupted me. “You’re not going to like this. It’s not good.” “Wh-what is it?” I stammered, caught off guard as I always am by the land mines in this lousy journey. “34.”
Unwilling to acknowledge the nightmarish news she’d just revealed, I returned to my original line of inquiry. “Well, anyway, what time is the appointment next Friday.” The nurse, hereafter known as Cheery, wouldn’t let me get away with that. “That’s all changed now. We’ll have to find out what Dr. Baltimore recommends. But I’m having the lab run the test again just to be sure. I’ll call you back as soon as I hear.”
Shattered, I began walking toward my 3:15 meeting, and then turned around to get a Coke and some Girl Scout cookies. I mean, what’s the good of giving up caffeine yet again if this shit keeps happening?! In the meeting, I told my incredibly supportive co-workers about the phone call and tried to integrate this turn of events into my consciousness, with little success.
Ten minutes into the meeting, my phone buzzed. I grabbed it and ran into the hall. As soon as I answered, Cheery said, “You’re going to kill me. Did they have trouble getting blood from you this morning?” Feeling the wound on my elbow, I croaked, “Yeah.” She replied, “It was a dilution error. They didn’t have enough blood. It’s less than 2. You’re fine. And Dr. Reserved will see you at 8:15 next Friday.”
About an hour ago, my heartbeat finally returned to normal.