Fair warning- This is an ultra-witchy post (and a long one at that). I’m being the equivalent of a mean girl in high school…I know it…and I don’t care. I need to vent.
The nurses and I have built a lot of good will over the last couple of weeks. So, when one of them “accidentally” took the second bed out of my room a few days ago, I knew that it was a favor to me. My instinct was confirmed when I found out from the charge nurse that night that there were only three empty spots in the antepartum area, two admissions were coming in, and because my room had no extra bed in it…I would be the last person on this ward without a roommate. I also knew that my blissful no-roommate situation could not last forever. And sure enough, a couple of nights ago, a new bed was wheeled into my room, with a new roommate following about an hour later.
For those of you keeping track, this is Roommate Number 3 for me. My first roommate was very nice but very religious, and it was difficult for me to transition from having my own room in labor and delivery to sharing a room with someone with constant visitors. (FYI- Roommate number 1 gave birth, via emergency cesarean, to a healthy baby girl on Monday…at 34 weeks! I couldn’t be happier for her). Roommate Number 2 was the Nightmare Roommate who smoked, drank alcohol and refused to listen to doctors’ orders while she was here. She checked herself out against doctors’ orders a week and a half ago, after her amniocentesis showed that she needed to stay in the hospital because she and/or the baby would likely not survive labor without extreme assistance. I’m not sure what has happened with Roommate Number 2. I just pray that, despite her stupidity and pig-headedness, everything works out okay for her and her baby.
Roommate Number 3 is just as entertaining/upsetting/ridiculous as Roommate Number 2, just in a completely different way. When she and her husband came in, they rushed in like a loud, belching whirlwind. Yes…they both belch…all the time. Belching is one of my biggest pet peeves. Every time I hear a belch, I feel a little bit of throw-up in my throat. After belch number 6 or so, I started clearing my throat each time…hoping they would get the message. As I am typing this, three days later, my roommate is letting out belch 600 or so…apparently they did not get the message.
In addition to being a belcher, Roommate Number 3 (hereinafter #3) is a very loud woman, both in her demeanor and the volume of her voice. She is 37 years-old, but she reminds me very much of a child…a child that was never taught about using her “inside voice.” I’ve tried earplugs and ear buds/headphones, and I can hear her conversations through both.
#3 has been admitted to this hospital four times now. She doesn’t check herself out (like Roommate 2 used to), but she keeps being discharged after one or two days because she doesn’t really have anything wrong with her…at least not objectively. She comes in because she says her blood pressure is 200/150 (or there about) and that she can’t feel her feet or legs or arms, etc. Reports like that have to be taken very seriously. But, when she gets to the hospital, her blood pressure is always in normal range and her symptoms don’t match up with any problems she could have. It is very curious watching #3 and her husband. They clearly want something to be wrong. They keep suggesting to the doctors that the baby should be taken out, even though #3 is only 31 weeks pregnant, to “prevent” any problems. They truly seem to believe that there is something serious going on, and yet, when they are told that tests are coming back normal or that they will likely get to go home soon, they both start offering excuses as to why the tests are reading “false normal.” Once the doctors eliminate one problem, she develops new symptoms that they have to check out. And the whole time, in spite of the doctors assuring them that everything is fine, they keep telling their family on the phone that she won’t be let out until she has the baby.
They put #3 on the same blood pressure medication that they prescribed for me to stop my contractions. The medicine didn’t work on my contractions and it made my blood pressure a little too low, but it is really a benign medicine compared to the others I’ve been on here. #3’s next blood pressure reading, after taking that medicine, was in the low-normal range. Instead of being thrilled, her husband immediately looked online to see what the side effects of the medication are. She had just gotten done telling the nurse that she felt good, but as soon as he read the side effects, she had all of them. Now they are asking the doctor to take her off that medication. It’s strange to me…and frustrating. I WISH I could go home right now, and #3 seems determined to do what she can to NOT go home.
#3 is also a “symptom-stealer.” I think most of us who have been through IF know what I am talking about. You talk to a friend or acquaintance about some health issue/symptom you are experiencing and, the next thing you know, they are telling you and everyone else that they have the same thing. I don’t think most people do this on purpose…I think they just become aware of health issues they weren’t previously thinking about and they start molding their own previously unnoticed symptoms into the new health issue. Still, if you’ve been through this…it’s a bit annoying. (My mother once told me, when I was complaining about fainting during my first trimester, that she and my brother were having the same exact problem. REALLY?!? Pregnancy?!?). Anyways, #3 is a symptom-stealer. When the doctor decided I should spend some time in the whirlpool yesterday, as my contractions were holding steady at 3 minutes apart for a few hours and then increased to 2 minutes apart, #3 asked if she could go in too. The doctor explained that they don’t allow antepartum patients to use the whirlpool, that it is just for women in labor, but that I was a bit of an exception because I technically was in labor for the last 2 ½ weeks. The next time the nurse came in the room to check #3’s vitals, #3 told the nurse that she was having contractions and was pretty sure she was in labor. Unfortunately for #3, a non-stress test quickly dispelled that possibility, as you can’t really “fake” labor. Again, I feel like I should be sympathetic with #3, feeling bad that she has some psychological issue that causes her to do these things. But instead, I’m just annoyed (I’m blaming it on the hormones and contractions…but I might just be mean).
Speaking of psychological issues, #3 is currently talking to a visitor about her teenage daughter’s “cutting” and threats of suicide. #3 is going on and on about how the issue is just that the daughter likes attention and always has to try to be the center of attention no matter what. Pot…meet kettle. She also is hypothesizing that her daughter may have a slight case of possession by Satan. I can’t even get started on this…or I am going to end up with #3’s high blood pressure.
Another strange thing about #3 and her family dynamic is the “story of their miracle baby.” #3’s husband was told seven years ago that he is not able to get anyone pregnant. They went through testing for infertility treatments and were told they would have to use donor sperm because #3’s husband had no live sperm and never would. They decided not to go forward with infertility treatments, as #3 already had two teenage children from a prior marriage. #3’s husband is in the military and is out of the country for long periods of time, only getting one to two week breaks now and then. #3 explained to me that they were very surprised when she became pregnant while her husband was away. She said that they must have gotten pregnant while he was on a break, although the doctor disagrees with the due date. The due date the doctor is using requires that the baby was conceived when #3’s sterile husband was overseas. But, #3 and her husband agree that this baby must have been a miracle conception and that the doctors are just wrong about the due date. I suppose it is possible. I don’t know when he was on leave and miracles happen all the time. I shouldn’t be so cynical…but I am. I think I’ve watched too many Maury shows over the last couple of weeks.
Finally (and then I will stop my Roommate #3 rant), #3 refuses to turn off her cellphone ringer…EVER! I am getting no sleep at night because of #3’s snoring and the cellphone going off every couple of hours (and, to be fair, the stupid contractions). #3 always picks up the phone and starts a conversation…even at 3 a.m.! I hear the same conversation over, and over, and over…all day long. That is annoying enough…add to it that a good portion of the conversation is lies or exaggerations, and I’ve about had it. At first, the ridiculousness of #3’s ringtones made it bearable. Her ringtones are various elevator music versions of gangster rap songs. But, I have all the ringtones memorized now and they no longer make me want to break into a ridiculous spoof of club dancing…now I just want to jam that phone where the sun doesn’t shine and see if it makes #3 want to dance. The best is when #3 is snoring really loudly for an hour or two, then the stupid phone rings, and she answers it and says “I was just resting my eyes. I can’t really sleep here.” UGH!!!
So, I finish this post with an interesting tidbit of information that the nurse just gave me, while I was typing this. I have tried really hard not to ask for my own room or for a different roommate. I’ve told myself that they won’t keep #3 here very long and, even if they do, I might get out late next week or earlier if the baby comes earlier. I can survive anything for a finite amount of time. The Prince has been begging me to ask for a private room, as he’s not a huge #3 fan either. But I didn’t do it. I didn’t want to be “that” patient. So…imagine my surprise (and delight) when the nurse just informed me that #3 asked to be moved to a different room…not because she has a problem with me, but because she wants a bed next to a window and would prefer a private room so she can “get more sleep.” I laughed out loud when the nurse told me that. I couldn’t hold it in…I just laughed and laughed. I told the nurse I thought it was a great idea for them to move #3 and that if they needed more of a reason to accommodate her request, I would certainly be willing to share my own concerns. I can only hope it doesn’t come to that, because if this post is any indication…I am going to come off as a serious B-word if I’m asked about my opinion on the matter.