Just in case you’ve been on pins and needles wondering, let me say this first: I’m happy to report that yesterday’s egg retrieval procedure was a breeze, and I’m home resting comfortably now! I have a little bit of cramping and discomfort and my abdomen is swollen like I’m 3 months pregnant, but all of that should go away within the week.
You’d think that having undergone an 8-hour marathon surgery that removed some of my body parts, required that I be catheterized and ventilated with a breathing tube, and kept me in the hospital for three days, I’d be pretty relaxed about a 20-minute aspiration procedure performed under light sedation, but the mind has an amazing capacity to make absolutely no sense at all out of circumstances.
I was fairly relaxed in the waiting room, and even held it together as I was changing into the gown and hospital socks, but I was shaking and trembling by the time I was asked to lie on the surgical table. Part of my anxiety was due to the fact that there was a woman in the recovery room when I walked into the procedure area, who seemed upset and rated her pain an “8” on the universal hospital pain scale from “don’t know why I’m here” to “imminent death.” She also seemed like she was having a difficult time talking, which scared me pretty badly.
One amazing thing about the medical profession is that it considers even totally reasonable anxiety about a needle going into your ladybits to be more anxiety than you need to experience, so I was given sedation almost immediately. The anesthesiologist was a talkative, funny young guy who walked me through everything he was doing, and even gave me a little bit of numbing medication before he inserted my IV. I was blown away by this little courtesy because this was about my 5,000th IV in the last two months, and most of the time they just ram it in there, sometimes taking several minutes to get it done right.
Once the IV was in, the anesthesiologist picked up a little vial of clear medication and asked, “How often do you drink?”
“Like, alcohol?” I clarified. “I dunno, maybe a glass of wine a week these days. I mean, this isn’t college anymore.”
He laughed, hooked the vial to my IV and said, “You’re about to get hammered like it’s freshman year.”
Within 30 seconds, I was absolutely drunk. The anesthesiologist told me that it’s a drug called Versed, a potent type of hypnotic agent that’s often used to help patients relax before more powerful surgical anesthetics are used. At that point, I felt like I didn’t even need the second anesthetic. I was basically in a dream, feeling like I was falling asleep while getting the best backrub ever in a hot tub full of rosewater and love.
“They should sell this on the street,” I said, because I had absolutely no sense of decorum or appropriateness or any kind of mental filter once this drug was in my system.
Versed also causes amnesia, so I don’t remember much after that little quip. The fertility doctor came in and asked me to put my legs into the stirrups. I remember greeting him with the stupidest smile on my face. The anesthesiologist hooked me up to another syringe, this one full of a milky liquid called propofol.
“Bye-bye,” I said, like a giant idiot, because I was high as hell.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room. It was like waking up from a particularly deep nap – I felt groggy and a little sick, but I emerged from the mental fog quickly. It was nothing like my mastectomy, where I spent the five or six hours following the procedure drifting in and out of consciousness, waking up only to eat a little bit jello and then retch it back up 15 minutes later. With half an hour, I felt completely fine except for a little bit of crampiness, like a bad period.
The doctor came in while I was in recovery to let me know that they had gotten 15 healthy eggs, which means that even if I wind up totally infertile at the end of this whole ordeal, I can still get all Duggar family up in this bitch (“this bitch” being my womb) if I so choose.
The nurse came by, gave me some water and disconnected my IV, then told me I was cleared to go home. As I was changing back into my clothes (I’m really fashionable, so to this appointment I wore fuzzy Ugg boots, a fraternity t-shirt of dubious origin and a pair of pajama pants with lambs on them that say “It’s sheepy time”), I noticed that the woman who had been in the recovery room when I arrived was still there. I also realized that the “difficulty talking” that had frightened me earlier was actually because she was Russian and had an accent, and I felt like a moron.
“Good luck,” she said. “I hope you have a successful pregnancy!”
I had actually forgotten that most of the other people in the clinic were they because they were actively trying to conceive, not because they needed to freeze some eggs in order to keep them from getting poisoned to death by drugs with nicknames like “The Red Devil.” I didn’t want to correct her, so I just smiled and said, “You too.” After all, I hope I have a successful pregnancy, too – one day, a long time from now.