Or, why I needed to get the hell out of there. Warning: long, self-indulgent, probably incomprehensible. I promised myself I'd write it down, and it seemed like I should get it out before the new kind of crazy that PIO brings...
... yes, they put me on just half a cc, and I just got some bloodstains on a Helmsley washrag that I was using as a hot compress afterwards.
6:30: Wake up.
7:15: Get in rental car and drive north 20 miles to Cornell satellite monitoring location.
8:00: Am stabbed in arm by nice and skillful phlebotomist. She notices the pinkness from the rubbery bandage she put on my arm two days before and just puts white tape over the blotting gauze pad.
8:15: Scanned by unpleasant tech, who isn't even wearing scrubs, let alone a white coat. She's silent as she scans, since she's taking her own notes. (Bad news for the follicles: the 15 became a 17, while the 12's languished at 12.5 to 13. That was the day my dominant follicle fears were strongest.)
8:30: Get lost in bowels of chintzy little suburban hospital looking for someplace to sit for an hour. End up in the lobby; call Beaker to tell him the bad news. Wonder if I should call Dr. Data to talk about canceling. Beaker advises waiting.
9:30 Start looking for the pharmacy that's supposed to have my next stash of stims called in. (I asked them to order less initially, since last time was so fast and so tapered -- ha! This is my second refill -- the first, Freedom let me down by a day, and I wasn't willing to risk that again. One of the nurses at Cornell suggested this place, which sounds from its name like it should be in or adjacent to the chintzy little suburban hospital. In fact, it's 3 miles away. The new Maps features on the iPhone are helpful.)
9:55 Find the pharmacy. Gasp to learn that the Gonal is twice as much as it is from Freedom. And they don't take Amex, which screws both my frequent-flyer-mile collection and my weak efforts to keep medical expenses separate.
10:30 Arrive back at my grandmother's apartment. Collapse -- I have spent much of the morning in adrenaline hyperness. The apartment is as empty as it gets. Marina's working and my grandmother is asleep. I am grateful for the quiet. It must be after Ricky's "lunch break"; he comes bursting into the apartment every couple of hours, but not now.
12:30 Wake up. My grandmother is shuffling and banging her walker to the bathroom. Piteous groans follow. Call Beaker again; commiserate, and continue the discussion of why he and Miss T. shouldn't come out.
1:00 Surf on the iPhone to try to see if anyone's responded to my broadcast pleas for help with the signing-out-post-retrieval situation. Compulsively return to IVFConnections, where 42-year-old patients of Dr. Data's with high FSH are stimming better than I am.
1:30 Decide that I can still get in some time at the library, the one with no cellphone reception, before I'm at risk of getting my instruction call. And I'm even awake enough to work. But I need to eat first, and my grandmother's in the bathroom again. Keep surfing on the phone until she's back in her room.
2:00 Find some lunch.
2:15 Marina returns. She's in scrubs. Her new client is a diabetic who's just gone blind and cries all the time. And she needs to talk about how awful my uncle is. FOR TWO HOURS. There goes my work time, but it's the least I can do in return for their letting me stay there for 9 days, right?
He lied to her about his continued heavy pot usage before they got married. He didn't tell her about the hep B, or the herpes, until she noticed symptoms (abdominal pain and genital warts, respectively), got him Medicaid through people she "knows," and went with him to the doctor. He's ordered her around in front of her daughter in ways she found humiliating. She's angry at his volatility, his immaturity, his rudeness. Most of all, though, by his lack of ambition for himself and his need to hold her ambition back.
My grandmother has beeen instrumental in Marina's finding out the truth about lots of things -- e.g., Ricky often goes into her room to toke -- including what happened when Ricky got kicked out of his cruise ship gigs. He'd told me an incoherent story about getting beaten up in Puerto Rico, left unconscious with drugs planted on him, and hence blacklisted from the industry. Appears it was much more prosaic: a random drug test came back positive for coke.
She could be working more; she thinks my grandmother would be fine -- and I believe her -- but Ricky won't let her work more than half-time or so, and insists on "providing" transportation, even though her agency works hard to find her jobs she can get to on public transportation.
I think part of why she explodes so hard at me whenever I'm there is that she's not willing to tell her own friends or her family any of this: she's ashamed of him and ashamed of her own choice to marry him. Yes, she has the passport. Yes, she feels an honest obligation to my grandmother. But Ricky himself? She knows he'll need someone to take care of him, and this is a real enough marriage that she says she -- and even her family -- will do it.
But she rues his craziness, and his blaming it on his father and his sister and giving up, and his continual giving in to his own impulsiveness and anger, and his choice to self-medicate.
Oh -- the debt situation? Sounds like he's got maybe 20K on the cards. Holy fuck.
4:30 Go out to the car and call Beaker. Direct angst transfer.
4:45 Go to grocery to pick up vegetables -- the original excuse for leaving the apartment. Ricky won't eat them, but Marina and I will.
5:30 The TV goes on, as it does every evening, too loud for any conversation. I twitch at the weather reports: will it be snowing the next morning?
6:00 Dinner. I can't help but notice when Ricky's touching the dishes. I know now that Marina's nagging him about cleanliness, and her trying to stop him from, say, taking clean dishes out of the dishwasher, are because he often licks a finger before picking things up or touching them.
I am ashamed of this squeamishness, ashamed that I have been trying to remember if I've been vaccinated against hep B (I think not), and if Miss T. has (I think so).
6:15 My instruction call. Keep taking lots of drugs, and be sure you come into Manhattan the next morning, which I was already going to do.
6:45 Ricky disappears to sleep. Nanna settles in to her chair and continues reading War and Peace. (She's enjoying it, but the book is too heavy and she's annoyed by the French being left untranslated.) I sit and knit.
7:30 My grandmother apologizes for how little she has to talk about. "I've become a zero. I don't do anything." Then goes on to tell me that it's getting hard for her to read newsprint and fine type. She knows it's the cataracts, but she won't ever get them operated on. "I'm afraid."
8:00 Marina finishes cleaning. She comes out and shows me the disclosure form for the loan her daughter's taking out with a major national bank for her daughter's college expenses. It almost makes me want to cry.
$8000 at 10%, amortized over 20 years, starting repaying in 2011 -- no mention of the possibility of deferment. The total of the payments is over 28 thousand. It's like a little baby mortgage. She's not eligible for Federal loans because she's not a citizen. Her scholarship only covers tuition. Marina seems to think that this is for one semester. If so, then the remaining charges appear to be at least twice Granolan's.
Marina has resolved herself to the loan; her actual question is why the college itself has tacked on some sort of finance charge. I suspect it's one of those "If you pay all now, fine; otherwise we'll assume you want the installment plan and bill you a little extra" deals, but the term bill she shows me doesn't explain the details. I decide to not try to explain, since there's no documentation supporting my theory and she's going to call the billing office no matter what I tell her, but I feel like I'm abdicating.
9:30 Start packing my stuff. I am fantasizing intensely about how pleasant it will be to have my own little space, with my own damn bathroom, at the Helmsley.
10:00 Drugs. I am going to my grandmother's room to do them -- just like Ricky! -- since my grandfather's bed provides a flat surface to work on, and I can get a little bit of privacy there -- Nanna is out in the living still, and Ricky and Marina are asleep in my old room. There's much more room for sub-q shots in my post baby belly, and I've been lucky about bruises. However, I'm out of the needles that came with the Lupron kit and the generic insulin needles Freedom sent are about as sharp as pencils. (Beaker, with no body fat, tries to get 31 gauge, half inch for his...)
10:15 Nanna gets up out of her chair. Says she'll say goodbye the next morning. "I wake up early, even if I don't get up. Come in and say goodbye to me then." She trundles off to the bathroom; her nighttime routine takes half an hour or so, with many groans and a good 20 minutes of handwashing.
10:45 I brush my teeth.
??:?? Fall asleep after much tossing and turning and listening to others' snores. My worry focus has shifted to the difficulty of driving into the city the next day: will I miss Manhattan coming off the Triboro, like I always do?
4:15 Ricky wakes up for his early call. Loudly. I pretend to be asleep (I'm in the living room, so he can't avoid me on his way out).
6:00 I wake up and shower. Go in to say good-bye to Nanna. She tells me she'll pray for us. I don't remind her that the Pope is desperately opposed to what we're doing.
7:00 Pack the car and leave. The drive is fine. The sky is clear and the roads are dry. Parking is fine. And Dr. S. is even vaguely encouraging at the ultrasound (ha! ha!).