Friday, July 11, 2008

science is scary

still quiet on the baby front. too quiet in fact. so quiet that we spent some time getting to know the Ob triage at BWI...

at this point in the pregnancy, now overdue(did you hear that, baby? OVERDUE.), we(mostly lb) are supposed to be extra vigilant about the baby's condition. like we're watching for terrorists. so being the red-blooded womb patriots that we are, when the baby got awfully quiet, we were there. and we brought our vigilance. in a bag. a big one. the little one had refused to stir even under daddy's commands voiced directly into the belly, something it hadn't done thus far. insolent.

a quick call to the midwife on call had us packing our bags and heading in for some routinely precautionary tests. they would monitor the baby's heartbeat, check for activity, and do an ultrasound if necessary.

we did the monitor, had the ultrasound, and almost at the stroke of midnight were told that everything looked fine, the baby was just being lazy. ok, that last part is me. no medical professional called our baby lazy. directly. but they speak with their eyes, the wiley devils...

so everything was fine and in retrospect it was in fact routine and nothing to worry about. but let's talk for a minute about hospitals. SCARY PLACES.

before the movie The Exorcist came out, the studio screened it for test audiences and executives who decided that some footage should be removed due to its disturbing imagery. many of us have seen the exorcist as it was eventually released, and one would have to wonder at just what horrible things they had censored when the stuff they did allow was pretty out there. green projectile vomiting, heads spinning on shoulders, verbally assaulting clergy with salty language, and my personal fave- stabbing oneself in the crotch with a crucifix. repeatedly. so what the hell did they cut out? cannabilism? full frontal nudity of the underage possessee? protestants and catholics holding hands and planting flowers ?

in september of 2000, it was re-released with never before seen footage and billed as a 'restored' version of the film. and the footage deemed too gross, too traumatic, too disturbing? ok, there was a really creepy looking scene where Regan, the possessed girl played by Linda Blair, comes "running" down the stairs on all fours with her head bent in what some would consider an  unnatural way. but what i found really disturbing was the newly restored hospital footage. watching this little girl being poked, prodded, strapped down and wired up was way more traumatic to me than that demon-y stuff. good job, censors!

convinced that she's suffering from a brain tumor or some neurological condition, her mother has her brought in for a full work-up of scans and tests. now this is some scary shit. she's strapped to a table, wires coming out of her, run through loud, giant machines, isolated and tested rigorously, stared at by residents and experts alike. and what makes this so much scarier than being possessed by the devil is the fact that this stuff is confirmed reality.* and as if that's not bad enough- after all of these tests, THEY STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH HER. it reminds me of a cartoon i saw where two doctors are walking and one says to the other, "today was great. i only had to guess twice!" i'm paraphrasing, but that pretty much sums up how i feel about modern medicine.

*people may be possessed by the devil, but there's not much confirmation there. CT-Scan machines do, however, factually exist. MRI machines are, as we speak, SCANNING SOMEONE.

granted, fear is based somewhat on ignorance, and it's our ignorance(i say 'our' because you're afraid and ignorant too, aren't you?) that serves as the basis for our fear of most things medical. i don't think i'm alone when i say that when a medical professional comes at me with some kind of device, i would like to know what it is, what it does, and how/why it will be used on me.

"if this stops beeping, scream for a nurse."

the pink and blue are a nice touch...

in defense of doctors and nurses everywhere, this equipment, however exotic it may appear, is downright boring to them under most circumstances. they're around it everyday, they use it often, and it's safe to assume that it no longer has the 'shiny new toy' charm it once had. still, i don't think the 'need to know' method of walking through life is good for you, or even acceptable. if you don't understand something, ask a question. there are no dumb questions, just dumb-ass people that get asked questions they can't answer and who then become defensive and behave like the dumb-asses that they are. and that's the lesson for today! just kidding.

for the record, the blue-band one is tracking the baby's heartbeat, and the pink-band one is tracking the contractions. i think. because no one bothered to tell me, and i never asked :)

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