Whoreticulture: The industry and science of whores and whore-related topics. Whoreticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of OB-GYNery, Brazilian waxers and shavers, adultery, personal hygiene mavens and easy women. The word is composite, from two words, whore, from Greek meaning "harlot" or "dear", and the word "culture". Like NPR's Science Friday, Whoreticulture Friday exists to educate and spark discussion on the science of Whorology. Whoreticulture Friday is not for children. Or squeamish people. Or Mother-In-Laws.
Today's topic: Teen Emergency Room 101.
I normally write Whoreticulture Friday on Thursday night, and then it pops up in the morning when Mom checks the blog on Friday, because what mother doesn't say, "I dearly hope we pay out-of-state tuition for our daughter to get a double degree in Journalism and Political Science so she can use it to make really good homemade soup and a weekly blog called Whoreticulture Friday! Yay college!" But last night, I was coming up empty. Actually, I had a great blog about this woman who slept with everyone in our neighborhood when I was a kid, but suddenly it felt a little wrong. I'm not ready to spill that one yet. We'll see if it ever comes out of the box (no pun intended).
Late last night, I sent a 9-1-1 emergency e-mail to a small group of friends asking if they had any good WF topics. When I checked my e-mail today it was spilling over with masturbation, bikini line work, sexting, swimsuit shopping, and the shoe size/penis size myth. I now have enough material for a month, thank you classy ladies.
However, as soon as I went to bed last night, I was whining to Current Husband about my lack of topic, and God spoke to me through the TV (aka one-eyed monster, Jamie!). I woke up, refreshed and ready to write, and then Oldest Daughter came to me with a stomachache. Since she can be a drama queen, I told her to take an Aleve, go to school, and if it didn't get better to go to the nurse and call me. I took her to school at 7:30. At 8:20 I had a call from the nurse to pick her up.
I called our doctor's office, and after EIGHT minutes on hold (a long time when your teenager is weeping and clutching her stomach next to you) they sent me to the ER. We are driving to the hospital, and I know we are in for a long morning, at least. I see a Starbucks. Hmmm. I know I shouldn't, but I had a half cup of coffee so far for the day, far below my usual 2-3 cup morning intake. I ask OD if she minds if I pop in for a quick latte to go, she says no, and as I am reaching for the turn signal, I have this moment:
ANGEL ON SHOULDER: "Julie. Your daughter is in pain. Get to the hospital."
DEVIL ON SHOULDER: "She'll need you to be lucid. You need caffeine to be a better mother."
ANGEL: "What if her appendix ruptures while you're in the car?"
DEVIL: "You know you want that skinny vanilla deliciousness."
ANGEL: "The ER personnel will see your cup and realize you stopped while your child was in pain."
DEVIL: "I can't argue with that."
Goodbye, Starbucks. I'll think of you while I'm going cold turkey in the ER.
We got to the hospital, checked into the ER and were taken to what was to be our home for the next six hours. For the record, there was not a coffee maker or Starbucks Via in the holding cell. Something to know about me:
I an addicted to caffeine and do not handle stress well.
I have two reactions to any stressful situation:
A) Tell jokes.
B) Lose my shit and start screaming, weeping, and/or breaking out in hives.
I am here to tell you that the one place any comedian will fail is in the Emergency Room. You do not kill in the ER. Apparently humor of any kind is frowned upon, and they hire nurses from East Berlin specifically to quash any tomfoolery. Also? Daughter with abdominal pain doesn't want to laugh. But I just can't help it.
I'm telling OD that I hope she has really good veins, that Grandma Jan is a nurse and she looks lustily at my bulging veins. I'm telling her they hand out ponies to good little girls who pee in the cup. I'm telling her she'll get Appendix Barbie, with a little flap on her stomach and a removable organ. Then I start singing "The Climb." When she tells me to stop making her laugh, I start saying "Miley Cyrus" because OD hates Miley Cyrus, so I figure it will bring her down, but then she starts yelling at me for saying "Miley Cyrus" because it's making her laugh, and therefore grimace in pain. I try to shut up, I really do, but it's a compulsion. Like when I interrupted a group of people at Erma Bombeck to ask Mo Rocca if the Bombeck kids tried to sell him drugs and he looked at me like I was Naked Glenn Beck.
In the holding cell, they immediately tell OD to get changed into a gown. The person who hands the gown to her? Nate. Nate is training to be an EMT, and he gets to hang out with us during the day. Nate reminds me of Seth Rogen, if Seth Rogen wasn't funny. The problem? Every time Nate is in the room, there is an Uncomfortable Estrogen Moment. The first time this happens, Nurse Ratched, who has yet to smile at my daughter, says loudly, "Have you gotten your period yet?" Oldest Daughter looks at Seth Rogen, looks at me, and mutters, "Um, yeah." Ratched says, louder, "Are you having your period now?" Seth Rogen busies himself with tubes and things, and Ratched stares at OD. "Uh...no." Ratched instructs OD to put on the gown and says, like The Terminator, that she'll be back. Seth Rogen follows her out like a puppy.
OD: (grimacing in pain) "MOM! Why does that guy have to be in here?"
ME: "Because it is our curse, honey."
And then I tell OD about how, after I had given birth to her, a nursing supervisor came into my room with a male nursing student in tow, and told me they were there to check my episiotomy stitches.
NURSE: "Okay, you'll need to bend over the bed, honey." (Because I LOVE IT when total strangers call me honey.)
ME: (Looking significantly at the man in the room) "Right now?" As in, "Can Mr. Penis Dangler hit the hallway for this part?"
NURSE: "Yes, honey, right now." Mr. PD nervously shuffles feet. At least I know what he's going to see will put him off sex for a while. Unless he's INTO that kind of thing, in which case I should be paid.
I lean over the bed, the backless gown falls away, and now it's a Kodak moment of the most humiliating three minutes of my life.
NURSE: "See how well her stitches are healing! And no hemorrhoids! Terrific!"
And I'm thinking, "I'm sorry Grandma, if you can see me from heaven. I never meant for you to see this."
I finish telling OD this story, and I catch the look of horror on her face that says, "No grandkids for you!" when the crew of Doctor, Ratched, and Seth Rogen come back in. The doctor is really nice, but she has a lazy eye, and I can't figure out which eye to look at while talking to her. I realize that she can tell I am shifting my glance from one of her eyes to the other, I'm trying really hard not to smirk a little bit at the sheer hilarity of it, but I hope she in no way thinks I am mocking her...my daughter's life is in her hands.
DR: "Are you sexually active?"
I want so badly to answer, YOU BET I AM!, but I wisely decide against it.
OD: (Stealing a glance at Seth Rogen again.) "No."
DR: "Have you started your periods?"
DR: "Are you having your period right now?"
Doctor Lazy Eye orders some bloodwork, Ratched tells Seth Rogen to do it, and leaves. I decide to turn on the TV in the room so OD and I have something to do. Seth Rogen is putting the needles in, and there is a commercial for tampons. OD looks at me like "turn off the TV!" but it's too late, so I just sit and look at the latex gloves and think about stealing some. The tampon commercial ends, and Seth Rogen leaves.
Ten minutes later, he's back, and there is an Ultrasound Technician with him. She gives OD a cup with a Contrast Liquid/7-Up cocktail in it, and tells her to drink up. Seth Rogen is checking OD's blood pressure.
Ultra-Tech: "Have you started your periods yet?"
OD: (nearly growling) "Yes."
Ultra-Tech: "Are you having it now?"
They ask OD to come with them to pee in the cup. She goes, and when she returns, she is carrying a cup of her own urine.
ME: "Did you bring me something to drink?"
OD: (sets the cup on the counter and glares at me.) "That is so not funny Mom." Miley Cyrus.
Ultra-tech: "I'll be back right after I bag this urine."
ME: "You don't hear THAT every day!"
Crickets, crickets, crickets. OD is not looking at me. ER people leave.
White blood cells come back normal. Urine comes back normal. They've decided we're doing an ultrasound and a CT scan. Seth Rogen and CT Scan person come in to talk.
CT: "Have you started your periods yet?"
OD: (Now bored with it.) "Yes."
CT: "Are you having it now?"
SETH ROGEN: "No."
Six hours later, everything is done and Seth Rogen comes in and tells OD to put her clothes on. Doctor Lazy Eye, Nurse Ratched, and Seth Rogen come back into the room and tell us OD has an ovarian cyst that is inflamed. Seth Rogen sits back and listens while the women tell my daughter in great detail about her uterus, her ovaries, and what to expect while she is having her periods, including some excellent tampon talk. My teen is ready to leave.
We are checked out of the ER and speed to Starbucks. As we are picking up her Darvocet, OD looks at me and says, "Listen, I know you are going to blog about this. You know what you can't talk about." (And, for the record, I haven't.) "But I guess now everyone knows that I've started having my period and I'm not having it right now. So, whatever."
OD. She's a giver. Happy Whoreticulture Friday, and have a great weekend.