I am sitting in a hospital bed listening to the lady next to me cough, hack and vomit. I didn't expect to be here. It's 4 am and in an effort to distract myself, I am watching Sex and the City and listening to Carrie Bradshaw's narration about Mr. Big.
My Mr. Big is in Vegas on a boy's trip. I wouldn't let him come home. Not for this.
It all started when my fertility doctor did an iron study for my upcoming IVF. The numbers were bad. My hemoglobin was 7 which means I'm in the danger level for anemia. The anemia was a consequence of weight loss surgery two years prior. The weight came off, but so did the iron.
On Wednesday I went to my hematologist appointment. He was older but articulate and kind. The first thing he said was, "You should not be able to walk around like this." At the end of the visit, he assured me that we could do an iron infusion in office.
"It could push your IVF back," he said with a grimace.
"That can't happen," I told him with a firm smile. "Let's get this handled." My teeth were showing.
Later that evening, we dropped my best friend Tracy's daughter at a concert in Pomona. We sat at a restaurant and ordered food. My phone rang. It was the hematologist.
"This is Dr. C. You need to go to the hospital tonight. I can't even do an infusion because your hemoglobin has dropped again below seven. Go to the hospital tonight for a blood transfusion. It's an emergency."
"What the hell?" I thought to myself. I knew what the ER was like at night. There was no way I was going. Plus I had Pixies tickets for the next night.
"Ummm, no," I stammered back. "I will go on Friday."
"Friday is too late. You need to go now," he said. "At the latest go tomorrow in the morning. It's dangerous."
I hung up the phone and looked at Tracy and said, "Guess who's going to the ER tomorrow? Adrian is gonna freak, but just think, I will be able to hold this over his head forever."
I called Adrian who wanted to jump on a plane. I negotiate for a living, persuasion is my job.
I reassured him. "I'll be fine baby. I will just be there a couple hours."
There was no way I was going to let him ruin his trip. Adrian never went anywhere without me. This was his first guy trip in years. There was no way he was coming home.
At the ER the next morning at 8 am, I told the check-in nurse at San Antonio Hospital my hemoglobin situation. She said, "They will check you in immediately." Within five minutes I was in a bed being poked and prodded. That was quick, I thought to myself.
More blood work.
The orderlies were all male and joked around with me. I told them my hubby was in Vegas and they said I was a good wife to leave him there.
About an hour later, the ER doctor came into the room with a stomp and a hard pull of the curtain. He looked to be in his late thirties with curly brown hair. He wasn't smiling.
"This hemoglobin is ridiculously low," he said with a stern frown. I looked back at him and smiled and tried to explain about my gastric bypass two years ago and my IVF process recently. He held up his hand and went on. "Why didn't you come in sooner.? You could have passed out and not woken up. Do you realize that? Was no one monitoring your blood?"
I was being cross-examined and I folded.
"I was in trial," I stammered. "As soon as my hematologist told me it was urgent, I came in. My primary doctor just told me to take my supplements."
The ER doctor looked at me with an open mouth. "Trial? Really. Well trial or no trial, you should have been in when you got your blood work. Your hemoglobin has now dropped to six. Your doctors are incompetent. I would have admitted you weeks ago."
He made me feel like an idiot. I should have came in. Why didn't I? I gave him a sheepish grin and shrugged my shoulders and said with a sigh, "I know, you're right."
The doctor seemed mollified by my admission. "Well, we're admitting you overnight. You need multiple bags of red blood cells and iron."
By noon, I was in a hospital room. They brought me some broth and jello. My chart on the wall specified an all clear liquid diet. I should have eaten breakfast and I would have killed for a diet coke.
The lady in the next bed coughed and vomited all day and night. At one point, I pressed my emergency button for her because it seemed like she was going to choke to death.
The nurses were kind and efficient. One of them told me that my IVF would never have taken with my hemoglobin so low. Her statement hit me in the gut. I had struggled through the IVF process for the last year and I could have ruined it all by forgetting the obvious.
I needed to take care of me. Nothing else mattered. Work and trips and concerts didn't matter. The signs were there for me to admit that I could not do it all. That I needed help.
And that this may be my only chance.