Adventures in making and raising our test-tube babies

Monday, May 26, 2008

Patient on the Move

There are pros and cons of being a fancy jet-setter. See if you can sort them out as I tell you the following story.

Friday was the first morning I was to take my Lupron shot for this cycle. It was also the day that I was flying with Mom on the 6:00 a.m. flight to my grandmother's house in Texas. We were going to visit for Mamaw's 95th birthday. I marked the occasion by giving myself my first shot in the air.

At 8:00 a.m. it was time. I had considered filling the syringe and administering the shot at my seat, but I was in a middle seat and did not have access to my elbows, much less any privacy. I took my little case of needles, baby ice packs, and the vial into the tiny little bathroom. I sat down on the toilet seat, as it was the only piece of furniture available, and set up shop. I cleaned the vial top with the alcohol wipe, drew out 20 units of medicine, and wiped off a target spot on my belly. I turned to the left to get rid of the alcohol wipe and its wrapper, but it was not clear which of the little doors led to the trash can.

And that's when I made my first mistake. I pushed a big blue piece of plastic featuring a downward arrow, but it turned out to be the flush button. A booming vacuum pulled me down and threatened to suck my butt down into the belly of the plane. I was reminded of the Mythbusters episode where they disprove the urban myth that a fat woman could get vacuum-sealed to the toilet if this happened. In the moment I was glad to know it was a myth because, if the middle seat was any indication, my rear end was exceptionally large.

Once I survived that, the actual shot was very uneventful. I returned to my sliver of a seat feeling like a mosquito had bitten me by the belly button.

Once Mom and I got to the Houston airport, my baby ice packs had softened to a nice luke-warm gel, so I had the very bad idea to make my own ice pack. I took the zip-top baggie that Mom had carried her half-an-apple in, and filled it up with some ice that the food court burrito place gave me for free.

The little puddle-jumper plane that took us the second leg of our journey was one of the kind that reminded me of a mosquito. Tiny and unpleasant. When it picked us up in Houston, it had filled itself with the ambient, muggy air, which was about 90 degrees. The twenty-minute flight only got hotter; the air conditioning started to kick in when we touched down. And it was a bumpy 20 minutes. So what does a makeshift ice pack do when heated and jostled? Melt. Then leak.

By the end of the flight, my face was damp with sweat and the contents of my purse were soaking with "ice." But I didn't notice that until much later. Too much later.

The next morning I understood the magnitude of the leak. My pills, carefully distributed according to the IVF protocol into daily pill boxes, had melted together. On a whim I'd substituted my regular pre-natal vitamins for a sample of some prescription ones -- in the form of dark purple gel-caps. Those gave a nice black moldy hue to the rest of the medicine trapped by their side as all the pills settled together. Since I didn't have any extra medicine with me, I had to embibe what was there. I took out a sharp knife, scraped the nasty paste onto its blade, got my caffeine-free Diet Coke ready, and chugged. I wished I were a dog, so I wouldn't know it was coming, and so it would be disguised in some lunch meat or cheese.

I did this on two consecutive mornings. Taking shots paled in comparison to the nastiness of it. It was gag-worthy. I followed that show with a hypodermic party trick for my mom and Aunt Sara. Sara's only comment was that I was more gentle than she would have been. But I'd like to see her jab a needle into her belly. It wasn't so much gentleness as psyching myself up.

As far as IVF went, the shots and the pill-paste were the only intrusions into my weekend. Otherwise, my trip to my grandmother's house gave me lots of occasions to contemplate life and death. My delightful grandmother, who has 100% of her spunk even at the age of 95, pronounced that she hoped she didn't make it to 96. But when I asked her if she was going to die before I saw her next, she responded that she didn't plan on it. So I asked her to see what she could do about holding out. I want to be able to make her another great-grandchild, and that will take some time.

In the meantime, my visiting dad and I rebuilt her swinging patio bench and painted it green (see the photo). My mom and aunts powerwashed her patio and bought her new plastic chairs. I painted my great-grandmother's outdoor table a new shade of white, and a little turtle sat in the yard and watched the festivities.

A good time was had by all. And on the plane back I sat one row in front of someone who wasn't Ted Koppell. He's another similarly famous newsman, whose name I can't quite place. He wanted a blanket.

For the last two days I've been finding mosquito bites on my legs that I must have gotten when I was working on Mamaw's patio. I scratch them and smile.


DAVs said...

Oh Kay your airline bathroom story was hilarious. I am secretly afraid of those toilets myself. I'm glad you made it through the weekend and got to see your beloved grandmother. I ate a ChickFilA brownie in honor of you passing through the state!

Kay Bailey said...

Okay, now I'm back to thinking that it was Ted Koppell. I've been studying pictures of him on the Internet, and I'm more confident in making my ID now. Just FYI.

Anonymous said...

Oh, those pills look nasty!! I would have done the same thing, but maybe chased them with some chocolate, but then you run the risk of tainting your memory of chocolate!
You have a sweet little Mamaw.


Tracy said...

That is amazing. I'm fairly certain I could not give myself a shot in an airplane bathroom...the things we do for our children.

Anonymous said...

I like the "Kay" pill box. Just in case someone else might try to claim that.


Aimee Weinstein said...

Grandmothers are a true gift, aren't they? As you are a gift to those who know you.

Kay Bailey said...

Good point, Phoebe.