Lump 2

So, yesterday I was in the hospital, and today I was at the doctor's office. I feel worn out. Of all the things that motherhood encompasses, it's the appointments that really get me down.

Yesterday they did a biopsy of the lump that is perched on my thyroid at the base of my long neck. (You can check out my previous entry, "Lump," if you wish.) Or, as my husband Chinua so aptly put it, yesterday I was stabbed in the throat. I did pretty well, I'd say, considering that when I was a kid I was famous for screaming down the nurses when they tried to draw blood. I'm a little needle-phobic. So, I took precautions as I went in, bringing Chinua with me for moral support. We dropped the kids off at a friend's house, where they absorbed into the surroundings and pretty much didn't notice when we left. (The family that we left them with has a whopping ten children, and the wonderful thing about this is that another two don't really make much of a dent.)

I was a little nervous. I probably would have been more nervous if they had bothered to tell me that they actually needed to take about six samples. (The nurses I had talked to on the phone had vaguely described "a sample") This meant that, including the two shots of novocaine, I was stuck in the neck eight times. And, I understated it a little bit before, when I said I'm a little needle-phobic. I'm actually a huge needle phobe. I lay there peacefully breathing until they gave me the first shot. That's when the panic set in. That's when I started to faint, to feel lightheaded and nauseous and cold and then hot. That's when I remembered. I can't do this. I hate needles.

It took everything in me not to panic. To lay there quietly while the nurse (who looked exactly like Jennifer Aniston) put cold towels on my forehead, and the doctor (who looked exactly like Steve Martin) was very informative about exactly how much I was bleeding and the methods he was using to extract the tissues. (He used words like "sawing" while he was jiggling the needle back and forth energetically.) Pretty much every time they put the needle in, they had to talk me out of fainting. And as I was exerting all my will into not panicking, the pathologist, who was there to ensure that they had the proper amount of samples, said cheerfully when we thought we were done, "Since she's so nice and relaxed there, why don't we get another three samples or so?" They only took one, unfortunately, but it turned out to be a doozie. I'm surprised I'm not paralyzed.

Not a pleasant experience.

I used to think, when I was younger and would faint when my blood was drawn, that I was just a big wimp. Now I know better. I've been through two long labours with no pain relievers, and I look back at those experiences with awe and nostalgia. My problem is as simple as the fact that I actually just hate needles.

And I think I've learned to internalize a lot of things. A good friend of mine told me the other day that I've somehow made what I do (she was talking about being the mother of young children and doing the part time work that I do, which somehow seems to take up all my time) seem easy. That it seems effortless. Graceful. How can this be? I guess the turmoil and the craziness is inward. The fact that I've been a mom now for three years and I feel like I've just started to figure out what I'm doing, the fact that I usually don't catch my breath until the kids are in bed at night.

I've managed to hide all this? Well, I'm glad that it seems easy, because it really is a lot better than they tell you. They tell you that motherhood will take over until there's nothing left of you, but they don't tell you that what comes out when that happens will be a real person. Truly nice, instead of nice only when not messed with.

Like today, when I took the kids into the doctor for their check-up and first YaYa pooped and once again I was sans-diaper. Then they told me to get them undressed for their physical and I was left in the exam room for half an hour with a naked three year old and a naked eighteen month old running around screaming and pulling open drawers that contained hazardous material. The only appointment they were able to give me was smack dab in the middle of the YaYa Sister's usual nap time, and I'm telling you, she gets a little wild. Especially in a room full of sharp instruments and nothing to play with. And for some reason, Kid A, her older brother, follows her example, rather than the other way around. It felt a little like I was being punished.

I guess I had it coming. They were so good, yesterday, after the biopsy when we were doing our "come out of the woods and shop, blinking, in the bright lights" errands. And they are perfectly healthy, not anemic, tall for their ages, and bright as sunbeams. Just don't put them into a doctor's exam room for long periods of time. And don't ask me to fill out stacks of paperwork, so that I can only half watch them.

And here I am, now, feeling a lot better after having written this, a little emotionally exhausted from continually pushing the worst-case-scenarios out of my head. It's not the most reassuring kind of exam, you know. A biopsy. But I'm in God's hands, which is the only place I've ever been, the only place to be.