The Sample

First of all, I'm all right.  I'm telling you that now because this story is about going to the hospital.

Second of all, this may be a rampant galloping case of oversharing.  Consider yourself warned.

That said, yesterday I went to the hospital in a storm.  It was a wonderful storm, truly deserving of the storm title.  Great gusting winds, hail, sheets of horizontal rain, stunning lightning forks, booms of thunder that made us all shake a little in our socks. Not surprisingly, the power went out.

While this was going on, I was feeling some strong pain in the lower left part of my abdomen.  In the place where my baby got stuck and had to be surgically removed two years ago.  This pain could be anything from ovulation to pre-menstrual cramps, to whatever whatever, but I couldn't be sure.  I haven't had a period since Solo was born.  I'm at risk for another ectopic pregnancy because of scar tissue.  After reading on the internet about symptoms, I decided to be safe and head for the Tibetan Delek hospital to get an ultrasound.  Becca and Catherine came up to watch the kids, since Chinua was out, and off I went, umbrella in hand.

I walked along the upper road to the place where I met a taxi, just past a mudslide which I scooted over by climbing up the hillside a little.  There are two notable things about the upper road during this end of the storm.

1. The smell of the forest and hillside after the rain was absolutely, incredibly glorious.  Wet leaves, wet dirt, wet warm pine needles.  The sun was starting to shine even though it was still pouring rain.  I looked all around me for the rainbow. Then we started to drive a little and:

2. There was the rainbow, not just one but two.  The lower one was the clearest that I've seen in years.  I could see every color.  I could see across our valley and the rainbow was touching our house.  The upper rainbow was lighter and I pointed them out to the taxi driver.  He chuckled.

Not too much is remarkable about the drive except for the insane traffic jam that occurred.  It was a typical case of large trucks on a small road.  With much yelling and gesturing, about thirty men had it cleared up... in a while.

When I reached the hospital, I talked with some Tibetan doctors for a while.  The main one, a young, tall doctor who had apparently (from his accent) spent some time in Britain, decided to take me down to the lab to see if they would give me a pregnancy test, even though the lab was closed for the day.  The lab technician kindly agreed to put some of my pee on a stick.

"I'll just get you a small bottle," said the doctor, pointing out the bathroom to me.  I assumed that it was a language issue, this mention of small bottle.  Of course we don't pee in bottles!

When he returned, however, he held in his hand a Small Bottle.  It was actually the prototype for the term Small Bottle.  All Small Bottles have forever been fashioned in the shape of this Small Bottle.

Do you know how, when you get liquid medicine in a shot, there is that bottle with the rubber stopper that holds the medicine?  And then they poke the needle into the rubber stopper and it goes up into the syringe?  That bottle is what he brought me.  It was TINY.  And the size of the opening was the diameter of a pencil.

I was slightly taken aback, but after years of pregnancy and childbirth I have faith in my skillz.  So I took the bottle from him with barely a twitch, and had a look at the bathroom.  It was a typical Indian bathroom, a small closet-sized room with a squatty potty and a tap in the wall for water.  Alright.

But then, the light wouldn't turn on.  I tried a few times, and then closed the door to experiment with how much light would come in.  None.  Not a crack of light.  Okay, maybe a crack, I won't exaggerate, but the point is that I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.

I called down to the radiologist, "The light won't turn on!!!"  He answered assuredly, "Of course.  There is no electricity in the whole building." Oh yes, the storm.

So it was down to this.  I needed to pee in a bottle on the floor in a pitch black closet.  And I was totally prepared to do it.  This may be the pinnacle of cultural adjustment.  I dove into the bathroom, after trying to memorize the position of the squatty potty. (I didn't want to step into it.)  Somehow, I positioned myself, and then I was busy with the task of trying to aim my pee into a tiny hole with no vision.  It was sort of like a blind video game, except with pee all over my hand.

I couldn't even see to check if I had been successful at all, but I went on faith that something had to have made it.  After standing, feeling around in the dark for the door handle, and opening the door a crack, I could see that I was victorious!  I stumbled out of the dark bathroom triumphantly, holding my Small Bottle high!  Two Tibetan nurses turned to look at me with concern, then went back to what they were doing.  It is hard to ruffle Tibetan people.

I washed my hands.  I washed them well.

The test was negative.  I'm probably having some cramps, or maybe it was nothing.  At any rate, the pain is mostly gone and I feel a little silly and a little glad that I made it successfully over one more Indian hurdle.

Although this post is very silly, it was an emotional day.  It was sad to relive those days around the loss of our fourth baby, and I came home cloudy and sad.  Then my family cheered me up and I was just thankful not to go through it again.