Pregnant With A New Perspective

, , , , | Healthy | March 21, 2018

(I have been sent to the radiology department within the ER for an urgent chest x-ray. When the technician asks me if it is possible I am pregnant, I have a mental glitch — I have a language-based learning disability — and my brain takes a good 30 seconds to interpret the question. Since I hesitated, the technician turfs me back to Family Medicine for a pregnancy test. I am upset at having to spend longer in the hospital while sick, as well as the effort to walk across the hospital and back. The nurse administering the test is also upset for having her work interrupted for the test.)

Me: “I tried telling him I would have to have the gestation of an elephant to still be pregnant two years after last having sex.”

Nurse: *annoyed, slamming objects as the test is performed* “Yes, you couldn’t even be on ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant’ [reality TV show] by this point.”

Me: “And he’s going to throw me in the back of the line, so I’ll wait all over again. I’m on bed rest. I just want to be — and should be — at home, but we have to go through this! So, I took 30 seconds to answer the question, but I answered it! I don’t know why he just didn’t believe my disability.”

Nurse: *still annoyed* “Belief in your honesty has nothing to do with it. He wouldn’t be allowed to interpret; the policy is that anything other than a ‘quick no’ has to be investigated.”

(I pause for a moment as this sinks in. My tone becomes lower and calmer, and my speech slows as this new perspective hits me.)

Me: “I hadn’t thought of that. That makes sense. While he wouldn’t have any reason to believe I’m lying, he also has no ability to know if I am telling the truth, since my disability isn’t on the test request. He probably gets women who hesitate because they are in denial. This policy may annoy a lot, but probably saves a few zygotes from harm.”

(The nurse stops what she is doing for a moment in thought.)

Nurse: *obviously calmer* “Yeah, the policy probably does save those precious few.”

(We’re silent for the rest of the test, but the tension in the air around us has dissipated. The test is negative, and she signs a slip for me to take back to the x-ray technician. I take it and smile at her.)

Me: “Thank you. And I’m sorry about the interruption. I hope you can get back into your rhythm easily.”

Nurse: “Thanks, and I hope they manage to rush you through, and get you back to bed. Feel better!”

(It is amazing the difference perspective can make! And, while the technician had another patient when I arrived, he took me next, and even defended me when people complained I had jumped the line. [“She waited in line before, so she doesn’t have to wait now!”] I got upset for nothing — except the exhausting trek through the hospital!)

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