I haven’t spent a night in hospital since I was 20 and almost died of malaria. I was delirious the whole time and don’t recall feeling concerned about the quality of the food (which I couldn’t eat) or the lack of privacy . I had a roomie at the beginning, but my condition scared her- she didn’t want what I was having- and she asked to be moved.
Given that this is my main hospital experience, perhaps it’s not surprising that I felt some trepidation about coming in to a Polish hospital for steroid shots to speed up lung maturity in the babies. I dread being poked and prodded- I agree on some level with Marcin’s father, who firmly believes that ‘if they look, they’ll find something.’ And they are looking, hard, all day and all night.
Four times a day, I shuffle down to the nurses’ station to have my blood pressure taken. This process in itself unnerves me to the point where it rises (reading from anticipated measurement: 140/90. Reading from ambush measurement when nursie sneaked up on me with a cuff because I forgot: 120/70). Four times a day, they check the kids’ heartbeats, including at midnight and 6 am (just so you don’t think it’s a holiday and sleep all night).
Yesterday I had an ultrasound -they weigh 750 and 850 grams, if anyone’s interested- and was interrogated about the health of my forebears. Then I got measured to see if I’m having contractions. Today my task is to record my fluid intake and output by filling a huge Ali Baba jar with piss. I’m hoping that the whole experience will innoculate me against my medical phobia through sheer exposure.