Monday, November 10, 2008

Womb with a view

Colonel Duck, on the phone tonight: You've been a bit slack on the blog lately...
Yes, I have.

Talking to someone, a few days ago:
Me: It's the same old, same old, rushing around trying to get everything in order before I hit another deadline. But this time it's different, in that I *really* just have to drop tools and stop.
Her: I bet you're really busy trying to cook meals and freeze them for the boys, too.
Me: ... um, actually, no.
Her: NO? How are they going to cope?

How? They're going to cook their own meals, wash their own clothes, and make their own brekkies, just like they always do. I tell you, I am fully cognizant of the wonderful of being smitten with a man who can do his own washing, cook his own meals and wrangle a child, but never more so than now. He has freed me up fully over the past couple of weeks so that I can just get things done. And after next week, he'll be looking after me and Bumblebee as the primary carer. This is why I dubbed him Best Beloved. He earns it.

So. I can't really believe that I'm only 3 days away from a day that's been looming for so long. I feel a bit foolish, making such a long lead-in to an operation that isn't really that dramatic, but it's taken a lot of planning to make the space in my obsessively busy life, and now that it's here I feel a bit odd. Most people -- who have private health care -- just make the decision and do it within weeks, but we've been talking about this for so long that it's become a Big Thing.

Anyhoo, I've almost finished my duties... I've burned disks of layout work to pass onto editors and indexers, sent off files and invoices, now just have to finish up at the BookStud tomorrow, drop some books off to the Aged Poet on Wednesday, and run a few chores, and then pack and clean on Wednesday afternoon. Stop ingesting at midnight on Wed, then my number comes up 7am Thursday morning.

It really didn't feel real until last Thursday, when I had a pre-op clinic appointment with a leathery Barbie doll of a nurse with a name that is the American word for lollies. She was amazingly weird; very fun to talk to, but hypnotic to watch, with her dark wrinkly tan, fluffy white-blonde flippy hair, thick makeup, lashing of jewellery and teetery heels. Thin as a piece of wire, and skin-tight dress. I felt very surreal telling her that I had *no* idea what I weigh, haven't weighed myself for years. She, on the other hand, looked like she whipped onto the scales every time she was alone in the room, just in case.

She sent me off to have blood tests, and when the needle went in, reality finally connected. That's right, they're going to cut me... it's going to hurt. I got the shakes. I kept the shakes all day, until Bernice showed up with champagne to toast Obama's victory. Irrational, but realistic. I feel a lot better now, but I know it's not going to be the easy holiday I've let myself think it will be.

Still, there are probably worse ways to spend 6 weeks. I've got a fantastic pile of books, two new Nintendo DS games, the entire series of Deadwood to watch (courtesy of the kind people at Artwranglers), and a computer to blog with. Plus cats to train *not* to leap on my lap. Spoiled rotten, truly.

And a mindset to shift. Once I have no choice about my fertility, I have to work on the guilt of having failed to provide such a wonderful man with a baby of his own. He hasn't contributed to this guilt in the slightest, except for a bad habit of wandering around the house with a cat cradled in his arm, murmuring 'now, you have to be sure to support the head' that makes Bumblebee laugh but tweaks my tearducts slightly. No, the guilt is all mine, but I have to learn to knock it on the head, as I've tried my hardest, and also offered him many alternatives: leave me, & find someone fertile; have an affair; donate sperm to some lovely lesbian couple who will give him visitation rights; adopt; donate sperm generally & allow the result to look for him down the road; whatever else he can think of. He's thinking upon it, but his general philosophy is that he has a wonderful partner who pushes him to think differently, and a fabulous stepson who entertains him mightily, plus cats who fulfil his need for nurturing, so who is complaining? See? Best Beloved.

And I have to stop my habit of saying, when I love a man's work, that I'd love to have his babies. I said it aloud to myself on Saturday as I was binding books to the sound of Ben Goldacre talking about Bad Science on RN's The Science Show. Woof! I said, I'll have your babies, as he made some uber-nerdy sexy point about fish oil. Slap the wrist. Find a new statement of admiration. It wasn't very feminist anyway, and I'm sure I started saying it years ago very ironically. Well, I won't be able to have ANYBODY's babies soon, and won't that be liberating? Maybe I can keep saying it, just recover a more ironic tone.

So I've been enjoying riding the bicycle hard around the streets between home and the uni, enjoying walking freely and upright, and looking forward to the moment that the doctor promises will come, when I'll be a New Woman. Woot!

I'm sure I'll get a chance to blog before then, but if I don't, see you in the soup.


jac said...

Hope everything goes well! But just as important: you need a bell. A loud one, which means the sort with a clapper. Either that, or an air horn.

fifi said...


Made me cry.

Lucky you are indeed to be blessed with such a beloved.
Children are the measure of our love and sorrow: the lack of them , the love of them, the loss of them and the everything to do with them and their absence, whether it be now or later.

All the best to you. I think you're a complete wonder, and will always be one, no matter what the state of the innards.
Take care.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

The first week your world will shrink to the four-hourly intervals when you're allowed to have more drugs. The second week you will feel very fragile but you will be able to straighten up when you walk around, and make yourself a sandwich if you can't con someone else into doing it. After that it's just a matter of waiting till you're allowed to drive again.

I'm sure you've done so already, but just in case not, CHOOSE YOUR READING MATTER FOR HOSPITAL WITH EXTREME CARE. Sorry to shout, but I cannot stress this strongly enough.

Good luck with everything. xx

Ampersand Duck said...

Gosh, Pav, that's the best thing anyone has said to me up to this point. Lolly Nurse said that since I've had a caesarian, I know a bit about the recovery process, but this time I won't have the new-birth hormone rush to help me, nor the incessant needs of a newborn. Pros and cons :)

I don't think I'll need a bell, Jac... our house is so small you can hear a cat sneeze in the loungeroom while you're in the bathroom up the other end... And BB is a hoverer, he won't leave me alone for long if he's anxious.

Thanks, Fee. Sorry about the tears. I tried to be jolly when I wrote it!

Unknown said...

Beautiful post darl, tugged the old heart-strings down here in the wild.
Good luck with it all - and maybe put off Deadwood until it doesn't hurt to laugh. It's a fabulous, madly intense show, but it does make you laugh out loud for sheer joy of watching something of such quality (a bit like Underbelly - I had a grin all the way through!! But I am from Melbourne...)
Am still laughing about your description of the lolly-nurse.
Lotsa love and girlie thoughts...


Gill Stannard said...

Loved your thoughtful piece about BB and fertility. I have those thoughts about my bloke too. Will link them in Deliberately Barren.

Wishing you a gentle convalescence. When the boredom hits, it means you are getting better :)

Something creative will be born of this experience.

naomi said...

Lush post Duck, let's all raise a glass to BB, and to wrestling those demons (together)


Tim said...

Best of luck with everything, &D.

pk said...

lovely lovely lovely. Good luck and enjoy all the ice-cream: oh that's tonsils - have some anyway.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

You push me to think differently too, bless you. Here's strength and swift recoverings and much admiration.

Anonymous said...

My Mum found a steady stream of videos/dvds was helpful, after the first week.

The first week she found herself (rather uncharacteristically) thinking "what I need to watch is Bert Newton", and sadly Good Morning Australia is no longer available.

Your word verification is "consper", which I'm sure is what you'll be doing for the next few weeks. (I'm sure "consper" means "lie on the couch and be responsible for no one")

genevieve said...

Amazing post, Duck.
I was at a school reunion on the weekend, and one of us was due to go under the knife the day after. She was keen to stay hydrated.
(Another told the woman who made her wedding dress that she threw it out after the divorce. Heh.)

Try and take it a bit easy on Wednesday, don't burn up too much energy beforehand. As my dear mother-in-law says (she is a dear, really), go safely XO

Anonymous said...

Will be thinking of you and be in touch. I will leave it until the second week then you will be more up to phone calls from us all here in the west. Everyone wishes you well.Love to BB and Bumblebee.
Kepp Happy love Aunty Lou

M-H said...

Good luck, good health, god bless you and keep you... And enjoy the downtime. And thanks for the good post.

Dean said...

All the best Ducky. Do call out if you need anything.

Penthe said...

I hope your recovery gets to the bit where you can enjoy reading early enough so that you can get maximum benefit.

Sing out if you imagine there's anything I can do to help. We have lots and lots of serious and silly books on our shelves, for example.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post.

Good luck x

Kirsty said...

Hope it all goes well, Duck, as best as surgery can anyway. I'm willing to play one of those facebook games with you sfter you finish watching Deadwood, which I'm sure you won't be able to make last for more than a week.

Ampersand Duck said...

Thanks, all!
I've got a mercy bundle of bad women's magazines coming from my nana, and the ipod is filling up with fluff. I'll definitely be playing bad facebook games, and thanks for all the good advice. I just had a friend over who is a surgical nurse, and she gave me LOTS of good practical advice. So I'm feeling ready. Now I just have to pack!

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

arrr dear Ducky, great post, you are a darling and I hope it's all smooth sailing :-)

oooh - doorbitch - unite.

Beth said...

Will be thinking of you, &d, and let's play wordscraper when you're up for it :-) xx

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Ducky and goodonya, BB.

Mummy/Crit said...

Lovely post, sorry I'm late. I just looked at my watch and thought - ooh better send ducky a message, and then read your post...good luck tomorrow, i'll be thinking of you, you bold woman.
, as usual your door bitch is otm...


Mindy said...

Good luck Ducky. Are you a fan of vampires?

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you Ducky! Hope it all goes swimmingly (as it does with ducks)

xxx Balcony

(WV: "Carat"!)

Poppy Letterpress said...

Thinking of you today Ducky. Meant to send you a quick message yesterday wishing you the best, but wasn't that organised. I hope they don't keep you waiting long, and that it's over as quickly as possible (or at least appears that way thanks to the wonder of drugs).

Let me know if you need help with anything, or someone to be your gopher. I'm terrible at those facebook games, so if you need someone to lose miserably to your genius, do let me know.


Anonymous said...

Dear Duck,

I've only been reading your blog for a few weeks, Love it! Cannot believe such a wealth of booky knowledge LIVES IN CANBERRA, Yay!

I loved this post. Unfortunately due to bad timing was obviously unable to send you a pre-op call out, but I am really hoping for everything to go well.

Enjoy the time to yourself, and we wait for your return.

With grateful thanks for your blog


Zoe said...

Friends of the Duck, I have just got a text from BB saying that she is well, all went well, and she is up to receiving visitors. He said that bit about the visitors, but I'm pretty sure she'd rather be left alone with her morphine trigger button and a large print title for now.

Anonymous said...

i'm well behind the times, but i hope it all went well &D and that recovery is speedy.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Zoe, thank you! I have come here to say WE CAN HAZ UPDATE? and behold I'm two days out of date. Excellent news. If you think of it, do pass on bloggy greetings and good wishes for recovery next time you see/speak to her.


genevieve said...

Great news, Zoe. Thank you and best wishes to the patient.

*trously* here, and *galiesin* over at Laura's - what the hell is going on? Captcha aliens iz coming...

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

thanks for the update Zoe!

doorbitch: Zentiqui

the next dog I own shall be called that. or maybe I should save it for if I have a daughter?

Unknown said...

V.pleased to hear good news. Now comes the hard part: giving yourself enough time for sleeping and rest and recovery (I recommend having people read to you). Or, as the WV says, "syesti"!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you, &Duck.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say I hope all is well and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.