It all started with excruciating stomach pains this past monday in the middle of the night. In too much discomfort to sleep, and my mind now racing wishing I could call downstairs to my mom to get me ginger ale and saltines, I went online to schedule the earliest appointment available for the next morning at the school doctor. Seven hours of the worst, most fragmented sleep later, I woke up with my stomach still hurting, but help would be on the way soon. Hunched over, I rolled out of bed, pulled on sweatpants, and hobbled down to the student health center. After a fantastic weekend, it only seemed fair that my week should start off terribly. I thought I'd made amends for the fun I'd had Saturday night with my Sunday morning hangover, but apparently the party gods still wanted me to repent for my drinking. However, it was worth it. Even though I felt as if I was going to shit out my stomach, I was still blissfully happy about how much fun I'd had at the party Saturday, not to mention how much fun I'd had after the party with the hottie from my Linguistics discussion.
After a Trail of Tears-esque walk, I was finally at the doctor. I checked in for my appointment and went to sit in the waiting area. The waiting rooms in doctors offices are my absolute favorite place to people watch. There were plenty of people occupying the seats around me that looked as if they were at death's door, but those weren't the people I was interested in. It's the ones who appear to have nothing wrong with them; those are the ones that have the most interesting reason for being there. They have STD written all over them.
I was in the middle of deciding whether the blonde girl across from me looked more like a "herpes" or a "chlamydia" when I was called over by a nurse. She brought me into a room, took my height and weight (ugh), then said the doctor would come see me shortly.
As I waited for the doctor, I took out my phone to text my mom. I'd told her I was having stomach pains last night, and ever since then I could practically feel her having a panic attack, even from 2,000 miles away. I reassured her with a text, "at the doctor's now! your little girl is going to be just fine!" Moments later she replied with "wish I could be there with you! love you baby!"
Just then, the doctor opened the door and gave me what I assume was a smile.
"Alright now, what seems to be the problem?" She took a seat and pulled out a form covered clipboard.
"Well, last night I couldn't sleep because I was having really intense stomach cramps, and now they've carried over to this morning."
She went on to ask all the usual questions: "Are you allergic to any medications?" "Are you currently taking any medications?" "Any history of heart disease/diabetes/high blood pressure in your family?" "When was the date of your last period?"
The last one made me stop and think. I was silent for about five seconds as I flipped back through my mental calendar. Finally, I broke the silence, "End of August."
The doctor paused. Never looking up from her clipboard, she said "Well, that's quite a while."
She was right. It was November. Anyone who's graduated from kindergarten could've told me that it's been over a month since August.
"When was the last time you had sex?" Her eyes still on the clipboard.
Oh, you've got this one, you're fine, I told myself, confident that my last date of intercourse was uncontroversial. "Like, sex-sex?"
"Either vaginal or oral."
"And how long have you been with that partner?"
Is that actually on the fucking form? Who wrote these, my mother?? "Uhh," well this was uncomfortable, "not really at all..."
"Do you drink?"
Fucking duh. "Yes."
"Do you smoke?"
Yes. "Not regularly."
"How often do you drink?"
"Umm, like, twice a week," I lied.
"And how many drinks do you drink in a night?"
"Four or five-ish." Another lie.
"Do you ever black out?"
"Not regularly."I pretended to itch my nose but was really checking to see if it was growing from lying so much.
Still focused on the form she said, "The concern doctors have about blacking out is that you'll partake in sexual activity and not be able to remember whether it happened and whether or not you practiced safe sex."
I gulped heavily.
She scribbled down some things on her clipboard and I could tell my medical forms were turning into a burn book. Diagnosis: grotsky little biotch.
At last she looked up from the clipboard. "Do you use protection?"
"Yes," I said with a look in my eyes that cried please don't call my mom.
"Have you taken a pregnancy test since your last missed period?"
"No, but I mean, I'm not. Like, I'm definitely not."I wasn't sure who I was trying to convince, her or myself. As if the nurse hadn't made me feel bad enough when she took my weight, the doctor made me feel like a deplorable whore. Going to the doctor was supposed to fix whatever was bothering you, but this appointment had made me feel even worse.
"Okay, well I'm going to have you take one just to be safe. As for your stomach pains, I've written you a prescription for a low dosage painkiller. If your symptoms persist after a couple of days, come back for a follow-up visit." She handed me a little plastic bag with a small container and a set of directions in it. "As for the test, I'll email you the results within 24 hours."
I grabbed the bag in a lightheaded daze. "Thank you," and thank you for attaching a timebomb to my new pregnancy paranoia.
The week earlier, I'd had midterms that I'd hardly studied for and guessed on practically every multiple choice question, but this test I felt least confident after taking. I gave my test answers to the nurse, and walked back to my dorm in a stressed out, tense trance.
It was impossible to do anything. I couldn't watch TV because every show and commercial coincidentally had a baby or toddler in it, I couldn't do any homework because when I sat at my computer all I could do was refresh my email, and I couldn't sleep because my mind was racing too fast to settle into an REM cycle. So I laid in my bed with the lights off and blinds shut, and just let my mind race. I did this for so many hours that when I finally got up from my bed it was dark outside. I sleepwalked over to my computer and checked my email. I was in a haze until I realized I had a message in my inbox. With that my mind jolted awake and my pulse began pounding. My hand was shaking so badly that it took me several tries to fix the mouse on the message to click it open. Finally, my motor skills allowed me to read the message. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my throat.
My eyes scanned over the screen until I found the word "negative." After that, I reread the message at least ten times before it finally resonated with me you're fine, and furthermore you don't have to call mom with some very bad news.
"YES!!!" I jumped feet into the air when midjump I realized my stomach was still in excruciating pain. Consequently, instead of landing the jump, I fell to the floor, but still kept screaming in joy. Within the span of 10 hours, I'd gone from having nothing more than serious stomach pains, to being possibly pregnant, to being definitely not pregnant with serious stomach pains and possibly a broken ankle. As much as I bitch about my period when I have it, on that day I learned that having it is better than not having it at all.