There Are No Headphones in the Wards of Hell

I had an odd feeling when, posting my last blog, I realized I was making this whole IVF thing sound like a routine oil change or unloading the dishwasher. Not pleasant, but far from a root canal or a bad bout with the flu. It felt kind of wrong, and I think it was because I was tempting fate.

Last Thursday we went in for our egg retrieval. If you remember my pictures of the hippos, I was the happy one. Here I am – waiting and ready for the next step. (I am not sure why patients have to wear the cafeteria lady caps, but so be it.) My husband was then sent to a room where he was going to be able to watch the retrieval on a monitor, and I was put under. I woke up just about 20 minutes later, and except for some mild pain and moderate bloating, I felt fine. Eating my Captain’s Wafers and drinking my apple juice, all was right with the World. Especially because, when I awoke, I was told that the doctor had retrieved 26 eggs!!!!  This is a crazy good response, even for a girl who has not had the hormonal challenges I have, and I was elated! When I found out, I clutched my little Captains Wafer so hard it crumbled in my palm. The tears just slid down my face and I was awash with joy. In fact, the nurse told me that the girl in the bed next to me – also in for a retrieval – began to cry when she heard my response because she was happy for me. (Say what you want about girls being catty, those of us in fertility treatment feel joy for our sisters in the same boat.)

So, now my adrenaline was pumping. I am not sure why, but I was HUNGRY. And, as I laid on the sofa that day resting my ovaries, I really did forget that I just had fairly invasive surgery. In fact, you can see by looking at the pictures below that my husband took of the monitor during retrieval: (The black circles are follicles, and the white “pencil” like line is the needle, withdrawing the eggs from the follicle.)

So, being happy and hungry I ate like I had not just had surgery. And over the course of the day, I was taking 3 does of a new antibiotic – Tetracycline, which I will never again touch with a ten foot pole – and also some steroids. Add that to 2 Darvocet, 2 Tylenol, a host of fertility drugs, a thirsty man’s share of Gatorade, and OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) and you get one sick girl. Fast. By 7:00 PM I was as sick as I have ever been. I am going to leave a lot of that out, because 1) I do not want to scare anyone out of IVF, as this is rare, and 2) I feel deathly ill if I think about it for more than 6 seconds.

By the time I got to the hospital I was that crazy person you see in the ER and think they must be suffering some unimaginable fate unbeknownst to you. Like Plague. I went in public without a bra, and I have not done that since the 7th grade. I was in pajamas with no shoes, getting sick in public while screaming that I needed immediate help or I would ask that they put me to sleep. (I did ask for this by the way, like how you would put Rover out of his misery.) My stomach was so distended I have put my pregnant friends to shame. Now, please know – I do have OHSS, but this severe illness is thought to have been caused by the Tetracycline and other meds, so do not think this is normal. But I have to tell you that I have not been in misery like that since I had my brain operated on. You know that nausea that creeps up your esophagus to your neck like a humid cloud, leaving pure dread in your heart until you want to give up? And there is no relief? The shot they gave me to relieve it worked for about an hour, but after that I was in Hell again. After 4 shots of 3 different naseau meds, they finally knocked me out with some calming shots in my buttocks and I fell asleep.

Now, I want to let you know that what ensued next was torture, by all means, but the humor was apparent and I knew my husband and I would get many laughs out of it in better days. After 12 hours I could open my eyes, and I was in a ward of six people because the hospital was over capacity. I suspect that 5 of these 6 people had their personal TVs on, and they were having a pissing contest on who could get theirs the loudest and on the most obnoxious shows. Why are blasting TVs allowed where people are ill, suffering, and need some peace? Now, below you will see a lovely man that I randomly found on the internet, watching his TV. He looks pretty happy, so I am going to assume he is just in for some hair plugs or something. But notice he is wearing HEADPHONES while he watches. There are no headphones in the wards in Hell, and there were none in mine. 

I also want to take a moment to discuss the man that was to my left, who I never saw but sure enough heard. No words can describe him, so I will let some of his own quotes speak for themselves (some to nurses, some while on the phone, some to his evil guide who must have stood at the foot of his bed urging him on to be an asshole):

  • “I didn’t want to see no G$damned Shutter Island! Man, that movie was Sh#t! Leonardo DiCaprio, that Mother Fu&$cker is an elf!” (I still do not understand this one)
  • “Avatar was the bomb, baby! Yo, there are these fuc&#ing Avator aliens, and they live on Pandora under a big ass tree, and man, you can bring the kids because they don’t go around saying ‘Mother Fu%#er this’ and ‘Mother Fu&*er that’.”
  • “Where’s my private room, where is my penthouse? I am paying top dollar, I am not on Medicaid!”
  • “I don’t feel like like going to the bathroom, I am just going to do it here.”

He also ate 5 meals and 2 sandwiches in one day. Drifting in and out of broken sleep (for a lack of a better term), I think I also heard the doctor tell him they found lice in his shoes. And no, I do not think he was homeless.

The guy to my right was pretty bad, but he had an excuse because he was old. Still, his daughter was a talker and described to him 3 times how when her husband (Mark) got home, they made frozen pizzas (Pepperoni.) She had two slices. My husband was about to go postal and he was not even sick. There was also the crazed old lady who I felt really bad for, because she kept yelping in Spanish, and then there was the snorer. He was rough. I had drug induced fantasies of praying upon him with a Breathe Right strip. Instead, I prayed my thanks to sweet Jesus and all the good folks on the other side when I was released from the bowels of the beast and into my own bed.

Needless to say, there is good news. Although breathing and walking are still chores, 22 of our 26 eggs fertilized! Exactly when we put one of the embryos back is up in the air and will probably be kept private, but it makes it all worth it. Even the parts I excluded, such as sharing a bathroom with a man that, I thought I had heard, may have had a really bad, really catching infection.

Here’s to getting over obstacles and getting on to good news!







4 responses to this post.

  1. Now THAT is an awesome fert report!! 22 or 26?!?! Amazing. Just wonderful. Best of luck to you come transfer. I will be crossing fingers for a big BFP!


  2. I meant 22 “out of” 26. Crazy good news!


  3. OMG it sounds like u had a day from hell. I’m so sorry.
    The good news is that you got 22 great eggs and that just sounds amazing!!! Congrats!

    I’m trying to think back and I believe that I was given Tetracycline before a procedure and that also made me SUPER sick. I thought I was having a heart attack and I wanted to throw up constantly but couldn’t.
    It was terrible and miserable.

    Take good care of yourself. Take it easy…….eat chicken soup for now. Let ur stomach rest.


  4. Posted by thecrazycatwoman on June 9, 2010 at 2:25 am

    26 eggs! No wonder you were hungry afterwards – you were eating for 26!


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