Bad Mother Down

May 7, 2006

The Husband and I are currently making arrangements for life insurance, because, you know, babies make you go all mature like that, such that those creepy TV ads for wills and insurance (you know, the shot-on-video ones with the stilted dialogue spoken by non-union actors: “What is it that you are doing, Honey?” “I am working on our will.” “Why?” “So that little Johnny will be taken care of if we die in a horrific car crash or are crushed by a herd of stampeding buffalo.” “That is good thinking, Honey.” “Yes, and that is why I called 1-800-Dial-A-Will, where phone operators with mail-in paralegal diplomas were waiting to take my call”) suddenly seem like profound cinéma vérité. Because, ohmigod we too could be crushed by a herd of stampeding buffalo and WonderBaby would be abandoned to our extended family whereupon she would very probably be doomed to a childhood in which she did not have an overfunctioning mother reading her Dr Seuss in Latin and teaching her to play the viola oh the horror the horror!

(Yes, the above is classist. I feel terrible about resorting to stereotypes just to make a point and get a laugh. [Sips chardonnay.] Just terrible.)

Buffalo? Oh dear. Well then we really must summer at West Egg, mother. There won’t be buffalo at West Egg this season, will there, mother?

So this morning, in the service of the above, a nurse comes to our house to do the necessary medical examinations: take blood pressure, urine samples, blood. BLOOD.

I am famously (among friends and family) squeamish. And terrified of needles. Terrified. Bad Husband has, in the past, accompanied me to dentist and doctor appointments to hold my hand while medical professionals stick me, because I’m given to crying and, occasionally, bolting when a needle heaves into view. But I’m a mother now. I endured 10 months of blood test after blood test after blood test AND an epidural and I didn’t cry, bolt or pass out once.

So, I figured, a little needle-waving and blood-letting in my dining room would be No Big Deal. Nurse Needlepoke spread her equipment out on the table while I, cool as a freaking cucumber, tapped away at my laptop, working on a post in one window and surfing blogs in another. I had just abandoned my post-in-process during a brain fart and was about to read Christina’s latest post when Nurse Needlepoke indicated that I should give her my arm and roll up my sleeve.

No problem. Extend arm, squeeze hand.

She asks me if I’m comfortable with giving blood.

(This is actually a translation. What she says is, “Like blood?” But there’s a whole English-as-second-language thing going on here and I assume that she doesn’t intend the reference to vampirism.)

No oh god no am terrified of needles but just had the baby 6 months ago and went through lots of blood tests during the pregnancy so totally used to it now and it’s no problem and I’ll be fine…

Poke.

‘cuz when you go through all those tests and the glucose screenings and the needle in the spine you get over your fears really fast, you know, and…

Fade to black.

******
I come to and am doubled over in the chair and the Husband and Nurse Needlepoke are lifting me back into a sitting position. The first thing that I see is my laptop screen and all I can think is must blog about passing out…

“You okay? You need juice.”

The Husband fetches juice and I sit up straight and insist upon my wellness. Am fine am fine am totally fine totally dizzy but fine.

Nurse Needlepoke puts needles away and sets about preparing her little blood pressure machine and I turn back to the laptop to reopen the Blogger window to create a new post.

Never mind un-ranting the Unrant today… passed out, OMG!… must post about passing out…

Nurse Needlepoke motions for my arm again and unravels the blood pressure armband. She slips it on and the machine starts pumping.

“You okay?”

Yes, totally fine, totally fine, it was just the fasting and the breastfeeding, got me light-headed, is all, am totally…

Fade to black.

*******
Where am I? Where’s my laptop?
Husband: You’re here. You really have to lie down.
Fine. But where’s my laptop?
*******
It’s clear that despite 10 months of pregnancy, countless needles, an epidural that didn’t work and 36 hours of active labour, I am still a world-class wuss. Fine. I can accept that. What I am having trouble wrapping my around is the obvious mental imbalance that attends such a twisted reaction to something like, say, losing consciousness at your dining room table: must blog must blog must blog.
It seems to me that I’ve crossed some sort of line – and this may be a line that is, eventually, crossed by anyone who devotes a portion of their life to storytelling in some form or another – in moving, almost instantly, from the experience of something to the impulse to tell a story about that thing. I was constructing my narration of the story of passing out before Husband and Nurse had picked me up off of the floor. And when I passed out again? Jackpot! A second climax that reveals the dramatic action and seeming climactic moment of fainting as merely part of the rising action of the story! Woo hoo!
Is this just overly-attentive but totally normal writerly devotion to the details of the stories of my life? Or is it Barthesian confusion of the self and the text? Such that one day, when I’m walking the streets of Paris and am struck by a laundry truck, my final thoughts will be, is this how my story ends? Is this ending writerly enough? Whither the text whither the text?!
Or am I just losing my mind?

Stampeding buffalo intruding upon F. Scott Fitzgerald fantasies? Imagining that you’re a dead Post-Structuralist? Obsessive blogging? May be signs of madness.

Turning to the Internet or your 6-month-old baby for psychiatric assessment? Proof positive.

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    { 32 comments }

    Motherhooduncensored May 7, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    Dude. One faint = great blog fodder. Two faints = a guaranteed winner! I love it.

    And seriously, the will thing makes me crazy – however, it must be done. Lord knows I don’t want any damn lilliputian raising my wonderbaby – who speaking of wonder babies is looking quite faboo in her black and white ensemble (say it as a one syllable word – sounds way better).

    Christina May 7, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    Way too funny! Yes, passing out twice does equal a winner of a blog post. Maybe next time give yourself a glass of juice or a rest before attempting to compose your post after having passed out.

    I’m sorry you’re so squeamish around needles. My husband is the same way – he sees a needle and nearly passes out. My mom is a lab technician, so I’m totally used to needles and such. Doesn’t bother me at all.

    At least you didn’t pass out as a result of reading my blog. Whew.

    Awesome Mom May 7, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    I am very much like you, I am constantly blogging in my brain. Thankfully only some of it makes it to my blog mostly because blogging actually involves typing and grammer. Blooging in my brains means I can be as witty as I wish without all the mundane things that get in the way.

    As far as needles go I just can’t really understand why some people (my husband inculded)are so squeamish as I am very matter of fact about it. I don’t watch the blood flowing out, I think that would totally creep me out so I just chat with the person doing it and cincentrate on something else.

    Kristen May 7, 2006 at 10:11 pm

    I passed out in high school during a blood drive I participated in- it was pretty cool though because I got out of like 3 classes while I laid on the gym floor on gymnastics mats eating cookies. LOL.

    Oh, and I think most of us blogging moms (at least I hope, LOL) find ourselves thinking “I am sooo blogging about this later.” LOL. Sometimes when I’m drifting off to sleep, I lay there thinking and planning my next post. Sick. I know.

    booberrypancake May 7, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    woman, you are hilarious! “whither the text,” indeed.

    i can’t tell you how many times i’ve lived something and my fingers itched for the keyboard. ESPECIALLY when the baby is involved.

    and everyone knows that if you were truly high class, you’d be drinking sauvignon blanc. chardonnay is so passe, darling.

    back to alice b. toklas.

    melanie/the delicate flower

    Mom101 May 7, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    I’m with everyone – this is awesome. I don’t care if it’s normal or warped or what, but it’s resulting in some damn funny writing and since it’s all about US I say keep it up! Seriously, wonderful post. Hope you’re feeling okay though. And geez, they’re not going to raise your premium now for having like low blood pressure or something, right?

    Granny May 7, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Wake up – first thought – how soon can I get back to my keyboard?

    Sounds right to me.

    Do hope there were no lasting effects from your ordeal.

    Ann

    Izzy May 8, 2006 at 12:40 am

    My huz has fainted upon seeing his own blood several times. It used to scare the shit out of me…

    I feel terrible about resorting to stereotypes just to make a point and get a laugh. [Sips chardonnay.] Just terrible.

    rofl…crackin my ass up.

    PS: In that first pic WB looks like a doll! Cute :)

    Nancy May 8, 2006 at 1:19 am

    I am the same way about keeping a running tally in my mind of interesting things that I should blog about. I now keep a notebook in my purse/commute bag so when a thought strikes I can write it down.

    My sympathies on the needle aversion. I get an IV every 2 weeks due to a medical condition and I still don’t like it. I cannot under any circumstances look at the needle when it’s being inserted or removed, or anytime it’s uncovered (like when the nurse is taping it up). So I usually fixate on my laptop while I’m getting stuck. I totally had to laugh when you looked for it as you came to. I’d be the same way.

    Blog Antagonist May 8, 2006 at 7:23 am

    When I was a Doula, I used to see the biggest, toughest, brawniest men go completely pale at the sight of a needle, a rubber glove, or even just a blood pressure cuff. More than one has passed out cold on me during a pivotal moment (crowning). So don’t feel bad.

    That said, I laughed at your having to blog about it. I’ve only been doing this a couple months and find I do the same thing. My husband told me the other night he feels as if his whole life is just fodder for the blog!!

    We are crazy. But, quirky, semi-brilliant crazy, like Beethoven, or DaVinci. :? )

    Pattie May 8, 2006 at 7:43 am

    Well, your fainting TWICE did provide excellent writing material.
    I guess next time you have blood drawn you oughta lie down :)

    wordgirl May 8, 2006 at 9:42 am

    I’ve given blood so often that as long as the nurse/phlebotomist can “give good stick”, I’m okay. My husband needs to donate blood on a reclining chair so that his head is lower than his feet.

    Still…I can’t watch the needle going in. I always turn my head the other way.

    sunshine scribe May 8, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Fainting twice is most certainly blog worthy, HBM.

    Gone Blogmad? I think we all have. You’re brain has switched over to a full time writer/blogger. And a damn good one. We all benefit from your madness :)

    kittenpie May 8, 2006 at 10:09 am

    Buffalos in West Egg. You are indeed mad, but the blog obssession might not be the most telling sign of it…

    That is actually someting I have found intersting about blogging. It has kind of made me look at life in terms of what might be something to share. Pay attention to it instead of just walking through it. The journey, and all that.

    gingajoy May 8, 2006 at 10:21 am

    HA!!!! Dear, Bad Lady, I for one richly appreciated the meta-textual and writerly narrative which you have created for your “readers” (or are we “writers” constructing our version of “you” as stable subject??) here. I for one shall be using it in my class on poststructuralism and literary form.

    Either that, or I will be thinking about this entry and thinking “ok. good, I am not the only FREAK whose first thought when something odd happens is how I am going to blog about it.”

    macboudica May 8, 2006 at 10:53 am

    My husband is the one with the needle phobia. I was sick as a childwith a blood disorder and was in the hospital for a long time, so needles don’t bother me.But good for him for surviving my multiple needle pricks and IVs, etc. when I was pregnant withthe twins. He didn’t faint once (I had a bet that he would)!

    And thank you for the stories. They are great!

    T. May 8, 2006 at 11:34 am

    Oh, I hate to see what rates they are gonna charge you now. Two times a winner.

    Great post. LOL! But I hope you are feeling better.

    Michele May 8, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    I am starting to think “blog-worthy?” often too.

    And I think of some blogs as I did television shows “Hey, did anyone see ‘Her Bad Mother’ today? Fabulous!”. Doesn’t make for great elevator chit-chat yet.

    Steller Wonder Baby shots this week.

    kfk May 8, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    Twice?!!!!!

    Mama C-ta May 8, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    LOL wow, two times eh? When I was pregnant I went through the same “oh my god we need life insurance ASAP” deal. What really sucks is they denied me. So yeah, my son is screwed. Unless is father dies, the one who doesn’t have any mental illness in his history. Life insurance companies don’t like that very much! He passed out too giving his blood, but just once ;)

    mama_tulip May 8, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Dang, twice? That’s double the blog fodder. ;)

    Cindy May 8, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Hahaha! Twice is pretty funny. Hope you still get that insurance.

    I once passed out at the dentist office after my husband got his wisdom teeth removed. Nothing done to me, but it was still bad enough for me to pass out.

    And I also will look at things in the good enough to blog or not way. And thankfully I am not the only one who at night constructs posts in her head before falling asleep.

    Mardougrrl May 8, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    Wow, you are simply brilliant. I’d be curious to see how you would blog the stampeding buffaloes, should the worst come to pass…

    WonderBaby looks like an ACTUAL doll. Gorgeous child.

    And the asides? Hilarious. Isn’t it wonderful to be that over-educated? ;)

    Dutch May 8, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    it could have been worse. you could have told them you have a raging case of syphilis.

    btw, I love all your allusions.

    Jozet May 8, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Oh no! (LOL!…I am not laughing…lol, snort!)

    Oh, that stinks!

    And I just had my glucose test today. I had to play cool because my 4yo was with me and I didn’t want to flinch at a needle in front of her.

    Although, I did almost pass out from the glucose drink.

    Jeez…I hope you’re feeling less light-headed.

    Jo May 8, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    Granny sent me over, you are one funny lady. I like that in a person. Make me laugh, we will be friends forever.

    something blue May 9, 2006 at 12:05 am

    Hmmm, sipping chardonnay Sunday mornings while recapping witty tales offering proof of sanity? Surely! Completely hilarious!

    I’ve never fainted and have always wondered what it would feel like.

    Carrcakes May 9, 2006 at 8:55 am

    It’s classic that you were blogging while giving blood. A line has definitely been crossed. But while you’re on the other side, kick off your heels, take down your hair and keep writing!

    For your own health, try to keep the fainting to a minimum.

    Mrs. Chicky May 9, 2006 at 8:58 am

    See I knew I was putting off life insurance for a reason. I thought I was just procrastinating but it was actually my subconscious keeping me away from the needles!

    (btw, I’m really hoping that blogger won’t eat this comment like it ate the last 2. If it does I might find out how far a laptop can fly.)

    mothergoosemouse May 9, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    Just be sure to LIE about any history of tobacco use because if you don’t then you get rejected and have to get poked again. And again. And again. Until you LEARN.

    Yes, I often think about how I will tell a story in a post, even as the events are still unfolding.

    Veronica Mitchell May 10, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    I used to be very scared of needles too. The first time I donated blood the phlebotomist said:
    “You know, Ms. Mitchell, we don’t need blood so badly that you have to come back.”

    And yeah, anything that makes a good story is (almost) worth it.

    Bahar May 10, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    Isn’t she just the beauty queen?

    Wonderbaby is the smartest and prettiest of all badladies. (I wonder whom she gets it from)

    big blue eyes…..

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