How to Make Ice-Cold, Sanitary Lasagna
“… and when you need to use the restroom, call the nurses’ station and let us know. Someone will come to help you.”
Not a sentence I expected to hear for at least 60 more years.
I couldn’t imagine why I would need help using the restroom. I was in a private suite, so it wasn’t like I needed help finding it … or getting to it. And I’d just spent the past hour and a half practicing my bowel movements, so I was confident that if ever that technique were going to be perfected, it was right then.
But I was still pretty out of it. I laid back on the bed in my new, post-partum room at the hospital, and looked around.
“You’ve got an hour. Try to get some rest.”
Someone in the delivery room thought the baby’s heart skipped a beat when he burst onto the scene. They – the omnipotent “they” – also thought he looked a little pale, so they wanted to send him to the nursery for an hour to be monitored. (First of all, who can blame the guy for missing one heartbeat in the midst of what I imagine is a pretty traumatic experience? Secondly, he comes by the pale skin honestly, poor kid, have you seen his mother?)
We insisted that if he ever left my side, Husband would go with him, and so they both went to the nursery, unnecessarily, for an hour.
I didn’t think sleep was possible, but I was so exhausted I dozed off. When I woke up, I had to pee, so I fumbled with the little bed-remote and hit the red button.
“This is [insert nurse's name here]. Can I help you?”
“Um … I have to pee? I think I’m okay, but the nurse that brought me in here said to call you so …”
“Okay! I’ll be right there.”
“Maybe I’m just an exceptional patient,” I thought. “Maybe all that prayer paid dividends I did not expect. Maybe the nurse is going to be super impressed with my ability to roll out of bed, shuffle five feet to the bathroom, and pee like a big girl.”
She arrived. We shuffled. I reached my destination, and as the nurse produced a bag of goodies from under the sink I realized this wasn’t going to go how I thought.
For starters, I sat down and had my first, and probably only, how-did-I-get-in-these-underwear moment, and it was so not sexy. I’d heard of the mesh shorts, and there they were. Awkward.
The nurse was proceeding to pull things out of her Mary Poppins bag.
“This,” she held up a small pillow, “is a cold pack. You activate it by twisting it like this.” She twisted, the pillow popped, and she set it on the counter next to me. “There are a bunch of pads in here,” she pulled out another, slightly smaller (slightly), pillow, peeled off the strip covering the adhesive back, and stuck it on the first pillow. “You’ll need two.” She repeated the process.
Then there was a canister of damp, round pads that I would need four of. Then there was a small aerosol can that got sprayed over the top. She delicately balanced her ice cold, sanitary lasagna on the center seam holding my mesh skivvies together, and looked at me expectantly.
I’m pretty sure I just met her gaze for a minute, defiantly. ‘Cause it’s so easy. Go ahead. Pull your pants up. I dare you.
Better still was several hours later, a different nurse was in the room when I started to scoot and slide toward the edge of the bed. I answered the querying looks with an announcement that I needed to use the restroom.
“Oh! I’ll help you,” she offered.
“Great. ‘Cause honestly, I’m not sure if I remember that whole process.”
In the restroom, I did my part with the mesh garment and the plastic bottle, while the nurse put together my diaper. She twisted and peeled and layered and peeled and layered and unscrewed and layered … and then … then she grabbed that little aerosol can, leaned over into my very personal space – and sprayed me.
I’m pretty sure there are parts of the human anatomy that aerosol cans are never meant to be pointed at, and that one is probably near the top of the list. Especially by a second party. I’d forsaken a lot of modesty on the third floor of Sherman Hospital in the previous 24 hours, but that was the last of it. Stamped out by a small spray can in the hand of a very sweet, oblivious woman.
I laughed awkwardly, but she didn’t notice. She just smiled as she handed me the newest strata for my mesh shorty shorts, and exited the room.