I think my senses are playing tricks on me.
What I heard on Monday was I think we’re going to admit you to the hospital. Then, on Tuesday, when I was actually admitted and asked the nurse what I should order for lunch, I thought I heard her recommend the fish and chips.
“Really?” I asked. Fried? Isn’t a hospital where one goes to get . . . you know . . .healthy? The menu reads like something from a college pub: Cheeseburgers. Pizza. French dip.
“The nachos are pretty good, too,” she said. Right.
I started with tomato soup and grilled cheese, a drape of orange cheddar wedged between two pieces of buttery toast that had been steamed to soggy under a plate cover for a few minutes, along with a fat slice of pickle, before landing in front of me. That’s what one gets for being food-obsessed, I suppose: warm pickles.
What I saw yesterday, on April Fool’s Day, was no joke either: snow, on April 1st in Seattle, flying sideways against all of downtown. And what I felt – my water breaking, at 7 a.m. – was certainly real. There are a lot of questions, and a lot of uncertainties, but at the very least, it’s clear that even at 33 weeks, this baby of ours has a sense of humor.
Since then, it’s been mostly unbelievable sounds: The local NPR station, graciously ending its pledge drive just in time. Our baby’s heart, ricocheting around inside my bedside monitor, thumpthumpthumping like a washing machine stuck with all the sheets on one side of the tumbler. My IV contraption, ticking and purring and clicking. Before last night, when I got to listen to it for hours on end, I didn’t realize machines can be reincarnated, too. I know this one was once one of those old ink plotters – I can hear the old-school computer paper spooling through on its little side holes, and the blotters jumping all around, individual spots of schizophrenia in an otherwise organized system.
There are unknowns, of course. We’re not sure why whatever language is being spoken next door sounds best to them, whoever they are, at maximum volume. We’re not sure why someone’s male partner seems to like singing the female leads to Mamma Mia songs. We’re not sure if the scrambled eggs will always be overcooked, or if the lattes will always be hot and surprisingly delicious. (This is Seattle, after all.)
We’re also not sure how long our baby will stay snug inside (he’s been given a permission slip to stay in, if he feels like it), or how much extra snuggling will be required after birth. We are sure that for now, we’re all healthy, and that five pounds is already a lot of baby. On this floor, we’re the lucky ones.
So, no. No recipe for you today, or for weeks (or maybe months) to come. I probably won’t tell you about the pizza some friends brought the first night, or the homemade nutter butters someone else dropped off, because now, I need to be here. Plus, the IVs seem to work best in my hand, and typing with one hand is a handicap I don’t have the patience for.
Until soon. Be well, have fun cooking, and eat something for me, will you?