Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Madame Gruyère

Yesterday was an excruciatingly long day.

On Saturday, I did my last bHCG test and the hormones had doubled again so my doctor had asked me to call him on Monday morning (yesterday) so he can do a last ultrasound, locate the pregnancy and deal with it:

  • bHCG levels
  • 10 March 2009 : 2,988
  • 12 March 2009 : 6,565
  • 14 March 2009 : 14,000

7:30 >> I couldn’t sleep all night and woke up several times, and then finally got out of bed at and took my meds.

8:00 >> Then took a shower and waited.

8: 30 >> As per the doc’s request, I called him but he hung up on me without answering so I figured he was probably in the OR. I called the hospital and they confirmed that he had two operations that morning and that I should call back at around 11.


I couldn’t eat because I was expecting to possibly have a curettage done that day and I had to be prepared on an empty stomach for the anesthesia.

10:30 >> Called the hospital back and still no feedback from the doctor as his secretary told me she couldn’t get a hold of him yet.


My mom decides we should go to the hospital and wait there so that when he is done, we can immediately see him.

11:00 >> We reached his office and approached the secretary desk to introduce ourselves and check for possible updates and indeed, updates there were: the doctor would not see me at all and postponed me to the following day.


I start shouting that I have an ectopic pregnancy, possibly in the tube and that the pregnancy is ongoing based on my bHCG levels and if something explodes inside of me, who would be responsible? I tell my mom to leave immediately and to go see another doctor at once. I leave. My mom stays and continues to argue with the secretaries who apparently call the doctor and he agrees to see me later, after two other patients, one with him and another who wants an ultrasound. So now it’s my mom’s turn to explode: is an ultrasound more urgent than an ectopic pregnancy? She joins me at the hospital door and we leave.

There was a doctor we had requested at my last miscarriage but he had left this hospital to practice at Clemenceau Medical Center - Johns Hopkins Hospital. So we called a friend and enquired about him again. We were in the Clemenceau area anyway.

So we went to CMC and asked about him.

Such a friendly staff.

The security at the entrance told us that the doctor had just arrived at the hospital so we ran to the gynecology floor and asked for him at the nurses’ station. They confirmed he was here for an operation because he doesn’t have an office at CMC; his clinic is a few blocks away and he only does his operations at Johns Hopkins.

The nurse was a real sweetheart. She tracked him down and followed him like a private investigator! She called the OR, no answer. She called the surgical floor and they told her the doctor had finished and left. (this took a good 15-20 minutes because the lines were either busy or nobody would answer). Finally, she called his mobile, knowing he was done from the OR and spoke to him directly. She explained my case very briefly and he told her he was on his way to his clinic and that I should follow him there; he would see me in between appointments.

I think we reached his office at about noon or so. We waited for two pregnant ladies who had a follow up and then they called us, indeed, before other patients who were waiting too.

He’s probably the funniest and sweetest OBG I’ve ever met!!

After listening to my background story, he did the ultrasound. His diagnosis was very close to Dr. Najat Hazimeh’s (in Dubai) and he told me that he would admit me today at the hospital and it was great I was still on an empty stomach because he’d like to do the procedure today.

His diagnosis was that there is nothing visible in the uterus but it doesn’t look like an ectopic pregnancy. However, and despite the bHCG levels, the pregnancy was not going to develop or we would have seen a clear sac in the uterus. All we could see was the same tiny thing that Dr. Najat had initially seen. The “lump” near the ovary/tube is most likely feeding what should have been the fetus. But since he couldn’t locate the latter on the ultrasound he decided to go for a Laparoscopy (if I am not mistaken about the name) to check with a camera, my uterus, ovaries and tubes as well as my liver (apparently some problems with reproductive organs may affect the liver).

Procedure description for the curious readers: three holes in my abdomen (hence the title of this post, Madame Gruyère) and some gas blown in my belly to make everything more visible. And the whole thing was recorded on a CD for me to review at home :-) Actually, Hadhoud called me on that day and asked me: “why don’t you tell them to record everything, then you can broadcast it on your highly private blog!” Everybody thinks I am a cyber-exhibitionist. But the joke’s on them! I did get my film on CD!! OK, OK; it may be too disgusting to broadcast! Let’s keep some things private, shall we? :-)

So basically, at around 1:30 pm, I reach CMC to get admitted. I finished from the admissions at around 2 pm and get to my very special room. My insurance allows me for first class admissions, but all the rooms were full so I got myself a junior suite on the presidential suite floor, with sea view (not any sea, please, my favorite sea in the whole world) and a very spacious and luxurious room and bathroom. It actually looked like a hotel with the tiny shampoo bottles and soaps, all sizes towels and even a bathrobe! :-) The nurse who walked me in told me I was lucky, I got a suite because all the rooms were full. I wanted to reply “if I were lucky you and me would have never met and I wouldn’t be standing here now” but I refrained. Come on. The staff there is so sweet you just want to blow kisses at them all day long! And night! It’s the first time I meet night shifters who are always smiling and in a good mood!

Unfortunately there were lots of operations on that day and I had to wait until 6 pm to finally see the OR. Needless to say I was freaking starving by then!

Luckily I got some sleep while I waited. And a lineup of doctors and nurses passed by when I first arrived to ask many, many questions (including the infamous “do you smoke?” “no” “do you do narguileh?” “no, I told you I don’t smoke” “many people don’t consider it smoking, go figure! Ok, now the most annoying question of all; are all your teeth real?” I couldn’t help but laugh! “yes, but why the most annoying?” “because usually women get ashamed and lie about this!!!!” and apparently they lie a lot about because I got asked this question about 10 times between my arrival at the room and the OR. People just don’t get that they could choke to death during an operation under anesthesia!!)

Part of the blood check my doctor requested included another bHCG test which turned out to be approximately 13,950 which means that the hormones had finally plateaued and I was on my way for a miscarriage. Thank God, I didn’t wait longer for a natural one because from previous experience, it’s a horribly painful and scarring event.

Back to our main story.

When they finally took me to the OR, I met a nurse there who was so funny. He came in with some coffee and asked me if I wanted a tea or a coffee?! I said I wasn’t allowed to drink anything (dumb-dumb)… As he took a sip he asked again.. So I said no thanks again. So he said, good, I was testing you! (like I said, dumb-dumb). The he asked me “what’s your name?” “rouba” “rouba what?” “rouba abouzeid” “abouzeid? where from?” “the north, from Ehden” “ah ok, I had a friend from the abouzeid family but he was from abroad, I thought you were too” “no, it’s a huge family present in many countries around here; what’ your name?” “guess” “how can I possibly guess??” “aoun” “aaaah” “but now guess my first name” “mmmh (I wanted to say Michel, obviously but I refrained) don’t know” “Hassan” I laughed so hard I think I may have chocked! “you’re joking right” “you think I’m a liar?” “no I just think you’re teasing” “ok, then check my hospital tag” He gets closer and indeed, he’s Hassan Aoun! “I wish I had my camera” “why” “well come on, this is one photo worth forwarding around!!” (after the operation my mom came down to see me, from afar, in the recovery room and Hassan told her “your daughter wants to forward my photo” but he didn’t explain why so my mom thought I might have been losing my mind due to starvation!!!)

At around 8 pm I hear Hassan trying to wake me up and telling me “come on, wake up now, it’s 8 and I want to go home” HAHAHAHAHAHA! Obviously I didn’t because I can’t remember anything after that!!

My mom and I spent the night at the hospital, during which I woke up at about midnight and had a very heavy dinner, was relieved to find out that Asmar had discovered who Zizo was and had dinner with her and Ali (:-P I don't watch the show but my mom does! it was my fault actually because during my first pregnancy and against all odds I got addicted to Noor and forced my mom to watch it with me, so she got hoocked on Turkish series while I got into detox) and got back to sleep like a baby… Well, I was still under anesthesia so…

Yesterday was fine all in all.

The doctor was very pleased with the procedure. He checked the tube which was empty and there was no ectopic pregnancy as per Dr. Najat’s opinion. The ovaries were both fine. And so was the liver. He cleaned everything around and invited us to review what he had done on video (non merci, I’d like to sleep nightmare-free please :-P)

My aunt Houda came to stay all the time with us and our neighbor Solandia visited while I was being punched like a Gruyère…

Then this morning, I woke up fine. And probably high because the drugs never stopped all night long!! :-)

Tante Houda came again, of course! She is always there my aunty! And tante Bader called like a million times too, they’re both sweethearts!

As I was joking with my aunt, someone knocks and enters. At first I didn’t pay much attention because a million people (doctors and nurses and in the morning the cleaning staff) were coming in and out.


I couldn’t believe it!! I chocked on my saliva, I swear!!!!

I had just spoken to him like half an hour ago and he told me he was at the office… Before that his phone was off, so we called Loume (my brother) and he told us Hadhoud had a meeting so he probably had to turn his phone off. LIARSSSS!!!! But such sweet liars nonetheless!!

Finally, the nurses came to help me shower (yes, two ladies showered me!! one of them had shaved me in weird places the day before… I feel so cheap and dirty now! HAHAHAHAHA!) and then we came back home.

So my Hadhoud is here now until Saturday.

He went to see his mom and he’s bringing her and his brother to visit me. We hadn’t told them about the operation because my mother-in-law is very sensitive and she worries like crazy. So now she can at least see with her own eyes I am fine and relax a bit.

Just though I’d write this very quickly because many friends were calling and messaging (THAAAANX) and they’re waiting for some feedback… SO…



I’ll hold a movie night at my place and we’ll all view this wonderful production of what’s inside my abdomen together!!


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