Maybe “coded” means, like, “ordered lunch in”.

As you may have gathered, they let me leave the hospital! I was super-gleeful about this, because HOSPITALS ARE TERRIBLE (don’t get me wrong, if you need your life saved, they will take care of that for you. But they are also sort of unpleasant places where doctors wake you up at 6:45 AM to tell you complicated things about the HOLE THEY PUT IN YOUR THROAT and how OH YEAH THEY MIGHT HAVE DESTROYED YOUR ABILITY TO SPEAK.) but then I started to realize that leaving the hospital has as its main downside that you expect to be Significantly Better and like Able To Go Shopping or whatever, when really at first you need 18 hours of sleep a day.

(Still better than being in the hospital, though.)

At this point, I am mostly all better: they took out the valve in my throat, and my voice came back, so I will just have a cool scar to freak people out with (after the hole closes up. YES! I still have a small hole in my throat. Jealous?) And they put me on medication for a while to make sure I don’t have any further bizarro incidents where my blood pressure becomes 900/500 or what have you… And antibiotics so I don’t get MRSA and die (I imagine.)

So ignoring minor issues like near-constant exhaustion and this thing where my memory suddenly doesn’t work (which better be because of the exhaustion and not because I blew a fuse in my brain, you guys!), I am pretty much back to normal. Aside from how I now have this baby.


When I first woke up, the day after The Dramatic Incident, I remembered essentially nothing*. So as I slowly regained consciousness, nurses and doctors would come in and talk to me and as hours passed, I slowly gathered the following: these people seemed to think that I was married and had been pregnant and had almost died and had just had a baby.


I did not believe any of this.

You guys! It was like one of those ’60s paranoid conspiracy thrillers, where a guy wakes up in an apartment he doesn’t remember and has a wife he doesn’t remember and then eventually it turns out that it’s all a ploy by the Russians to get the nuclear football or something. And exactly like that guy, the longer it went on, the more I started to doubt EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD.

The basic timeline is something like so: I woke up doped to the eyeballs on painkillers and sedatives, people implied that I had a kid, and then crammed me into a wheelchair and took me up a bunch of floors to see some tiny person who evidently lived full-time in an EZ-Bake oven.

“Here’s your son! Isn’t he beautiful?”



Later, when Seth made his illegal foray into checking out the folder of records the NICU staff were keeping on us, the notation for my first visit was:


This was pretty much the one thing about the hospital that actively pissed me off. Flat affect! Are you kidding? I was stoned out of my gourd, remembered nothing, and was UNABLE TO TALK. BECAUSE OF THE TUBE IN MY THROAT. That wasn’t “flat affect”, that was “skepticism”.


(The NICU nurses were actually really outstanding specimens of humanity. It was just that one thing that made me cranky. No wonder they won’t let parents look at their records.)


Seth has mentioned previously that hospitals are not necessarily as organized with the imparting of information about your care as you might think. I guess, insofar as I had ever thought about this stuff, I imagined that if you were in the hospital for something life-threatening and you were totally out of it, doctors would probably wait for your husband to be around before discussing complicated health stuff with you. (Particularly if you couldn’t talk to ask them questions.)

Not so! The doctor who crammed the tube through my throat, for instance (PS, I first met this guy in the ICU, and for quite some time I thought maybe he was someone I was hallucinating and had cobbled together from from The Simpsons characters.) liked to walk in at 6:22 AM and say things like “So we’re not totally sure your voice is going to come back! {jargonjargonjargonjargon} Some other doctor is going to {jargonjargonjargon}, okay? How’re you feeling? Good, good. All right, see you later! Oh, hey- don’t forget to {jargonjargon something really complicated involving breathing}.”

THEY WERE ALL LIKE THIS. I kind of thought that leaving the hospital would mean the end of this nonsense, but NO:

Today we took Henry (who has been allowed to come home from the hospital – Seth will probably update you on that later when we are no longer sobbing with exhaustion**… or I guess if you’re a parent yourself you can just think back to the early days and laugh at us for being SUCKERS.) to the pediatrician for the first time.

(He is totally fine and healthy and gets excellently angry when nurses try to take his pants off: OUTRAGE! VENGEANCE WILL BE HIS. But that’s not what this story is about. Sorry, baby-oglers.)

The pediatrician had one of those electronic readers she used to flip through our various hospital records. She said things like “Wow! What a dramatic experience!” and Seth and I nodded politely: we have figured out over the past few weeks that having full-blown, no-warning eclampsia makes you the obstetrics version of reality-tv-show-“famous”.

And then she tapped a new section of the screen and said, in awesome deadpan:

“Huh. So you coded on the table?”

And I said “I’m sorry?” and looked at Seth – you know, just in case he had been Keeping Things From Me – and he was shaking his head, “No, I don’t think so–”

And the doctor said, firmly and just ever-so-slightly dismissively – BE QUIET CIVILIANS, DO YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW HOW TO READ A MEDICAL RECORD OR SOMETHING?!? WHO’S THE EXPERT HERE? – “Yep, that’s what it says, all right. Coded on the table. Phew! What an ordeal, huh?”

You would think – or I would have thought – that this is something that maybe someone would have mentioned to me! BUT NO.


Of course I also recently discovered that the reason my midsection is crazy sore is not because I am having EXPLODING SPLEEN SYNDROME but instead because the two surgeons who saved me and my kid used that area to rest their heavier instruments while they were working. So I am starting to think that my standards for how doctors communicate is based on the wrong TV shows – E.R. instead of, say, Scrubs.

*You know… except for how I suddenly had all this insight into the true nature of reality and the universe and our immortal souls, etc. Which I guess is kind of par for the course if you CODE ON THE TABLE.

**I realized that I really needed to take a freaking nap and calm down when I found myself almost-tearfully wanting to argue with Facebook. My husband had updated his FB status to indicate that he had kicked me out of the bedroom to go sleep in the TV room for a few hours (he initially kicked me out onto the couch… but I could still hear the existence of other people from the couch, so I couldn’t sleep, because WHAT IF THE BABY WERE CHOKING OR BEING ABDUCTED BY ALIENS). And instead of just going “Yep. My husband is a pretty cool guy.” I started to get argumentative and upset because he said that I had had FIVE hours of sleep, when I was pretty sure it was no more than THREE.

Not-sleeping! It’s terrible and turns you into a loon.


3 responses to “Maybe “coded” means, like, “ordered lunch in”.

  1. Jeez, Double Holy Crap! Jenny and I can wait to see you, Seth and Henry and wrap you in hugs. Well you and Henry anyway, I still l haven’t graduated much beyond a fairly sterilile man-hug.

  2. Very funny. You make Coding on the Table seem like not such a bad thing to happen to a person. I, too, had the the whole epiphany insight thing when I gave birth, but I was delirious from pain. I wonder if its a mom thing. Good luck and keep an eye for something I sent you in the mail.

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