She Said WHAT?

An excerpt from the book, “PUSH  Labor & Delivery from the Inside Out”. 

Don’t read this section if you do not have a sense of humor or are easily offended.  Shit happens
and in any profession you must keep a sense of humor. This is the glue that forms the lifelong
bonds between co-workers and creates memories for a lifetime. 
I myself, have experienced a mortifying slip of the tongue that sent my co-workers to the floor,
probably peeing themselves a bit, and me just sitting there wishing the moment would just
swallow me up and make me disappear.  
It was the end of a long and tedious shift.  The admissions were endless, my stomach was
hungry and my feet were burning.  These are the days that you question working a twelve
and a half hour shift. These are the days you hope you don’t mistakenly roll your eyes or
groan in front of the next labor patient that rolls through the door.  
I still remember this admission like it was yesterday.  Room 7, 6:45pm and only 15 minutes
to go. I had just admitted this woman for induction having her third baby.  If the cervix is still
closed or thick, patients will usually come in the night before for a cervical ripening (Cervidil)
before the actual induction that will start twelve and a half hours later.  So this was the last thing
I had left to do—hopefully.  
This couple as not your typical “about to have a baby” couple.  There was an underlying anger
that was palpable and I don’t think they looked at each other once during the admission.  The
husband made a snide remark to his wife that made me wonder how he spoke with her when
there was no one around. He was not very pleasant and even threw me an angry glare as I
tried to lighten up the atmosphere of the room.  How very sad. Poor baby. I am not usually
quick to judge, but I did not like this man.
Cervidil actually looks like a white shoelace that contains a small plastic disc at the end.  This
is the part that contains the medication that we hope will ripen that cervix over the next 12 hours.
  It is inserted via pelvic exam and the plastic disc is left just behind the cervix. It is relatively
painless to insert and we all hope that it causes some menstrual-like cramping or better yet,
labor.  If not, it is simply removed 12 hours later and Pitocin is started shortly thereafter.
As I sat on the end of her bed, on my very long day, not liking her husband, I said one of the
worst things have ever said to a perfect stranger.  “Ok, spread your legs and I am going to insert
this little plastic dick into your vagina.” DICK?!?! I meant DISC! Oh GOD, too late. She
slams her legs shut. Behind me, I hear the nurse gasp as she slowly slips out of the room and
I can hear her laugh uncontrollably as I sit there hoping to die.  I sat there, looked at the patient,
wondering how I could possibly begin to fix this. Ugg, I feel sick. I feel the bile that is creeping
up to the back of my throat and take a breath. I looked her in the eyes and just plain
apologized, not having any good explanation for why I said dick rather than disc.  In my head,
I concluded that  “dick” is what I thought of her husband and that made my tongue divert.  

My ever-loving co-workers, to this day will never ever let me live that one down.  I still get
nauseous when I think of it.


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