The Shocker: Every Sense of the Term

Once upon a time a girl had PMS. She was babysitting. A once timid, domesticated feline was suddenly possessed by demons. Beer flew, snots poured. Oh the joys of PMS and cats, the girl thought.

She was right about one thing. Cats indeed suck the proverbial balls. But she was wrong about something. Her raging hormones had nothing to do with PMS at all…

The end.

Just kidding. I’m TKU’d. In a crazy and beautiful turn of events, J and I discovered we made a little person. Well, we made the possibility of a little person. Technically it’s not a little person yet; he/she is still stewing and likely looks something like this…

…with less hair. Or not, I mean I’m pretty sure I was hairy from the get-go. So…In any event… [Wow, I should teach a biology class]…A seventeen-week old, hairless monkey is cohabitating my body, sharing my blood, my food and most of my daytime energy. It’s been a ride so far. Did you know you can drive while puking into a plastic Sobeys bag with remarkable aim and only minimal leakage? No shit. I did it on a freeway in Edmonton just this past weekend.

Oh the precious stories I’ll recall for this mischievous little tyke. According to some sources, the baby can hear me now, so I’ve already started fondly narrating some of our mother-child adventures thus far. Most of them end with me naked and writhing on the bathroom floor, my green face pressed against the cool toilet bowl – a momentary pacification.

At twelve weeks, we got to see an ultrasound of the little guy. It’s crazy to feel like you just have a really, really bad hangover and to then have a lady in a white jacket point a wand at your gut and go, “nope, you actually have a little, bald elf doing impressive jump squats inside you; I shit you not, here it is in real time on an HD big screen”.

Insert brain into Magic Bullet and hit ON. Mind explosion.

I’m still convinced she was just messing with us and showing video footage of something else. I didn’t feel anything other than exhausted and queasy; I’m pretty sure I’d know if a tiny human that looks like an amphibious me was pulling a Michael Flatley in my uterus. Right? Well, wrong, I guess. Clearly. Because apparently he/she is still in there.

I’ll stop for a moment. Give that time to sink in. Dad, I hope you were sitting down for that.

[I kid. Ol’ Opa has known all along and is tickled pink to be having a second grandbaby.]

[“Tickled pink” is an expression that I’m suddenly hoping doesn’t have perverted origins…]

Anyway, the reason I’ve been Heather Off a Rock for a while is because I’ve been hit pretty hard by morning (later morning, noon, early afternoon, just before supper, evening, midnight, middle of the night, wee hours) sickness. And don’t get me wrong, hilarious stories come from the ability to puke on command and sleep standing up, but I wasn’t quite ready to “go viral” (that’s what we call it when gossip makes its way into the weekly conference call between mom and her sisters) with our news. So I held off. I didn’t have the energy to turn on my computer much less summon my trademark mediocre wit.

But the reason I had to tell you now was to preface this story, my recap of this past weekend. You see, I was to go to Edmonton to do a three day course – part of a “continuing education” thing. The course was in pelvic floor rehabilitation, assessing and treating the pelvic floor.

I know what you’re thinking. “Since when are you passionate about the pelvic floor?”

To which I say, “Um, I don’t know… ? Maybe since age eleven? Twelve?”

In any event, the glamour of the pelvic floor had little to do with my decision to enroll. What motivated me was the fact that incontinence is a legitimate thing that a ton of people deal with, young and old. And unfortunately its surrounded by mad social stigma, so most people deal with it in silence. That sucks.

Shag dat! I thought. I can help normalize this issue in my practice and ask patients (those post-partum or with pelvic/hip/low back pain that’s not going away) about it casually; give them an opening to address it. And then I can even treat it!

So that was the impetus. I saw an opportunity. Unfortunately, this opportunity came at a price. And I don’t mean the course fee.

Participants must be willing to practice on each other during the lab portions of the course.

Sweet Jesus in the garden. Are you kidding me? I mean, I’m far from shy but…

The thought of this nagged me for days. I lost sleep over it. I don’t know why. I mean, I guess most people can imagine why, but I expected myself to have a more “meh, whatever” attitude about it. Instead I felt like I was choking on my own tongue.

I practiced my nonchalant face in the mirror and looked like I was suppressing painful gas.

Finally, two days before the course, I pussied out.

[Puns are fun, inexpensive and low in saturated fats!]

I emailed the course instructor and pulled the pregnancy card. If there was any getting out of being a “participant” while still doing the course, this had to be it.

And my wish was answered in her reply email.

“Don’t worry you can’t be a patient for the vaginal exam because you are pregnant.  Relax and come and learn.”

Hallelujah. Relax and come and learn. Music to my ears.

So Thursday after work, I hit the road. The drive took about three hours and I got to board with my aunt, which was amazing. As soon as I walked through the door she had a plate of Jigg’s dinner already dished up for me. God I love that woman.

The next morning I headed to the hospital for the first day of the course. It took place in a really shiny, new “Women’s Health” wing of the hospital. Happily all the participants were female PTs and I liked the instructor immediately. Good energy.

I sat back in my chair as the instructor introduced herself and described her academic and professional background. I couldn’t help but feel a little smug and sorry for the women surrounding me who, in the next few days, were gonna have to bare far more of themselves than any verbal introduction. Man I was glad to be me in that moment.

“… So, everyone, this is Heather…”, the instructor transitioned. Oooo, she was gonna tell them my happy little secret. Poor things; I knew they would be envious of my Get Out Of Jail Free card and I felt bad. But not bad enough; I still wanted to have that card blown up and laminated, to marry and grow old with that card. That card was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

“…Heather is pregnant so we won’t be able to do any of the vaginal assessment with her…”

I felt the “lucky you” glances and gave my most convincing apologetic smile.

“…however, she is still good for the rectal.”

She is still good for the rectal.

She. Is. Still. Good. For. The. Rectal.

She is still good? For the rectal?

As those words lingered and echoed in my head that first day, I’m pretty sure I momentarily flat-lined; prom-face palsy with dead, dead eyes. But, as I am here writing this, I clearly survived. I will spare you the details but I’ll tell ya one thing, I can’t imagine a more effective  ice-breaker for a group of strangers.

Moral(s) of the story:

Hang in there; even the most worthwhile things in this life might feel like a pain in the ass from time to time.

Also, don’t gloat even to yourself. Stay humble. Because you never know when life might decide you’re still good for the rectal.

Your humble, somewhat girthier HOAR