Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Labor and Delivery soap opera

A whole host of alligators have crawled out of the swamps these last couple of days making for some very tiresome days at both work and home. So, I’ve been in something of a mental and physical funk that I’ve had a devil of a time shaking off. After some really hectic days at work that just never seemed would end I’ve sat down at home several times over the last week to try and write something only to have another crisis erupt pulling me away from my place and leaving too tired, frustrated, or both to write anything coherent. However, today at work a strange, maybe bizarre circumstance developed that was at least for me was very memorable.

Comedians of many different stripes have used the gimmick of a very upset and pregnant woman bringing down verbal hellfire and brimstone on her poor husband as she pushes something the size of a small watermelon through a much, much smaller opening. The hypothetical husband usually has to just smile and be supportive of his suffering wife no matter what insults or family secrets his wife exposes to those around them in the delivery room. It’s just that hospital security usually doesn’t have to make an appearance.

I normally work on sterilizers, surgical tables and lights along with pinch hitting on other equipment. So today when I was asked to help one of my co-workers repair one of the high-tech hospital beds that almost does everything including allowing the patient to manage their stock portfolio I was glad to help. My co-worker Robert and I entered the delivery room early this morning with the expectant mom in the malfunctioning bed, the expectant dad sitting next to her, and his mom and dad sitting on the couch in the room. All concerned at that moment were happy smiles waiting for the baby who according to the doctors was rushing to greet the world. It was still the very early stages of the birth and the bed the mom was laying decided not to obey any commands from the hand controller. At some point the bed was going to have to be raised and stirrups installed so the mom and baby could be more easily managed so the bed had to be working correctly. The nifty thing about the bed was that it was so high-tech that a little LCD screen at the foot was actually telling us what was wrong so even a monkey could repair the thing. Robert and I chatted with the family as he and I removed a few panels, fished around for the proper connector, then reconnected it to the proper circuit board and tested the bed. I found then basically country folks since the biggest topic of discussion involved the approaching deer hunting season and how the expectant dad and grandfather would still be in the deer stand that first day even with a new baby back home. The soon-to-be grandmother was all grins through this segment of the conversation but I did notice a sour look on the new mom laying in the bed. After the bed was fixed Robert and I retreated out of the room and went our separate ways.

Several hours later in the day I returned to the Labor and Delivery department to perform some preventive maintenance checks on the surgical lights in the room right next to the one Robert and I had repaired the bed in. The intervening hours had brought a huge difference in the family situation that had existed that morning. At first I noticed that several other family members had arrived waiting in the small waiting room nearby. When I entered the room next door to do my checks I could hear the screams of the expectant mother and figured she must have either forgone the epidural or had the misfortune to have it wear off too soon. She was calling the expectant dad every name in the book along with declaring that he would never ever touch her again. I admit that I cringed when I heard her tell what had to be the doctor and nurse in the room that her husband’s penis was so small that she didn’t even have a good time getting pregnant in the first place. After a few minutes the expectant mom became quiet and I figured she was between contractions but I continued to hear voices although I was generally unable to make out what was being said. I hurried as quickly as possible to finish what I needed to do knowing that when the next wave struck the expectant mom was sure to fare up as well.

Just as I was collecting my stuff I could hear the next wave of contractions begin as the mom began to scream. The expectant mom once again started tearing into her husband and while I left the room and entered the hallway I was prevented from leaving by another nurse who stopped me and wanted to wait at the nurse’s station as she went to retrieve a part she wanted me to order for her. The nurse’s station was just a few feet away from both the room I was in and the room with the highly upset mom so I was still getting an earful of what was going on.
The other members of the family including what I would soon learn were the expectant dad’s brother and sister-in-law and the expectant mom’s father were in the small waiting area along with the expectant dad’s parents who had never left. As I waited at the nurse’s station trying to ignore all the commotion along with the other nurses who seemed more amused over what was going on the sister-in-law jumped up saying she would stick her head in the room to try and help. She had not gone two feet in the room when the laboring mom exploded asking who the hell asked her to come inside. I heard the sister-in-law say something to the effect that she just wanted to see if she could relieve the abused dad. While I will not swear what I heard next was an exact quote, it’s damn close.

“Help me?” the laboring mom screamed. “Your son of a bitch husband may actually be the one who put me in this position.”

It was then that all the nurses at the station jumped up as one and rushed for the waiting area and the delivery room. One had the presence of mind to yell further down the hall for a nearby security officer as I made a hasty retreat out of the area. I noticed the commotion increased in volume enough for me to hear small bits as the big automatic doors of the department closed behind me. Personally I had heard enough of that soap opera.


Stella said...

Out of choice, I don't know about giving birth first-hand, beach, but I understand this scenario is normal for women when they give birth.

“Help me?” the laboring mom screamed. “Your son of a bitch husband may actually be the one who put me in this position.” You wrote what I believe is a perfect account of a mother going through serious birth pains.

Perhaps someone who knows better could enlighten me. Great writing, as always.

Mike said...

Oh boy. I would have been out of there too.

A friend of mine works on those high tech beds for the University of Michigan Hospitals and he has had to go into operating rooms to fix them while an operation was going on. He says the pay is fantastic, but it would have to be to get me to go into an operating room.

Colonel Colonel said...

oh my... I guess they'll be canceling that big extended-family photo appointment.

Vigilante said...

I think you rather have the wrong idea, Beach and Friends of Beach (F.O.B.) Rather than run from this situation and situations, Beach should immerse himself in it (them). I see a series of vignettes to come, maybe even Beach's first (among many) book! Maybe he can call it


After all, he is not bound by some professional medical confidentiality: He can tell all, although perhaps not using real names would be advisable!

Crime Dog said...

Now, that's funny right there. I don't care who you are.

Nitu said...

One of the funniest real soap opera I have ever heard.
Beach, you ought to throw more hospital stories :)

Distributorcap said...

what a story....... i bet you could write a whole movie based on happenings in the hospital -- call it The Hospital

(like the george c scott one LOL)

Beach Bum said...

Stella: That may have well been the case in that she was in intense pain and not in her right mind. But at that moment the nurses and I had a different idea what she meant. No, I was back up in L & D but I didn't ask what the outcome was.

Mike: Yeah, I don't get paid to claim anxious family members so I hauled ass. As for surgical tables and the other stuff I repair, the money's ok and I do go in during surgeries. I've seen some things I wouldn't want done to me.

Colonel: I'd almost put money on it. The nurses sure seem to enjoy the situation until all hell broke loose.

Vigil: That is an idea, its just I could get fired if this stuff ever leaked out to the wrong people. Except for very rare situation I do change all the names of people I write about.

Crime Dog: Thanks, Have you read Buffett's "Swine Not"? If so, is it any good?

Nitu and distributorcap: Now that I think about it I might write about one story I heard floating around that I wasn't apart of. It was soap opera-like and involved three doctors, an empty room, and a security camera with the feed going directly to security in real time.

Utah Savage said...

Sorry to be out of touch and off topic, but I decided to come here to recomend my favorite books on the mess we created in Iraq. There are many good ones, and I read them all. My favorites are "The Imperial Life In the Emerald City, my Rangeve Shakrican. Thats phonetic spelling of the author's name. But the title of the book is correct. My next favorite is Tom Rick's book "Fiasco." The Ricks book is so disturbing I had a hard time reading it. The Emerald Life is beautifully written and clear as a bell. It is worth reading just for the style. But the facts are repeated in Rick's book with less finesse and more punch to the gut. If you have time on your hands read them both and let me know what you think. You can always reach me by email at

C.Rag said...

I want Jerry Springer to at my labor.

Stella said...

OK, I missed something. Happily, a reread is in order.

I did medical transcription for surgical pathology. I got to stroll through the specimen lab to pick up reports. For about three days, I was pretty unnerved. Then I became intrigued by all the samples.

I'm not sure I could work in an operating room—live people would unnerve me. You're a brave soul, beach.

Speaking of "The Hospital," Distributorcap, there was a Danish TV series by the same name. I think the George C. Scott movie was a remake of the original series. That was an insane soap opera. If they're the same, beach's story would fit in, no problem.

Randal Graves said...

Yikes, I remember getting the occasional funky look from my wife, but she never blasted me to smithereens like that. Of course, that was many years ago, now she does that without being in labor.

I love vigilante's idea! Get writing! Under a pseudonym, of course.

Joan Perry; Sidewalk Curator said...

The general rule is that she isn't supposed to be held accountable for anything she says in labor but that is pushing it! Wow.

Beach Bum said...

Utah: I think I'll get Fiasco from the libary. I'm finishing Pat Conroy's "Beach Music" for the second time and need something non-fiction.

C-Rag: While I needn't mention it since I personally can't stand the man Jerry did cross my mind as the expectant mom dropped the verbal bomb.

Stella: The surgical doctors and nurses are the braves ones. The responsisbilty they carry is huge and I greatly respect them.

Randall: My wife also loosens verbal assualts on me without the benefit of being in labor. During her actual labor for our son she had two rather tough hours for me when she questioned my entire family line and some rock we crawled out from under. It had the benefit of being somewhat orginal which amused the doctor and nurse in the room.

Joan: I just hope the family was able to overcome the Jerry Springer nature of the new baby's birth for the benefit of him or her.

Utah Savage said...

Great punch line to deliver in delivery.

Beach Bum said...

Utah: If I had to do it again I would be a little more detailed with the description of the expectant family and the various vibes I was picking up while Robert and I were in the room. I wanted to get something posted while, as usual, dealing with the kids and wife who after hours of generally doing nothing as soon as I sit down and begin to write all of a sudden start yelling for me.

lime said...

holy crap, i feel bad for the child being born to that whacko of a woman. in labor or not she sounds like a hellion.

Beach Bum said...

Lime: I sure the whole incident will be a memory no one will forget. Whether its one they somehow laugh about or a bad one I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Great story...
interesting post...
Thanks for sharing......

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