Ritual Confessions

February 7, 2008

Sick Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — elissakaren @ 5:16 am

I came home last night anxious to pop some pain relievers, especially for the severe sore throat that had taken hold during the evening. However, since I’d expected my period yesterday and hadn’t gotten it, I decided to take a pregnancy test first (a lot of common medicines are highly discouraged during pregnancy). The test I happened to have in the cabinet was the kind where two windows are positioned side by side. A vertical purple line automatically appears in the control window once the test is in progress. If another line shows up in the test window, the result is considered positive. I took this test and the faintest line imaginable appeared in the test window. The directions advise that if a line can be seen, regardless of how light, the tester is pregnant. This line was so faint that I had to ask myself if I were imagining it. But when I showed it to Nick, he saw it also.

This created a quandary: I did not really believe I was pregnant, for a few reasons: the test was very unconvincing; I did not think my husband and I had actually done the deed at the right time of month; and I had doubts about whether I was even ovulating at all with the extra nursing Charlotte has wanted during her transition to Montessori. But the stakes were too high, and I was still afraid to take any Advil. Going online only reinforced this fear, as a recent study appearing in some medical journal had revealed that ibuprofen taken during the first trimester was linked to an increase of birth defects. I decided to try to fall asleep, buy a less subtle pregnancy test in the morning, and take it from there.

What followed was one of the most awful nights of my life: waking nearly every hour with severe throat pain, having the special brand of bad dreams that visit the sick (hot, jangled, frenzied, feverish) during my intermittent bouts of sleep. I spent the early morning spitting into a cup to avoid swallowing and actually crying from the misery of it. Bringing Charlotte to school and then stopping at Safeway for another pregnancy test seemed beyond my capacity to accomplish. But as the alternative was keeping her home and getting no rest, I somehow found it in me.

At Safeway, I got one of those tests that say “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant” — no gradations, nothing to interpret. Not since my twenties have I prayed for a negative pregnancy result, but I did this morning, and my wish was granted. Immediately I knocked back three Advil (a wonder drug; a beautiful, beautiful thing) and went back to bed. Tonight I am, if not well, so much better than I was last night that I have no complaints.



  1. For some reason this reminded me of a line from Erma Bombeck. “Mommy’s in the bathroom, with a bottle of wine, celebrating another no baby month.”

    Feel better soon.

    Comment by Shawn W — February 7, 2008 @ 7:13 am

  2. Oh man,that sounds miserable. The only time in my life that I had a sore throat that painful, I ended up stuffing a towel in my mouth to absorb any natural fluid. That worked for a while until I started to become worried that I’d somehow choke to death on it if I fell asleep, so then I resorted to the spitting. What really amazed me was that this went on for three days,and turned out not to be strep or tonsillitis or anything like that.

    I’m sorry that you’re not pregnant (not that I have any personal stake in it– it’s just that I know you’d like it to happen sooner rather than later) but very glad that you’re able to get some relief.

    Comment by davidrochester — February 7, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

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