I don’t like the word catastrophic.
The appointment where the demise was found was different from any other I had ever had. My doctor was on maternity leave, so I was seeing a different doctor in the office. For the first time ever. Paul did not come with me. For the first time ever. Because I was seeing the different doctor, I was taken back through a different door and even to a different bathroom for the traditional urinary sample.
I am glad, because my associations are not with anything that is normal.
The doctor who was covering also had a resident working with her, another event I’d never experienced before. The resident came in first and tried to find my fundus, gossiped about her twins and was surprised and complimentary about my still having the ability to curl up to sitting from lying down on my own. There was something odd about her. I honestly can’t remember exactly what it was. I think it was that she had blue hair. It may have been blond hair with blue streaks, but I really think the odd thing revolved around blue hair. This seems highly improbable, but that’s what my memory has settled on.
The covering doctor came in and was chatting. She asked which flavor of the glucose drink I wanted to take home. Lemon-lime. That was my choice, I can remember that.
She honestly seemed like she was already moving on and essentially done by the time she started the ultrasound. They did this every visit to check the heartbeats.
She asked if we knew their genders. I said yes.
She started with “A” but made some dissatisfied type noises. Because of the gender comment, I at first thought these noises were because she couldn’t see the genitalia. I made some flip comment about misbehaving. She moved on to “B” saying something to the effect of “we’ll do this one first then and come back.” Everything was good with “B” and then she moved back to “A”. Having just seen “B”, I now immediately knew what was wrong. I didn’t believe myself, but I knew what was wrong.
There was no heartbeat.
I didn’t say anything. I just laid there and watched as she continued to hunt in silent desperation. I watched as the only motion came from the reaction following the action of “B’s” motion. I watched as there was no beating. Then she said the words. “I’m afraid something catastrophic seems to have happened.” I think she might have prefaced this with an “I’m sorry” or something to that effect, but it was the word catastrophic that I heard. It was the word catastrophic that confirmed to me that I was correct and Aurelia was dead. Until I heard that word, I really thought in my head that I was being an alarmist over-reacting freak crediting herself with more medical knowledge than she actually had. Nope, I am qualified to see still versus not.
I still hear the word catastrophic in my head sometimes, but it’s no longer a word that I chose to use.
An event resulting in great loss and misfortune
A state of extreme, usually irremediable, ruin and misfortune
It was the right word.