It’s late. I’m waiting for 11pm when I can take my Hypotone and – yay! – the Stilnox. “It’s locked away in a cupboard,” Colletor the nurse explains to me. “We have to sign in for it.” Almost everyone in the ward seems to be on it. (Who knew? I would have thought it would be bad for babies, but apparently not.)
Stilnox, as I discovered while Googling it, is zolpidem tartrate, a drug I got to know well during what I like to call the Tranquillizer Years. From late 2009 until early 2013, I was a walking pharmacy, my veins pulsing with Schedule 5 concoctions designed to manage my moods, control my severe anxiety and help me sleep. My psychiatrist – bless him – was free and easy with prescriptions and my short-term memory will probably never recover.
Tomorrow morning, early, someone will show up with a blue plastic box filled with needles and vials and take blood. The crook of my left elbow already looks like one of my lipstick paintings; this will probably just add a new shade of purple.
My doctor will come by to tell me about my blood pressure and the blood results.
Later, the baby will be scanned to see how she is doing, and whether she is growing. There is a good chance I will be allowed to go home, and come in to the hospital for monitoring once a week. (Whether this means being flat on my back for weeks or going back to work as normal is not clear yet.)
I am remarkably calm right now, all things considered. Apart from a serious wobble not long after I was admitted, when the gravity of the situation hit me, I’ve managed to hold it together. This small square of Sunninghill, with a view of a lightning-filled sky and the sounds of motorcyclists speeding on the highway, has been my world for a week now. I’m grateful for the good care I’ve received, even if the sandwiches were terrible.
My new room mate – the third I have had in the time I have been here – will be a mother to twins by 9am tomorrow morning. There will be lots of visitors. She calls other women who visit her “girl”; she has that easy, unforced sense of sisterhood that I’ve always lacked but envy just a little. She’s snoring gently right now; the Stilnox is clearly working.
I won’t take my own round blue ticket to pleasant oblivion just yet. Having spent so much of today in a state of drooling stupor, I’d like to do something to feel productive. Perhaps work on a thought leadership piece on new research out from our global network, or paint, or both.
It’s quiet out there and things are looking up. Good night everyone.