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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Things That Go Squeak in the Night

I always thought that when I grew up, I would become less fearful. Adults always looked like they had their shit together whereas I was afraid of not only real things--the possibility of strangers hiding behind one of the emaciated trees on my way to school--but unreal things too--what if aliens had somehow replaced my father with a replica of my father when he went into CVS and the person getting back in the car is really an alien who is going to yank my still-beating heart straight through my chest wall?

The night before my injections class, I was giving myself a pep talk that I learned from watching The State. Captain Monteray Jack was lecturing on something and during the Q & A session, and one of the students asks a "what if" question and Captain Monteray Jack responds, "what if my nose falls off and I can't smell? What if my pants fall off an everyone's looking at my weiner? You deal or you die."

I take sound advice wherever I can find it.

I tucked in the ChickieNob and Wolvog and came into the kitchen just in time to catch a black blur whizz into the living room. I took a different route into the room, jumping up on the sofa to survey the area. When I didn't see anything after a minute or two, I placed one foot tentatively on the floor and a mouse ran out from under the side table and skittered down the tiled hallway, darting behind the purse I left by the front door.

I screamed and screamed.

I called Josh and left a frantic message on his cell phone even though he was an hour away and wasn't going to be able to help me. I would have called our neighbour, but I couldn't bring myself to go into the kitchen to get his phone number nor was I going to be able to bring myself to walk towards the front door knowing the mouse was somewhere in that vicinity. So I called my mommy and daddy.

"Dad, I just saw a mouse," was all I gasped into the phone before I heard him sigh and say, "I'm getting in the car."

I spent the next hour waiting for him on top of the sofa, too scared to step down.

I've never been a particularly daring person, but I really couldn't wrap my mind around my reaction to this mouse. I stood on the sofa, trying to talk myself out of it. I had been thinking about getting a hamster for some time--what's the difference? In college, I would let my friend's pet rat climb up my arm, pretending I was the drug dealer from that 21 Jump Street episode where Johnny Depp infiltrated the teen drug center, moaning to anyone who entered the apartment, "I've got rats." In Milan, I stood in front of the duomo and let a man fill my hand with dried corn so that dozens of pigeons descended on me, covering my coat as if they were giving it the gift of flight. And what are pigeons except rats with wings? I never thought I'd react this way to a mouse. And as I write this, I am still twisting around in my chair to survey the room every minute or two. Glue traps are everywhere and the wall has been sealed with steel wool. But we still haven't caught him if he's still in the house.

I am having the same bashfulness over my fear of needles. I get blood drawn all the time and it's nothing. I don't stress about it beforehand. I just go and do it. What's the difference between a blood draw and a Follistim injection? What's the difference between a pet hamster and a mouse intruder? I can see my reactions are irrational and yet I still can't do anything about it.

The class contained three other couples. We learned how to draw the medication into the needle together and then were taken one by one out into a separate room to give ourselves the injection in front of the nurse. She asked me to go last so she could check on my medication order since it changed due to my higher FSH. When we were the final couple in the room, I was murmuring quietly to Josh and looking out the window and I may have had a tear or two escape as I explained how stressed I was between the mouse and treatments and work. The nurse returned to the room for a moment and looked at me incredulously. "Are you crying?" she asked in a tone that conveyed that it was not okay to be crying.

"Yes," I answered, wiping my face quickly.

She closed the door and went back to the other couple.

When she returned, she briskly went through my instructions and decided I didn't need to do the saline injection because I had already done this before and knew what to do. It was like getting a pardon from the governor. I breathed a huge sigh of relief that I could just do my injection at home in my usual wussy way with my ice cube. What's the difference? I get through it and if I believe it takes the pain away, why not do it?

As we were packing up, I told her about the mouse as an explanation for the earlier tears--see, too scared to even admit my real fear--and she confided in me that she was worried that I was crying over the injections. Sometimes, she confided, people were such babies about it. But I had been through treatments before and a vaginal delivery of twins so she knew "I was made of tougher stuff."

Except I'm not.

I'm the patient you just described--the baby who was so worried about starting back up with injections that she threw up this morning (to be fair, my usual response to stress is to vomit. I'm like Stan on South Park. When I developed hyperemisis gravidum with the pregnancy, I really wasn't sure at first if it was intense morning sickness or my pregnancy anxieties coming back up through my mouth). Who cried a little bit about putting a needle into my stomach even though a needle in my arm barely bothers me. Who stood on a sofa for an hour last night because she saw a mouse.

It feels like as I age, I become more fearful. Fearful of the real things--what I could lose, the worst that could happen--and the unreal things--killer mice who will attack me right when I'm getting into a blog post or nurses who remind me that if you want a baby, you deal or you die.


Meghan said...

Not getting any warm fuzzies from that nurse. I think we all have things we're afraid of, whether they be rational or not. Some people remain crippled by their fear others just deal or die. And if it takes you some ice and a some extra time watching tv in bed to do a follistim injection, I still think that's pretty damn good!

Meghan said...

oh, and I would have absolutely freaked at the mouse too...probably would have convinced my husband we needed to stay at a hotel that night

Lori said...

Eeek is right!

Can you trade in Nurse Ratched for a nicer model?

Julia said...

I lived in a 100+ year old building in the Old Contry, and there were mice that came into our kitchen. Once I was at home alone with my sister, and there was a mouse. I called my mom, and she told me I had to trap it (yes, there were traps, but the mice avoided them), and I ended up trapping it in a bucket. Rodents just never were that scary to me after that. In fact, I felt very bad for that little mouse in that big bucket, jumping its little heart out trying to get out... (I have a feeling you don't want me to tell you about cockroaches we had. :))

And I agree-- whatever gets you through is what gets you through. Ice cube sounds real good to me.

Best of luck to you with this upcoming round.

BethH6703 said...

no words of wisdom to offer - just my support, and the knowledge that you ARE strong and resourceful enough to get thru it. I've not done injections (yet), but the ice cube idea sure seems resourceful to me. If that's all it takes to get you thru it, seems like that's just fine to me!

sky girl said...

I wonder if it's the build up more than anything else. I tend to get worked up about stuff and then once they're happening I think "but this isn't so bad..."

Hope that it doesn't seem so bad to you once it comes time.

BTW, we had a mouse in here a couple of months ago. We chased it around until it disappeared under a bench. We figured it went into the vent. Well, I was surprised to admit to myself that I was freaked out about sitting on the toilet and having a mouse creep out of the vent at my feet. I mean, you're kinda stuck until you're done. We laid traps (but glue traps make me sad so we didn't get those ones) and caught one in the garage. I often wonder if it was the same mouse or if there's a mouse still in my vent somewhere. How's that for unreasonable?

Isabel said...

Hey if the ice cube works for you...

Everybody's afraid of something. For that reason alone, people shouldn't make fun of other people's fears. Shame on that nurse!

Fear is also a good guide. Only fools are never afraid.

Barb said...

I'm feeling more fearful as I age too.. I'm just better at hiding it or bluffing past it. I'm beginning to suspect a lot of people are that way...

reichmann said...

I did the same thing when we had a mouse in our old house- I saw it in the kitchen and actually refused to go back into the kitchen until I knew it was absolutely no longer there. I skipped breakfast the next morning just to avoid the kitchen, and would quickly grab food for the next few days, yelling as I did it (to scare the mouse away, of course) before I took the food upstairs to our room to eat it (because mice obviously do not go up stairs, right?!) I hope the two of us are never the only two adults in a room when a mouse appears...I can just see it now :)

JJ said...

A very similar mouse situation happened to me--and it still makes me shiver to think about it *YIKES*
I wish I could offer solid advice for getting over the fear..but do what YOU need to feel ready! Thinking of you Mel-

loribeth said...

Oh, UGH. We had a mouse in our kitchen two summers ago & both dh & I freaked out. (I'm freaking out just thinking about it.)(We later found a hole in our dryer hose, so we think it came in through the dryer vent.) We left the house & went straight to WalMart, which thank God opened at 7, bought a whole bunch of plastic snap traps & a jar of peanut butter & used that as bait. Went to work (late), although I could barely focus thinking about this rodent having the run of my house. Thankfully he was dead when we got home. We left the traps up for several weeks afterward in case he brought company, but knock wood, that was the end of it. If it had happened when I was in the middle of fertility treatment, I don't know what I would have done -- the compounded stress would have sent me around the bend. It was one of those moments where I thanked God that I didn't have any small children running around the house to worry about.

We also had a mouse in our office earlier this summer, of all places. I'm on the 6th floor of a 68-storey office tower. Who knew they got into places like that?? Good luck!! with both the mouse hunting & the shots!

Paz said...

A mouse in your house? I find that cool and gross all at the same time. I have rodent issues; my rats are your crickets. Good luck with a swift evacuation program!

OK. Cool rodent story ahead. Warning don't read if you will have a problem with rodent death.

I once was really sick, baaad flu. I crawled into bed and turned on the TV to the Discovery Channel (what else) and they were having a 24-hour marathon showing of back-to-back episodes of "Birth Story" (no, not kidding). I stayed in bed, TV on, with fevers and quasi-hallucinations for days. I dreamt or hallucinated that women were giving birth to rats and that rats were jumping around in my apt. On day 3 I was well enough to do a death shuffle to the kitchen for water, it was a long 10 feet, and as I entered the kitchen things looked awry. The french bread was extending off the table, pulled from its paper sleeve, leaning onto the back of a chair and then I noticed that it was hollowed out, crumbs everywhere. And then I saw that there was a cake slice-sized piece missing out of a bagged stack of pita breads on the counter. SHIT, there had been a RAT in my apartment with me the whole time!

I sucked in so much oxygen that I got dizzy and weak. I ran to my bed and stayed there, without water, until my boyfriend came with a rat trap.

The rat died a, hopefully, quick painless death less than 1 hour after the trap was set.

About my experiences with the Follistim Pen. I was given the Pen for the first time and the instructions that it came with and hurried out the door with a "good luck." Isn't that odd?

Good luck finding the sweet spot. You know that place where injections are painless. For me it was my butt. I think what made it painless is that I could not see the needle in prepared position near my skin, nor could I see the injection. (The downside of this technique is the few accidental 'thumbjections.')

Maybe when you give yourself your shots, you could blur your vision by heavy squinting? Really, that was my stomach injection technique. I found that it disrupted the connection between my vision and that unreality center in my brain that imagines crazy – woops I mean creative - things like people being abducted by aliens in pharmacies.

Maybe the mouse heard about your killer bagels?

Hope the stimming is pain-free + follicle-full.

Jess said...

Have I got a story for you....

We have our dogs in a barn with rafters that are unfinished, as in there's no real ceiling like in a finished home or whatever. Once, Travis and I were feeding them and a mouse JUMPED DOWN FROM A RAFTER and INTO MY JACKET. DOWN THE BACK OF MY JACKET. I almost died. I flailed and flailed to get that bastard out of there....ewwwww. I shiver thinking about it.

Screw that nurse.

Embrace the ice. I always did love ice with my injections. :)

The Baby Chase said...

When I was 15, I was totally fearless. When I was 21, I was defiant and unstoppable. Now, at 36, I am sometimes scared of going to work in the morning, or of answering my phone because it might be my mother, or (at random times) of getting into a fatal car accident, or of finding a lump in my breast. Can't imagine how fearful I'll become when I finally manage to become a parent. It's just ridiculous.

A couple tips about the shots, if you haven't done them that much (wasn't sure from your post how many you've had to do). First, it really does get easier the more you shoot up. Second, jab it in FAST--don't hesitate. Most of the pain seems to be at the point where the needle is trying to break through the outermost layer of skin, and the slower you go, the more it hurts. Finally, if it's a refrigerated shot, WARM IT UP beforehand. Get it out of the fridge 15-30 minutes earlier, and it will hurt a lot less. (Of course, if you've had to set your alarm for a 7 a.m. shot on a Saturday, it might just be worth it to do it cold and go back to bed.)

My favorite mouse story: When I was in law school, my housemate and I saw a mouse in our rental house occasionally, but it was tiny and kind of cute and we didn't think much of it (sorry if that sounds weird). Until I woke up in the middle of the night, lying on my side, and realized it was CURLED UP IN THE PALM OF MY HAND!!!

There was some screaming....

bleu said...

The nurse was a twit.

Here is the thing. If either of your wee ones had cried out to you while you were atop the sofa, needed you in any way, you would have gone to them without another thought of that mouse. I KNOW this.
I also know some things are freak outs for us all. I can give myself shots all day, get blood taken, have iv's put in, have surgeries etc. BUT if you try and stick a needle in my mouth to give a shot of novacaine I cry like a baby and sometimes it develops into sobbing hysterics. I have been fired by more than one dentist. I cry loud, so loud I have a habit of telling all in the waiting room I am ok and so sorry. Once the needles are done and I am numb I am fine with the drilling, it is just needles in my gums, I cannot handle it.
So like you said, when I have to deal I find my ways, I get dentists who understand and support, and I get through it. It NEVER gets easier though, it is just my thing, my needle wall so to speak.
I am sorry this is yours but it is zero reflection on you it is just how it is.

Much love and please be gentle with yourself, you deserve it, we all do.

Leah said...

Oh, Mel. Please try not to be scared -- of the mouse or the injections or anything else. You are a total rock star and EVERYONE knows it (except, apparently, you, at times, although that might be because throwing up would make anyone sort of off-kilter, you know).

Mice suck. Needles suck. IF sucks the most. But you don't suck. You are the best. And if you need help remembering that, just let me know and I'll drive to your house and tell you in person.

Also, while we are on the topic of rodents and their food chain, remember that you ARE the cat's pajamas. :-)

Trish said...

Okay, I'm not freaked by rodents, though Jess's story did give me the willies. Spiders, though.. spiders get me. I had a very large wolf spider fall on me once when I was about 12 and I've never full recovered.

And the story about waking up with one in her hand.. WOAH. That's one of those creepy-freaky-cool things that I can't decide which way to feel about.

I definitely think that as I've gotten older I've gotten more fearful. Some of it, I think, is simply being more aware of how many things there are to be afraid of, and the fact that unlike a monster under my bed, my dad can't come turn the light on and scare a miscarriage away.

Adulthood sucks.


deanna said...

We kept pet mice for years, so I've never had that unexplainable fear. When I see a mouse out in public, I feel almost a sense of comradery with him, and usually whisper, "I see you....better be careful..."

It's strange the different ways that fear manifests itself, because though a mouse troubles me nothing, a cockroach.....well, I can seriously hardly move. In light of that, I know that merely wishing you courage doesn't comfort you much with your upcoming needles, but I trust that you have great strength that will surface when you need it most. *hugs*

TeamWinks said...

I've done the whole stand on the couch over a mouse things before. Only person I could reach back then was the apartment maintenance man. He was so sweet and brought sticky pads. He then left, and moement later the cat got stuck to a sticky pad. Then I had the mouse running, the cat FREAKING out, and me standing on the couch ready to die while clutching the phone. The maintenance man returned, fixed the cat, took my hand and said, "Lady, with all due respect, you could use a husband." I blinked away tears, and fought the urge to say, "I have one, he's just lousy and that's why I plan on divorcing him." (Which I later did.)

Imagine how non funny it was when I had a grease fire in my apartment a week later. Ummm, yeah.

In short, after a long response, I can see your point through and through in this post. Oh, and that nurse doesn't have the best bedside manner!

Michell said...

Yeah, the nurse wasn't very sympathetic. Glad you made it through the class and didn't have to have the injection at the end etc. And hope you catch that mouse. Although I've never had the glue traps work. I tried too. I would scream when I initially saw one but then I would try to catch it so I'm a bit weird.

m said...

As much as I love your posts, Mel, I think I enjoy reading the comments just as much. And we thought we had it bad with some wayward bats in an old apartment...Damn Jess and babychase...That's some shit.

Re the getting more and more fearful as we age, sadly, I think in some cases it's true. Like bc, when I was late teens/early 20s = fearless. Balls out fearless. Even when I was younger, I prided myself on my tolerance for pain. Now, I see the needles and I whimper. But it's getting better.

Really very sorry you got the nurse with the brillo pad panties. If only you had your mouse handy...

Ellen K. said...

My attitude going into injects class, knowing we'd only have 2 chances max at IVF and plan B was childlessness, was basically, "This is what I have to do to get on with the rest of my life."

We have mice in our house on occasion, and they frighten me -- it's the scurrying, that sudden quickness in my peripheral vision.

MoMo said...

Once I founda a dead mouse in my apartment-I knew I had a problem with those creatures and i called my landlord. He said he was going to stop by and drop some poison. I asked what happens if they eat the poison he said that they will RUN OUT of the house and die!!! Well obviously that didn't happen. I called my bestfriend and I cried for an hour before I had the courage the pick up the dead mouse!!

I feel the same way about the injections. I just started again last Wednesday and I forgot how I hated them--especially menapour!! I am 100% believer that you do what you need to do to get thru them!!

Flicka said...

But you *did* deal and you didn't die and you got to do it in the comfort of your own home. I am proud of you for that. You were afraid, yes, but you did it anyway. That's not a small thing. Nurse MeaniePants needs to realize that. Clinic injections aren't for everyone and that doesn't make you a wimp. It just makes her insensetive.

I have to have a sonohystogram done for the first time in a few weeks. I haven't had any procedure even remotely like that since the HSG, which I swore I'd never go through again. I've been freaking out about the sono for a week now and it's not even scheduled yet. I am person who fears her yearly PAP because it hurts. The idea of a sono makes me nearly insane. This fear thing, I get it.

soul-quest said...

We live on a farm (Moshav) in Israel and mice are a part of everyday life here, and in Israel in general. Mice were part of our "Welcome to Israel" speech when we immigrated.

My obsessive hunt for our resident mouse, sans husband, actually became really therapeutic, instead of obsessing over my IVF status I was obsessing over my rodent-status. It really helped.

For a laugh, check out the early Blog posts of October 2007 on, here was the first entry:

"Did I mention I live in a rural area, in Israel they are called Moshavim, they are big farms, but not communal like a kibbuutz. Needless to say I have a mouse-issue. It started a few weeks back, mouse poop in the pantry, mouse poop in the kitchen, and of recent, it has escalated to mouse poop in my childrens rooms and of late in my bed. Wonderful. So initially, me being the universe/animal-loving freak that I am, the plan was to 'flush' them out 'naturally', I went to the hardware store and got these great little plugs which you plug all over your house and they emit some kind of super-sonic-mouse-repellant noise, enabling the mice to just re-locate. This did not happen. The mouse/mice were here to stay. Plan B, I layed traps with cheese all over the house (in conjunction with super-sonic-mouse-repellant-noise-machine thing), the traps are designed to not hurt them ofcourse, I was going to catch them and then have a little ceremony releasing them back into the wild, returning them to nature, undomesticating them! Well it didn't quite go like that, the little hair-balls nibbled on the cheese, laughed in my face, and ran back to their hiding places and the traps never closed. So I have reverted to Operation Kill the Buggers! I really didn't want to do this, but they have left me NO choice, I tried to play Mrs Nice-guy, but it is just not working for me. So this morning I went back to the hardware store, demanded a refund for the stupid non-effective traps, and bought glue traps. They are as awful as they sound. It is a polystyrene plate with some yummy-mouse-attracting smelly glue stuff on the bottom, and apparently this should do the trick. What have I become? A murderer of little cute mice. Yes! I have put one plate in my daughters room and closed the door, and I am waiting for the mouse screams to start. I am not sure how I am going to cope if I actually catch one, maybe I just have to face my fears with this issue as well. Like the injections, I am uber-stronger now."

Good luck! They are crafty little buggers, it took me absolutely forever to catch mine.

soul-quest said...

PS - why do you not use EMLA the anaesthetic cream. For every IVF daily injection and bloods, it is a must.

It is a daily routine. First thing in the morning smear on a blob, cover with a big plaster, then about 30-45 mins later you just jab away. No pain at all nothing. It is brilliant.

Cathy said...

I once came within an inch of stepping - barefoot - on a mouse stuck to a glue trap. He had dragged it a good 15 feet to position it right next to my bed. That same night, a mouse ran across my dad in his bed. The next day, we got a new cat. Wouldn't the children love a cat? :)

Fear is not a weakness. Overcoming it - ice or no - shows your strength.

katd said...

MEL! We had a mouse issue just a few months ago. It freaked me out beyond belief. I still watch where I step every time I walk into a room.
I think you are incredible. And I think we chicks are pretty dang awesome. I hate to sound straight out of Steel Magnolias, but women are made out of something very strong. We do what it takes to get through it - needles, child birth, whatever it takes to be mamas. So, you do whatever you need - ice, Jack Daniels, whatever:) to do your injections. And shame on that nurse for making you feel bad!

Bea said...

The strangest thing is that you thought being on the couch would protect you. Those critters can climb, and jump. Am I not helping?

I have the opposite problem - injections are fine, but blood draws? Freak me out. I'm quite proud of myself for finally being able to sit through them (as of September) without fainting, provided I've eaten well beforehand and remember to breathe and meditate on other things. Prior to that, I always had to lie down and prattle distractedly, and wait til the bandaid went on, and then sit up veeerrry slowly, and hold my arm in the sling position for the rest of the day...

But I did them anyway. Because I'm made of tougher stuff. You see that, my friend, is called "dealing".


Bea said...

P.S. Good luck with the needles!


B said...

And don't that little needle represent a whole lotta fears/greifs. I get jakey to do it in my bottom, not because I am squeamish but it makes me so darn sad to do it and I feel less alone when he does it for me. And it's not my stomach. There's a protective feeling for us wanna be mums when it comes to tummies.

congratulationis for coping and best of luck.

Anonymous said...

first off, we all hate jaded nurse. did she forget her sensitivity training or what? I hope your injections are going well, I found the ice helps. if that makes me a wuss, I can deal with that.

I think sometimes the more you have to lose, the more you have to fear...

and since everyone seems to have a fun rodent story... we live out in the country and heard a mouse in our kitchen but couldn't find him for a day or two. he was smart and avoided the pntbtr traps. he kept scurrying about, we could hear him behind things. so we borrowed a friend's cat (since our animals had passed away), a big old sweet accomplished mouser. we had a sleepover because hunting usually happens at night. well the first night he just wanted to snuggle with us and we were big suckers and let him. then he just wanted to sit on our laps and purr all day... but then he heard something and went to business. he waited for it to run out but no luck. we knew we had to leave the house for things to happen. so we put out the traps to lure it and went to the movies. when we came back, dead mouse was in the trap and fat cat was on the bed napping... (we kept him another night though since he was a loveball.) ~luna

Anonymous said...

Don't like the nurse.

I'm scared of mice, rats, spiders, and roaches. I'm terrified of any form of needles, even of the blood-drawing variety. And to hopefully make you feel a little better, I'm scared of the dark. There. I said it. I am scared of the dark.

We all have our fears. I think yours are pretty rational!

Aurelia said...

You and me and fear of mice and needles. Who knew we had so much in common?

Hint: clean up the all stray bits of food, and put all of your edibles in sealed rubber containers. Then put something like peanut butter in the trap. Mice will be gone, never to come back. They only go where there is food. If there is no food, your neighbour's house will be much more appealing.