27 August 2006, Aubenas, Ardèche, France
Date: 28 August 2006
Subject: The Painkillers
The fight broke out over painkillers. Until then, I had more or less managed to bend and break the house rules and spend two nights in Catherine's private room, one night before the birth and one afterwards. Time slows to a crawl when you spend it looking at bloody, swollen body parts, then peering lovingly into a face that mostly sleeps, while you read into each tiny change of expression all kinds of imaginary meaning, when the slightest sound of breath or movement brings joy into your heart. One of the first things Rose Reiss did when she was placed on her mother's belly was to extend her right index finger in my general direction. I placed my finger in her hand, and she grasped it. This has become one of our favorite games. She seems to be very good at grasping. So far her job specialization seems to include sleeping, gripping, and not crying. She doesn't drink too much (hypoallergenic bottled milk). I am very sad that I had to leave her tonight, but things are a little tense at the hospital. I got kicked out last night and stayed anyway. The fight over the painkillers poisoned our already tenuous relations with the help. Since apparently the midwives (midwifes?) do all the work, I can understand why they are reluctant to accept the authority of the doctors, who alone can write prescriptions, especially when our doctor, whom I hated anyway, prescribed a painkiller that another doctor thought was too strong. All of this while Rose has seen absolutely no care whatsoever, except for ours, which is probably enough anyway. No hearing test, nothing. No one has taken her temperature. Perhaps this is an exaggerated version of the Hypocratic oath to do no harm. In that case, I am in favor.
OK, I must eat something. I joked with Catherine that if I take a shower and change clothes Rose will no longer recognize me by smell.