My tooth hurts so bad. So bad. I can feel the root throbbing and the whole upper right side of my mouth is roused. Even the bottom half, now and then, will twinge, irritated, like a downstairs neighbor subjected to a raging party one floor above. I need a dentist. I hate dentists. When I’m not pregnant, I need Valium and the promise of gas – lots of gas – just to get in the front door. The last time I had a root canal, I got Vicodin. Can’t take Vicodin now, with two thirty-week-old fetuses depending on me to be an adult. Can’t take Valium, either. Can’t huff Nitrous Oxide. Can’t get help, because the fetuses made me slow at work, so they fired me and cancelled my insurance that day. Next morning, a brief call from a surly DPW worker who informed me that my husband’s $350 a week is too much for us to receive quite a bit of help. She’ll put the application through, but we shouldn’t get our hopes up for much. I need to bring proof of our very existence to them by the 22nd of March. I have a prenatal appointment on the 16th. Guess I’m not going to that. Can’t ask the doctor about the tooth ache or the apparent sudden case of elephantiasis of my right foot and ankle. My grandmother was morbidly obese. My ankles and feet look like hers. Soon, the skin will start to turn shiny and crack open. Could be toxemia, according to WebMD. I know you’re not supposed to diagnose yourself online but hey…I was right about that tumor two years ago. I told my husband what it was and what they’d do about it before they told me. Probably just a lucky guess, but still.
Maybe we’ll get some good news from unemployment this week. Maybe I’ll get at least half of what I was making at work. So kind of them to classify it as a “layoff due to lack of work,” and not come right out and say that I’m fired due to pregnancy. Don’t want to say that. Pregnant bitches be crazy. I might see fit to go and file some kind of lawsuit. But that’s what this is. They’re dropping their baby weight. Doesn’t matter that my work record up until the pregnancy was so outstanding that it’s the reason they hired me full-time. Doesn’t matter that they extended my probationary period without telling me. The only protection a pregnant woman has in this state is whatever protection her employer feels like giving her. Looks like they just wanted to keep me on as long as I was giving them more production than I was costing them in hospital bills. Must be my trip to the hospital on the orders of my OB for three hours of fetal monitoring tipped the scales. Must be I wasn’t worth the trouble anymore.
They day they did it – a Wednesday – they said they really liked me. They invited me to reapply if I ever felt that I could meet the minimum standards of production. I wondered whether the minimum standards included a few women pregnant with twins, to even out the average times. I wondered why, from November to February, not a word was said about my production times (well, well below average, according to my boss). I wondered whether anyone felt anything as I walked out to my car, completely uninsured and pregnant with two babies, about ten weeks from delivery if they cook as long as they’re supposed to. I wondered whether the world was really this cold.
I wonder a lot. Last night, for a couple of hours around two a.m., I got up out of bed and came down to the couch and wondered whether I’d made a mistake in marrying my husband. Whether I’d ruined his life by associating with him. Whether my school debt and my inability to keep a job and my complete uselessness were unfair to him. I wondered whether it wouldn’t be better if I slid off the road in our unpaid-for Toyota, and slipped into the river, and froze.