I’m not so much binge-watching Downton Abbey as I am every-once-in-awhile-when-I-remember-I-can-watch-episodes-through-Amazon-Prime-AND-have-one-free-hour-watching it. Still meandering through season 3, last week I made it through the Sybil episode. This is certainly no spoiler, since I am seasons – plural – behind and this originally aired years– again, plural – ago, but if you are more behind than me, just skip the rest of this.
To recap: Sybil is about to have a baby at Downton Abbey and for some reason I missed, her father hires a Super Fancy Baby Doctor to stay with them and deliver the child. The Super Fancy Baby Doctor and the family’s Regular Everyday Doctor do not get along. Sybil seems to be in labor or whatever for a very long time and Regular Everyday Doctor suggests she has eclampsia and recommends that they bring her to the hospital in order to deliver her baby by cesarean section. Super Fancy Baby Doctor dismisses R.E.D.’s concerns, advising the family that Sybil is merely experiencing perfectly normal labor stuff. Sybil’s father accepts S.F.B.D.’s advice, to the chagrin of Sybil’s mom – and all without any input from Sybil herself (or Sybil’s husband). Sybil delivers the baby and S.F.B.D. smugly prances around Downton while R.E.D. rolls his eyes in the corner.
At some point shortly thereafter while lying in her bed, Sybil becomes very noticeably sick and after EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the house congregates in her room, she starts seizing. The doctors just sort of look at each other while the family freaks out. And Sybil dies.
This episode was so freakin’ sad on its own, but even more so because after I gave birth to my second child about 6 months ago, I had what she had. I had Caleb on a Tuesday, and by Saturday I was not feeling quite right. I couldn’t eat a thing on Sunday, which made an already difficult nursing situation basically impossible. I called my doctor, who thought I just had an upset stomach and recommended that I take a slew of over-the-counter drugs to combat it. Over night, I started feeling pain in my chest, and because I had stopped taking pain meds thinking it was making me sick to take them on an empty stomach, I also started to feel the extreme pain of my cesarean incision. By Monday morning I knew something was wrong and called my doctor back. She had me come into the office. We packed up a 6 day old baby, a toddler and everything I could throw in a diaper bag that I thought we might possibly need. I saw a different doctor who, after hearing my symptoms, suggested I had heartburn and wrote out a note that I should take Prilosec and get back on my pain meds. But I had a funny feeling. She was nearly walking out the door when I stopped her and reiterated what I had said earlier: I have never experienced heartburn and I’m not sure that’s what I’m feeling. I’m feeling pressure in my chest.
So she sent me, my 6 day old baby, my toddler and my partner to Hartford Hospital to get an EKG. My blood pressure started spiking, at times over 200 (which is incredibly high), and I was admitted to the hospital. Much like the S.F.B.D. and R.E.D. debacle, the various doctors assigned to review my case couldn’t quite agree that I had preeclampsia (which is the state you go in before you seize), but after a night in the hospital did not relieve all of my symptoms, they erred on the side of caution and treated me for it.
After watching the Sybil episode, I said to my partner, “Wow. I would’ve been dead.” He ever so kindly reminded me that I probably would have died giving birth to our first son who was breech. Oh, right. I’m thankful that I had the presence of mind (albeit a sleep-deprived, very sick mind) to press my doctor when things didn’t feel right. Under normal circumstances, I barely take Advil when I have a headache, much less call a doctor. And I’m also thankful for the medical care I received with both of my boys.