where the writers are
Averting a hemorrhage

To avert a hemorrhage. January 20, 1999.


Snaking my hand up the cord


like a life rope

the slippery cord until I

reach the placenta, globular and adherent in the fundus

following the membranes around and around.

Trying to get a grip

While the blood pools around my wrist

saturating the sleeve of my gown.


Page overhead. Call any ob in house.

Open her fluids.

Call anesthesia.

Type and cross match 4 units, stat.

The placenta will not release its

grasp of the fundus,

villi twisted and snarled,

invasion of the myometrium.

The fire drill continues in my head.

Management of an acreta.

Give methergine.

Give hemobate.

Mobilize your staff.


That is how it is with us now.

I am trying to avert a hemorrhage.

Following a slippery, thin cord up a dark passageway,

Seeking to identify and remove

The source of this godawful bleeding.


I have chest pain now

and after it is over.

There is blood around my ankles.

How many liters?

I cannot recall.

The patient lives

a transfusion, extra iron, plenty of rest, a good diet.


It is not so easy with us.

I can see that we are bleeding

to be sure.

But I cannot identify the source

of the hemorrhage

so I cannot remove it.

Staunch the flow of our marriage blood

that slow ooze,

that ever present trickle.

Great rivulets running down my leg

pooling now around my ankles.

I drown in the blood of our marriage

before I can even give it a name.