I recently obtained some medical records from my time as a reproductive medicine outpatient and a hospital stay in the same department. I wanted to see them to help figure out what happened when in that period of my life to help with writing the memoir. It’s all a blur of blood tests and appointments now.
One of the tests involved in investigating reasons for repeated miscarriage is a chromosome analysis test. This is to make sure that the parties involved are the sex they think they are. How we laughed! The no-nonsense fertility doctor just said: ‘You’d be surprised!’ That left us feeling a little anxious and so it was with much relief that our minds were set at ease.
This treatment of text and form of writing owes a lot to the artist Tom Phillips and I’ve seen it used by others also. I like to think of it as a writing technique and it’s fascinating what comes up if your mind is fixed on a certain subject. I’m sure someone else who hadn’t had the same experiences would find other words. They might not make much sense but to me they embody a feeling, not just about my own experience but perhaps of those around me in the gynae ward too. Here are the words (make what you will of them, I’m not even sure):
She is red; Labor spit me out into hospital; Pedigree product not known; Numb; Blood is revealed; Her state is supplemented with opiate.
[By me and Bristol Genetics Laboratory]
Comics-wise I’m not sure if the ideas are a bit mixed up. I have at least 50 medical records pages so I’m thinking this might comprise a comic of sorts. I didn’t leap around naked in front of a mirror trying to draw myself – the legs are from a Muybridge Figure in Motion book and the rest from memory. It’s meant to be a bit like that old M&S TV advert ‘I’m normal!’
I’ve deleted names and personal info from the page – I didn’t think my fertility consultant would thank me for appearing in a comic without his/her consent. Maybe I haven’t deleted enough…