Medical Math with Idiots

Medical Math with Idiots

by Jennie Gaborno

How many total pregnancies have you had? asks Alison, the sperm-browed blonde assistant.


And how many children?


So no miscarriages?

Yes. One. I have a set of twins.

Over the shoulder of her pink scrubs I see her change the three to a four.

No, it’s three pregnancies. Three.

The same thing happens two years later with Abegail with an “e.” She asks about total pregnancies and total live births, questions that are simple and not at all simple. And then she pauses. I can tell she’s looking at something on the screen that reads “miscarriage” and she’s hung up on the math. She can’t fucking do it. Nowhere in her not-quite-a-nurse life does three divided by three have one left over. She wants to edit the record, I can tell, because she knows this better than I do. Of course. Because what do I know?

You’d think medical records would mention twins but even then it probably wouldn’t help. Maybe I should just lie next time and make things tidy for her or the newest iteration of her. Because, what does it even matter? She doesn’t really want to understand, she just wants it to be clean and to make sense. And it doesn’t.

Jennie Gaborno is a writer and mama to three young daughters in Southern California. Her work slips between her interior landscape and what is taking place simultaneously in the external world. Her micro-memoirs and poems reveal the complexity of relationships through pivotal and unexpected moments, spliced with humor, and elements of the absurd.


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