I am taking my pregnancy test. I went into town and to the drugstore and I bought one of the three kinds of tests they had there. They had one in a yellow box and one in a white one and one in a tan one. I bought the tan one because it is the same that my friend used and she, knock on wood, is pregnant. I am still waiting for my results.
It is my friend who has driven me to this madness. She is my hostess here by the beach and the other night she was reading in the magazines about the pregnancy tests. She read how the kits are a wonderful thing, but that there are some problems. One of the problems is that experts, whowever they are, say that the directions are hard to follow: " . . . early studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine showed that many people, even medical students, had difficulty following the instructions provided with the kits," wrote Newsweek.
"What nonsense," said my friend, the hostess, who followed that sentence with her they're-picking-on-women-look. She said she had used the kits twice, both times with complete success, and she considered criticism of them nothing more than the same old routine-- that business of how women are too emotional to cope with their own pregnancy.
So,when in the privacy of the bathroom I took the test, I found the instructions far easier to follow than those that came with the Star Wars Land of the Jawas Action Playset. But I did not find them so easy that I did not have to read them twice. I read them carefully and then followed the seven illustrated steps. At one point, I have to admit, I cut the top of a plastic vial containing what they say is special purified water a bit too close to the bottom and I lost some of it. I do not think this was crucial and my hostess thinks it would not have happened if I really thought myself pregnant. This, of course, is a hard proposition to argue.
Anyway, I did it all and I've put the little test tube into its little clear plastic support and will wait two hours. If I am pregnant there will be a brown ring around the solution in the test tube. If that's the case, the instructions then tell me to "consult my physician." No ring, the instructions say, probably means no pregnancy, but it recommends that the procedure be repeated in a week. Excuse me while I go upstairs to check.
I'm back. I'm not pregnant. I think the test works and it's easy to do. I mean, I did it and if I did it anyone could do it.
Even a woman.
Now, there is something to what she says. In the literature on these kits are statements from the experts saying, in fact, that pregnancy is such an emotional condition that women cannot be trusted to do their own tests. Their hands might shake or something because they are either (1) so thrilled that they are pregnant or (2) scared to death they might be pregnant. Either way, pregnancy is not something you can trust to a woman.
The experts do have a point when they express the fear that some women, having had their tests come out negative (no pregnancy), will relax and do nothing when they might in fact be pregnant. The kits, as the manufacturers themselves point out, are not infallible.
Anyway, no one says the kits are a substitute for seeing a doctor. The kits, after all, can't spot tubal pregnancies and seeing a doctor when there is the slightest suspicion of pregnancy is always a good idea.
So I went into town and stopped at the drugstore. I bought something called E.P.T. for $10.95 and asked the sales clerk about it. She said they had had no complaints and that they had sold lots of the kits. (It has been a rainy summer.) She then asked the pharmacist about the kits and he, too, said that there had been no complaints. So I bought my kit and went home.
Now, I have to tell you that on the same trip to town I also stopped at the Woolco and bought a Star Wars Land of the Jawas Action Playset, which required that I assemble a number of pieces, including the Jawa sandcrawler backdrop. I could barely do it. This was no surprise to me since I am the very same fellow who, as a soldier in the Corps of Engineers, constructed a model of a bridge upside down and who, later on in a brilliant military career, lost part of a real bridge in a river in Missouri that is otherwise famous for nothing.