Gonnorhea: Our Immaculate Infection

The Father Moobs blogs were originally posted in 2014 and 2015 on fathermoobs.com, a now defunct website where Dani (my wife) and I processed the upcoming arrival of our first baby. This series was called Moob & Boob, where we each wrote our own perspective on the same topic:

Dani’s Take:

I got the call last Thursday. The voice on the other line was tentative but compassionate. “Is this Danielle? Are you in a place where we can talk freely?” The doctor then proceeded to inform me that my recent gonorrhea test came back positive/indeterminate and I would need to come back in for additional testing.  She went on to say a bunch of other things which I completely ignored. All I could hear was the word positive echoing over and over in the vast space of my completely stunned brain.

How? Who? Matt? Me? Oh God, the baby! I immediately texted Matt and both our moms. In retrospect it sounds a little weird to want to tell your spouse, mother, and mother-in-law that you might have an STD (or STI as they are now properly termed) but I guess when you’re in complete shock you go to those who will love and understand you most.

Matt called me from work. I picked up the phone and said, “You didn’t, right?” and he was all, “No! I promise! Did you?” I emphatically replied “No, you know me!  I would totally tell you before I cheated so I could enjoy it and not feel guilty.” I believed him. He believed me. The only logical answer was a false positive.

The next five days were torture. I spent way too much time reading ridiculous forums without any credibility in hopes of finding another explanation. One person said that you could get it from a toilet seat, another said that you could catch it like a cold. Not my finest moment as a nurse.

Matt’s way to cope was to process with people. I about punched him in the face. “You can only tell our families! No one else will believe I’m not a slut.” I was starting to feel like the virgin Mary only a bad girl version. I bet no one believed her when she was all like, “Hey! I’m pregnant but I’ve never had sex before.” If I lived back then I would have recommended she seek psychiatric help.

Finally the long awaited second doctor’s appointment arrived. We went together and learned that apparently they ran my test twice, the first positive, the second negative, resulting in an indeterminate result. The doctor had said this on the phone but it was the part my brain left behind. I got her second call yesterday. “Everything is negative, your initial test was just a false positive.” What a relief!

The whole experience seemed like a test of our trust. I tried to remain positive (no pun intended) but it was hard. Trust is much bigger than just a word. It’s so much harder to trust someone when the facts suggest that one of you is lying. It was scary and eye opening for both of us to feel doubt creeping in and to have science support that doubt. I suppose the moral of the story is, if you want to test the level of trust in your relationship, test positive for an STD and wait a week to figure out the truth… or something like that.

*********

Matt’s Take:

You know how it is when your wife gets gonorrhea.

It’s like, “Aw, geez. Not that again!”

And then you have to buy that cream and wear those diapers and get the word “infected” tattooed across your pubic bone.

OK, I made that up. I forget if there’s cream involved. It’s been a while… Blast you, Monogamy!

But you know how it goes. Sometimes you find yourself at a public restroom and you see some fluid on the toilet seat you simply have to mop it up with an open wound. Well, most people mop it up, but not us. See, Dani and I promised in our vows not to use our open wounds to mop up unfamiliar fluid. I’ve been abstaining for six years at least. I’d forgotten everything I knew about gonorrhea.

That’s why it confused me when Dani sent me this text last week:

“Omg my gonorrhea test came back positive so they sent it back and it came back indeterminate…i have to get retested. Its an STD!!!! I’m so freaked out, I know its probably a lab error because its impossible but its scary and weird!!”

That’s a direct quote from my IPhone. I read it at work and I had to do that weird thing where you furrow your eyebrows and glance all around to make sure nobody is looking; then you cup your hand over the phone and you read it again.

Notice how in her second sentence she takes time to explain that gonorrhea is an STD. She knew I’d need the refresher. But how did SHE remember? Ah? Ahhh?

You’ll also notice she called it an STD, so pay no attention to her medical mumbo-jumbo about how it’s an STI these days. We know the truth.

Anyway, I called her right away. She was flustered. I was cool. “Gonorrhea could kill MiniMoob,” she said, “or blind him during birth.” But I stayed calm. I asked the right questions. We decided it was a mistake and I got back to work.

After that I didn’t think about it for awhile. I KNOW Dani so it had to be a mistake. She’s way more monogamous than I am. If she was gonna cheat I know exactly what she’d do. She’d say, “Matt, I’d like to stop having sex with you. Frankly, you suck at sex. Let’s get divorced and let’s hurry cause I’m not having sex with anybody until this paperwork issue is resolved.”

(I bet you think I’m kidding.)

The next day when I started telling my friends I realized there was a problem. Their faces went white. They touched my forearm. One of them kept staring at the floor. That’s when Dani advised me to back off the publicity campaign… or else.

But I kept seeing those faces. Skeptical and afraid. They wouldn’t disappear when I closed my eyes. And that’s how the anxiety began to pry open my chest. “Could MiniMoob die?” “Could Dani cheat?” “No way! …Right?”

After that it was a long crappy week. A visceral war. I knew the truth but it seemed like the facts contradicted the truth. What do you do when that happens?

It’s a question of faith. What can you believe? Can you ever really trust? What about logic and the minuscule percentage of false positives?

For a few days I had to remind myself of everything I already knew: Dani’s character, her love, her obsessive honesty. And when the test finally came back negative there was a part of me that wanted to scold myself for ever having questions in my head. But Dani promised me that we were normal and that we did just fine. And I think I believe her too.

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