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Shots in the Dark - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
Shots in the Dark
Yesterday morning I had yet another appointment that involved getting blood out of my shy veins and having an ultrasound probe getting up close and personal with my insides. Now, the whole point of my leaving the house at 7:15 on these occasions instead of going to the gym or spending another 90 minutes in bed is so that my body can be monitored and adjustments can be made to my medications if necessary. So, the idea is that you go in and get the tests, and then one of the nurses calls you back that afternoon with instructions.

Can we see where this is going yet?

At 4:20pm yesterday I had still not gotten a call, and so I called the clinic myself. The woman who answered the phone told me that they did the first calls at 4pm (wrong! that's IUI, they call IVF patients around 2) and that someone would call me soon. I told her that they usually called me by now, and to please make sure they did. No one ever called.

And that's where the shots in the dark come in. I had no instructions, so I assumed that I should keep doing the same thing, and stuck with the current dosages. This morning I noted certain sticky signs that my estrogen is getting high, and I was a bit nervous, because of course I was shooting up in the dark, as it were.

I called the clinic again this morning and spoke to the same receptionist. She was gratifyingly shocked that no one had called, and instead of telling me that someone would call back, she got one of the nurses on the phone right away.

The nurse was not very apologetic. She told me what my instructions would have been (what I did anyway, thank goodness), and by way of apology gave me my actual numbers on my tests. I appreciated the data, but that was not going to stop me from raising my concerns over the fact that this was the third screw-up the clinic had made this cycle. I gave her a short speech about how one mistake is understandable human error, but three is just not acceptable. There was also a line in there about how I was sure that not all of their patients were MIT grads with the confidence and ability to figure out when mistakes were being made and get them corrected. I was peeved, and I still am. Am I overreacting? Three mistakes in one cycle seems excessive to me.

Oh, and the call I never got? It turns out that nurse Ditzy signed off as having called me. I never got a call on my cell phone, and there is no voice mail from her there. The home answering machine is currently not taking messages, so she can't have left one there. My bet? In spite of the fact that I have repeatedly told her (and everyone else) to call my cell phone, she probably called my old work number (you know, the place I don't work anymore because if it was up to them I wouldn't be doing this cycle) and left a message there. And yes, they do have the cell number, both the receptionist and the nurse I spoke to today confirmed that.
8 comments or Leave a comment
twe From: twe Date: June 15th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you tried asking them to delete the old work number from all their files on you?
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: June 15th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, alas.
From: readsalot Date: June 15th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

People are stupid about phone numbers

(sorry. reposting to fix html errors.)

I sympathize with your frustration.

You're probably right about the phone call. I'm always amazed at the number of people who call my house, get the message that says "readsalot and aleph_1 aren't here right now--please leave a message", and proceed to record something like, "Ms. so-and-so, you need to pick your child up at school now", or "Ms. such-and-such, you should call the clinic for your test results." (I'm not making these up, by the way.)

And, of course, they don't leave a phone number, because if they did, I could call them back and tell them that they're calling the wrong number.

When I first got my current work number, I got a couple of calls from someone trying to reach someone at my company who apparently no longer worked there (hence me now having their number). After the second time I told them that I wasn't that person, and I didn't know how to reach them, a supervisor called, and emphasized that he really had to speack to that person. I don't know if he was expecting me to admit that I'd been lying, and I really was the person he wanted, or what.
enugent From: enugent Date: June 15th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounds to me like it's time to call your doctor, not the clueless nurses. In my experience, most doctors are not happy about this sort of hijinks, and let the nurses know in no uncertain terms that it's not acceptable.

I was also going to suggest asking the receptionist if it's possible to delete your old work phone number from their records. Nurse Ditzy probably doesn't have it memorized. (She probably doesn't have her own memorized, based on your stories.)
From: treptoplax Date: June 15th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I read somewhere recently that a new trend was to outsource the expensive labwork (eg, the actual IVF procedures) to Eastern Europe somewhere and ship the frozen embryos back. I wasn't sure at the time whether to be appalled or pleased by this particular bit of globalization efficiency, but I'm beginning to think it couldnn't be worse than lazy Americans.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: June 15th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you must mean PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis). That's the only thing I can think of where they actually run tests on cells taken from the embryos. Of course, now that you bring it up, I remember that worse mishaps can happen.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: June 15th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I should perhaps clarify that the most expensive part of my particular IVF regime involved getting the eggs out of me in the first place, so its doubtful that they could outsource that effectively without shipping me off to Eastern Europe. Non-frozen embryos are a tad fragile, and shipping them is not a bright idea, and if they're doing something fancy to the eggs like ICSI it needs to be done locally. Frozen ones tend not to have results that are as good fresh ones. That's why I think article may have meant PGD, which is a diagnostic thing that you do on top of IVF if you have a genetic problem.

Of course, there is also an industry in infertility tourism. The "infertility safari" is very popular. Go to South Africa, see the elephants and get knocked up for a fraction of the US cost.
enugent From: enugent Date: June 15th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
MSNBC just did a big article on infertility tourism.

Thanks for the link to the Redbook blog - I just added it to my Bloglines subscriptions.
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