12 July 2010

I'm Not a Nearly-Extinct Panda, but I Do Want More of Me

You can always tell who is a doctor and who isn't by the way they walk.  Doctors walk down the corridors of their practice with confidence and purpose.  They must get from Point A to Point B without being deterred by distractions that are not penciled in on today's to-do list.  Female doctors walk a little more stiff-legged to show off their calves as defined by their 3-inch heels, their skirts swishing lightly around their knees.  Male doctors exaggerate their arm movements as if they were about to break into a run for the always-impending emergency.  They have patients who need their help, and as they walk toward the room of their next case, their chins create an obtuse angle to the ground, they are so high.  That is, unless they are reading the file on their patients.  Then they turn their chins downward, squint their eyes, and bring their eyebrows together in solicitous concentration.

But not my doctor.  His days of confident, head-held-high walks are behind him.  He shuffles down the same corridor, arms close to his body with one hand to his chin.  He doesn't squint over documentation because he dons large bifocals.  His shoes appear to be meant for comfort for the long hours he stands and walks, not as a symbol of status nor to brag, "I bought these on my last trip to the Italian Riviera."  While other doctors in the same practice are most likely to rest their hand on your arm in warm comfort over your concerns, my doctor is quick, methodical, and logical in his delivery of information.  He moves from one patient to the next, down the line, ticking off the check list until it's time to go home.  He is obviously well-educated and deserves to be in this GYN practice based on his wealth of knowledge alone, but he doesn't conjure up warm and fuzzy feelings when in his presence.  You ask a question, he answers it succinctly in 2 sentences.  He explains everything in medical language.  Nothing is flowery or in slang.  He never talks in "what ifs".  And he absolutely never calls you by a term of endearment like his nurse does (who calls me "Sweet Pea").  My guess of his age: 72.

It is a little strange to have a man who is old enough to be your grandfather to be the one to check you for breast lumps and run your pap test.  Like his answers to questions, the session with him is quick, methodical, and logical.  My former GYN, at least, would warn you of what was coming.

"You're going to feel a little pressure when I press down on your abdomen."
"This stethoscope might feel a little cold when I hold it against your back."
"OK, now I'm going to insert the speculum."

All you would need is a little mood music and a cold glass of water with a lemon slice, and it would have been a day at the spa.  Minus, of course, the pap smear part.

But this is not the case with my current doc.  He leans over from his stool for his nurse to glove him and doesn't even nod at her in gratitude.  You never even see the speculum coming your way.  Suddenly, it's knocking on heaven's door, keeping its foot in the jamb for its cotton swab buddy to join in the fun.  Specimen is contained and capped.  Speculum is trashed.  Gloves are removed (by his own hands, this time).  Orders to sit up and get dressed are made.  I am to meet him in his office.

His concerns with this exam were twofold:
Concern numero uno: apparently my thyroid felt slightly enlarged.
Concern numero dos: I'm not ovulating regularly enough (no shit).

He didn't seem overly worried about my thyroid since it checked out in a TSH analysis 6 months ago.  Just to be on the safe side, he ordered another TSH analysis and had me walk across the medical office to have my blood drawn after my appointment with him concluded.

As for the ovulation part, he can't figure out why I'm not ovulating.  He tells me it's not natural to menstruate only 6 times in one year and that it could cause problems with my uterus.  He begins with a list of what to try next:

1.  "If you don't have a period 8 weeks after the one you just had, I want to give you a shot of progesterone to jump start your period."  I'm not sure if this would become a regular thing should I not get pregnant with the next ovulation cycle, but I'm already tired of needles with the two blood tests I've had done this year.  I might have to opt for progesterone in pill form.  This is an option I'm ready to try.

2.  "Since you have been trying to get pregnant for a year to no avail, we can try Clomid during your next menses."  This would stimulate egg production.  Can't make a baby without those eggs.  Although, there would be an increased chance at producing 2 ova at the same time, which could result in twins.  I would have to go back to the doctor for an ultrasound after taking the full round of Clomid to see if it properly produced mature follicles.  I always imagined my first ultrasound being one to confirm pregnancy, not to see if my ovaries were doing their job.

3.  "If we put you on Clomid, we could could perform artificial insemination."  Umm, let's leave that option for beef cattle and nearly-extinct giant pandas.  At least for now.

4.  "We should also perform a seminal analysis on your husband."  Great.  I get to hide a stack of forms, a plastic cup, and a biohazard bag in my purse until I get it home, where--once presented--I'm sure will go over real well with the hubs.  I know he's just as committed to starting a family, but there are so many rules for collecting and delivering a specimen, it's laughable.  Didn't know there would be an instruction manual on a date with Rosy Palms.

On the way home, I mulled over these options while listening to my preset radio stations √† la carte.  The Eagles, UB40, Mellencamp, Kelly Clarkson, and Hootie and the Blowfish all kept me company while I cried a little and thought a lot.  It already feels overwhelming, and we haven't even faced the most serious trials of infertility.  There's the chance I could not get pregnant at all.  I could get pregnant with help, and then miscarry.  I could miscarry multiple times.  I could have an ectopic pregnancy.  Who knows?

What's meant to happen will.  We just hope to help repopulate the planet with actual pieces of ourselves.

Couldn't resist.


Angela said...

Too many people we know are going through infertility problems... I'm so sorry!

Rachael said...

Oh Vicki.... I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. You are a FANTASTIC writer!! I love reading your blog! I also know other people who tried all of these methods and several work. I know you are sad, so I don't want to say, "Don't be sad" because I don't like it when people say that to me. It is okay to be sad that things don't go easily or the way we plan. God will bless you, I have no doubt. You are not alone in your struggles, I hope that brings you some comfort. Love.


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