31 July 2010

Testing the Batter

FSH test: normal.
LH test: normal.
Thyroid test: normal.
Pap smear: abnormal, but not really.
Seminal analysis: according to my husband, normal.

After a few statements of reassurance directed at my husband earlier this week--"One of your best friends has been through the same thing..." and "All of my tests required someone poking me with a needle..."--Michael put on his game face and readied himself for his one test out of the battery.  I was at work when he rushed a sample of his baby batter over to the hospital lab for the analysis (hey, it's a half-hour drive).  Although, the biohazard bag which was given to me for transporting the sterile cup was a tad too transparent for Michael's liking.  I offered him a brown paper sack before leaving for work to ease the stress.  I'm just glad we don't use the same bags for transporting our lunches to work.  That could have been embarrassing.

Michael: [averting eye contact and jutting out the paper bag] Here is the paperwork and a sample of my *cough cough*.  Well, you know.
Lab tech: Thank you sir.  [opens bag and peeks in]  Oh, wait.
Michael: *clearing throat* What's the matter?
Lab tech: Sir, this is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of Pringles.
Michael: Then what bag did my wife pick up this morning?
Lab tech: I'm not sure, sir, but we cannot test a sandwich.  Would you like me to show you to a private room for another sample collection?
Michael: No. [breathes deep and mutters a few words of profanity]  Just give me another cup.

But no such embarrassment.  He walked right in, dropped it off, and headed home to change for the driving range.  A quick text while I was finalizing one of my bulletin boards let me know the eagle had landed.  Since the lab has to perform the analysis within an hour of collection, I figured we would receive a phone call that afternoon.  When we didn't, I assumed we would hear something the next day.  My fertility books had emphasized that you should hear something back within 2 days.  Alas, we didn't.  I couldn't tell if this was one of those "no news is good news" situations, but it was starting to piss me off.  With Michael being one of the nighttime pharmacists at the hospital where he delivered his sample, he decided to do the research on himself.

Over dinner the evening after looking up his lab report and before he left for the next night shift, he proudly told me that his results looked normal.  Since my fertility books actually break down what they test for in a seminal analysis, I had to ask about specifics.

"What was the volume?"
"Probably a couple of teaspoons."
"What about the sperm count?  Was it high?"
"I guess."
"Motility is a big deal.  Where your swimmers motile enough?"
"Most likely."
(Beginning to get really frustrated with his man answers) "Well, tell me something definite!"
"Look, subcategories on lab reports would have had up or down arrows to indicate if something was too high or too low.  There were no arrows."
"No arrows?"
"No arrows."

Since Michael wouldn't lie to me about something this important, I let the surface-skimmed information settle in my brain and I expelled a lengthy sigh.  I tried imagining how he obtained the records on himself since the labs closed at 6:00pm and he works from 9:00pm until 8:00am.  A few scenarios played out in my head: Michael sweet talking a nurse twice his age until she giggled like a teenager, then printed out a copy of the labs from her graveyard shift station.  Or him furtively passing a crumpled wad of cash to the janitor in exchange for a manilla envelope he obtained from a doctor he had threatened to blackmail.  Or him donning a backpack and his Cons, creeping down long, dark hallways toward the hospital's main computer room where he would hack into the mainframe all while nervously scouting the doors for passersby.

Unfortunately, the actual obtaining of the labs wasn't this entertaining.  While the pharmacy was experiencing a lull in the work, he simply looked it up on the computer and memorized what it said.  Still, the lab had failed to put my mind at ease by calling me with yet another "it's all normal" call.  My husband rectified that by taking matters into his own hands.  I sure do love that man.

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