When Bedside Manners Go Bad: Firing My Doctor

bedside manners

Of all the fellow infertiles whose blogs I regularly read, surely I can’t be the only gal to have fired her RE for being a soulless jerk, right? Right?! (eek!) Well, either way I’ve left Dr. B’s care and his office and am moving on to hopefully greener pastures. It became obvious that he’s not the right RE for me and I will explain why. Despite treating with him for only seven weeks, I’ve had more than enough. Bedside manners apparently don’t grow on trees. I mentioned here the other week that there was more to the story; this is that “more.” I don’t mean this to be a full negative blast, as I did get some positives out of my treatment, but in this case the bad outweighed the good.

Personality: When I first met Dr. B, he came across as intelligent, well-studied, and knowledgeable, but he had a kind of strange personality. “Strange” as in he’d take me back to his office to discuss my treatment and then not speak to me for minutes at a time while he looked over my chart. Then he’d suddenly begin talking very fast and low, matter-of-factly declaring my treatment course without much of my own input taken seriously. Not a good sign, but I chalked it up to him being simply the brilliantly misunderstood type–the kinda guy with lotsa book smarts who never developed his social skills. I left it at that. Overall, he was pleasant enough and seemed to want to help me.

Treatment: The problem was, Dr. B’s “somewhat” weirdness continued to get….well, weirder. Because he would see me in his personal office for a “chat”  following every single visit—even just blood work and u/s visits—I saw him very frequently. He rarely spoke much—most conversations were coldly clinical and brief. For example, he put me on thyroid meds early on, then never mentioned my thyroid to me again! Finally I asked him whether my latest TSH count of 2.6 didn’t still seem somewhat high. His response: “No. That’s a good number.” Period. End of story. Okaaaaaaay……. Thanks for clearing THAT up! Two days after putting me on Clomid, and only two weeks after having started me on Synthroid, he looked up from my chart one day and asked, “Do I have you on any meds?” I was like “What?! Ummm, yeaaaah. Ya do… remember? We JUST talked about this on Tuesday.”

Patient Reaction: It became routine for me to leave Dr. B’s office feeling dejected, unsure about my treatment course, unsure even what was really going on with my body reproductively, and—more importantly—why I was told to keep coming back for visit after visit after visit. Again, I told myself that maybe this is how things are done in Infertility Land and that it would get better as I understand the process more, and (despite my intuition) continued treating.

The Final Straw:  This all came to a head the day of the IUI. I got to Dr. B’s office early that morning. While I walked from the parking lot to the building, he was also arriving to work for the day. He merely said good morning, held the door for me, and said not another word. We walked through the lobby in silence. We rode in the elevator in silence. We walked through the hallway of his office’s floor—you guessed it!—in silence. Awkward silence, at least for me. I mean, hello, I am still a human here! Last I checked, I’m not invisible. No small talk, no mention of the day’s procedure-to-be, no comforting words, no comment even on the freakin’ weather. Huge red flag.

When I came back to the office later that morning to have the actual IUI done, I was directed to a room to “undress from the waist down” (really, who needs these instructions? I mean, I practically drop my pants in the waiting room. I know it’s gonna happen. But anyway, I digress). So Dr. B enters the room about half hour later. Remember now, this is my first IUI. I don’t fully know what to expect. No one’s told me any readings on how DH’s numbers looked (I only found out afterward that I should’ve asked or that they should’ve told me). I had this crazy fear that they might mix up DH’s specimen with someone else’s (could you even imagine?!) and no one reassured me of protocols ensuring that that hadn’t or couldn’t happen. He didn’t explain the protocol or the procedure or my odds of conceiving (I did have enough presence of mind to ask that one at least). Instead, Dr. B literally walked in, told me to put my feet in the stirups, and went to work. LITERALLY. That was it. He did not say ONE WORD to me during the procedure except the one time I asked a question. Even then, he seemed annoyed that I’d even asked. Once it was over, he simply left the room and it was the tech who instructed me to wait a few minutes before getting up.

I felt like a such a ….specimen. For all it was worth, he could’ve been neutering a dog on that table, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. He gave me no follow up instructions, no feedback on how the IUI went, nothing. He only told me to “come back in a week.” For Pete’s sake—WHY SHOULD I COME BACK IN A WEEK?!?!? I left there so thoroughly disgusted, über upset, and extremely angry.

The End:   Moral of the story: if you dislike people, think you’re smarter then everyone else, and ignore your patients, it’s a super great way to grind a medical practice into the ground. Free advice to anyone out there who’s a doctor or in healthcare. That’s all. *end of rant*

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Why I Won’t Do IUI Again

Whew! I’ve been a busy gal. Lots to update! I’ll start here.

So, first, this unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) happened:

uterusmean

AF arrived four days late. Which was so especially cute since I never (I mean like “never” as in this has only happened once in the past two years) get AF that late in. At most, maybe she’s a day late. But not four. So the two long weeks of the TWW was actually a T1/2WW, adding to the stress level.

Now that it’s over though, I can admit it: Who was I kidding? I knew going in that IUI for someone with Stage IV Endometriosis is a total shot in the dark. I just wanted that chance—the chance to have the same odds of conceiving as the fertiles do for once in my life. And for me personally, before I was really ready to commit to this infertility treatment thing and move into more invasive and expensive ART procedures, I had to check IUI off my list. I had to give it a try for my own sake. And you know what? It totally wasn’t worth it. The extra follicles that Clomid produced made my ovary enlarge to the point that I had such severe ovary pain daily for three weeks and spent every evening in bed after work with my heating pad. No ibuprofen even to ease the pain (cause, after all, what if I were pregnant?). I’d like to think that I battled through it valiantly, but DH might tell you otherwise. Not fun.

Then, there were the cramps. I seriously have not had such severe cramping leading up to AF since back in the days when I had two ovaries (11 years ago). I experienced nine (!) days of severe cramping leading up to AF, followed by the actual cramps from AF. I don’t know the reasons medically/physically behind why this happened like it did, maybe there are some, but I really don’t care to go through that again to find out why.

I blog on my lunch breaks, since that’s the only time I have access to a desktop, so the remaining updates will have to happen on another day. Stay tuned though, cause up next is: Firing My Reproductive Endocrinologist.

Despite the disappointment, God is Still Good. Sometimes there’s just more wilderness than promised land.

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2 Days Late

AF is two days late. I’m a ball of nerves. My stomach is in knots. I literally check for spotting a few times every hour. If even the slightest amount of light brown spotting shows, I immediately change my pantiliner so any new spotting can be accounted for. Waiting until tomorrow morning to POAS. Tomorrow I’ll unofficially-officially be “late” since some months I end up on a longer cycle. My two days late is based on my normal 27-day cycle that likes to screw with me every few months and show up as a 29-day cycle. Ya know. Just for fun.

Here’s the daily breakdown from this week, with symptoms on a scale of 1 (mild), 2 (bothersome), 3 (moderate), and 4 (heavy). It’s kinda TMI for anyone who wants to skip over it:

Sunday: 98.69º. Backache (2/4), cramps (1/4). Only 1 spot brownish/clear spotting.

Monday: 98.56º. Moodiness, irritability (2/4). AF due tomorrow. Intermittent light brown spotting with little-to-moderate amount discharged.

Tuesday: 98.66º. AF due today. Am always below 98º on AF’s first day, so temp still elevated. Very, very heavy cramps between 8 pm – midnight. Cramps (4/4), PMS and ovary pain (1/4).

Wednesday: 98.19º. AF 1 day late. Very occasional, intermittent light brown spotting with little discharged. Cramps (3/4), ovary pain (2/4).

Thursday: 98.29º. AF 2 days late. Cramps (2/4). One small spot light brown spotting with little discharged.

I can’t concentrate on ANY-thing! Boss has been yammering on and on today about Lord knows what, but I don’t hear a word he says because I’m in total la-la space cadet land. I’m SO EXCITED to POAS in the morning if AF still isn’t here! The anticipation is maddening! I go back and forth, back and forth, up and down between wanting to hope and keeping myself from hoping. I envision little fantasies of how to tell DH the news, picking out baby names, where to register, and what PG will feel like. Then I stop, reminding myself of how much more crushing the disappointment of a BFN / AF’s arrival will be if I allow myself to go too far. This is such a cruel game.

Holy canolis is this screwing with my head.

tinypotato

An Early Late

patienceprayerAF is due today, but AF is not here. Usually she arrives between midnight and 4:00 a.m., so I take this as very, very cautious optimism. Aside from mild cramping, there’s no other symptoms to indicate that she’s on her way. Unfortunately, I have to wait until Friday (seems so far away from Tuesday) to say that I’m truly “late.”

I’ve kept track of my cycles for the past two years on my My Calendar app and it seems that every 3 – 4 months I’ll deviate from my normal 27-day cycle to a 29-day cycle. I haven’t had a 29-day cycle since February so I’m right on time to have a long cycle. My temp hasn’t dropped yet either, so all I can do is wait (still).

So, all this to say that I still know nothing yet and won’t for a few more days. Guess I just needed to get that out there.

In the meantime, I found this lovely prayer online to share with you all:

waitingprayer

4dpIUI

calmtww

I’m having a difficult TWW. It’s only 4dpIUI but it seems more like 4 months! DH and I have been treating things as though I were pregnant, so, despite the ridic ovary pain and cramping, coupled with a strained back muscle, I haven’t taken anything for pain. This is probably helping to make the wait seem that much longer. Some moments I think I’m going totally crazy: most TWWs are long, but not like this. I analyze like EVERY-thing, even though it’s too soon for even implantation to have happened yet. Lord, help me. Seriously.

I canceled my appointment for this Thursday with Dr. B because it seems completely pointless to go. I’m past ovulation and it’s too soon to test for pregnancy, so to me it seems like now dude’s just strait fleecing me by asking me to come in. I know I’m kinda new at this whole RE thing, but I can’t shake this feeling that I’m being preyed on as “the desperate infertile woman.” Does anyone else feel this way? As in, I’m grateful for the available treatments, but is the price so high not really because of the technology but more because desperate couples will pay any price for a solution? I’ve already spent hundreds of dollars in the past few months, which I know is much, much, MUCH less than many of you ladies (and gents) and it’d be nice—even just for one week—to keep something in my pocket.

So then, this really leaves me nothing much to blog about for the next eleven months—I mean days—no, it really feels like literal months—but I’m still keeping up with everyone else’s blogs and really enjoy following everyone’s journeys. Will update soon with tears or cheers 🙂

TWW

 

IUI #1

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This morning was my first IUI. It wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t wonderful, it just…. was what it was, I guess. I don’t have any past experience to compare it to, but I get the impression it was pretty unremarkable as far as these procedures go.

I dropped of DH’s specimen around 8:00 a.m., had an u/s and blood work at the office, then was free to go kill two hours. I took myself out for breakfast at some random diner, went to the bank, sat in the car and talked on the phone to DH, and screwed around on my phone, until it was time to head back to Dr. B’s office. I was immediately ushered in to the exam room where I waited on every gal’s favorite place to catch some zzzzzzs:

gynchair

And I waited. And waited. Finally, almost a half hour later, Dr. B and the u/s tech came in. Dr. B pulled out the speculum, which to me is the stuff that nightmares are made of (seriously, look at that thing. It probably hasn’t changed one bit since the Middle Ages):

speculum

Then he went to work! He was, however, tinkering around down there for what seemed longer than usual. Once again, Idk what “usual” should be here, so finally after a few minutes, I asked Dr. B what exactly he was doing to my lady bits. He replied that because of my many surgeries, my cervix has been drastically pushed to one side (it should be centered) so he was having difficulty actually getting to it. This went on for about 5 or 6 minutes. Finally he got the catheter into my pesky cervix and inserted/injected/Idk-what DH’s specimen. The whole experience was definitely uncomfortable-bordering-on-painful. I just cringed, kept my eyes shut, and tried to go to my happy place for those seemingly-endless ten minutes.Once it was over i was instructed to lay on the exam table for fifteen minutes before getting dressed to leave.

After the IUI I went to work, where I almost immediately started to not feel well. I began experiencing moderate-to-heavy cramping and, weirdly enough, nausea. Like crazy nausea. Boss sent me home after one hour at work, which was prefaced with the expression, “You look terrible (thanks?)! I don’t want to know what they did to you this morning, but you look really sick. Go home. And good luck, i hope it works out for you.” (AWKWARD!) But who am i to argue with the big Boss? I was actually very relieved, as the prospect of spending 5 hours at work was pretty awful.

Currently chilling at home with my heating pad, remote controls, cranberry juice, and my sweet, sweet Puppy. There’s a bit more to the story which I’ll post about separately; I simply don’t have the oomph right now. I just wanted to get this out there because I know a few other ladies who’re preparing for their first IUI’s this week, and I wanted to share my experience to hopefully help prepare them for their own.

Baby dust to you all!

Ignorance

So this morning Coworker and I were discussing national news, specifically the Duggers scandal, which led to the TLC channel, which led to Kate + 8, and (much to my chagrin), from there, to fertility treatments. Coworker stood in the doorway to my office as she rambled on and on about how people who use IVF, IUI, fertility drugs, etc. are “playing God” and how unethical it is, how people should just accept it if God doesn’t want them to have children, ad nauseum. Mind you, Coworker has six (grown) kids and became pregnant accidently one month after getting married. She has no personal frame of reference for holding these opinions on infertility treatments. Which is whatevs in a way, I mean of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, but a little sensitivity now and then might be in order.

I sat at my desk listening to Coworker’s little soliloquy as I grew more uncomfortable by the minute. It took so much effort to keep my mouth shut. Some people—especially if you know how they tick—aren’t just going to change their uneducated opinions on certain topics because they simply lack what I call the “Getting It” factor. Coworker is one of those people. Unfortunately we are forced to deal with these kinds of people in life, and we must accept and realize that we can’t always change the world. It was especially infuriating to hear Coworker say all these things because she has no idea that the very person she’s spouting off to is currently going through infertility treatment herself!

justadpot

The Positive Angle: This conversation got me thinking my own self. How many times have I offered an unsolicited opinion to someone about a topic I knew little about, and that same person may have been going through that issue herself? I’m going to take today’s situation as a wakeup call to how I relate to others, and as an opportunity to be more sensitive to what hurts another person may be dealing with. Discretion is so vital in our relationships with others. It doesn’t even have to matter how close to that person we are. Words can hurt.

In other news, this happened this morning:

+OPK

Every time I see that OPK smiley face I smile too. It makes this journey (especially this month) just a little bit more bearable.