Tuesday, September 29, 2009

frustration

I've been having a frustrating past couple of days. I sat down to write blog posts twice in the past three days, and ended up not being able to hit "publish" either time because I wasn't really saying what I wanted to say.

And what I want to say is this: What an effing rollercoaster ride this whole fertility treatment business is!

Sheeesh.

Where's this coming from, you might be wondering? Well, it's coming from a few places.

First, the Clomid has been messing with my body and my emotions for the better part of the past week. And I was under the impression that if I didn't experience any issues while I was actually taking the Clomid for those five days then I wouldn't have any issues after those five days were done. I had asked my doctor what I could expect on it and all he said was that I might experience menopausal-like symptoms (like hot flashes, mood swings), "but most people tolerate it fine." Well, the day after I stopped the Clomid, I was up in the middle of the night with hot flashes and feeling nauseous. I felt okay the next day, but as the week went on, I started getting bad headaches that Tylenol wasn't helping. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I had bad headaches like that, and I was completely beat. I also had heartburn all of those days, despite not eating anything that would've been an obvious culprit. And I also cried at the drop of a hat all week long. It didn't occur to me until yesterday, when I was able to add consistent aching abdominal pain and bloating to the list of issues that it occurred to me that MAYBE it was the Clomid.

I got on Google and started trying to track down whether or not the issues I was experiencing were typical on Clomid. Everything I saw about abdominal pain and bloating indicated that a call to my doctor was in order, as there was a risk of OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome, which can be life-threatening).

It was 9 o'clock at night though. And I learned that my doctor was out of town all week when I spoke with his office earlier in the day (I'll get to that in a minute). Still, my nerves prevailed and I called the doc-on-call, who happened to be my doctor's partner and the head of the clinic. He said that all the things I was experiencing were totally normal - if unpleasant - side effects of Clomid and asked whether my doctor had gone through any of that with me. "Yeah - no - otherwise I wouldn't be calling you!" Nice.

Second, and this sort of ties in with the first point, I've lost some faith in the doctor I'm seeing. Things started off so well at our first meeting, and I was really on-board with how swiftly he was moving things forward after that meeting, but the experience I had at my HSN appointment last Wednesday - and the things that have happened since then - have really called my opinion of him into question.

For starters, something happened at the HSN appointment last week that surprised and concerned me. My doctor came into the procedure room late and apologized for being late, saying that he'd run into a "complication" with his last procedure. Within 5 minutes, my feet were in stirrups, he'd inserted the speculum and I could feel him swabbing my cervix. It occurred to me then that I ought to ask whether he was swabbing it with iodine, to which I have an allergy.

I asked; he said yes, he was using iodine. "Why?"

"Well, because I'm allergic to it, that's why. It's in my chart."

"Oh." He used some other solution (saline?) to swab off the iodine before proceeding, as I sat there freaking out a little, wondering if I was going to have a reaction or not. I didn't - thank God - but still. He must've been freaking out about it, too, because he gave me a script for Benadryl "to be safe."

That shouldn't have happened. And I can't help but wonder if it happened because he was flustered from the complication with his last procedure (which in and of itself is not cool) or if he makes a habit of NOT checking the file - or asking the patient - about allergies before beginning procedures (which is even LESS cool). That troubles me in particular because he wants to put me under for the hysteroscopy, and if I'm unconscious then who's going to tell him not to prep me with iodine?

The other reason I'm questioning his suitability to be the doctor who assists me in this journey is that he indicated when we were wrapping up the HSN last week that he wanted to get me in "as soon as possible" to have the hysteroscopy, so I'd have time to heal and we could proceed with IUI in my next cycle, and yet I still haven't been able to get the damn thing scheduled.

He had told me that if I hadn't heard from his staff by Friday, to call them to inquire about setting the date (remember, my HSN was on Wednesday). I waited, anxiously, until Friday morning, at which point I left a message saying we needed to schedule the surgery and asking someone to call me. No one called me. I called back late that afternoon only to find out that the person who schedules the surgeries went home sick earlier in the day. I was told to leave her a message and that she'd get back to me Monday.

I left a message. And then I waited until Noon on Monday for her to call me, and when she didn't, I called her. She proceeded to ask me if I was on birth control.

"Uh.... no? Because we're trying to get pregnant? That's why I'm at your clinic seeing Dr. ___!?!?!"

"Right..."

She then informed me that Dr. _____ typically schedules all surgeries for days 6-10 of the cycle, to ensure that the patient isn't pregnant.

Uh... come again???

I immediately objected, telling her that the doctor himself had told me that he wanted to get it taken care of as soon as possible so I'd be ready to try IUI next month and we wouldn't be wasting another cycle. And I specifically asked him if Super Man and I should "abstain from all activity" from that point forward in addition to Dr. ____ canceling our IUI attempt for this month, and he said yes. And I'm an instruction follower, to the letter, so I assured her that she had no need to fear that I gone and gotten pregnant on my own (that would've been the miracle to end all miracles, at this point). And I stressed again that I was very eager - VERY EAGER - to get this scheduled and over with so I could stop thinking and worrying about it and so that I'd be ready to go through the full IUI cycle next month.

Still, she said that she had to see what Dr. ___ wanted to do. "And unfortunately he's out of town this whole week, so unless I can reach him by email, we'll have to wait until he's back to see when he wants to do the surgery."

Uh... come again?!?!?! Are you freaking kidding me??!?

Now, I'm not saying that the man doesn't deserve to take vacations, or that he should plan his vacations around my cycle and my needs. (That would be nice though.) But are you KIDDING ME?!? He didn't say a word to me last Wednesday to indicate that he'd be unavailable to do the surgery he wanted to do "ASAP" until NEXT week, which is TWO WEEKS after the HSN! And I'm a little put off by the fact that he didn't tell the scheduling person to make it so I could get in for the surgery while I'm still in my current (already wasted) cycle, even if he couldn't do it this week.

You know, I realize that I'm not his only patient, but I have to admit, I have definitely felt like once it became clear that I wasn't going to be an IUI patient for this month, I fell off his radar screen entirely. And - I'm sorry - but I am entrusting this person to help me on what is one of THE most important journeys of my life, not to mention entrusting him WITH my life, so I expect him to be sensitive to that fact and treat me like I matter regardless of whether I'm actually having a costly treatment this cycle or not.

So now I'm waiting yet again.

But I may be waiting for different reasons now.

I'm considering asking to switch to the other doctor - the head of the clinic - instead. Considering the experiences I've had with Dr. ____ so far, and me feeling less-than-confident in his ability to treat me safely and expeditiously, I feel like I either need to see the head guy in the clinic or I need to go somewhere else entirely. And I'd rather not jump ship without seeing if the other guy is better. I just wish it hadn't come to this.

Anyway, that's where things stand right now. I have no idea when I'm having the surgery - or even IF I'll be having the surgery, as I now want the other doctor to weigh-in on whether HE feels it's necessary based on the HSN. If I DO have to go through with it, I don't know WHO will be doing it, or who I'll be seeing from this point forward. And the Clomid is making me feel like shit, all for nothing since I wasn't able to go through with the IUI attempt this month, and it will continue to make me feel like shit until I get my period. In nearly two weeks.

Needless to say, I'm not pleased.

Here's hoping that things will take a turn for the better very soon. Will keep you posted!

As always,
SW

1 comment:

  1. Amy,
    Trust your instinct. That's all I can say. Instead of rationalizing into why the doctor may be doing what he is doing (or not doing) or trying to talk yourself into "staying" with him, accept that you don't feel comfortable. That is what is true. Then, either talk to him about the concerns or move on (to the head of the clinic or another clinic). This is too important to stay with something that doesn't feel okay. It's about fit - and if it isn't right, it's not him, it's not you, it just isn't. I know this sounds easier than it is -- but you can do it! Sending you the courage vibes!

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