Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Directions: Find wall. Bang head on wall. Repeat.

Today I took my first official step on the infertility trail: I saw Dr. Useless and asked for a referral.

Dr. U: So, Bugs, why are you here today?

Me: I'd like to get a referral for an infertility specialist, please.

Dr. U: Oh? How long have you been trying?

Me: We stopped using contraception in July of last year, so about fourteen...

Dr. U., interrupting: Oh, I didn't realize you were trying.

Me: Yes, remember, we talked about it a few months back...

Dr. U.: How old are you?

Me: I'll be thirty-five on Saturday.

Dr. U.: Leaving it a bit late, aren't you? Well, let's see...hmmm...have you ever been pregnant before?

Me: Well, yes, like I mentioned before, I was pregnant in late 1986, when I was seventeen.

Dr. U.: And did you miscarry? Or terminate?

Me: Terminate.

Dr. U.: At least you know you can conceieve!

Me: Well, I know I could conceieve more than half my lifetime ago. Not so sure about now.

Dr. U.: How about J. Has he ever fathered children?

Me: No.

Dr. U.: Are you sure?

Me: Yes, absolutely. I mean, J. is absolutely sure. Absolutely. He's never...I mean...

Dr. U.: OK, then! So, I'll refer you to Dr. Bigshot, R.E. and have your charts sent over. She'll probably want to check out J. first, since that's easy, and then it'll be up to you.

Considering that I didn't have to fight for the referral, I was rather pleased with the outcome, if not the visit itself. I mean, as preposterous and humiliating as the conversation with Dr. Useless was, I ended up with a referral to a female R.E. only fifteen minutes from my house who's taking new patients, and she's the head of a major infertility clinic. Yes!

Actually, No! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I call Dr. Bigshot's office, full of hope. Unfortunately, there's one little, tiny problem: according to the unreasonably bitter receptionist, the clinic is not affiliated with my ubiquitous insurance plan, Blue Shield of California. In fact, they're not affiliated with any PPO's whatsoever. So, unless I want to pay cash on the barrel, there will be no Dr. Bigshot for me. Receptionist hangs up on me without so much as a "sorry."

Agitated, I call Dr. Useless again and get her voice mail.

Me leaving agitated message: Um, Dr. Useless, I called Dr. Bigshot and her receptionist said that they aren't affiliated with Blue Shield or any other PPO's, so I'm hoping you can give me another referral? Thanks. Please call me at home or on the cell if I don't pick up.

Dr. U. leaving terse response on machine while I was at gym, having not even bothered with the cell: Bugs, I don't really know anybody else, except Dr. Old Man. But I think the problem is probably that your insurance doesn't cover infertility treatment, not that Dr. Bigshot doesn't take it.

Which is a load of garbage, I think. The receptionist at Dr. Bigshot told me straight up that they aren't affiliated with any PPO's.

So, I head to the computer to look up Dr. Old Man, figuring, OK, so he's a man, but I can't have it all, right? He's probably qualified and almost every physician takes Blue Shield, so I'm sure that'll be fine...

He is, indeed, eminently qualified. Has been an R.E. since 1987. Works at a well-respected infertility clinic. One little problem: it's the same fucking clinic as Dr. Bigshot. They don't take my plan.

So, I sit down to my insurance company's website and, after logging in, find that my account is no longer associated with a plan. I try to fix this, and find that my membership number--which I cannot edit--is three months out of date, having been modified when I was laid off. Since I can't verify my coverage, what with no plan being associated, I figure I'll at least look up R.E.'s in the area and find some likely candidates, then call Dr. Useless tomorrow and get her to refer me.

Which would have been fine, except that the "choose a specialty" pull-down menu is broken.

And that's it. I give.


Blogger Barren Mare said...

OK. That out & out bites. In every way. What a fucking useless bitch, pardon my restraint. If she doesn't know anyone off the top of her head, she should get busy and find out. Honestly. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? How is it that they do not implode under the weight of their own uselessness.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

So sorry to hear that she (and your insurance) were no help whatsoever. Sometimes it feels like we've got to go through the Herculean labors to even get to see the right doctor--much less get a diagnosis & treatment plan! Best of luck getting through this, and if anyone needs an ass-kicking (real or metaphorical), please let me know.

1:05 PM  

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