On magazines and mobiles
The waiting around during yesterday's IUI--the forty-five minutes for the sperm to be whirled and prepped, the fifteen for Dr. Meow to return to the exam room after the order to strip from the waist down, the half hour after the IUI in which I was left to remain supine, knees up--left me with plenty of time to consider the pros and cons of my RE, his staff, his office and his decor. What with all the waiting, and so little to do during it, small things become important--good-important and bad-important.
Considering that the office is in San Francisco, parking could be a lot worse. Usually only have a three- or four-block walk from a metered two-hour street spot. Lot parking in his building is $6 per hour, so it's nice to have the street option.
One of the two receptionists is a veteran, both as a receptionist and apparently as an ART patient, who asks questions like, "You used both the Gonal-F and the Follistim, right? I liked the Gonal-F myself but some of our patients prefer the Folli. How about you?"
There is not a single child-related or even child-friendly magazine in the waiting room. Not one. No Parenting, no Highlights. Just Business Week and Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly and People. Also, no golf magazines. Definite plus.
With the exception of a twenty-something who I would like to think may have been there to donate her spring-chicken eggs, every patient in the place so far looks to be my age or older.
There is a full-scale lab on premises--sperm prep, bloodwork, ultrasounds, everything is done right there, most of it by Meow himself.
The IVF Coordinator is supremely nice and friendly and, more importantly, has a direct line that she actually answers promptly. And she told me to just replace the sample Gonal-F that they "advanced" me with the Follistim that my insurance covered, no need to tell the pharmaceutical sales rep.
Dr. Meow only takes a few patients at a time--around fifteen, if his literature is to be believed--so he doesn't seem overextended or impatient. He even takes patient calls without a hassle--the receptionists just say, "Hold a moment" and put them through, no aggravating third-degree.
Dr. Meow has a surprisingly calm, caring, interested demeanor that is soothing, if occasionally soporific. He listens well and doesn't treat my questions (not typed and bullet-pointed anymore, sadly) like they're looney, even when they are a direct result of excessive Googling.
The main exam room--the one with the ultrasound machine that also serves as the spot for IUI's--is blessedly warm to one's waist-down nakedness.
There is an odd but pleasing little aluminum-and-wood hummingbird mobile above the table. It is hung in the path of the HVAC intake vent, which keeps it in a state of constant, fluid motion. It is nice to have something to look at while lying on the table.
The sterile semen collection cups his office provided are enormous. How, exactly, to nestle this giant faux-Tupperware container in my A-cup bralette? I ended up with a marsupial approach involving layered sweaters, one of which had a sort of chest pouch. Had to walk several Civic Center blocks from car to Meow's office in said sweaters, giant knit-covered lump preceding me by several inches.
There is a hideous silk ficus in the waiting room, badly in need of a dusting.
The other receptionist is young and green and, while enthusiastic, speaks too loudly, inadvertently informing everyone in the waiting room of another's cancelled IVF cycle. ("Did you hear about Julie? None of her eggs were viable. I guess Dr. Meow is going to call her in a minute to let her know." First receptionist made urgent shushing sounds and looked at us apologetically.)
Dr. Meow, when giving instructions for the Prometrium, said the word "vagina" too many times, enunciating it carefully and clearly for me as if I might be unfamiliar with the term: "You'll put one pill in your VA-GI-NA each evening. The pharmacist may tell you to take them orally, but that's not right--they're for you to put in your VA-GI-NA. So, again, each night around the same time, place one in your VA-GI-NA. OK? (You mean my coochie, Dr. Meow? My hoo-ha? The hole? Is that the VA-GI-NA you're talking about?) He also over-enunciates "intercourse" when instructing us to get busy the morning after the IUI. IN-TER-COURSE, complete with pauses between the syllables.
The stirrups on the main exam table are excruciating. The angle at which they attach to the table is all wrong, requiring hyperextension of the achilles when assuming the standard No, scoot down further toward me position. And the covers are blue terrycloth dishcloths, completely unpadded and boring. Not even cheerful potholders.
After I asked how long it would take for the trigger shot to clear my system, he looked at me suspiciously and asked me to promise him that I wouldn't test till the beta. I grudgingly assented, though I will not feel bad about reneging about, say, Day 12. And, really, what business is it of his when I test?
Oh, yeah--there's also the little issue with Meow's medical license being reviewed in a few months because of a bad mistake a few years ago by a colleague, compounded exponentially by questionable judgment on his part. Some of you may know what I'm talking about, having seen stories in the Northern California papers, but I don't really want to say more about it because I'm torn about whether he did something very wrong, something very stupid or just had to choose the lesser of two godawful options. And I'm comfortable with the fact that, once bitten, he will be twice shy, so to speak. Plus, with IVF numbers as good as his, it probably wouldn't pay for me to be too high-and-mighty.