Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ah, the joys of the medical community

Early in our visits to the fertility doctors, trying to find a cause became a significant focus, for not only Sarah and I, but also for our doctor. Nice guy, he was, but he just didn't sit comfortably with me.

Sarah says that is in large part my fault. "You're just so damn big," she'd say (tee-hee. that's what she said). Ahem...as I was saying. She said I just filled a room and physically intimidated people.
"Lot's of people are over six foot four," I'd plead.
"You're also like 230 fucking pounds, you gorilla," she'd fire back, in her British accent, of course. Which makes most things awesome. You can fact check that.

So the doctor, one day, tired of my questions about what goes where and which end goes first (these are important fertility questions, people) said, "OK, this is what we are going to do. I am going to give both you two prescriptions. You must each take your prescription at the same time. OK? Ok." He then scribbled away on his two little pieces of paper and that was that.

Except it wasn't. See we were in England. In the U.S. Air Force, they frown on you just taking random drugs all willy-nilly and haphazardly. So I, not knowing what the hell was written on my prescription form, had to take mine over to the base hospital over on RAF Lakenheath. This, in and of itself, is not a problem, but the Air Force wants to know if I'm on drugs, provide them if they can, and more importantly, have them on record in case I do a urinalysis (drug test) and fail due to a mystery drug in my system.

So, following proper protocol, I make an appointment and proceed to the hospital at my appointed time. I only wait a few minutes and the Physician's Assistant happily takes my prescription forms from me. "Oh, ok," she mumbles to herself as she looks at the writing, "and what did you want me to do with this?" she asked.
"Ummm, put it on my medical chart, I guess. I don't want to fail a urinalysis."
"That's not going to be a problem. I'll annotate it on your chart. Did you prefer to take the drink or the shot?"
Tough question. Do I want a drink or a hole in the arm? "Drink, please." She made a couple more notes and directed me to the pharmacy.

At the pharmacy, I waited patiently for like ten minutes. Pacing the room, waiting for my name to show up on the sign, but, in proper fashion, when it did appear, I wasn't paying attention. The pharmacy tech yelled at me from behind her counter, "Sergeant Allen." Oops.

As teh technician was handing me my batch of drugs, she stopped just as I reached for them. She pulled one of the bags and started looking at the tags. What's wrong, I thought nervously. The technician looked it over and said, "You need to take this back to the family practice clinic. They have to administer this to you."
"Why? What is it?" I asked. Now I am definitely nervous.
"It's for your chlamydia," she said, in a voice much too loud for such things.
"Umm, what? What do you mean? I don't have chlamydia," I responded, in that hushed voice which really means you're guilty.
"Did you have a test done?" the tech asked.
"No," we hadn't had a test done, but now I'm sounding like a guilty, shady person.
"Well, let me ask. Sheila, do you need to have a chlamydia test in order to take chlamydia medication?" I'm sure she yelled that on purpose. The response was quieter than I could hear, but I'm sure it was a giggle. With that, I took my not-for-chlamydia medication back to the family medicine clinic for whatever torture lie ahead of me.

The PA came back out and lead me to the back office. I told her of my plight, wondering why I would get chlamydia medication without actually having chlamydia.
"It's precautionary," she said. When you do fertility treatment, the chlamydia test cost like $50, but the medication cost just $5. It has no side effects, so it's just easier and cheaper. Men don't often show symptoms, so, you know?" I sighed in relief at that.

The only side effect, she had told me, was the taste. An awful taste. The way she described, with such intensity, made me not want to sit too close to her. You know, just in case. She took that packet, mixed the drink and handed it over.

It smelled of bananas. Like a really awesome banana shake with ice cream in it, and whip cream on top. It smelled soooo good. I was like, Damn, this is one great smelling drink, and then gulped it down. Fuck me, it was horrible.

It was the absolute worst tasting thing on the planet. It was like, I don't know, just really, really bad. How? How could something smell so awesome and then taste so much like the depths of Hell at the same time? I could still smell it in my nose, but, my GOD, that taste will never come out. Seriously, why on earth would you make this?

"You need to sit in the waiting room now," the PA had ordered.
"What? Why?" I was still making those retching faces.
"In case you have a reaction."
"I thought you said there were no side effects."
"Mostly no side effects. Sit out there for 15 minutes," she said as she led me out into the waiting area. When we reached the waiting area, she said, "You need to sit here for 15 minutes while we see if your body has a reaction to you chlamydia medication." Bitch. Why would you say that here? There's children present, for crying out loud.

So I sat, for 15 minutes. My face flush with a mix of embarrassment, anger and slight nausea. Seriously, why would anything need to taste that bad? I think if I ever do get chlamydia, I'll opt for the shot next time. Bleh. And why does everyone here like to say the word chlamydia around other patients? What the hell is wrong with this picture?

After my sentence passed, my PA came back out. "Sergeant Allen, you ok?" she smiled. She's pretty, but she's still a bitch.
"Yes, ma'am," I respond. She's still an officer.
"Ok, your chlamydia meds didn't have an effect, you're free to go back into the world." What the hell does that mean? I don't even know her. I kind of squinted at her, trying to look disapprovingly at her. I think she misinterpreted for gas because she asked if I was ok. I just left.

Later, I would find out from our original doctor that the PA was right. Sarah and I had not been tested, but he just wanted to make sure that chlamydia wasn't the cause of our infertility. It's just much cheaper this way, he had said. I think I'll make a blog that says he might have chlamydia, you know, because 1 in 4 men don't show symptoms. I hate this fertility process.

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