Monday, July 4, 2011

And a cup for you, madame

IVF is never a fun trip. But before you get to that point, it is important that you shed all sense of dignity and humility. You don't need to do anything overtly, the system takes care of that for you.

It all started with, "We'll need to do a count on you, Mr. Allen."
"A count of what?" I had asked.
"Sperm motility."
"What's a motility?"

And that's how it started. BTW, it means how many of your "swimmers" are up to the task. At that point, they, the doctor and the nurses, made an appointment for me with VERY specific instructions. Drink plenty of fluids, no ejaculation for three days (awesome conversation, at that point) and the most important part, YOU MUST PROVIDE THE SAMPLE TO THE LAB WITHIN ONE HOUR OF PRODUCING IT.

I was not aware of the factory line producing my little guys, but I'll just do as I am told. The nurse seemed angry when she read the instructions. Not sure why, she didn't have any further part in this.

At this point I was thinking of that scene from the movie "Forget Paris," the one where Billy Crystal's character gets pulled over for speeding while trying to get his sample to the clinic on time. That got me thinking. Well, I am allowed to produce my "sample" at home, but after the 30 minute drive, 15 minutes finding a parking spot and another 15 minutes to get to the lab, I needed to have a new plan.

New plan: Go to Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge. Find needed parking spot. Report to lab where they will direct me to necessary room to produce sample. Fin. The end.

Not so much, actually. Upon arriving and reporting to the clinic, a lady, who's name has been lost to me, gave me some horrible news. There's no room here, and you cannot bring the sample here until after one o'clock. My watch said it was just after 11, so at least I had some time to find a space, room or something.

Addenbrooke's is huge. Massive doesn't even describe it properly. This place is a maze of corridors, additions, add-ons and passage-ways. In other words, finding a quiet bathroom shouldn't be too hard.

So I went to the nearest bathroom, around the corner. I was greeted by a huge sign that read "This bathroom is closed due to construction." Great. The lab was situated on the 5th floor of what is known as the Rose Annex. A tall slender building, attached to the main hospital by a hallway on the first floor. I knew there was a bathroom on the first floor, but I could hit each floor on the way down looking for any additional ones.

People usually stop me here and say, "Why don't you use one of the empty rooms?" Well, it's England. They don't like to use rooms, they prefer wards. Or open bays with curtains between the beds. Too risky for my level of prudishness.

On the way down the stairs, the only bathroom we found was on the third floor. One toilet, one room job and we saw the previous occupant leave as we entered the floor. Fortune turned to misfortune as the gentleman apparently had a gastrointestinal problem. Oddly, that's what was written on the sign for the floor, "Gastrointestinal Clinic." Dammit.

We then finally made our way to the main entrance, slightly in a panic. Sarah was chuckling to herself the whole way, but I was really concerned. If I don't find a location I might have to head back out to the car. And what if I get caught? I can see it on the Daily Mail, "American caught with pants down" or "Yank has a wank." That sounds more like them, smug bastards.

As Sarah and I stood in the reception lobby near the main entrance, I spotted a bathroom immediately behind reception. Kind of hidden away from view, it just might work out. When I stepped into the bathroom, it was perfect. It had 3 stalls and 3 urinals, but not a soul in sight. AWESOME.

So, I take the third stall, furthest from the door. Make myself comfortable, remove my jacket. Ready my cup, and relax.

That's when the bathroom door gets kicked as if by a drunken pub crawler. "Ah, mate," bellows the thickest British accent I'd heard in my English stay, "I gotta take the biggest shit of my life."
"Fuck me," I mutter to myself. It was as if someone had turned on a sign saying "Last Bathroom for 100 miles, this way." I think maybe 600 people used that bathroom, or maybe it was 6, but might as well have been 600. It took all of my concentration to produce the required "sample." I think it may have been the least pleasurable pleasuring I have ever committed.

When I had readied myself and made my way back out into the lobby, Sarah piped up, "Wow, that was the fastest I think you've ever done it." Thanks, I think.

We then hurried ourselves back up to the 5th floor, just after 1 o'clock, only to be greeted by an elderly nurse. Not just any nurse, oh no, but the spitting image of my grandmother. Of course. "I'll take that from you dear," she said, all grandmotherly. Awesome...grandma?

As she takes the cup, she stopped and said, "What's this a specimen of, dear?"
"Ummm, semen," I croaked. I think my voice even cracked a bit when I said it.
"Ohhh, you forgot to write the time down. When do you make the sample?"
"Ummmm," I stalled, looking at my watch, "about ten minutes ago." That did not go down well. She gave me this glare, like, How dare you, you filthy pervert. I left with my cheeks blushed from embarrassment and my head low, like I had done something wrong. I think I even apologized before walking out

And that was that. Motility was fine. No problems noted. I wish I could say that was the least embarrassing story, but sadly, it is not.


Kirsten said...

What a brilliant read!! Even though this is meant to be a tale of woe and dispair, you are both writing it so very well. Love and hugs and best wishes always x

Donald Allen said...

Thanks, Kirsten. Through it all, I think I've lost the last bit of shyness I have left!

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