Adventures in making and raising our test-tube babies

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Alpha Katherine

Today at the doctor I established myself as the Alpha Katherine.

I went in for "monitoring," a surprisingly intrusive set of procedures for such a mild name.

First they called my name in the waiting room, very soon after I had arrived. "Katherine?..." I was VERY impressed at their promptness. I bounded up to the nurse like a golden retriever.

First we went to a blood-drawing station where she wrapped a huge rubber strap around my arm, told me to make a fist, and spent a long time trying to "wake up" the vein inside my elbow. She poked gently at first but eventually proceeded to what I can only call spanking my arm. Boy. There was a lot of built-up aggression that came out on my little inner-elbow. I'm pretty sure my vein was awake but just hiding. As my fist cramped from so much squeezing and my skin turned bright red, I knew that's what I would do if I could.

After the vein finally complied, I was shown to the restroom to "empty my bladder" (pee) before the sonogram. I saw a huge red metal trash can marked BIOHAZARD/BIOPELIGRO (the latter of which I translate as a much more immediate "bio-danger"!). The clinic had put a typed sign on it indicating "tampons and pads only." I wondered what biohazard menstrual blood held. As far as we infertile ladies went, the hazard had already happened. The blood was just the detritus of another battle lost. But maybe that's not how the health regulators see it. How squeemish. We should put them through IVF and see how they come out on the other side. For one thing, I know they'd make it mandatory that insurance cover the procedures. But they might also relax a little about menstrual blood.

With bladder empty and tampon securely deposited, I went to the third room where I undressed from the waist down and saw two things that caught my eye. First, there was a penny on the floor, head up, so I immediately snatched it up for the good luck it entitled me to. Second, I looked at the ultrasound monitor and saw the beautiful name Katherine followed by a very unfamiliar V_______. Not Bailey. First I thought I should dress and go tell someone that I was in the wrong room. Then I thought better of it. I sat my half-naked self on the table and waited for them to come to me.

The troupe arrived: my doctor, my nurse, and the requisite observing stranger in a white coat. Hello, Katherine. Hello, folks. We exchanged pleasantries and then I told them who I was. Not Katherine V_______. They all looked concerned. Apparently getting people's identities and medical information matched up correctly is important to them. My nurse hurried out to make sure my blood was properly marked and that the next Katherine's chart was right. When she came back she said everything was fine: the other Katherine hadn't gotten her blood drawn yet.

My doctor, whom I loved immediately for his sense of humor, asked if I had shoved her out of the way in the waiting room when they called our mutual name. Hell, yeah. Actually, I did feel bad. I cost her about 7 minutes. Not to mention the chance at the lucky penny.

When the doctor left he said thanks again for pointing out the name error. "We really freak out about that kind of thing around here." No kidding. First the bio-danger tampon receptacle and now this.

I left the building and came to my office, where we're a little more laid back.

1 comment:

DAVs said...

Ah Kay, the name mix-up. Every clinician's worst nightmare. Once I was seeing a patient and halfway through the visit I started getting this awful feeling that I had the wrong chart/wrong labs--something. I couldn't concentrate until I stealthly double-checked the date of birth. Luckily I had the right one.
Glad you're cruising along!!