The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thank You For This Bag of Blood

Or perhaps this post should be labeled: Cautionary Tales of Doctor Shopping. This is a long idea. It may take me a day or two to think this through. But it has a question at the end of the tunnel. So bear with me.

Doctor shopping. I recommend it. Even if it did lead to me DRIVING HOME WITH MY OWN BAG OF BLOOD. You can't help but shriek those words. Because...I mean...I drove home with a bag of my own blood in a white paper bag as if I had just gone through the drive through at McDonalds. My McBlood Vials.

Sometimes you guys write me and ask for advice and sometimes you guys write me with stories that completely freak me out about your medical care. And it all leads to the same place--don't stop looking until you have a good doctor. The best you can afford or the best that is covered by your insurance. And by "best" I don't necessarily mean the one with the best pregnancy results. I mean the one that fits your personality best. My current OB is not the best fit with my personality, but he comes with many other strings that tie me to my RE. And I'm not sure to sever or persevere.

My first doctor was the OB that I had for many years. She was usually fantastic--very thorough, very thoughtful. She was cautious--a good fit for me because I'd rather have someone err on the side of too many tests than miss something completely. She was kind--one time I was late and the nurse was going to make me lose my appointment as well as pay the copay. My doctor stepped into the receptionist's bay and shook her head. "We've made her wait numerous times. And traffic happens." Loved her.

But then things started to feel wrong with the TTC process and one day I called her about the fact that my charts often showed elevated temperatures long past 14dpo--sometimes 18--21 dpo. And she said everything was in my head. I sat down on a bench outside the food store while she told me that I was just too stressed out about trying to conceive and I needed to calm down and stop charting.

And that was the end of that OB.

Which is not to say that you should drop doctors if they don't agree with you--there are plenty of times that I have been worried about something and a doctor has disagreed with me. The difference being that I can handle being wrong, but I can't handle being ignored. Not when it comes to my health. She refused to acknowledge or explain what was happening on the charts. Which is what led me to choose a different doctor even though she had been a fantastic match for me for many years. Fertility is tied to time, and I didn't have time for her to come around and decide to do some testing. I needed to find a doctor who would work with me to get to the bottom of the problem.

Bring in my second OB. He was my OB for one glorious day. One glorious insurance-botched day. I found a great doctor that everyone loved. His receptionist said that he accepted my insurance. She took my card when I came to the office and xeroxed it. We filled out paper work that stated my insurance. I think I was pretty upfront about my insurance.

The appointment was fantastic. He spent over an hour speaking with us. I spent the first half of the appointment shooting out my questions like an auctioneer until he told me to slow down. Relax. This was my kind of doctor. One who seemed to have nothing else to do but humour all of my "what ifs." And I had a lot of what ifs.

He agreed that things looked strange on my charts and he ordered some tests to be done during the next cycle. Towards the end of the meeting, he told me that he wanted to screen me for a few more genetic illnesses since I tested positive for Tay Sachs. I called my insurance company from his office to clear the tests with them and they told me it was covered as long as I used a certain lab. I informed his nurse while she was drawing my blood and she said, "we wouldn't participate with that lab. It's a lab for HMOs. And we don't accept HMOs."


One tear-saturated conversation later and I was being shown the door with the blood they had already drawn before they realized that I couldn't be their patient. Even though we had spoken on the phone, even though they had xeroxed my insurance card, even though I HAD WRITTEN MY INSURANCE INFORMATION ON THEIR DAMN INSURANCE SHEETS, they had no idea that I had an HMO.

My husband had left during the discussion and was now circling the block since we had to move our car from its parking space on the street. I went downstairs with my McBlood and climbed into the waiting vehicle.

"What's that?" he asked, pointing to the white unlabeled bag.

"My blood," I told him. "Just drive."

A cliffhanger--tune in tomorrow to hear what happens when you show up at a lab with a bag of your own blood.


Slightly Foxed said...

That just sucks sucks sucks. I'm so sorry you had to go through that ... but hearing about it actually helps.

I feel like I'm being bounced between my gyno and my RE just trying to get a referral faxed over.

I feel like screaming, "Don't you want me to have a baby? Don't you want to make me better? Then help!"

~r said...

Love medical red tape stories. Love them. They make me feel better about the whole convoluted process I have to go through... although they do frequently make me feel worse for the person telling the story.

Can't wait to hear the end of this story. Is it too much to hope that it has a happy ending?

Katie said...

Misery loves company? I heartily echo your quest for the best. It's a pain in the a$$. I'm still searching.

The thing that makes me mad is that I didn't know any better. I just thought my OB was doing what was right. I never questioned.

Question, question, question. Then question again.

Good luck with the McBlood. Criminy.

C said...

Oh wow. I've had some bad experiences with doctors since we started this process, but nothing like that! Doctor shopping is what has finally gotten me a diagnosis for my infertility (unexplained no more!) though, so I absolutely agree with you that if one doctor isn't cutting it, find a new one. Lather, rinse, and repeat until you're with someone you can really trust.

mandolyn said...

Oh, I can't wait for the next episode!

I'm on my fifth OB, but I think for me the fifth time was the charm. I didn't have bad experiences, really, but moving cities and genuine sincerity (docs and nurses) sure have played a part.

I had to drive to another hospital to drop off viles of my own knee fluid once. The final recipients looked at me as if I was holding the only known vile of bubonic plague on the planet and carelessly juggling it through the halls. I can only imagine how the bag of McBlood story plays out...