Monday, 23 March 2009

Clomid and criminal incompetence

What has happened to me today beggars belief.

My period came, as you know, on Saturday. I attended the fertility clinic this morning and explained I was on day three and had come for my first course of Clomid. The nurse took blood, because it'd be rude not to; after all, I donate several vials of the stuff every time I cross the threshold - it's almost like visiting a vampire.

She said she'd call later with the results but that they were basically checking my FSH levels (again) and I should be fine to start my Clomid tonight. She then gave me the prescription and told me I had to go to the hospital pharmacy to collect the drug, as the fertility clinic don't (for reasons that baffle me) keep it on the premises.

The hospital is a good long walk from where I work and it was already gone nine, so I called my mum and she offered to pop by my office, collect the prescription, fill it at the pharmacy and drop the pills off at my house ready for me to take the first one on arriving home from work.

This afternoon at work, I missed a call from the clinic when I was in a meeting with my boss. The nurse who'd foraged for my blood (in both arms, it's worth saying, as she couldn't find a vein - just another fun fact that contributes to the nightmarish whole of this day) said to call her but that it was nothing to worry about.

I rang the clinic but they'd closed for the day. After much soul-searching I decided she'd have said so or tried again to call me if something about my bloodwork indicated that I shouldn't proceed with the drug, so I planned on taking the first pill on getting home. After all, I didn't (and don't) want to have to wait another cycle.

I had it all ready with my glass of water but decided to read through the leaflet first to get a feel for the side effects, as well as any info on activities I should avoid, like alcohol.

Thank fuck I did that. For I hadn't been given the clomiphene I was prescribed by the hospital pharmacy. Oh no. I had been given a drug called clomipramene instead. It is an anti-psychotic, anti-depressant used to treat severe phobias, narcolepsy and obsessive conditions.

As soon as I saw the name I thought something was wrong, but when I read on and it listed the conditions the drug was used to treat, I knew for sure. Hubby was infuriating during this, piping up with fatuous little comments like "Maybe it's got a dual purpose" - the stupidity of which defies belief; I mean we all know infertility can induce psychotic episodes but let's be realistic here - and "The pharmacy knows what it's doing".

Oh no it doesn't. Right now there is probably some psychotic dude somewhere in the city, crouching in the corner eating his own faeces and wondering why he is ovulating.

I rang my mum and together we rang the pharmacy and the on-call doctor at the clinic, and raised a level of hell previously unseen outside the scarier parts of the Bible. I mean, I know I am reporting this in a slightly wry and facetious way but this could actually have been very serious had I taken the drug. I could have had any manner of adverse reaction. And worst of all, I might have persisted with it, believing any ill feeling simply to be a side effect.

Anyway, the upshot is the pharmacy - fearing, I think, being sued - were extremely horrifed and apologetic, and offered to exchange clomi-psych for the correct drug this evening. Cue a trip for my mum and I to the hospital where we exchanged white paper bags with a very sheepish gentleman in the foyer in a scene reminiscent of a film - except for the fact that the plot would be too preposterous to believe.

It being dark in the car, it was only when I got home just now that I realised there were no instructions in the box and that clomiphene was spelled clomifene. With absolutely no faith whatsoever that the drug was correct, I was forced to put in another call to the on-call doctor, who just so happened to be my favourite dice-rolling professor.

She was actually very nice - again probably due to her horror at what had, and could have, happened - and she assured me that the 'f' spelling was just the US name for the drug. She talked me through the dosage instructions and the side effects, and advised me that since this was day three, I should go for it.

I have just taken the pill. It felt somewhat momentous, a bit like the red pill/blue pill scene in The Matrix. I am now going to run a bath and contemplate the prospect of my ovaries rupturing, which my old friend the internet tells me can be a very rare reaction.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: you couldn't make this up.

4 comments:

littlesteps said...

That is a crazy day! I'm glad you realized the mistake before you took the medication. You might have been thinking Clomid wasn't working for you, and you had the wrong medication all along. Good luck!

Rambler said...

What incomptence!! Glad to see you took charge of your own care and paid attention to what you got.

I've only just started following your blog (I'm a newbie blogger, bear with me :)) and wanted to tell you how much I like your style of writing and feel like I can read something that someone else wrote but I also feel. With some laughs added in!

Thanks for sharing your story.

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