Sunday, 1 March 2009

A helpful chat with the doctor (no, really)

I visited my GP this week for the first time in a year or so. The reason was a sore and weepy eye which turned out to be a blocked and infected tear duct - I knew all that crying would catch up with me one day - but after he'd diagnosed and prescribed treatment for that, he asked how fertility stuff was going.

"It's an unending nightmare," I said frankly. He said he'd just heard about a couple he'd referred having success on their first IVF cycle ("Oh fucking DID they," thought I, reflexively bitter as per) and had hoped it was us. It made me happy to think that he cares, as the production-line impersonal nature of the clinic has been one of the things bothering me.

I described our diagnostic procedures and consultations to date, and admitted that I wasn't especially happy with the clinic, and particularly with the head professor, who I cannot forgive for her "Don't expect to get a six every time you roll a dice" inanity.

My doctor laughed when I told him what she'd said - not in a nasty way, but in a way that belied incredulity that a fellow medical professional could be so insensitive. "It's OK for her," he said, "she's got four kids!"

"She's in the wrong job, then," I replied, mentally placing another dark mark (indeed, four of them) against her. It's not that I'm opposed to being treated by a woman with children - on the contrary, there's an element of "I'll have what she's having" hope associated with that - but her fecundity certainly explains her inability to empathise with her desperate, infertile patients.

Anyway, I talked through my current concerns - which are that we're being railroaded into Clomid when my periods have actually regulated over the past four or five months. Temperature monitoring and symptom spotting indicate that actually I am ovulating - as did a home ovulation tester kit six weeks or so ago - and I don't believe Clomid is necessarily the answer for us if the issue is not ovulation.

I really want to have the post-coital test to determine whether I'm murdering hubby's swimmers before they even infiltrate my cervix. I have visions of a war movie happening in my vagina every time we have sex, with his sperm gasping their agonised last to the strains of Barber's 'Adagio for Strings'.

(When I say I "really want" to have this test, I obviously don't mean that in the every-girl's-dream sense. Nobody wants to hotfoot it to the clinic with their legs clenched to allow a team of strangers to peer up their hole at the aftermath of what should be a private act of love. I mean that I want the test in the sense that I want to explore every possibility before we identify the most suitable treatment.)

The professor at the clinic had refused me the pleasure, citing the fact that the condition was "very rare" and so their protocol was not to deem it necessary. At the time I argued the toss with her, saying that surely rare meant still a possibility, but she was not for turning. My GP explained things to me in slightly clearer terms. Evidently the test is pretty unreliable - the number of sperm that ooze out or die of natural causes during your post-shag journey to the hospital can skew the result negatively. If only the professor had bothered her arse to explain this to me, I wouldn't have spent the past six months wondering. Ho hum.

My GP also said Clomid was worth a shot. He agreed that my periods regulating was a good sign, but he said I may still be ovulating infrequently and that Clomid may be a chance to right things and conceive naturally - or as near naturally as damn it - with "a minimum" of adverse side effects (those triplets again). He said if I was worried about side effects, I had a lot more to fear from IVF than from a course of Clomid, and that I could try it for a cycle and if I hated it, not do it again.

In short, a twenty-minute chat with a GP who has throughout this ordeal professed that fertility is not his area of specialism has proved more useful to me than countless sessions at that bloody clinic, however many awards it has won.

I discussed the conversation with hubby and we've decided that if we have no success this cycle, we'll give Clomid a bash next. I'm currently just past halfway. Watch this space.

6 comments:

s.e. said...

It took me a long time to accept that I do not need to like my clinic. At times, I have hated my RE but over time realized I do not need his bed side manner but his expertise.

I would still love to look forward to my visits, receive hope, and encouragement but little by little I have let go of this dream.

I am glad your GP was able to give you some confidence to move ahead.

Punky said...

I've just recently found your blog and I cannot describe to you how relieved I feel in reading your words and feel like they are expressing my same sentiments. Some of your posts have just made me laugh so hard because I am thinking "yep, been there". Thanks and I look foward to future posts.

Lia said...

I'm glad you had a helpful chat with the GP, they sound really nice and your specialist sounds like a cow.

Good luck with this cycle.

Anonymous said...

I have been logging on regularly over the last few months since your absence, desperate for your next blog. I can't thank you enough for how you articulate your feelings - this could genuinely have been me, as I have identified with most, if not all of your blogs.
Glad to hear that Facebook is the number one HELL and it is not just me who hates this so much. The appearance of "friends" (yeah right!) pregnant belly photos uploaded at monthly intervals (usually accompanied by a smug, fertile grin) have started to really piss me off and rub my nose in it after 15 months of 'unexplained infertility'. I am so pleased you had some positivity with your GP and that you are back blogging. I have got everything crossed for all of us who are in the same infertility boat xxx

Barrenblog said...

Thanks guys, your comments mean the world - especially when you say I've made you laugh, as I know there's not an awful lot of that amid this horrid situation that we all find ourselves in. Looks like this cycle's up shit creek - see latest post - but logging on to see your comments really gives me a lift.

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