doctors

If Walmart had a Fertility Clinic

 

"If Walmart had a fertility clinic" I admit. There are several disturbing elements in that title.  I will calm some of your fears right here by saying this post won't have much to do with the ongoing fashion show at Walmart. You don't need me. You have your own eyes and YouTube for that. Although, I do think the mentality when we're getting dressed to go to a fertility clinic is similar as to when we're going to Walmart:

"Who cares what I wear to Walmart? At least half of the shoppers will look worse."

"Who cares what I wear to the fertility clinic? Ten minutes into the visit, I'll be in a backless couture hospital gown with my ass hanging out."

So, dressing for infertility or Walmart success notwithstanding-- Walmart has eye centers. So why not fertility centers? The best part would be that they could run them just like they run their seasonal items. In and out. No delays. Fast and furious. Bathing suits are gone in June. School supplies are done in July and on to the  Halloween candy because you know everyone wants to get a jump on their Halloween candy buying. I'm sure that August bag of candy is just laying around the house unopened waiting for October. (I wonder how many people actually finish the candy on the way home and turn around and head back to the store. I mean, it's August. You can't take a chance on it melting in the trunk.)

Well, why not a fertility clinic at Walmart? In and out. No delays. Fast and furious. No waiting ten days for your first consultation. No waiting until next month to try the next procedure. No two week wait to find out if you're pregnant. Here's the schedule at Walmart's Minute Fertility Clinic:

Monday 8am: First and only appointment. You say "hi" to Dr. Total Stranger and tell her everything you can think of about your menstrual cycle and your sex life, editing out only the parts about the whipped cream and the crack in the windshield. While you're chatting, a nurse takes blood out of your arm and sperm out of your spouse and then tosses away her latex gloves and goes to lunch. You then proceed onto the examination table behind the curtain. The doctor directs you to open up and say "aaah". You ask how everything looks. You probe her mind. She probes everything on that diagram in sixth grade Health class. You swallow a handful of fertility drugs that your spouse picked up at the pharmacy while you're on the table as the doctor stares at your ovaries to see if the pills have taken effect. She decides you need IUI. She uses something from Housewares to shoot your spouse's sperm up north. You leave the Minute Fertility Clinic, go to Subway next door and have a sandwich then return to the clinic. If you're still not pregnant, the doctor does an egg retrieval, sprinkles in some of the spouse's sperm for IVF and then sends the combo into your uterus. Now is the hard part: The 2hw: The two hour wait. You get a flu shot. You go into the pharmacy area, kick off your shoes and stand on Dr. Scholl's machine. You peruse the trial size aisle. You could take your blood pressure if Walmart hadn't replaced the machine with a garbage can last year. (A simple matter of priorities.) You buy some non-perishable comfort food and return to the clinic. Success! You're pregnant! You'll return next week to buy maternity clothes, pick up your "It's a boy/girl!" cake at the bakery, and stop in at the Walmart Ob/Gyn to deliver the baby on your way out.

Hey...Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you had a few laughs while  you were here. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please sign on to my newsletter http://laughingisconceivable.com (top) and check out my little book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. (It's been downloaded by 1000s & is recommended by top fertility professionals around the U.S.) Available on all Amazons, Nook, & Kobo & in Spanish as La Risa ES Concebible.   https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

 

 

The Time My Big Mouth Got Me into Trouble: Volume 9

Like a good mechanic, a good doctor is hard to find. But fertility doctors seems to be a little bit different. The vast majority I've dealt with have been amazing: Very caring. Very dedicated. A few were arrogant asses. They still seemed to be excellent doctors. Just arrogant asses. Unfortunately, I'm not good with arrogant asses... and neither is my big mouth. You'd think by now we'd both be mature enough to just ignore them, but no.

It's not just fertility doctors either. To date it's happened to me four times. Once with a podiatrist. Once with a chiropractor and twice with fertility doctors.

The podiatrist was arrogant and a crook. As he worked on the callus I'd come in for, he told me about all of the other things my feet desperately needed if they were going to last until next Tuesday including creams he just so happened to sell and a surgery he just so happened to perform. As he finished off the callus, he asked how it felt to which I responded and I quote: "What? I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you over the cash register."

The chiropractor was arrogant and condescending, a dynamic duo for me. When he came to fetch me out of the waiting room, he looked at my husband and me and asked: "Who's going first?" Lloyd and I shrugged and the chiropractor motioned to me and said to Lloyd with a wink: "I'll take the boss first." Lloyd, knowing me as he does... I'm surprised he didn't dial 911 the second I left the waiting room. I figured he'd just as soon leave breaking up a brawl to the professionals. The doc was chatting as he worked on my back.

"I'm sure you must have so much stress cooking and cleaning all day..."

"My husband cooks and cleans... I work full-time." (Here it comes.) "...and you don't have to talk to me like I'm an idiot. I speak three languages. One of them is English ."

As my head was turned to the side during the adjustment, I looked at the photo of his six kids and thought to myself: "Ugh. Some poor unfortunate woman did this man six times?" It's amazing I didn't say it out loud. Maybe I did. He only adjusted my lumbar not my attitude. (Not the people above. I have a big mouth not a cold heart.)

The fertility doctor(s) was the worst scenario(s). I went to one clinic for months. When I got to the second one, I tried to explain to this doctor that I'd already had 3 IUIs and that my follicles grew fast at the end without a final dose of Follistim. But he was half talking to me and half to a doctor-in-training and went on and on about how he had years of experience... whatever whatever and so I finally said: "If you'll let me get in a word edgewise..."

And the reason that I had to go to a second fertility clinic in the first place...

"Once upon a time, there was a young lady with a big mouth named Lori and while she was on the examination table and her lower half was opened wide, her mouth was opened even wider..."

(which makes it appropriate to have a picture that looks like a dentist's chair.)

As the doctor embarked on his usual scavenger hunt through my loins, I chatted freely about the high cost of fertility treatments. I started with the price of meds and graduated to the three page bill I had just received at the front desk, ending my monologue with...

"Quite a nice business you've got going here."

Or maybe I didn't say "business". Maybe I said "enterprise"............... or "scam"... or "racket". Yeah, that last one sounds about right.

Well, that's all she wrote, Sista. He stood up and flipped out on me for ten minutes. Poor little, infertile, impoverished, emotionally spent, naked-from-the-waist-down-with-my-legs-in-a-"V" big mouth me.

My husband Lloyd, in his most supportive mode just sat there. He wasn't going to throw me under the bus, but he was more than happy to step out of its path as it dragged me into the next county.

Yes, you heard it right. Me, in my infinite wisdom had opened my big mouth and put four men in their places while one held a knife to my foot, one did CPR to my spine, and two fondled my ovaries. You'd think a comedy writer would have better timing.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! Hopefully you added a few laughs to your day. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please sign on to my monthly newsletter / check out my little eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

It's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility sufferers looking to de-stress from all of the anxieties fertility treatments can bring: The hormones, the waiting rooms, the dumb things people say, the doctor's answering service.... ("Look Inside"on Amazon has comments from top fertility experts around the US) Available on all Amazons, Nook & Kobo.

newsletter: http://laughingisconceivable.com (quick signup at top)

eBook: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

 

If I KNEW I Would be Pregnant Tomorrow...

I mean if you absolutely KNEW with 100% certainty that you were going to be pregnant tomorrow and you were going to have a beautiful, glorious, carefree nine months, and a pain-free joyful delivery, you were going to give one little push and out would float a laughing baby on a bed of bubbles and all of your infertility woes would be over forever, what would you do? (It's my hybrid version of: "What would you do if you knew you only had a week to live?" and: "What would you do for a Klondike bar?")

I know a lot of women would probably thank GD first and then their doctors.

When I was in the midst of my infertility struggles, I would have done the same. I would have certainly thanked my doctors. And then maybe said one or two other things to them...that had been on my mind... and under my skin... just simmering,  just beneath the surface... smoldering you might say... festering if you like... month after month after month... Just waiting for that day... when I could dial that phone... okay... press #4 on speed dial:

"Hi Doctor Helmsley. This is Lori Shandle-Fox. So, listen, tomorrow I'll be pregnant and all is going to be perfect from now on. Never mind how I know.  So anyway, I just wanted to thank you for everything you've done for me over these past three years and just mention a couple of things: Did you know you have the coldest hands ever? I'm not kidding. Do you intentionally not wear gloves in the winter so you could warm your palms on my uterine lining? Is it like a cozy blankie in there or what? Do you have any idea how hard I had to concentrate every time I'd get on the table, assume the position, and see you coming at me with those stone cold fingers? I'd be mumbling to myself: 'Don't kick him in the eye. Don't kick him in the eye.'

Is that why you started wearing sunglasses to the exams? To fend off kickers? Or because of the fluorescent lights? I've always wondered about that. I mean, I'm assuming I have nothing 'glarey' where you're focusing your attentions. Or do you have trouble going from light to dark and back out to light again? So, anyway, all I know is, I hate those glasses. I looked up one day mid-exam and saw what I look like bottomless, in your glasses. I couldn't sleep for weeks. And another thing I really objected to during our time together:

Once a nurse came in with someone else's chart during my exam and the two of you stood there and chatted over my crotch for ten minutes. I'm sorry, maybe it's an ego thing, but when I'm lying naked from the waist down, I really feel I should be the center of attention. And of course this phone conversation that you and I are having right now is totally made up. Not because I wouldn't really say these things to you but because in three years I've never once called to talk to you and actually got you on the phone. I mean, how come every time I was in the office, there you were at the front desk looking for something or gabbing with someone not two feet away from where the phones were ringing and yet somehow whenever I called, you were never available to talk and had to call me back? I mean I know you're a busy guy. And I know all you've done for me. My insurance company has been good enough to itemize all you've done for me on a monthly statement. But I really tried to keep my calls to you at a minimum...A minimum of twice a day.

I would have mentioned these few little minor grievances earlier, like during those three years while I was coming to your office twice a week. It's just that it's always been my policy to be extra nice to anyone who, you know, uses my uterus as their hand warmer.

(Happy New Year and thanks so much for stopping by. I hope any time you need a lift from life in general and infertility in particular you'll think of Laughing IS Conceivable and realize how alone you're not. - Also, please consider taking a look at my eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility sufferers and professionals and has a 4.5 star rating/63 reviews if anyone cares about stars and reviews. http://laughingisconceivable.com /or click book cover above.)

 

Sisterhood of the Traveling Hormones (Wednesday/Thurday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Sisterhoods that life has thrust us violently into aka infertility. When I was doing stand-up comedy, I was part of a great sisterhood. Female comics always banded together for one very good reason: We never saw each other. 

In the clubs in NYC, yes. But on the road...never. 

We were considered a novelty act. Ventriloquists, Magicians, Women. Nobody would book more than one novelty act in a show. 

"We can't have her on that night, we already have a juggler."

So every time you'd run into a fellow female comic it was like a grand reunion.  

I don't see the infertility sisterhood like that at all. To me the infertility sisterhood begins with:

"Hey, we all have this sucky hell-hole of a disease, condition, major fricken annoyance, in common."

and ends with:

"Hey, we all have this sucky hell-hole of a disease, condition, major fricken annoyance, in common."

We all involuntarily joined this infertility sisterhood. What you do with your membership card is totally up to you. 

I'll be honest, I didn't appreciate the sisterhood of the traveling hormones during my infertility days. 

When I was going through infertility, I never went on any support forums. I never socialized with any other infertility patients...for several reasons.  

All of which I'm sure any good psychologist worth her $125 for 45 minutes would find troubling:

1) Denial. If I don't talk about my infertility with other infertile women, then I must not be infertile.  Doesn't that make total sense?

See, if you're talking to me about your infertility: Your blood tests, drugs, and procedures, and I know exactly what you're talking about, I must either be a Reproductive Endocrinologist or, like you, I'm a patient.

Let's see, I think I'd remember if I'd gone to school for twenty-six years...  

It's the same sound theory that kept me from dating short guys. By anyone's standards I myself am short. (And getting shorter all the time. By fall, I'll be a hood ornament.) But I never saw myself that way. 

Petite I don't mind. That evokes images of cute, dainty and thin. But "short" is short. There's no way around it.

Anyway...About the little men:

So, there I'd be dating this guy whom I thought was very short. I'd see him walking towards me and think: "Man, is he short." But then he'd stand next to me and we'd be the same height.

My ego-in-denial couldn't compute how he could be so short and I could be so tall and yet, when we stood side-by-side, we were the same height.     

(I really need to move to a country where five feet tall is average height. Then I can find some less-than-average height people to tower over... and scrape the top of my head against a few ceilings for a change.)

2) My Unhealthy Competitive Nature:

After a while, I'd forget I was trying to get pregnant and just try to beat you.

"So I have fourteen good size follicles. They're all between 20 and 60 mm's. They had to do a special test just for me on the 60 mm. They'd never seen one that size before. They thought maybe there was an ostrich egg in there."  

"Oh, they transferred three embryos back into you? Well, I'm going to have my doctor put in nine. So, how do you feel about that?"

3) Self-Absorption 

Now, I think I have a little more compassion for women on the infertility chat forums. Back then, I would have been like: "Oh, yeah, yeah, that's terrible too...not to interrupt, but, this affects me, how?... Anyway, like I was saying..."

Listen, I gotta go do my stretching exercises. I'm on a great work-out program designed to defy gravity, aging and genetics. And if you haven't checked out my latest post at Fertility Authority in celebration of the guys in our lives who may or may not have had a tough time with Father's Day this year:  "Man-in-My-LIfe-Who's-Not-a-Total-Schmuck", please do.

http://fertilityauthority.com/blogger/1013368   

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Bedside Manner: All Reproductive Endocrinologists are the Same

All Reproductive Endocrinologists Are the Same Well, in some ways that's absolutely true.

Let's be honest. When you're lying flat on the examination table tanning the bottoms of your feet under the ceiling fluorescents, and the examination begins, I defy any woman to tell one Reproductive Endocrinologist from another.... or for that matter, the fertility doc from the receptionist or the guy who turned the wrong way off the elevator en route to the podiatrist down the hall.

I mean, I think I'm pretty in tune with my body and yet even I know that there's no way mid-poke I could say:  "Oh, Dr. Bernstein. I didn't know you were back from vacation... Hey, is that a new ring?" Hand puppets aren't that clever.

The doctors within my clinic really were very different from each other. Especially in the "Bedside Manner" department. 

Two of them physically were interchangeable. They were both tall, white, graying middle-aged men. In fact, for the longest time I thought they were the same doctor. I thought it weird that one day he was so nice and the next an abrupt jerk. I just figured there was no law to stop the bi-polar from practicing medicine.  

Dr. R. was a sweetheart. I could take my time and ask him all of my questions. And all of my questions were vital:

"Can I comb my hair during treatments?" "Can I do my injections after 'Jeopardy'?"

But Dr. W. was rude and talked over me. Being the shy, retiring New Yorker I am, I once said:

"Could I get a word in edgewise here?"

I called him "Dr. Cyclone". He'd blow into the room and then blow back out. I used to hold onto the cuff of his lab coat until I was done talking so he wouldn't blow away/blow me off... Whichever you prefer.  

So I'm sure he was a total professional and wouldn't take out our mutual dislike on my children-to-be, but nonetheless, I was determined to manipulate my cycle so my egg retrieval would take place at the exact moment when Dr. Cyclone would be on stage speaking at an infertility symposium in Brazil. 

Modern medicine ha! Let him try to yank out my ova from Sao Paolo.

Then there was another Reproductive Endocrinologist. Snow White's "Combo Dwarf": Sleepy Doc.

One day he arrived for my 8am appointment. As he put on gloves to go where no one has gone before (actually, this was my fourth round of IUI, so virtually everyone had gone there before), I noticed that he was yawning...Just the reaction every naked woman hopes for. I may not have had any dignity left but I still had my pride.

"Sorry. I'm not a morning person."  He said. Okay, so now am I supposed to figure out exactly how much of a morning person he's not?

Does he just hit the snooze button a few times? Is he fine after a shower?  After coffee?  Or did he totally just sleep-drive here and he's not even awake now?

Flat on my back, legs (well you know)--I was looking like a lawn chair that blew over when Dr. Cyclone passed by: Not a great vantage point to confirm what Sleepy Doc's status is crouched at the other end of the table.

Maybe he dozed off on his little round stool mid-exam.

Oh geez... I hope he's not dreaming of his computer and using my uterus as the mouse.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101

http://www.resolve.org/takecharge.

(Infertility-Related) Hours of My Life That I Want Back (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. As a nod to changing the clocks and losing an hour of  well-earned sleep, we've been talking all this week about all of the hours of our lives we've spent (aka wasted) with infertility that we'd like to have back. My worst fear is that you'll read my week's worth of blogs and say: "Damn Blog...There's ANOTHER infertility-related hour of my life I'll never have back!"... But if you don't have that reaction, or even if you do, consider becoming a subscriber--I'm not proud-- for updates, info and Laughing IS Conceivable deals.) So, today's Fertility Authority Friday. All that means is that on Fridays my weekly posts will continue over on the blogger page at Fertility Authority.com. And they'll be quite humorous I think. (Doin' my best)

Every Friday I'll write you a bit here about what the post will be about, and if it sounds good, or you're not sure, or if you just feel sorry for me because I have no friends and spend all my days alone in a dark damp room blogging my life away, there will be the link to take you on the express bus directly to the post over there.

What can I get over there once a week that I can't get here? I'll be surrounded by some excellent bloggers who have some great info and discussion on all aspects of (in)fertility... and cash. I'm just saying visit early and visit often...that's all I'm saying. Support a sista... That's all I'm saying... Please....I'm begging...That's all I'm saying.   

So, this week we're talking about hours of our infertility lives we'd like back... Yeah, well, an unfortunate run in with my Reproductive Endocrinologist comes to mind. Whenever your doctor is elbow deep into your... appointment...and there are cops...It can't be good.

http://www.fertilityauthority.com/bloggers

Head on over...Thanks!

Stress & Fertility Treatments: "What Could it Hurt?" (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I'm just back from vacation this week, so if the posts are terrible I can't really blame it on exhaustion. Let me know if I need to seek another excuse will ya?) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The new study that says that stress doesn't hurt our chances of getting pregnant via fertility treatments. If you've been in the thick of treatments for a while, let me ask you this: That very first day when you set foot into a fertility clinic..think back..think way way back... If you knew at the very beginning of it all that stress couldn't do diddly to keep you from getting pregnant...What would you have done differently? 

I would have pinched my doctor's horrible little assistant's horrible little face. And I don't mean an "Aw you're so cute" pinch. I mean a "There! Take that!" pinch. She was just horrible for the sake of being horrible. She was a peach in front of the doctor but wouldn't answer his phones or give him messages or call you back. So I would have spent the night in jail. May have even stressed me out. Wouldn't affect my chances of getting pregnant. 

I wouldn't have paid my bill. Screw it. I just gave myself a scholarship. Yeah, I owe you fourteen thousand dollars. Send me an invoice...To my P.O. Box. Or have your collection agency harass me every hour on the hour...Yes, that would be stressful for me. Wouldn't affect my chances of getting pregnant. (okay, they wouldn't let me leave each visit without paying as I went...They somehow knew not to trust me. Maybe the billing person has a cousin who works for American Express... Or compiles credit scores.)

I would have stuck my Human Resources manager's pin head into her own pencil sharpener for being not only the one who chose our worthless company health plan, but also the one who issued me a warning every time I was ten minutes late coming back from my doctor's appointments. So, yeah, I would have been fired. And I would have had no money to live. Starving to death would have been stressful. It wouldn't affect my chances of getting pregnant.

I would have packed up all my things sold my house and trekked through the Himalayas.     

Oh wait. This whole blog, have you been getting the same feeling that just came to me now?  I think I'm confusing "Stress not affecting my chances of getting pregnant" with "Only having three days to live."       

Listen, I gotta go. My vacation has totally worn off. I have to start planning the next one.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

The Infertility Superbowl: Wanna Bet I'll Get Pregnant? (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. If you can't, don't worry about it. I'll get over it. Just probably not anytime soon...If  you want to make it up to me and also happen to like my posts: Find them interesting or funny or anything at all... think about subscribing. I send some background on what I write and other stuff.)  So, what were we talking about? Oh right. I was going on and on and on about my passion for football four days after the superbowl and you were wondering why I'm not in a twelve-step program. And then there's the whole ugly infertility thing in the midst of it all.

Funny, I don't remember going through infertility treatments in the fall. I love the autumn. Love the cool air, love Thanksgiving (no matter what I said during my hateful Thanksgiving week posts), love foliage (well, I've only recently started using the word "foliage" again.  For the longest time it irked me that the word looked and sounded too much like "follicles" or "folic acid". For about a four year stretch I took the long way around and said "I love it 'when the leaves change color'") and of course... I love football.

You know those guys whose wives can't stand to be around them in the fall? (Are you one of them perhaps?) The guys who wear team jerseys every Sunday afternoon, Monday Night and Thursday night and refuse to wash them if their team is on a winning streak? The guys who during those three sacred hours every Sunday afternoon would sit on a burning sofa while you yelled: "Fire! Fire! and emptied the contents of the room around them minus the engulfed couch and the sparking TV and not even notice it was getting a little warm? 

The guy who if you stripped naked in front of the television would only have the comment: "Dance to the left! Dance to the left! Oh great! You made me miss the play! Dance to the left! You want me to miss the re-play too?!"

Okay... I'm that guy.

So, right. I don't remember going through fertility treatments during the fall. But I know I did. I just can't imagine how it happened.

My Darling Husband: "Honey it's time for your progesterone shot."

Me: "Can't you see I'm busy?! Throw the ball! Throw the ball! Why's he holding onto it for so long?! Throw the ball!" 

My Darling Husband:  "We're supposed to do it around the same time every night."

Me: "My ovaries are going to know the difference if we wait until half-time? They've waited forty years, they can wait until half-time."

My Darling Husband: "I've got the needle in my hand already. Can't you just come into the bathroom for two minutes?"

Me: "Wait until the two minute warning. There'll be a commercial in a minute. You know the second a bleach-blond babe in a bikini carrying beer on a breast-high tray comes on, I get up to snack or pee."

My Darling Husband: "Come on this is important!"

Me: "I know it is. That's why I'm willing to give up one of my snack/pee breaks....Ow! How'd you get that needle between me and the couch cushion?" 

My darling husband is a football fan too. But he's, you know,... normal.    

Listen, I gotta go. We're bracing for another big snowstorm. They've closed all government offices and schools. The prediction is for a "trace" of snow. Apparently "trace" is another word for "blizzard".

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

The Infertility Superbowl: Wanna Bet I'll Get Pregnant? (Monday)

So sorry for the late post. I'm still recovering from my superbowl hangover. I don't drink. In honor of Green Bay, I OD'd on cheese. Cheese dip, nachos, quesadillas, grilled cheese, cheeseburgers, Chuck E Cheese's, ice cream....well, it's a dairy product...you people are so nit picky. So I did watch the Superbowl last night. My number one team wasn't in it. My number two team wasn't in it either. The best I could do was root against the team that beat my number two team. Sometimes frankly, it's easier to watch when my teams aren't in it.  

I've mentioned often that I'm a huge sports fan and particularly a huge football fan. Every Monday night during the season when the TV asks me: "Are you ready for some football?!" The answer is always a resounding: "Yeeeeees!!!" Of course next to me is usually my husband rolling his eyes and saying: "Are you going to do that every week?"

But I rarely get involved in football pools. (Coming to the infertility connection...at least I think I am) If my teams are nowhere to be found when it's Superbowl time, I might get involved in a friendly pool. Otherwise... no. Because Superbowl pools sometimes make you root against your own team. In order for you to win big money, your team might have to be the big loser. And that's one deal I can't make with the devil. 

Last week we talked about insurance here. Insurance is like that too it seems. The coverage at work for example. I could save money by taking the basic package. I'm in decent shape now and by taking the bare bones, no frills, store brand insurance, I'm betting I'll stay healthy or at least not fall apart any further at least until re-enrollment time rolls around again. If I stay well, I've saved a lot of money. If I get seriously ill or injured I'm screwed beyond belief.  

Or I can opt for the Premium package. If I somehow get malaria on my trip to South Florida or get shot in the ankle in a hunting accident, it's my lucky day. (Even though the only hunting I ever do is for my car in the Target parking lot.)

Of course if I don't contract a tropical disease in Fort Lauderdale or get shot in the foot by a sniper at Target, I've spent way more money on my coverage than I spent for doctors that year. You can say I did the right thing, because... well you never know... or that I was betting against me staying healthy.

In fact, if you haven't noticed yet, this whole infertility thing is a crap shoot. Like the Superbowl, we have to decide what to bet on with infertility. Should I go to this doctor? Should I go for treatments? Should I try this herb? Should I do this new medicine? Should I start IVF? Should I take my sister-in-law's advice? Should I switch treatment centers? Should I give up and buy a summer home in the mountains instead? What will you put your money down on?

We'll chat about it this week.

Listen, I gotta go. I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date. No, it's just lunch time. I get grumpy when I'm hungry. The cheese must be starting to wear off.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Which Will Come First: Their Breakthrough or Our Breakdown? (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. If you're in the U.S., you probably have a three day weekend  so you have all the time in the world to read and re-read and re-re-read and re-re-re-read (I can't get my engine to turn over) my blog.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right.  Infertility breakthroughs so fantastic that I wrote an entire post yesterday dedicated to something I still have no idea what the hell I was talking about. How very rare for me.

Another new development in the wonderful world of infertility is a calculator that predicts how successful you're going to be with in-vitro (IVF) before actually going for treatments.  

A calculator. Great. I have a hard enough time trying to figure out all of the medical mumbo jumbo thrown at us, why not let's toss some math into the mix and put me into a deep mental fog from which I'll likely never emerge? I'll be living inside a perpetual head cold. But this calculator does sound intriguing....

So, this is how it goes.  A couple of doctors, one from England, one from Scotland, analyzed 144,018  IVF cycles (and I thought my doctor's waiting room was crowded...damn... That's a lot of copies of 'Parenting" magazine). Then they took the data and came up with nine handy-dandy multiple choice questions for us  to answer.

Then the calculator does some calculating, and presto chango you find out what your chances are of conceiving through IVF before you've plunked down a mint of money, or lain on an egg retrieval table, opened your knees and said "aaaaah".

The calculator is easy enough to access at  ivfpredict.com. It's also available with Smartphone in case you're stopped at a light and want to check the traffic report and your IVF forecast.

Okay, so no secrets. Here are the questions they ask:

1) Age:

The choices are between 18 & 50.  If you put in "below 18" the calculator says: "Shouldn't you be in school?" If you put in "over 50" it says: "Shouldn't you be in Florida?"

2) Trying For:

First I thought "A baby you moron. Hello?". Then I realized they wanted to know how long I was trying to conceive. I felt weird telling a calculator that. It gave me the same feeling as when I was working alone at an answering service during college and a guy called one night and asked me what size pantyhose I wore.

3) Own or Donor Eggs?  

This question made me feel like I was applying for a credit card: "Eggs: Own or Rent?"

4) Cause:

Okay, there are only seven multiple choice answer options available. I'm thinking this should be an essay question. Especially since my issue wasn't covered under the seven. Nothing even close: No "age-related", "old eggs", "waited too long to get married", "gravity brought ovaries to my knees... literally", "Not playing with a full dozen", "Eggs past expiration date".... Nothing.  

5) (Number of)  IVF Attempts:   

Why does that sound like "suicide attempts" to me? Could it be because every time you have to start another round of IVF you want to jump out of a window, slit your wrists, pop a barrel of pills, and shoot yourself?

6) (Number of) Unsuccessful Attempts: 

Well, we're all here. So I guess they all were unsuccessful. Both IVF and suicide. 

7) Pregnancy History:

Once upon a time, there was a couple named Adam and Eve.... and they went to the Farmer's Market to get some ribs and one golden delicious. Oh, you mean, my pregnancy history...  

Well, there are a couple more questions but that's the gist of the calculator. 

So maybe you'll click on your answers, take the results to heart, and follow what the calculator tells you...putting all of your eggs in one basket as it were.

Or maybe you'll just treat the calculator like a ouija board. Yeah, maybe you'll give it a try. Just for the heck of it. Kind of a fun parlor game.

Because if you took it seriously, you might never sleep again.

Listen, I gotta go. The Australian Open tennis is starting in a few days and I've got to go to sleep now so I can get up and watch it at 3am a week from next Tuesday. That seems to work every year. I'm not sure how either.

I'll talk with ya again on Tuesday.

Part II: In 2011, I'll Quit Cursing, Watching Football, etc etc, yeah, yeah we know (Wednesday)

(Start with "Tuesday" if you can. After a holiday weekend, everybody knows nobody does any real work until at least Thursday anyway.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How to make a successful New Year's Resolution. Well, last week I went on and on about the ills of fast-food, most of which I probably wrote while waiting in line at a drive-thru. (You know the old saying: "Do as I say, not as I stuff my esophagus.") 

What it's all about for me with those who have infertility is controlling what we can control in the totally out of control world of infertility. And exercise to me is a big part of that. (Hey, where'd everybody go?) Wait! Come back! New Year's resolutions to exercise are among the funniest... I promise.

I had a friend whose New Year's Resolution one year was to run a marathon. Okay, if he'd been a runner this would have made sense. If he'd been a jogger, even, it would have made some sense. But the fact that he was a guy who kept a bucket next to the bed so he wouldn't have to get up and walk ten feet to the bathroom to pee... this resolution made no sense.

Who was he kidding? Needless to say, I heard the only marathon he partook in that year was held at a bar.

Most people make resolutions to exercise. And most people make ridiculous resolutions to exercise. Exercising is a great goal--especially if you're dealing with infertility.

1) You'll have something else to exercise besides your obsessive thinking muscles: "Is this treatment working? Is this doctor working? Are my ovaries working? Is this bag and these shoes working with the hospital gown?"

2) Oh, those endorphins... those lovely little protein molecules that we give ourselves when we exercise. Finally something in our system to beat the hell out of our depression and whatever other chemical imbalances may be brought on by the stresses of infertility... not to mention all of the hormones we keep dumping into our bloodstreams.

Lots of people decide they'll take the gym route. My main meaningless advice on this one would be: "Fine. Just don't be an idiot."

1) If you've never gone to a gym before more than as a guest, don't spend $2000 to join one. If you do, you may as well add to your resolutions list: "Be a dumbass". So at least if you plunk down that kind of money and then quit after a month, you'll at least have one resolution to check off your list. 

My sister goes to some Mickey Mouse operation that has "free pizza" days and "bagel breakfasts", so I'm thinkin' this gym doesn't promote low carb diets. But it's ten dollars a month with no contract and all you can eat. Can't beat that. Not many gyms come with a buffet.

So, yeah, if you're a serious gym-goer, you ain't going to waste your time on it, but if you want to get a feel for whether or not you'd stick to a routine and be comfortable in a gym environment, it's a cheap no-obligation way to do it.

2) Before you join anything: Figure out when you're going to go to the gym. No, really... If you hit the snooze alarm three times in the morning, forget about "before work". No triple snoozer is ever going to do step class at 5 am.

Know when you're at your peak mentally and when physically. I can write in the morning or night. (I'm writing this at night. Does it make any sense at all?) I can't put four words together in the afternoon...But I'm good to run in the afternoon. Don't try to talk yourself into something that's against your natural grain. Like me:

"I'll run at night." No I won't. That's when I'm tired. That's when American Idol will be on."

3) Once you've decided what time of day and what days are good for you: Pick a gym that makes sense for that time. Why are you joining a place near your job if you won't be going there before or after work? Oh right. You're going to go to a gym that's a forty minute drive from your home on the weekends. No you won't. Who does that? No, I'm telling you, you won't. But if you did, you'd get to check off that "dumbass" resolution a second time.  

Listen, I gotta go. I've had this head cold for a month and it's time to give it an Advil snack. I could probably take something stronger to clear my head but I don't want to lose my creative edge.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Sharing the Holidays with Close Friends- Who Needs It?" (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. That's when I'm usually full of energy (or full of something). By mid-week I lose my luster. My posts may not be brilliant, but you might find my daily decline entertaining. And consider becoming a subscriber. I send out weekly emails. You can witness what shape I'm in on the weekend.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How instead of lamenting our infertility situation and being envious of our friends with kids, we should focus on the facts: How incredibly dull our friends become during the holidays.

Never is this more evident than in their greeting cards. Bad enough we have to see the one big happy family all dolled up in their holiday best. Must they also sneak in their annual: "Our Family's Year in Review"?

If you've been fortunate enough never to have received one: It's like the New York Times "Week in Review", except instead of being "All the News That's Fit to Print", it's "All the Boring Sht That's Fit to Flush".

 

And they never sum up their whole year of tedium in one sentence: 

"2010 was a great year for the Gibsons! Hope it was for your family too!"

No, they have to go month by excruciating month. And of course they have to highlight the dullest details they can dig up. 

January:

Leslie started gymnastics! The teacher says she's a natural! Maybe she'll be in the 2015 Olympics!

(Okay, not only am I already bored, I'm already offended. There are no summer Olympics in 2015.  Is it so hard to "Google"? Geez, how can you be boring and inaccurate in the same sentence?)  

February

In addition to gymnastics, Leslie started dance class. She takes tap, jazz, and modern. The teacher says she's a natural! Maybe she'll be on "So You Think You Can Dance 2025!"

(Or maybe she'll be on "Cops" getting cuffed for selling crack: Rebelling for being forced into a life of extra-curricular activities at such a tender age.)

March

Stephen is on the honor roll for the first time!

(I suppose it's easier to just make note of that in March, than mention the dozens of  previous months when he didn't make the honor roll. There also seems to be no mention of him in April, when, sources tell me, he reverted back to being an imbecile.)

If you've got to send us this nonsense (and I don't really see why anyone would), could you at least throw us a bone and include some of the juicy stuff?

January: My husband Frank nearly drove us all into a tree watching a twenty year old in size zero jeans cross the street.

February:  I tried to return an ugly night gown that Frank bought me for Christmas. The manager at JC Penney said I waited too long. I got a little upset and security had to escort me out. It was really no big deal. Made the local papers though. 

March:  Got the phone bill. Our son Stephen apparently racked up $1200 calling 1-900-lick this. 

April: I won the bake-off at the state fair with my chocolate chip cookies! I wonder if I should have mentioned that they were Chips Ahoy. 

May: Frank hired a new guy to cut the grass. A real cutie patootie.  He could mow my lawn anytime. 

But nobody ever gives us anything like that to hold us over until the next year. Every December I walk to the mail box like I'm walking to the electric chair. The driveway is my Green Mile. I open up the mail box and take out the contents, my hands trembling: " A bill, good. Another bill, good. Another bill, good. A greeting card from Lisa.  ( I suck in my breath.)And I see several folded sheets of paper in the envelope. Shoot me."  

Listen I gotta go. I have to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas". My husband taped it for me last night. So if you know how it ends, don't tell me.

Be sure to check out a new article on surviving the holidays by psychologist and social worker

Irene Celcer: http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Rest Assured: You've Got (Infertility) Insurance (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can.  You can slack off today anyway. Nobody really expects anyone to do any work the week before a holiday. Or the week after. Or between Thanksgiving and New Year's... Or those last two weeks in July... Or whenever else we just can't be bothered....And hey, if you'd like some more insider info etc about Laughing Is Conceivable please become a subscriber...please...please) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The great medical coverage my company's insurance carrier offered for my fertility treatments. Okay, it wasn't really great. It was more like: "Get out of our office before we throw you off the insurance altogether, you infertile fool."

So, I took the matter up with our company's Human Resources: "Do you think we could get a health plan that would cover some of my infertility treatments?: Drugs, tests, ice for my butt injections, anything?" 

To which they responded: 

"No, but if you have some annual leave time, you can go to your doctors' appointments without getting fired."

I often wonder why someone came up with the name: "Human Resources".  It certainly didn't fit this group of broads at all. I guess "The Humane Society" was already taken.

I find it interesting that only fifteen states in the U.S. require insurance carriers to cover at least some infertility-related costs. And even with those states... You could drive a truck-load of us through the loopholes.

 A lot of states, like California for instance, have a clause that goes  something like this:  

  • Requires group insurers to offer coverage of infertility treatment... Employers may choose whether or not to include infertility coverage as part of their employee health benefit package.
  • Okay, well that doesn't sound too hard for your employer to get out of. I'm sure my lovely HR ladies meeting with the prospective insurance carrier went something like this: 

    "Ladies, if you want the basic package it will cost your company eight dollars a year per employee. If you'd like to add coverage for infertility treatments then the rate goes up slightly to $9700 a year per employee."

    I could see the HR women contemplating this:

    "Well, that seems like a sexual issue and none of us has had any interest in sex since the '80's... and we were hired to save the company money... yeah I think we'll just go for the eight dollar one where you only get an ambulance if you're unconscious or have lost more than half of your bodily fluids." I could see them equipping the ambulance driver with a dipstick to verify the latter. 

    And, incidentally, California (at least as of the report I read from 2009) doesn't require IVF coverage at all.

    Hawaii, like many states, does require coverage of one IVF cycle if cheaper forms of ART have been tried.  But, get this, (loophole alert!) you have to have had at least a five year history of infertility to get treatments covered.

    I consider myself to be a fairly honest person, but, honestly, I would lie my ovaries off on that one. We were each nearly forty when we got married. So, we're supposed to touch touch kiss kiss and sit around until I'm like pushing forty-five before we hula off to the fertility clinic?

    Several states like Louisiana allow you to get diagnosed and receive medical treatment for things that may be affecting your fertility, but once a doctor says the actual word "infertility"...the next words you'll hear will be: "And by the way, we take cash, checks, and most major credit cards."

    So if the surgeon is mid-surgery cutting a few feet off my colon: "Clamp. Scissors, Neosporin. Oh wait, this looks like it could result in infertility. Okay, gang--Roll it up and shove it back in."

    Listen, I gotta go. I'm almost done making my insurance picks for next year. Should I get the optical coverage and have the freedom of picking out one of the three approved frames or should I just go it alone?

    I'll talk with ya again tomorrw.

    Men,Men,Men,Men,Manly Men, Men,Men (Friday)

    (Start with "Monday" if you can.  Yes, all this week is about men: Specifically, our men and their roles in our infertility journey: From us getting them prepared for their IVF husbandly duties specimen to the history behind the nightly "jab her in the butt cheek" ritual.)   I have to say these guys deserve all of our gratitude. If you're lucky enough to have someone amazing, they're indispensible across the board.  But anyone who's ready, willing, and able to give you tush injections is golden. 

    There are a lot of people who volunteer for great causes: Donating blood with the Red Cross. Building homes with Habitats for Humanities. Building schools in developing countries with the Peace Corps. Maybe you're luckier than I, but trust me: There's no waiting list for volunteers to hold ice on my butt every night. Most people would just as soon risk malaria.

    Even my husband asked: "Are you positive you can't find somebody else? Have you tried Craig's list... or Match.com?" 

    Besides the emotional support of someone who takes on that task, there's the actual physical support.  

    I've read online instructions for injecting yourself with progesterone. Has anyone ever tried taking this 1 and 1 /2 inch needle and injecting their own tuchas? I don't know about you, but I'm not nearly that coordinated. Twice in my life I tried to curl my own eyelashes. I ended up in the emergency room both times.

    I just can't picture it: "Okay so I think this the upper outer quadrant of my buttock. Yeah, now I've got it. Right...about... here! Oh crap. There goes my spleen."

    The husband may have seemingly only a few responsiblilities on this journey with us. But it is an unpleasant little list.

    You know when people have a loved one who's sick or suffering and they say: "I wish it was me. I would trade with them in a second." I'm sure our guys really mean it. Sure, some of it is love... But consider the scenario:

    "Mr. Jones, your wife will take several drugs, undergo a battery of tests, have doctors' appointments several times a week perhaps for several months during which she will be wearing nothing but a giant paper napkin and socks, lying on a table in a position developed by cirque du soleil...    and for you we have this cup."

    "That's okay. I'd rather do the drugs and paper napkin."

    "Oh, and by the way. The stress of the whole infertility thing piled on top of the hormones your wife's being given isn't always a pretty concoction. You may find living with her for the next several weeks, months, or years to be difficult if not intolerable. She may be moody, anxious, depressed or just hate being around you for apparently no reason."

    "No, I'm serious. I want the drugs and the napkin. Where are they? Give them to me now!"     

    Whether it's female infertility or male infertility, or both, or nobody's sure which: If you can really bond together against the odds, and the relatives, and the bills, and the relationship actually manages to survive infertility, the next sixty years should be a piece of cake.

    Listen, I gotta go. I have to submit my timesheet at work to payroll. I may goof off, go to lunch and not return until the next morning, chat online all day, and call in sick every Monday and Friday... but I'm always very prompt for the good people in payroll.

    If you haven't already, don't forget to check out this week's excellent Health Experts article: "Ways to Boost Male Fertility" by Natural Fertility Specialist Ian Claxton.  http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

    I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

    Men,Men,Men,Men,Manly Men,Men,Men (Thursday)

    (Start with "Monday" if you can. You've got plenty of time. Either you're off from work today because the office is closed or you just called in sick because you thought it was a gyp that the office was open.... And if you can put up with me for a few extra minutes a week, consider becoming a subscriber. It's simple and quick (and free did I mention it's free?) and you get some fascinating insider info.) 

    So what were we talking about? Oh right. How our husbands, partners, boyfriends, naked acquaintances, kissing neighbors, hot papas, really are quite literally, our "right hand men" in this infertility project. Have no fear. I will stop the puns there.

    There's another important role that the man plays in our infertility madness. One, which in my opinion, is a humongous scam.I'm speaking of the nightly progesterone butt cheek injection. Scam!

    I'm thinking that way back,way, way, back at the beginning of IVF, like in the 1800's (I think Laura Ingalls was conceived through IVF), there was this husband. And this husband went to his friendly corner fertility clinic/candy store/barber shop and took aside his friendly, neighborhood Reproductive Endocrinologist/store clerk/barber and said:

    "Look, I can't take it anymore. My wife is angry and depressed. She's irritable and has mood swings. Yesterday, to make her feel better, I offered to whittle her something and she tried to bite me. I know she's going through a lot with these treatments but sometimes I just wish I could take a sharp, pointy, 1 1/2 inch object and jab her in the ass!"

    And the wise old Reproductive Endocrinologist/store clerk/barber, took off his latex gloves, covered his Raisinets, put down his razor, and summoned the young man into the back room.

    "Come with me son. I think I may have just the thing."   

    And the scam has been carried on between husbands and RE's ever since. The husband has that desperate, basset hound, pleading look in his eyes: "Please, please, she's becoming impossible. I can't take it anymore." And the knowing doctor winks and slips him a prescription in a reassuring handshake.

    And then to sell the scam convincingly a whole production is staged in the bathroom (originally outhouse) that night.

    My husband put on scrubs with face mask, a lab coat, a stethoscope around his neck. We couldn't find surgical gloves so he just put on the yellow rubber dishwashing gloves from the kitchen sink.

    So there we were in our teeny bathroom, with the ten pound bag of ice he bought for our own private "tail-gate" party, needle, vial, alcohol, and Costco box of 70,000 cotton balls.

    All the while, I'm picturing him taunting me in his head, like a nasty kid at the playground: "I'm going to jab you in the aaaass. I'm going to jab you in the aaaass... and you can't stop me. Na Na Na Na Na."  

    I'm wearing a beautiful long-sleeve turquoise cashmere sweater with lovely detail around the neckline, diamond earrings with matching pendant, and nothing else- leaning against the sink on my elbows, butt-side facing out.

    And there's my husband, 1 1/2 inch needle in one hand, instructions from the Internet in the other: "Okay, so I think the upper outer quadrant of your butt is right about... or I don't know... maybe it's more to the left... could you look for a minute and tell me which is right... I mean correct."

    And I'm mumbling: "Great, the guy who gets lost with GPS is searching for my upper outer quadrant like I'm on Star Trek Deep Space...Very Deep Space OW!"    

    Listen, I gotta go. I have to run outside and capture the glorious symphony of bursting fall foliage before it turns into an unsightly unraked mess.   

    Check out natural fertility specialist Ian Claxton's article: "Ways to Boost Male Fertility" in Health Experts this week. You may as well. I mean, you blew off work, so it's not like you don't have the time. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

    I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

    Men Men Men Men Manly Men Men Men (Monday)

    Okay so if you're not familiar with the theme song from the show "Two and a Half Men" you're now thinking I have either a speech impediment or a severe short-term memory disorder. ("Did I just type the word 'men'? I can't remember. I'd better do it again to be safe." Then half a second later: "Did I just type the word 'men'? I can't remember. I'd better do it again to be safe."  It's a time-consuming affliction. I could spend all week writing and never make it out of the title.) And that's what this week's posts are going to be about- No, not me developing Turrets syndrome late in life: The manly men in our lives who are joined at the hip with us during our infertility stresses and messes.

    And for all of you guys who are kind enough to log on, stop rolling your eyes and don't worry... I don't anticipate doing any male bashing.**

    **Writer not responsible on Monday for what she might say later in the week or even in the next paragraph. But she'll try her best.

    I also think there's sometimes a lot of female bonding going on here but it's not really female bonding. It's more those-of-us-dealing-with,-or-who-have dealt-with-infertility bonding. Whether we are male, female. partner or patient, good friend or relative of an infertile or empathizing health professional.

    If you are a regular reader of Laughing IS Conceivable, you know that I don't often let the fact that I know nothing about a subject stand in the way of me writing about it passionately and extensively.    

    I don't know a whole lot about male infertility (but give me a sec and I'll introduce you to someone who does.) So I'll mostly be talking about the guys as they relate to their infertile wives, girlfriends, and hot mamas. 

    This week in "The Health Experts" we're lucky enough to have a great article by Ireland's Ian Claxton, a natural fertility specialist. (I don't think "natural" implies that it came easy to him as in "You wouldn't know she just started taking piano lessons, she's a natural", but maybe it did. Anyway... ) Ian will be discussing, in this article, male infertility and offering some very specific professional advice on boosting male fertility naturally.

    I thought you'd prefer to hear from him than to hear me say something dumb and obviously completely made up like: "Take swimming lessons. Studies have shown if you swim better so will your sperm."

    Listen I gotta go. My sister-in-law  just quit her job and I have to find her a new one before she gets any bright ideas and comes to live with us for an indefinite period of time. Finding a job for another adult, - a  forty-seven year old in another state where the unemployment rate is ten percent. How hard could it be? 

    If you have a moment, take a look at Ian's article, "Ways to Boost Male Fertility" at   http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642 or visit Ian at http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=1230

    I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

    Things That Go Bump in the Night of an Infertile (Thursday)

    (Start with "Monday" if you can... if you dare...whoooooooooooooo and if you like what you read, consider subscribing. It's easy and you'll get some weekly blog behind-the-scenes...If you dare.... whoooooooooo0oooo.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The one-in-a-zillion mishap when a qualified fertility doctor slips the wrong sperm into the right uterus.  Or, you might say, the sperm is in the wrong place at the right time.

    Perhaps even more frightening (but definitely rarer) is when a woman goes to an infertility clinic, gets inseminated, and nine months later has a baby who's the spitting image of her..... fertility doctor.

    There was a doctor named Cecil Jacobson who, in the 1980's apparently inseminated some of his patients with his own sperm.

    (Is that so bad? I mean for the $1500 a pop for IUI, they should throw in more than a stork refrigerator magnet with their phone number dangling from his beak. Obviously this doctor was just looking to give his patients more bang for their buck (I didn't just say that did I? I didn't think so.)  

    In a bunch of the cases, he claimed that these women were scheduled to be inseminated with anonymous donor sperm and the guys never showed up. 

    That's horrible. In that crucial moment in your life you get a sperm donor who's such a total jerk-off (I didn't just say that either did I? I didn't think so.)

    So, anyhoo.... the good doctor decided to step in and fill the guys' shoes... so to speak.

    This doctor Jacobson must have been a real dynamo around the office. I mean if the temp receptionist didn't show up was he answering the phones all day between inseminations? If the cleaning crew didn't show up, was he vacuuming the office between inseminations and phone calls? 

    He must have been quite the control freak. "Do I have to do everything around here myself? If I don't do it, it just doesn't get done! The phones don't get answered, the rugs don't get cleaned, the patients don't get pregnant."

    Turns out he didn't have a sperm donor program at all... or if he did, he was the only donor.  I wonder if the staff found it odd that, after every sperm donor insemination, he went outside to smoke a cigarette or curled up on his couch for a nap.

    What kind of an ego do you have to have to do such a thing? I'm curious to know if he had a belt at home with seventy notches on it. Or maybe this was just one of those innocent little naughty things you do at work that just gets away from you.

    Like one day you slipped a handful of rubber bands into your purse. Nobody noticed, nobody cared. A few weeks later, a box of paper clips. Nobody noticed, nobody cared. A few weeks after that, a laser printer. Somebody noticed. Everybody cared. 

    So maybe that's what happened with Dr. Jacobson.  A distraught woman came into his office. He offered her a tissue.  She was grateful. A few weeks later, a distraught woman came into his office. He offered her a magazine.  She was grateful. A few weeks later, a distraught woman came into his office, he offered to father her children. Like the printer incident... it just kind of got away from him.  

    Thought you'd like to know that former Dr. Jacobson is now in Utah working in agricultural research. So if you buy a head of lettuce grown in Provo that resembles ex-Dr. Jacobson, you'll know he's up to his old tricks. 

    (Yes, I'm fully aware that made no sense and that lettuce isn't a major crop of Utah. Leave me alone will ya?)

    Listen, I gotta go. I'm working on a research paper of my own entitled: "Crappy Halloween candy: Why does it rear its ugly head only on October 31st and where is it hiding the rest of the year?"

    I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

    Things That Go Bump in the Night of an Infertile (Wednesday)

    (Start with "Monday" if you can. I didn't post last week so you're probably aching to get as much of me as possible this week. Or not.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Fears. Particularly fears shared by those of us with fertility issues. We were discussing a few occasional mishaps at a smattering of fertility clinics where the woman got inseminated with some stranger's sperm instead of the guy she came to the appointment with.

    I also recently read a story recently (I read too damn much.. and watch too much news. I should stick to cartoons. Nobody ever gets inseminated in cartoons... well maybe on Family Guy or The Simpsons or American Dad... Okay, cartoons are out too. I'll just stare at the wall.)

    Anyway, this news article was about a couple who had twins from a sperm donor. Well, apparently someone had a problem translating English into English. They had requested a caucasian sperm donor. Unfortunately the sperm came from a place in South Africa where "caucasian" means "of mixed race".

    I'll be honest, I don't understand anything about this case. The parents were suing the facility because the kids were being taunted in school because of their skin color.

    The kids were in school? How old were these kids when they decided to sue?

    I admit it. I have a way of procrastinating, of letting things get away from me. Sometimes I don't do laundry for two weeks (a month if I tell the truth- I don't have a lot of clothes. I'm just a slob). I put off going to the dentist for that six month ordeal, and they stopped picking up our garbage because I simply forgot to pay the bill. But, I'm pretty sure even I would get around to that "Hey, I think our twins are the wrong color" issue before they started school.

    Or maybe the parents were just living in denial. Sitting around saying to each other: "Let's keep them out of the sun and see what happens. Maybe they'll lighten up in the fall."

    The judge basically told them: "You have two healthy kids. Goodbye and good luck."

    But I've been thinking. (Always dangerous) About all of these insemination misadventures. I think there's a way it could work in our favor.

    Okay, I admit it's a little tricky, but it could be done. Yes, I believe it could. Let's say you're married and have this little cutie boy-toy on the side. And you get pregnant by this shiny new bed buddy.

    So you hurry and tell your husband that you have fertility issues, then grab his hand, run full speed into a fertility clinic, and let them inseminate you with his sperm.

    Then they do a pregnancy test and tell you that congratulations are in order, you act thrilled and duly surprised. Then the baby is born and looks nothing like your husband. (Hm, wonder what could have caused that.)  So you call the Maury show and bring the fertility clinic on TV and demand they give you and your oblivious husband a DNA test.

    Then the baby comes back not his (close-up of you looking duly surprised--again) and you make a lot of money and divorce your husband and live as a happy family with your baby daddy and keep your old (ex)husband on the side as your brand spanking new boy-toy since, now that he's got a lot of cash, he doesn't seem so bad afterall.

    Listen, I gotta go. After that tirade I really should stop, shouldn't I? It's the only decent thing to do.

    I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

    Things That Go Bump in the Night of the Infertile (Tuesday)

    So, what were we talking about? Oh right... Fears. And people going through infertility treatments are loaded with them. Some of our fears are injected into us by our "well-meaning" relatives who had a friend who had a neighbor whose sister's  cousin's dry cleaner had an IVF nightmare. My answer to this relative is: "Prove it." I'm not kidding.

    If you're going to open your big trap and scare the follicles out of me, I insist that you produce this person.... Come, I've got some things that could use some dry cleaning. Where does she work?

    Some of our fears are hormone-induced. Take this pill, shove this suppository, stick this needle in the front cellulite, stick this needle in the back cellulite... And the next thing you know, you're saying:

    "Please, please, I need your help. What if I don't get pregnant this month? What if I have to go through another cycle? What if I never ovulate? What am I going to do? I'm not going to make it through it. I just can't. What if it never happens? I just can't. I won't make it through it"...to the woman behind the deli counter. That's the last time she'll ever use the phrase: "May I help the next person?"

    And then some of our fears are caused by our fatal mistake of watching the news.

    Somewhere in the back recesses of our minds we all have this crazy fear: "What if they inseminate me with somebody else's sperm by mistake and I get pregnant?"

    Positive side: Bragging rights. I could finally say to my husband: "See? I told you it was your fault all along!"

    I actually do remember on one of my IUI go 'rounds, waiting in the insemination room all dressed-up like a paper doll, when the nurse came with a mostly- full sample cup in her hand with my husband's name written on it.

    "I have to confirm this is yours." She said, showing me the cup.

    Me being me, even when naked from the waist down (perhaps even more so then) I answered: "Well, yes, that's my husband's name on the label. I have no idea who you've got there in the cup, but that's definitely his name on the label."    

    So we have this fear, and maybe we don't take it too seriously... and then it  comes true. Not to us. Not to anyone we know. One- in- a- million, no way it could happen, and then there it is on the news.  

    There's a book out now called "Misconception" written by a couple that it actually happened to.  I haven't read the book, but the doctor who wrote the article I read about it believes that the error may have been in miscommunication or mislabeling a sperm sample, but almost definitely involved the fact that the two women had the same last name. Well, that's all I had to hear.   

    Time to make a phone call.

    "Hello, is this my fertility clinic? Any other patients there with the last name Shandle-Fox? Or Fox? Or Shandle?

    Are there any employees named Shantell? Or Lori? Cory? Tori? Is there a doctor named Lori, Cory, or Tori? Or a doctor whose wife is named Lori, Cory, or Tori? How about a cat?

    My Hebrew name is Hana. Any Hanas? Are you within delivering distance to a Benihana restaurant? I don't want any confusion if I happen to be getting inseminated when someone's ordering lunch.   

    Are there any embryologists with heavy accents who might say anything  that might sound like Shandle-Fox to someone? Like 'Handle Box.' That's a phrase an embryologist might use.  Handle box. Shandle-Fox. It could happen. 

    Please tell me who among the staff has the best handwriting. The woman who vacuums at night? Please, please, I implore you... Next time, let her label my husband's sperm."

    And, PS. in the case I mentioned above, the woman who got pregnant with the sperm of the other's husband: She carried the baby to term and handed the baby over to them. (wow!)

    Listen, I gotta go. Today's election day and I have to figure out who I'm going to vote against.

    I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

    Nobel Prize Winners: Those Rat Bastards (Thursday)

    (Start with "Monday" if you can. My writing is just too profound to come in in the middle. It's like an enigma wrapped in a post, wrapped in a blog, wrapped in yesterday's newspaper. Any hey, if you like what you read, please consider becoming a subscriber. At the $600 level you get this beautiful tote bag with Peter Paul and Mary on it. Okay, I can't compete with PBS.

    But it's free and easy and you will get some weekly insider info and discounts on other stuff of mine in the works. No sales people will call you. I won't even call you... unless you want me to and force your phone number on me.) 

    So, what were we talking about? Oh right. A blogger had implied that Louise Brown, the first baby born via in-vitro hit the jackpot when she was born into being, voila, an instant celebrity.

    I don't know. There are a lot of things you could be famous for in this life: Pioneering a billion dollar business, spear-heading a new way to save the Earth, graduating college at the age of fifteen. Anybody out there want to be known for the way they were conceived?  

    Hm... How many of us would love to have our friends, family, neighborhood, city, state, country and planet know every detail of our conception?

    How would it really be to have the international headlines read: "Awkward Sex in the Hall Closet in Toledo Leads to Birth"?  Wouldn't you love to hear cutie patootie Anderson Cooper say:

    "Imagine casually dating an acquaintance until something better came along... and nine months later you had a baby. That's what happened to Sioux City's David Morgan and Stacy Leach.

    We're going to follow baby Devon and give you monthly updates over the next forty years to see  how he turns out."

    What a privilege.

    What if conception reporting was commonplace? Watch out for the birth announcements:

    "On September 27, Michelle and Steve Jones of Tarrington welcomed a baby boy. Joseph Seth weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces. He is the first grandson of Melissa and Norman Jones of Dover and the second grandson of Ida and Kyle Olson of Manchester. 

    Joseph arrived at 6:03 PM, a few days late. Michelle believes he was conceived on December 20th when Steve came home tipsy from a company Christmas party, started to undress, and passed out in Michelle's direction, knocking them both to the floor beneath the mistletoe and pinning her between the carpet and himself.

    Michelle states that after several minutes of trying to free herself from the dead weight, she realized that she, literally, held her only hope to awaken Steve in the palm of  her right hand, which was trapped between them.

    Michelle added that she had successfully awakened Steve using this method hundreds of times before and felt confident that it would solve the problem at hand, but had no incling that it would lead to such a blessed event nine months and a few days later.

    The happy couple has been married since two months before Devon's birth."  

    Clip that out and put it up on the refrigerator.

    So, maybe Louise Brown didn't get such a great deal afterall, having the whole world scrutinize her entire life because of how she was conceived.

    Although there probably are a lot of worse things you could be famous for:  Getting drunk and vomiting on the White House lawn or dancing bottomless for a friend's camcorder that ends up on You-Tube, goes viral and gets picked up by MTV.

    Or you could be famous for being the first idiot, (blame it on a busted GPS) to try to smuggle drugs into Mexico or for shop-lifting clothes at Wal-Mart or accidentally overdosing on their generic Equate brand of aspirin.

    Or for being on any reality show with a place in its name.

    Or for being caught on camera scratching yourself at the Superbowl.  

    You could probably fill thirty stadiums with all of the absolutely nightmarish things we could all be famous for.  When you look at it that way: Who really cares if everyone knows our dads did our moms? They probably already suspected anyway.

    Listen, I gotta go. I have to decide on my Halloween costume. I admit, my costume priorities have changed. Twenty years ago it had to be sexy. Ten years ago it had to be humorous. Now it just has to be toilet-user friendly.   

    I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

    I know I gab on and on, but if you have another sec, check out this week's article in "The Health Experts": "Partnering with Your Reproductive Endocrinologist: Why Don't We? Why Should We? by Julia Krahm and Shari Stewart.  http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642