receptionists

Receptionist: Queen of the Fertility Clinic

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Am I the only one with revolving receptionists at their fertility clinic? Even though my clinic had you sign in on a computer and the receptionist mainly just sat there every visit while I sweated out the insurance questions on the screen: “What version of this insurance do I have? ‘Select’? ‘Advanced’? ‘Prime’? ‘Platinum’? No, it’s definitely not ‘Platinum’.” No matter. I wanted a good, permanent receptionist at that desk. I deserved a good, permanent receptionist at that desk! It's nice to have doctors at a fertility clinic. But, let's be honest. Just like the rest of us, they're at the mercy of the receptionist. I don't care who signs whose checks. Receptionists aren't in it for the money. They're there for the power. And we as patients have to understand this. We have to make nice with the receptionist or fertility game over.

If she doesn't set up your next appointment: Game over. If she doesn't tell the doctor you're waiting and he goes home for the day: Game over. If she doesn't give the nurse your message: Game over. If she doesn't record your visit and you don't get charged...Well that would be okay.

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When I started going to my fertility clinic, there were two receptionists, Jessica and Jamie. They complemented each other beautifully. Jessica was lovely but as smart as a tuna fish sandwich.

Jamie was speedy, intelligent, and as nasty as a summer rash in the crack of your sweaty… knee. (I do have some class you know.)

The pair sparked childhood memories for me.

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My sister and I had identical twin babysitters who switched off watching us. Wendy would let you juggle knives while she fell asleep at 7:30 watching TV. Cindy followed us everywhere including into the bathroom. (Even at eight, I knew that was creepy and had enough presence of mind to politely close the door in her face.)

We longed to morph the identical twins into one solid babysitter who would be awake while we were awake and not stalk us throughout the house.

And that’s what the fertility clinic needed: Not these two half-assed receptionists but one good one capable of multi-tasking: Being pleasant and competent at the same time.

Of course the pleasant one got canned first. I've never figured out why doctors’ offices hang on to intolerable receptionists for decades. If business falls off, doesn’t anyone ever look at the surly, passive aggressive troll who greets the patients and answers the phones and say: “Maybe it’s her”?

Anyway, after the pleasant one went, there was always a new receptionist at the desk.

They were all named Giselle, Jessica, or Jenna… It got way too complicated. I just called them all Becky.

Becky One went to lunch and apparently kept on going. Becky Two gossiped on her cell phone about her coworkers while you waited at her desk for her to look up. Becky three was "in training" for a year and a half. Any time I had to approach the reception desk for any reason, I would repeat my mantra in my head: "It's okay. She doesn’t touch your prescriptions or needles. She doesn’t touch your prescriptions or needles."

I try not to complain too much to the higher-ups about crummy receptionists. 1) I don't want to be responsible for someone losing their job. 2) You don't know who she is.

Once my chiropractor ushered me into his office and closed the door. As I lay face down on his bench, I said through the face hole:

"That lady at the desk is always so rude." To which, of course he responded:

"That's my wife."

"Ow! My spine!"

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. Please consider subscribing to my newsletter and if you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please check out my books . ( The blue cover is about my daily struggles with infertility / IVF.. The green starts with IVF and , well, the cover says it all. Both are recommended by top fertility & Maternal / Fetal professionals around the U.S.) http://laughingisconceivable.com

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy

Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy

My Fertility Clinic: The Receptionist

Have you had revolving receptionists at your fertility clinic too or is it just me? I want a good, permanent receptionist at that desk. I need a good, permanent receptionist at that desk. Damn it, I deserve a good, permanent receptionist at that desk! It's nice to have doctors at a fertility clinic. But, let's be honest. Just like the rest of us, they're at the mercy of the receptionist. I don't care who signs whose checks. Receptionists aren't in it for the money. They're there for the power. And we as patients have to understand this. We have to make nice with the receptionist or fertility game over.

If she doesn't set up the appointment: Game over. If she doesn't tell the doctor you're waiting and he goes home: Game over. If she doesn't give the nurse your message: Game over. If she doesn't record your visit and you don't get charged...Well that would be okay.

When I started going to my fertility clinic, there were two receptionists. Jessica and Jamie. They complemented each other beautifully. Jessica was lovely but as smart as a tuna fish sandwich.

Jamie was speedy, intelligent, and as nasty as a summer rash in the crack of your sweaty… knee. (I do have some class you know.)

The pair sparked childhood memories for me.

My sister and I had identical twin babysitters who switched off watching us. Wendy would let you juggle knives while she fell asleep in front of Saturday Night Live. Cindy used to follow us into the bathroom to make sure we were just going to the bathroom and not, I guess, chugging iodine. (Even at seven, I knew that was creepy and had enough presence of mind to politely close the door in her face.)

What we needed was the middle twin: The one born with ALL of the chromosomes.

And that’s what the fertility clinic needed: A receptionist who could multi-task: Be pleasant and competent at the same time.

Of course the pleasant one got canned first. I've never figured out why, (maybe someone could write me), doctor's offices hang on to intolerable receptionists for decades. If business falls off, they never seem to consider that maybe the surly passive aggressive troll who greets the patients and answers the phones is the cause.

Anyway, after the pleasant one went, there was always a new receptionist at the desk.

They were all named Giselle or Jaleesa or Jenna… It got way too complicated. I just called them all Becky.

Becky One went to lunch and apparently kept on going.  Becky Two gossiped on her cell phone about her coworkers while she took your insurance. Becky three was "in training" for six months.

I just kept repeating my mantra: "It's okay. She's not allowed to touch your prescriptions or your needles. It's okay. She's not allowed to touch your prescriptions or your needles."

Surprisingly, I don't complain much anymore to the higher-ups about crummy receptionists. 1) I don't want to be responsible for someone losing their job. 2) You don't know who she is.

Once my chiropractor ushered me into his office, closed the door and as I situated myself face down on his bench, I said through the face hole:

"That lady at the desk is always so rude." To which, of course he responded:

"That's my wife."

"Ow! My spine!"

If you'd like to have more laughs at infertility's expense, please click on my eBook inconspicuously hanging up there in the middle of the post or use the link below to return to the Home Page. It's been downloaded by thousands of infertility patients, partners, and medical teams. http://laughingisconceivable.com

You Have Entered "The Infertility Zone": Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You want to be well-prepared before entering "The Infertility Zone".)  So what were we talking about? Oh right. How going for infertility treatments is like stepping into another universe. They all speak your language. But you don't speak theirs.

They know all of the words you do: "chair, hat, dog." But you don't know any of theirs: "Follistim, gonadotropin, hysterosalpingogram, icsi."

And you begin to learn their language. But you lose your mind at the same time.

When I first began treatments, I felt like I had just started a new job. 

You know. That bewildered feeling you have because you don't know what you're doing and you don't know anybody and you're trying to learn everybody's name, and you're not sure yet exactly what your job is, and most importantly:  Where is the nearest:

1) Candy machine?

2) Bathroom?

3) Very private bathroom?

(The fire exits I'll figure out in a few months or so. No rush.)

Then three months along your new career path, you've got it all down. You have your favorite place to park, you know when's a good time to go to lunch, you have the software figured out, and have calculated precisely how much you can get away with before you'll get reamed. 

Three months into the fertility treatments, I was still walking around disorientated. In fact, the further I proceeded into "The Infertility Zone" the more disorientated I got.

Before I underwent treatments, I knew that disorientated wasn't a word. A few weeks into it, I knew nothing. 

The following is a reenactment of me at the reception desk, approximately three months deep into treatments.

"So, I have to come back again this afternoon. Could you give me an appointment card?"

"Does it have the address on it?"

"Who's my doctor?"

"Which way is his office?... Oh, right. I mean 'her' office."

"Do  you give lollipops?"

"Do you have a dentist here?"          

"I'm afraid I won't be able to find my way back later. Can I wait in the waiting room for the next six hours?"

"Do you have any appointments in your other office?"

"I'm trying to get pregnant. Do you guys help with that?"

"Do you have another office or am I thinking of my dermatologist?"

"Can I use your phone to call my husband? I forgot where I parked."

"Yeah, I know he wasn't with me when I parked. But he might have a suggestion."

"Yes that is my cell phone right there but I haven't charged it in a month and now I can't hear anybody I call."

"When they take my blood, can I get a Dora bandaid?"

"Have they called my name yet?"

"What is my name?"

"One more thing. Do you happen to know if I ate anything today?"

Listen I gotta go. I just don't remember where... I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

You Have Entered: "The Infertility Zone" Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo (Tuesday)

There are spaces of time while I was undergoing infertility treatments that are just blanks in my memory. I'm willing to bet that it's not that unusual. I think that my lapses in memory can be attributed to a few things: 1) Some time has gone by since I've gone through the treatments myself

2) My mind was so overwhelmed and overloaded by it all that some of the details got squashed under the pressure on my brain.

3) I was temporarilty insane. I'd gone nuts... drifted off into la la land during my treatments.

Number 3 is undoubtedly a result of number 2. I had so much information and stress, and advice and stress, and questions and stress, and decisions to make and stress, crammed into my head.

There was no room left in my head for my mind...so it drifted off into a nice pleasant place where my mind played hopscotch and gin rummy for several months.  

When you begin infertility treatments, nothing is gradual. You don't get eased into anything.

You're never walked onto the infertility bunny hill or guided into the infertility kiddie pool. You're thrown off an alp and tossed into an ocean.

And what I needed was infertility treatments with training wheels or maybe the trial size fertility treatments or the free sample.

Could I do an IVF test drive for a few weeks and bring it back if I wasn't completely satisfied?

No such animal. I walked into the door of the clinic. I gave my name at the desk. I shook somebody's hand.

They gave me some paperwork to fill out. And I signed at the bottom. Never once realizing that the small print said: "Sanity will be returned upon completion of treatments."

And, without realizing the gravity of what I had done, I very innocentlly entered the bowels of  "The Inferility Zone"....doo doo doo doo; doo doo doo doo.

Listen I gotta go.  Wimbledon tennis is on. I know that's not amusing. I'm serious. It's on...now... I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

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My Private Infertility: Trying to Keep Everyone's Nose Out Of My Uterus- Tuesday

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I know what you're thinking. "I hated Monday. I thought it would never end. Now this chick wants me to relive it?" Yeah, I do. But just for a few minutes.) So, what were we talking about? Oh, right. I was about to introduce you to my new line of board games specifically designed to get people out of your infertility business and back where they belong: On their couches dipping chips and watching whatever's taken the place of "Dances with the Stars".

The first game in the series is called: "The 25 Cent Privacy Pyramid". It's the ghetto-bargain basement-trailer park version of the $25,000 Pyramid game show: You list things and the other contestant, your nosy opponent, has to figure out what everything on the list has in common.

Here's an example:

My Endometriosis

My Irregular Periods

My Husband's Sperm Count

The Number Of Home Pregnancy Tests I've Taken

Nosy Opponent: "Things That Are None Of My Business?"

 Me: "Right! You're great at this game!" Okay, let's try another one.

My Mood Swings

My Rocky Relationship with My Husband

My Taking Out A Second Mortgage to Pay for IVF

My Three Cutesy Pregnant Coworkers

Nosy Opponent: "I know! I know! 'Things That You Don't Want To Talk About!'"

Me: "Good answer! 'Things That Are None Of Your Business' would also have been an acceptable response.'" On to the next round!

Making Dinner

Calling Your Husband To See If He's Really At Work This Time

Mowing Your Lawn

Seeking Fresh Breath

Picking Up Your Kids From School

Tightening Up Those Thigh Muscles

Nosy Opponent: "Things That I Should Be Doing Instead Of Standing Here Wasting Your Time?"

Me: Yes! "Things That Are Your Business" would also have been an acceptable response. 

Learning a Foreign Language

Watching Football

Playing Golf

Squeezing My Husband

Writing Something Humorous

Sticking One Of My Needles In My Eye

Almost Anything Else

Nosy Opponent: "Things You'd Rather Be Doing Than Standing Here Dodging My Awkward Questions?"

Me: On the nose! "'Things That Are None Of Your Business' would also have been an acceptable answer.

Thank you for playing today's  25 cent Privacy Pyramid and remember, most of the time it's None of Your Business! 

Listen, I gotta go. The ice cream man's coming down the block and I'm a dime short. I'd better go change into something low-cut. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

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The Fertility Clinic's Medical Team (Or “Cast Of Characters”): Whichever You Prefer-Friday

(Start with “Monday” if you can. Tell your supervisor that having a ‘blog reading’ period on “Casual Fridays” has been clinically proven to boost employee morale. He’ll appreciate your proactiveness...proactivity...being proactional) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The medical assistant from Hades. (No, I didn’t mean the country with the horrible earthquake. I know what I’m talking about.)

I’ve talked a lot this week about medical and non-medical staff at the fertility clinic and my interactions with them.

But the one staff member who intrigued me most was someone with whom I had no contact whatsoever:                      "The Sperm Collector".

 Well that's what I called him anyway. I know that title makes it sound like he has dozens of samples from all over the world mounted in a glass frame on his den wall. I certainly hope he doesn't.

The young man who worked at my clinic had his desk front and center outside the donation door waiting for the man inside to complete his task. He sat there patiently reading a magazine (although unlike, I imagine, the ones on the other side of the door, his magazine looked fresh and unmangled).

He sat there reading away. So nonchalant. As though someone was in there baking and would, in a moment, fling the door open and hand him a plate of brownies.

I can understand the sounds from within not bothering him. He lived in NYC. I lived in NYC.

The walls in a NYC apartment are so thin you feel like you're in bed with everyone in the building.

You take sides on their spats, you know what their kids have for breakfast, you know what pets they hide when the landlord comes by.

But why does his desk have to be right there? I think if I were that man in the room, trying to accomplish, I would want him sitting across the street.   

Is he there because they had no where else in the office to put his massive one-drawer desk? Or to make sure nobody tries to barge in on the contributor?

Who would have something so vital to tell the man that it couldn't wait? His wife. 

“Aren’t you done yet?  I have a hair appointment at two. It never takes this long when you’re with me.” 

Most likely the Sperm Collector is posted there in case the man's a klutz. If the hand-off takes place right outside the door, it won't give the guy much of an opportunity to spill his future on his shoes.  

See, if I were a guy giving at the office, I wouldn't want a woman to be the Sperm Collector. And I certainly wouldn't want her right outside the door. What pressure. Yet another female waiting for him to perform.   

I guess the man contributing would have to forget that there’s a woman waiting outside the door.

And the female Sperm Collector would have to forget that in his mind, she might be filling in for a lack of imagination.

If the poor guy emerges with only a few drops in the cup, a male Sperm Collector could empathize: "Yeah I know. I have sucky aim too."

While the female Sperm Collector would probably say: "What am I supposed to do with this? I ask you to do one thing. One thing. Is that too much to ask? Do I have to do everything myself?" 

Listen, I gotta go. I'm going to buy a huge beach tube to put around my waist in the pool. It's easier than dieting and exercising.  I'll talk with ya Monday.

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The Fertility Clinic's Medical Team (Or Cast of Characters): Whichever You Prefer -Thursday

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Tell your boss that the company owes you fifteen minutes from last month. By the time she sorts it all out, you'll be caught up.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. Doctors' receptionists, and how hard it is to get good help. Especially for eight dollars an hour. 

Then there was Gloria, the doctors' assistant at the fertility clinic I went to. She wasn't nasty. She wasn't incompetent. She was evil.

I don't mean it as an insult. Just as a statement of fact. Some people are tall. Some people are overweight. Some people are shy. Gloria was evil.

And there was no way to avoid her.

And I tried.

If you called any of the six doctors, she answered. If you emailed them, it sailed directly into her inbox. If she accidentally called you back, she alone would decide whether or not to put the doctor on the phone. And she always decided against it.

She'd deny getting your messages. Her email wasn't working. Her voice mail dropped calls. It was always something.  And damn it if she wasn't convincing.

I think during a lifetime, everyone meets a few people who seem so nice to your face, but your gut just isn't buying it. Everybody likes them. You can't pinpoint why you don't. Yet every time you're in their presence your colon knots into a figure eight.

Gloria seemed nice enough. But being evil is like being a psychopath. All psychopaths are nice. How else are they ever going to lure anybody into their car or convince anyone to take a nice long walk with them through the nice dark woods?

And the temperature in her office was always ten degrees warmer than in the rest of the clinic. She claimed it was because she was always cold. I think it was because below her perfectly manicured nails was a very professional-looking keyboard, below which was a very tidy desk, below which she was engulfed in flames twenty-four hours a day.

I don't think she ever left. Once I got there so early the door was locked. Dr. Shroeder came along after a while with a key. When she opened the door and turned the lights on, there sat Gloria, at her desk, like she'd been there for days.

I think if there was a major earthquake and the whole building that contained the clinic came crashing down, the rescue crew would find Gloria, among the rubble, sitting at her desk, neatly groomed, cool as a cucumber, typing away. 

(Well what could she do? Afterall it was an act of GD... or someone.  Maybe she's just being loyal... but to whom?)

And the doctors and nurses could not sing her praises enough. I'm thinking it was like that episode of The Twilight Zone with that evil brat, Anthony, who kept threatening to send everyone to the cornfield if they had unpleasant thoughts.

"Gloria's nice. Everyone likes Gloria. Isn't Gloria a wonderful, wonderful assistant?"  

She was my biggest incentive to get pregnant. I had to get away from her. I had to leave the clinic because I knew she never would. She was there for millenia.

And nobody would ever sack her for fear that the next morning they'd wake up to find their house in flames and their soul gone. Or maybe they'd wake up in  a cornfield.

Listen I gotta go. It's suddenly gotten very hot in here. I'll talk with ya tomorrow...I hope.

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The Fertility Clinic's Medical Team (Or Cast Of Characters: Whichever You Prefer) Wednesday

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Just give your coworkers the "One minute" finger)  So what were we talking about? Oh right. I was giving you the virtual tour of my fertility center theme park. "Meet Goofy. Meet Grumpy. Meet Doc." 

Doctors are great to have in a medical facility. But, let's be honest. Just like the rest of us, they're at the mercy of the receptionist. I don't care who signs whose checks. We all have to make nice with the receptionist or fertility game over.

She doesn't make the appointment. Game over. She doesn't tell the doctor you're waiting and he goes home. Game over. She doesn't give the nurse your message. Game over. She doesn't charge you for the visit...well that would be okay.  

When I started going to my fertility clinic there were two receptionists. Jessica and Jamie. They complemented each other beautifully. Jessica was lovely but as smart as a tuna fish sandwich.

Jamie was speedy, intelligent, and as nasty as a summer rash in the crack of your… knee. (I do have some sense of decorum you know.)

The pair sparked a lot of childhood memories for me. 

My sister and I had identical twin babysitters (Not simultaneously.  I don’t think moms in the ‘70’s were overly concerned about having a one-to-one child-babysitter ratio).

Identical Twin Wendy let you play "kitchen" with real knives while she fell asleep in front of Johnny Carson.

Identical Twin Cindy, on the other hand, followed you into the bathroom to make sure you didn’t drink iodine.  I was like ten at the time.

I’m not sure whether she’d read somewhere that ten year olds were prone to chugging antiseptics, or that she thought that we thought that she was such a sucky babysitter, we might feign a toilet issue so we could sneak out of the room and kill ourselves.

What we needed was the middle twin: The one born with ALL of the chromosomes.

And that’s what the fertility clinic needed: A receptionist who could multi-task: Be pleasant and competent at the same time. 

Of course the pleasant one got canned first. I've never figured out why, (maybe someone could write me), doctor's offices hang on to intolerable receptionists for decades.

After she went, there was always a new receptionist at the desk. 

They were all named, Giselle, or Jaleesa… It got way too complicated. I just called them all Becky.

Becky One went to lunch and apparently kept on going.  Becky Two gossiped on her cell phone while she took your insurance. Becky three was "in training" for six months.

Aren't office managers aware that training a receptionist is like recovering from a stroke? There's a very short window of time for them to improve. If they're not any better by then, they're never going to get any better.  

I just kept repeating my mantra: "It's okay. She's not allowed to touch prescriptions or needles. It's okay. She's not allowed to touch prescriptions or needles."

Surprisingly, I don't complain much to the higher-ups about crummy receptionists. 1) I don't want to be responsible for someone losing their job. 2) You don't know who she is. 

Once as my chiropractor ushered me into his office and closed the door I said:

"That lady at the desk is so rude." To which, of course he responded:

"That's my wife."

Of course I was then forced to go on and on about a fictitious receptionist about whom I was really talking, (in this one-receptionist office), shutting up only long enough to yell: "Ow! My spine!"

Listen, I gotta go. I need the company microwave. I see someone heading down the hallway carrying a frozen dinner and I want to cut her off at the pass. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

The Fertility Clinic's Medical Team (or "Cast of Characters": Whichever You Prefer)- Monday

A fertility clinic is totally different than just about any other medical facility you'd ever go to. You don’t go twice a year like a dental check-up. (And if a dentist ever tries to examine you like a fertility specialist does, I would call someone) 

You go to a fertility clinic twice a week… at least. So you know all of the AM nurses, (Don’t let Lisa take your blood. She has no idea what a vein looks like), PM nurses and the ones who only work Saturdays (I guess they can stand the sight of blood but only on a very limited basis).

You know the receptionists by their voices and all the doctors by the tops of their heads.   

Still, the relationships are extremely lop-sided. I have no idea if any of them have genetic disorders or if they shave their legs.  

But they know every missing link on my DNA chain and every hair on my bodybefore it even grows. (The brown ones, the red ones, the gray ones:  Coincidentally the colors of the infertility flag and I wave it proudly... Do I have a choice?)

So this week I’m going to introduce you to my medical team, medical staff, medical hangers-on (for all of us infertile people with groupies):

Everyone from my doctor who was yawning over my naked body while he was elbow-deep in Lori explaining: "I'm not a morning person".  I didn't have the guts to raise myself onto my elbows to see if he had set a cup of coffee on my abdomen.

To the nurse who was training another nurse during my insemination. (At least I hope he was a nurse and not just a curious mailroom guy.)

To the doctor's assistant: The helpful woman from Hades who, naturally, is the roadblock between patient and doctor.  

If you’re lucky enough to never have set foot in a fertility clinic, I feel sure you’ll still recognize the cast of characters from your dermatologists’ office, or your job, or your family. 

I don't mean that they will remind you of those at your dermatologist or your job... No...I strongly suspect that a lot of these people have a ton of other jobs on their resumes.

And as for your family...well...I suppose even nasty receptionists must be related to someone somewhere.

Listen, I gotta go. I'm waiting for the manager at Target.  I want to ask her why they bother selling short shorts in my size if I'm obviously going to look horrible in them. 

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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