Those Who Assist Us With Our Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Wednesday)

(Sorry for the late post today..... Start with "Monday" if you can. I have no good reason for telling you to do so, but it would be nice if you did.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How I went through months and months of fertiity treatments and still couldn't tell you who each medical person at the clinic was or exactlywhat they did. If they wore a lab coat, I opened wide and said "aaaaah".

This deficiency to understand what people do for a living  doesn't end with fertility clinics. It runs rampant through all professions for me. My friend Sharon has been one of my best friends for thirty years. Couldn't tell you what she does for a living. Every few months I ask her. Finally, about six months ago she said: "Why are you even asking? You won't remember in five minutes and you don't even care anyway."  

I admit it. Any place I've worked where the job description was the old standby: "Must be 'Detail Oriented'", I've taken under false pretenses.

So I read up on IVF nurses and learned some things. You have to be a registered nurse of course to become one.  But apparently you don't need any special training or anything to secure a job as one.

Okay, that freaked me out just a little, I must say. Mainly because my IUI's (intrauterine inseminations) were done by an IVF nurse. Gee, I hope she was a nurse. I assume she wasn't a receptionist with aspirations.

I'm thinking somebody must have trained her right? Please, somebody reassure me. I mean she didn't learn how to do it with a printout from Mapquest did she?: "Head NW up patient's floo floo (about 3 millimeters). Turn Left 3/10 of an inch into her cervix. Destination will be on your right."

Oh Gd. And Mapquest isn't right most of the time.  

What can be so hard about being an IVF nurse? You take some blood, put a cotton ball on the needle hole, ignore some cranky patients and go home with a hot doctor.

So I read some stuff. One woman commented: "I've been nursing for twelve years now." This is another tribute to my great attention span. I had seconds earlier Googled the question: "What do IVF nurses do?" and still, when I came across that quote:

"I've been nursing for twelve years now" the first thought that entered my mind was:"Geez, your kid's got to be in junior high by now. His immune system must be stellar. Now let him off your chest and go buy yourself  a normal bra!"    

Then I read an article from October 2008 in the NSW Nurses' Association News: "The Highs and Lows of IVF".

At first I was turned off by the title. I thought okay, the highs of IVF is that... there are none. Everything about it, the whole thing sucks. The lows are everything about it. The whole thing sucks.

Then I realized that they meant from a nurse's perspective. Okay, now I get it. This is how the article went:

"A typical day at Sydney IVF begins before 7am, with up to 50 patients arriving for their daily blood tests.

"There are drugs to issue, injections to give and lots of TLC and tissues to dispense. The mornings are filled with assessment interviews, phone calls to-and-from patients and last minute 'drop-ins' to accommodate."

"It can be difficult work but incredibly rewarding. Firstly you need mountains of emotional stamina. You have to be an excellent listener and a very empathetic person."

"'Our patients often arrive here emotionally exhausted and very vulnerable. They bring stories of infertility, miscarriage, grief and loss and nurses need to be very sensitive to that." 

Okay, so yet another career I can cross of my list. I would be like the nurse a friend of mine had in the delivery room during her, count 'em, sixteenth hour of labor: "What are you crying for? You're having a baby. You can't act like a baby!" 

I'd also be a vengeful nurse. I'd keep tabs on the patients who irked me so that the next time they walked in the door for something that involved sticking a needle in their finger or forearm I'd say to my colleagues: "No, by all means...Let me.

Listen, I gotta go. My blog isn't the only thing I'm running behind on. I still haven't watched the Monday night football I taped, read Sunday's paper, or had my Labor Day barbecue.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. And, if you can, check out this week's featured "Health Experts" article by embryologist Carole Wegner: "Quality Assurance in the Fertility Lab."