Maybe baby – part 2 (Patient from hell)

In my previous post (part 1 of Maybe Baby), I guess it’s clear why I’m a petulant child. I’m pretty amazed that Loh (SF) didn’t blacklist me from his patient list, or kick me in the ass. Anyway after that encounter, my husband and I had to attend a briefing on the IVF procedures, how to use the pen needle for hormonal injections, lots of forms to fill in, blood test, and advice to go for counseling before start of procedures. We didn’t go for the counseling; thinking back maybe I should. At least to help me prepare emotionally.

I had to have injections to induce egg/ovary production, which is known as “fresh cycle”. I’m surprised at myself that I agreed to go for the treatment despite having fear of needles. I couldn’t inject myself, my husband had to do it for me every night, for around 12 days or so. Can you believe I had to have two injections a night? Every time before my husband injected me, I had to psyche myself to take the jabs. Worst, the hormones played havoc with my emotions. At that time (Mar 2010), it was a low point for me at work. I was emotionally very down because of that, and the excessive hormones pumped into me made me felt worst. All I can say is that it was a really shitty period then, and I was tempted to walk away. My husband was worried for my mental state and wanted to get me to see a shrink. I didn’t, instead my husband played the role of the shrink and tried talking me out of my emotional malaise.

During the injections, I also had to go to KKH IVF center for ultrasound scans, to check on number of eggs and the sizes. The hormones worked pretty well on me because I produced a lot of eggs, which is not common in older women. In fact I’ve been through 2 more fresh cycles since, and my egg production got better each time, until Loh commented during the last cycle that I produced eggs like a twenty something. The nurses and technicians at the IVF center are very nice and thoughtful people, and pretty encouraging. They are also pretty good at giving me jabs, or drawing blood, knowing I’m scared of needles. I like them, and hand on heart, I’ve never given them any attitude. On the other hand, I didn’t show such good behavior to the doctors, particularly poor Miss France.

Miss France is a French African doctor, who is also the consulting doctor at the IVF center on weekdays. I’ve never seen her around on Saturdays, that’s when the junior doctors are assigned the thankless flunky tasks. But some senior consultants like Loh really work hard for their money, as they have to work on Saturdays, or at least alternate Saturdays. I think if Loh is paid for OT, he’ll probably be retiring in the Bahamas by now. Anyway I digress. I had to see Miss France or whoever the doc on duty to review the scan result, and decide when to return for another scan, or when the egg retrieval or embryo transfer process should take place. But because there were usually a number of patients around, so by the time it took for me to see her would be almost 9am or past that, and that got me agitated as I was late for work. When Miss France told me I had to return the next day or the day after for another scan, I snapped at her, “how many more times do I have to come back? Do you know I have to work?” Poor Miss France then had to explain patiently the reason for another scan. My husband commented more than once that I was terrorizing her. But unlike me, Miss France has grace, she didn’t snap back at me, nor did she show me the black face (well, yeah she’s African but I’m sure you can tell if her face blacken with anger). She was always patient. So I want to apologize to Miss France for my bad attitude and thank you for putting up with this patient from hell.

This nasty patient is a chicken when it comes to the operation procedure and needles. I don’t know why but the day ops scares the shit out of me. When I went for the first egg retrieval procedure, I was literally trembling with trepidation. A nurse tried to insert a needle into my left hand’s blood vessel for the anesthesia, but it wouldn’t go in as I was trying to pull my hand away from her. Do you know how freaking painful that is? She just gave up and told me the needle would be inserted inside the op theatre. I nearly told her “you can just kill me right now.”

I had to wait for my turn; it was like some production factory, with a couple of other women waiting too. Come to think of it, it is an egg production facility! Then I heard Loh’s voice and I panicked further and tried to shrink myself (if that was possible). Thank God he didn’t see me (I think), and next thing I knew I was told to go into the op theatre. I remember distinctly, as a nurse was inserting the needle into my hand, I was so scared that I was trembling and tearing at the same time. The nurses were worried and kept asking me, “are you ok? It’s alright, don’t worry. Are you cold? Do you want a blanket?” Luckily for them, the anesthetic knocked me out pretty quick and before I knew it, I found myself lying on the hospital bed. I wasn’t knocked out for very long, and didn’t suffer any side effects from the anesthetic, never had, in fact I took it pretty well.

Two days later, I was back at the IVF Center for the embryo transfer procedure. I waited outside the Op room, pretty tense up, staring at the door while waiting for the nurse to appear. Suddenly I heard a cheery voice called out, “Hello!”, and there was Loh, in scrubs standing near the door smiling brightly at me, with a couple of his colleagues. I stared at him, jaws dropped, in shock! I think I tried saying hello back but nothing came out. They quickly disappeared through the door, probably to get away from the embarrassing situation. When I was inside later, waiting for the procedure to start, he came by again. I’ve got to give it to him for being gracious, he didn’t give me the cold shoulder for what happened earlier. Instead he asked me how I was doing. I told him I needed to pee. (unfortunately during the embryo transfer procedure, the patient has to hold her pee so that the uterus can be seen clearly in the scan.) He quipped, “at least you’ll appreciate the toilet more.”

Anyway I want to thank all the nurses (particularly those at IVF center) who took care of me during the day ops I had to go through. Whether they are locals or foreigners, they’ve been very kind and competent. And I know they are also very hardworking. Not only do they have to attend to patients, some pretty difficult ones, but also take care of administrative works after consultation hours. They work long hours. No offense to Singaporeans, but the foreign nurses have proven themselves to be pretty good too, at least those I’ve encountered.

More on the doctors later.

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