Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Because this shouldn't make me cry?

The appointment with the fertility doctor was less than encouraging. The fact that I started crying when I realized that I was pretty much back at square one with him--and that he was truly baffled by my show of emotion (because most women who have had two miscarriages are usually cheery at the prospect of more tests and possibly no answers?)--only prolonged the awkwardness of the entire encounter. Another round of blood tests--12 vials. And waiting for two or three weeks to find out the results of the one that might bear out previous theories. Plus an internal ultrasound that, at least, ruled out the uterine polyp the ultrasound tech had insisted was present after my second miscarriage.

There's a lot for me to say about the specifics of the appointment, where things are, the continued waiting, the growing sense that I may not get any answers and so will have to make my own decision without any real help. (One huge frustration today was having the fertility doctor ask me, multiple times, "So what do you want me to do?" I don't know. Would presenting me with information, a sense of standard procedure, and your professional opinion be too much?)

But anyways, let me rant about one thing in particular. I need doctors--and that is doctors in the plural, he was only the most recent one--to stop asking, in the tone that announces its criticism, if maybe I would want to switch sperm donors. You know, given my son's issues.

There is a part of me, when I am out of the doctor's office, that can find a sort of humor in the question. Back when I was pregnant with Scooter, I joked with Trillian that I would be able to take all the credit for the good stuff and blame any negatives on the anonymous donor, some man we'll never meet. Of course now that I ascribe all of Scooter's quirks to my family's genetics, readily admit this, am not at all ashamed of this, now the doctors are trying to pass it off on the anonymous donor.

The doctor today returned to this topic multiple times. I don't think he even understands the implications of Asperger's over other forms of autism. He certainly couldn't pronounce it. He glommed on to my mention that while the exact causes are unknown, Asperger's is generally thought, perhaps more than other forms of autism, to have a strong genetic component. And so he kept pushing genetic testing. Even though I told him, no fewer than three times, that researchers have yet to trace Asperger's to any specific genetic variation and so a genetic counselor wouldn't know what to look for. I felt a bit like a high school biology teacher trying to explain the topic to a particularly dense student. Finally, he brought in the issue of other chromosomal abnormalities, but admitted that since I've had one live birth, the likelihood of a serious problem is less than 1%.

I did actually raise my voice when he brought up the fact that Scooter has not been officially diagnosed, suggested that perhaps we should be pursuing this. I think he meant more in terms of genetic testing (despite what I had already told him), but that really struck a nerve and I started to explain--loudly--that we've been trying for an evaluation and/or diagnosis for over three years now and that the wait list in our state is currently six months and we were only just able to work on initiating that process after our move (I have a stack of paperwork to wade through still). He did apologize for any perceived slight of my parenting, but still seemed generally clueless.

From my research, I do think that there is a chance that I might have more luck in staying pregnant with a different donor, if the previous miscarriages have been a result of immunologic factors. And so it is something I am allowing to live at the back of my mind right now. But I wonder why this is not something that has been mentioned to me by a medical professional. I would understand this. The science behind it makes sense to me, even if I'm not sure how I would proceed. However, this harping on my son's "issues" is wearing thin.

And for a doctor who deals exclusively with fertility, is it too much to expect him to be just a little sensitive?


cinnamon gurl said...

Well, since you mentioned pronunciation, is it a hard g or a soft g? ;)

I can't imagine a doctor would ever suggest choosing another sperm donor if you were married to the sperm donor. You'd think that thought alone might make him tread carefully.

This is tough stuff. I wish it were easier for you.

Trillian said...

Hard G. And the S.O.B. is lucky he had the pacifist in his office alone. I would not have been so kind. And no, I doubt he would have suggested, I mean a different donor if a husband had been sitting there. What an a$$hole! The fact that he would advocate that strategy when he obviously doesn't know a damn thing about ASD, is frightening. Stick to what you know and don't make suggestions about things you don't. Same sentiment goes for diagnosis and treatment, the jerk isn't a pediatrician so he can keep his misinformed opinions about that to himself as well.

Mouse said...

The doctor didn't just mess up the g-sound. He pronounced the whole word as though it were French. After I'd already said it a couple times.

I got annoyed at the repeated mention of a different donor particularly because I had told him point-blank that everything that might classify Scooter as having Asperger's was 100% visible in me and my family.

And now you also see why, even though Trillian is present at a lot of these sorts of appointments, it's a good thing she can't always make it. Similar case with the ultrasound experience I linked to. I just cry. She would punch. I prefer not to use our savings on bail.

Mouse said...

I realized that I should clarify. Trillian doesn't actually punch. Certainly not people. Maybe walls. She would definitely be louder than I ever am.

Bea said...

My family doctor told me that Bub's autism diagnosis was wrong, because "autistic children are non-verbal."

Mouse said...

I realized pretty quickly that saying "Asperger's" meant nothing different than "autism" to the doctor. Once this dawned on me, I was too worn out to try to educate him. It's very frustrating to feel like I need to be in constant education mode, especially when dealing with medical professionals. There's a part of me that is always shocked they don't know better. I get that it's not their specialty, but the level of ingrained misinformation still surprises me.

BTW, we're now using a French pronunciation of "Asperger's"; it rhymes with "Faberge."

Lisa b said...

One huge frustration today was having the fertility doctor ask me, multiple times, "So what do you want me to do?" I don't know. Would presenting me with information, a sense of standard procedure, and your professional opinion be too much?

so f$#ing ridiculous he has no idea about the uselessness of genetic counseling. Send him my way.

Lisa b said...

oh and my new policy involving my sanity and need to NOT be educating my medical professionals is to lie to them if necessary. Why stress yourself out by discussing him with them things they do not understand.
I also like to bring up dead babies and violations of law. those things really tend to stress them out. I've got some more eugenics posts I should write for your entertainment.
I asked my counsellor if they were going to change the department name to eugenics and she burst out laughing. Its funny because its TRUE.

Aliki2006 said...

I have a colleague who pronounces it "AUSperjers" and it drives me nuts and makes me want to cringe.

I'm sorry about that lout's insensitivities. Doctors really make me wonder sometimes. Really and truly.

Julie said...

Unbelievable. I like Lisa B's approach to dealing with these twits.