Culture Shock

The latest physical news is that I’ve got three 13-millimeter follicles growing, and that I’m going in tomorrow for another check.

I know the chances of pregnancy on any given cycle, even if I manage to pop out the world’s most perfect egg, are slim, slim, slim. But I’m feeling pretty content at the moment anyway. Mostly because I was fearing I’d have nothing going on down there after taking the Clomid, and I’m so relieved to see some action.

As far as the mental and emotional landscape goes, lately I’m feeling like a stranger in a new country.

Not the least of it is the experience in the RE’s office. Everyone knows what they’re doing: the techs, the nurses, the appointment-making-lady. And most of the patients. And clearly I am supposed to just know what to do. But I don’t.

In the waiting room, I don’t know I’m supposed to sign in on the little form, or what I’m supposed to write on it. In the ultrasound room, I don’t know where to put my clothes, and I drape them over the arm of a chair. And then the nurse ends up sitting there, instead of in the swivel chair on the other side of the exam table where I thought she’d sit, and she knocks my pants and undies onto the floor and doesn’t even flinch or apologize or make a move to pick them up. Now, did she do that on purpose out of spite because I put my clothes on Her Chair?

After the scan, Nurse Chair tells me I need to have blood drawn, sets a piece of paper with my name on it on the desk, and leaves to let me get dressed. I put on my pants and feel the mundane details of what needs to be done pile up. It’s like trying to buy a bus ticket in Kathmandu.

There is a point to this exhaustive look at every pixel of This Week’s Ultrasound Visit. The point is that the RE’s office is a foreign land, and the natives are not always that helpful.

The weird thing about this sense of culture shock, though, is that some part of me really treats the experience like moving to a new place: I’m new here, and everything’s mysterious. But, boy, how clever I’ll feel when I’m on my seventieth ultrasound and this all feels like home.

Sick, huh? Sad, that we have to get used to that place. That there are so many of us. That already the reason for all this probing and pilling and tweaking – and the hope of a good outcome – is so obscured from view that the main thing I wished for in that moment was not that my stay would be short but that soon I’d know what to do in that strange, strange place.

The other sense of travelling I have is more to do with the problem we’d all have all the time, if we thought about it: not knowing the ending. Not knowing where I am on the journey. Is this only the beginning, or am I almost at the end? What’s up ahead? I feel like I’m constantly reframing my view of the current moment in terms of my latest fantasy or nightmare about what the next year will hold.

It is a great, great boon for my sanity that there are so many women out there who are brave and frank in telling their stories about this crazy country. It’s humbling to see what might be up ahead, and to see the grace with which my infertile blogging sisters (still strangers, at the moment) face it all. It is immensely comforting to see all this living proof that whatever comes, it can be lived through, and that somewhere – maybe near, maybe far, but somewhere on this road in a place I will reach one day – is my new home. And it ain’t in the ultrasound room, and Nurse Chair is nowhere to be seen.

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One thought on “Culture Shock

  1. I always feel awkward and uncomfortable at Dr’s office’s the first time, too. I thought I was the only one. But hey, you got a cool nickname for Nurse Chair out of it

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