Monday, January 31, 2005

The Furtive Infertile: Notes from under a desk

Today, just as I had stuffed a much-needed, oversized hunk of chocolate into my mouth, the phone rang. It was the clinic. Really, their timing is uncanny.

"Hello, this is Mareighsgana Marmarmar," I garbled, strangling on my tongue and half chewed chocolate.

"You phoned us?" said the stern voice on the other end. There was a long, deathly pause. OK, obviously even though I had left a detailed message earlier, they were going to make me repeat the whole thing. Again. At my desk. At work. In my open plan office.

So I crawled under the desk and barricaded myself in behind some files and my gym bag.

"I was just wondering when we were going to get our letter confirming our appointment. We were referred, or supposed to be referred, by Dr Ticktock at the end of December, and we still haven't heard anything" I said quietly.

"Referred to where?" said Ms Sternietty Stern.

I felt like reaching through the phone and giving her a sharp neat slap. Firstly, I said 'where' in the message I left earlier. The message I had left in the privacy of my own home this morning. Secondly, I mean, where do ya think? Where does Dr TickTock usually refer people? Referred to Paris, France? Referred to Mars? Referred UP YOUR ASS?

"The um, Assisted Conception Unit," I whispered.

"Where? I couldn't hear you," Sternietty Stern barked.

"The Assisted Conception Unit," I repeated at normal volume, furtively glancing around to see if anyone was paying attention. Fortunately, most of the staff were huddled around a colleague's desk on the other side of the room cooing over baby pictures, so the coast was more or less clear.

"I'll transfer you," she grumbled, while I contemplated whether the phone line was long enough to turn into a noose, and if the filing shelves would stand up to the weight of my swinging body.

The Ass Con people were slightly nicer. I say "slightly" in the way that I find shots in my left arm slightly better than in my left buttock. She informed me that the letter confirming the appointment was on its way "sometime next week". Or you know, maybe Christmas. And that appointment would probably be for the end of March. Or possibly Christmas.

"Or it could be April," she chirped gaily. "Oh, and don't forget, the waiting list for IVF for fee-paying clients is at least six months. Or you know, longer!" Like around Christmas.

I wanted to ask about how we go about teeing up an IUI, but then all of a sudden half the office seemed to find a reason to stand in my immediate vicinity, so I gave up.

It's suddenly looking like a good idea to pursue private treatment in the Other City, or at least to gauge whether the waiting times are comparable. In a way that might be no bad thing. I've spent the last couple weeks in data-gathering mode about options - that is, for treatment and/or adoption, and am about ready to post my findings thus far. So I might as well fill in the jigsaw as best and fully as I can. Even if that entails more phone calls conducted in hushed, furtive tones.

"Mare?" I heard a voice from above, and looked out to see a pair of nicely polished shoes. It was my boss. "The meeting is about to start. Can I ask why you are under your desk?"


At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lost count of how many attempted stealth "under the desk" conversations I've had in the past two years...I have no doubt that co-workers who have shared a common cubicle wall with me know all of our dirty infertile/miscarriage laundry. Oh well - spices things up for a boring day in the office, no?

What a biatch Ms. Sternietty Stern is! Hope she gets absolutely no sympathy when she is calling the clinic regarding her hemmorhoids and must repeat loudly why her ass is bleeding!!

Wishing for a timely appointment with Ass Con


At 8:22 PM, Blogger Soper said...

AGGH! It ate my comment! Or posted it, which is worse b/c I wasn't done with it!

Sheeponastick for two, please....

IVF= literal needles
Adoption= invisible, equally sharp and painful needles

As in, Soper just finished off a double scoop of chocolate mint ice cream while wearing a wool sweater, coat, and huddled under a blanket.

Evil, invisible needles.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Suz said...

I've never had to crawl under the desk, but there have been many, many times where I grab the ringing cell phone, see the number and run a mad sprint with it towards the parking lot. Everyone in the office probably thinks I'm a drug lord, prostitute, or maybe just incontinent.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Angela said...

Your post made me giggle, in sympathy of course. Any reproduction (more like lack of)-related questions are taken at a phone far away from our secretary, who openly and unabashedly eavesdrops and is a huge gossip. “I heard you on the phone with the vet. Is your dog sick?” I shudder to think how fast word would get around the department if she overheard one of my calls with the doctor!

Best of luck with the scheduling.

At 9:01 PM, Blogger Pamplemousse said...

I hear you, girl! I don't know why these people always think you are someplace private to talk and 99% of the time you are not! BTW they saw you with the chocolate on the hidden camera! ROFL!

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, you are funny.

At 12:14 AM, Blogger Lala said...

"Mareighsgana Marmarmar" laughing my big fat ass off at your mouth o' marbles name!

At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arrggh...does that post bring back memories of hiding under my desk....


At 4:42 AM, Blogger amyesq said...

"Ass Con" is sooo Tom Clancy. Hopefully you won't have to make it up to "Ass Con 5" whatever that is. Just sounds scary. Sorry about your under-desk phone conversation. I empathize with you. We are moving offices this month and I will also get to experience the joys of an "open plan" office. It took me foru months to realize that "work spaces" meant "cubicles". We should work on some good code words. "I'm calling Ass Con to discuss project Marechild"

At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post made me laugh and cry at the same time. I will be using the term "Ass Con" on a regular basis in my open plan office.

Thank you for your blog. It helps.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger ms pickled eggs said...

That brings back memories of hiding in the toilets with my mobile, praying that nobody would need to pee. Someone always did of course, usually right at the moments I was shouting, 'Yes, my period started today'.

And you've just reminded me that I really ought to call them about a couple of things. Oh what fun...

At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, the idea of criminal checks for people seeking infertility treatments is the most enraging thing I have read in a long time. Every time public policy takes another step in the direction of merging with a bad Sci-Fi plot my eyes bleed.

Definitely check out the waiting times in Other City. I know we are reasonable, ordered and orderly people who find the idea of rampant chaos extremely alarming but I am sitting here in my own Other City right now; almost done with infertility's Big Enchilada and it wasn't so bad. I swear it. So check. More information = good.

Hang in there. And if someone is too close to your desk while you are having one of these soul-churning chats in the future you can always politely tell them you are trying to discuss a DELICATE issue with your physician. They will flee. They will think you have the clap, of course, but they will flee.

Julia S. of the Hippos

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

recently, my doctor prescribed me VIAGRA suppositories (allegedly helps uterine lining). of course insurance covers men who want to have sex but god forbid it cover women who want to have a child - but i digress.

suffice it to say, that i was leaving on a trip and had to hurry up and get said prescription. but between conversations with the pharmacy, the nurse, my doctor, and the insurance co, all to the tune of "I NEED MY VIAGRA - STAT!" I had about three thousand "under the desk" conversations that day alone.

thanks for your story - tragicomedy worthy of the greeks!

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Baby Hungry Man said...

Mare - Dont know if Get Smart ever aired in your neck of the woods, butI recommend the cone of silence for all your privacy needs.


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