PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Fractured Funny Bone

I have a personal motto: Until I’m able to make fun of it, I can’t talk about it. This is something I’ve learned about myself over the years. The trouble is that lately, I’m having a difficult time thinking of jokes about my quest to get knocked up. It’s like my funny bone is broken. Well, maybe not broken but definitely fractured at the very least.

Since I started this blog, I’ve received so many generous compliments on how I seem to find the humor in trying to conceive. These comments, emails and sentiments have meant the world to me and have kept me going. This is why I feel terrible that I haven’t written in awhile and that I seem to have misplaced my humor. I’ve looked under the couch, in my purse, in the fridge and several other possible places but it’s temporarily missing in action.

WANTED: MY SENSE OF HUMOR. LAST SEEN SEVERAL WEEKS AGO AT A FAMILY DINNER.

What’s taken its place seems to be a slew of emotions I haven’t dealt with. When you’re going through inseminations, doctor visits, injections and so forth, you get into a functional mode. You take each moment as it comes. You stay focused on getting through it and not feeling too much as you don’t want to get your hopes up nor do you want to be disappointed again. You are, in a sense, numb.

In the last month or so, I’ve switched to a better doctor, I’ve had a uterine polyp removed and for the most part, the madness seems to have died down. No shots, no pills, no bi-weekly doctor visits, no blood work. We have (mostly) returned to our regularly scheduled lives and are trying again the old fashioned way. Now that there are less dramatic distractions, I think all the emotions I kept in check have had an opportunity to finally come out, which isn’t a bad thing. It just feels like a bad thing.

In effect, I have Post Traumatic Trying to Conceive Syndrome.

Throughout this adventure (I hate to use the word ‘adventure’ as it implies it’s been fun but there you are), I’ve always been aware that I’ve had my moments of being down. However, in the past few weeks, I’ve been flooded with feelings over failed ‘reproductive assisted’ attempts, the loss of money and mostly, the lack of a baby to show for it. Even though I know things could have been incredibly worse and as much as it pains me to admit this to you without the benefit of making a joke, the truth is I’m pretty damn unhappy, resentful and exhausted these days.

My name is Jay and trying to conceive has kicked my sorry fertility challenged ass.

Hello Jay!

In the midst of all this, I’ve also realized just how very hurt and betrayed I feel by my first doctor. It doesn’t help matters either that while I’m dealing with a barrage of emotions in general and a growing hostility towards him, he continues to send me bills for stuff that not only didn’t work, but that couldn’t have worked thanks to the uterine polyp he somehow missed for the year I was seeing him.

The cherry on top of this crap sundae is that, according to my insurance company, the labs and tests he’s billing me for are typically not covered by my insurance as they feel they are not necessary (for whatever reason). The doctor, who is in network, apparently should have been aware of this. Therefore, if you believe my insurance company, the doctor knew I would most likely get stuck paying the bills.

Ok. It’s bad enough that the man somehow missed my sizable uterine polyp. It’s extra sucky that he made me blow my insurance’s once in a life time coverage for an IVF when I had “Jackson Polyp” cock-blocking any embryos but then to find a way to make me pay extra for this series of failures is maddening. The message appears to be, “Hey there! I f*cked you over and I’m still finding new and exciting ways to f*ck you over! Pay me fifteen hundred dollars!”

I’m now put in the position to beg him for supportive documentation to prove the labs/tests he did were in fact medically necessary. The goal is to use what the doctor will hopefully send me and then forward it to my insurance company who believes all of it was not vital but more “investigative”… whatever the holy hell that means.

Did you follow all that? How effen’ annoying is all this?

Even though I’m truly pissed at this doctor and believe he should have spoken to me about whether or not these tests would be covered beforehand, I’d like to think that if a doctor does lab work and x-rays, it isn’t for kicks.

Any which way, it’s not much fun having your woman parts caught in an argument between your ex-doctor and your insurance company. My ovaries have a lot going for them… but mediators - they are not.

So, my sense of humor is on vacation, I’m finally dealing with my thoughts and feelings from the last year and a half, I’m receiving bills from both the first doctor as well as the second doctor for the polyp-removal surgery and I’m attempting to all these invoices out with my insurance company who thinks I’ve got the money and time to dick around with what CPT code is considered legitimate. I have organized all these bills, statements, records, and copies into one big brown accordion folder. The color brown is appropriate as it feels like one big pile of sh*t.

It may take a while but I know my heart and my funny bone will heal eventually. At least I hope so as I’m sure my insurance company doesn’t consider emotions and a sense of humor ‘medically necessary’.

19 comments:

Waiting Lisa said...

You absolutely have a right to be PISSED at that doctor for what he did to you.

And dealing with insurance really sucks. Everytime I tried fighting them on anything, it never worked out in my favor. Ever. I spent so many years paying down medical bills. I am actually still paying for my hysterectomy. Ugh. I try not to think about it.

I still think you are funny, but we are all here for you and love you either way- funny or not! :)

The Infertility Doula said...

I know how infuriating this all is to you. And you have to take the time to give your "funny bone" a break for now. For one, I think you should write your first doctor a note, expressing your disappointment. Maybe you never send that letter, but just write it. And two, eventually you will see that even the waisted time was part of your journey (not, definitely not "adventure"). IF sucks, but now that you're Jackson Poly-free, in some ways you have a new lease on your reproductive system. Go back to enjoying things again (at least a little). We love you, funny or not. Hand in there. (Just realized Waiting Lisa said the same thing!).

Kakunaa said...

I have a folder like that....and creditors calling day and night. Screw 'em. If I had the money, sure as shootin, I would have paid 'em! Duh. No, i just forgot about them and my credit while I was at it.

Oooh, touched a nerve...your funny bone will return. If it is like mine, it will be with a touch of cynicism and inappropriateness. Which makes people uncomfortable and then makes you wonder if that REALLY just came out of your mouth!

HUGS.

Marci said...

There are other options than paying.
There's not paying. Let him take your collections where you can then go to court and show that the procedures he's requested payment for were not medically necessary, not covered by insurance, and doomed ultimately to failure because of negligence on his part and failure to adequately diagnose your problem.
Or you can sue him for malpractice.
If you have a friend who is a lawyer, or know of one who does medical malpractice suits, it might be worth finding out what you would need in terms of documentation to take it to court.
I'm not a big believer in continuing to pay for ineffective medical procedures.

suchagoodegg said...

Ihave been a longtime lurker and just wanted to wave hello. I love reading you, whether you're being funny about this sh*t-tastic ride or being raw about how much it fracking hurts.

I hate that doctor #1 missed Jackson. I hate that you are being put over the coals of a hot insurance grill. It all just SUCKS.

My highest, most heartfelt hope for you is that you can conceive naturally, now that Jackson's gone. But, a baby, soon, however it needs to happen!! xo

Secret Sloper said...

Jay, I'm so sorry that these trials have sapped your funny bone. Laughter is a great defense mechanism, but sometimes it's important to just feel every bit of sadness and anger and frustration in order to move forward. I hope you can move forward soon.

EWP said...

God, I REALLY hate that doctor. Can we go teepee his house?

Don't worry about not having posts for us. While I love your fabulous and humorous writing, I totally understand. You take all the time you need

the2weekwait said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all these comments. I sincerely felt badly about not being my usual zippy self these days. It means more than I can say to have your support.

To answer some questions, I have written a letter to the first doctor PLUS we have been talking about seeing a lawyer. We're holding off on both though because I still need to work with him on getting those documents to submit to my insurance so for the time being, I'm playing nice. He actually doesn't even know yet about the polyp.

I hate suing people willy nilly but so many have suggested we look into it. It's not that I definitely would have gotten pregnant with the IVF. It's more that we never should have done it given the fact that there was a polyp there. Have I mentioned this is a mess??

Thanks again for the love! I'm sending it right back to you!

Libby said...

Hi - I just blog hopped over here and had to comment... I thought I was the only one whose polyp was missed by an RE! In fact, once I left him and got a copy of my records, not only did he know about the polyp a year before I did, he also noted in my records that he removed it by D&C. Never happened! Seriously, no surgery!

Then he let me do 2 IVFs that ended in miscarriage before the polyp was "discovered." I so feel your hurt and betrayal. Just thinking about it makes me mad all over. I know it is malpractice, but the RE and I have sort of working relationship via the health system I work for, so I never pursued it.

I say, go get 'em! Good luck with everything.

irrationalexuberance said...

Yeah, sometimes with this IF shit, the Woody Allen adage really is true -- "tragedy + time = comedy." And since every day during IF you face many tragedies, from a failed cycle, to a newly found polyp, to having to sit next to the adorable pregnant woman on the subway, it really does take some time and critical distance before there is ANYTHING funny about ANY of it.

I always told my husband that, when I stopped laughing about this stuff he was to alert the mental health professionals. That happened more than once, because it just gets too overwhelmingly much to really process and laugh at.

So go with numb for as long as you need to -- it's your mind protecting itself, and that is just fine.

On the insurance -- I am SOO sorry you have to deal with that; I have my very own personal claims manager at my company since they screwed up so many things and made it so hard for a year. It just took a crapload of time and loads of persistence. Keep on your RE; go there if necessary, and get the information you need to get the stuff covered.

Good luck!

the2weekwait said...

Libby - THAT is insane. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that!

irrationalexuberance -- Thank you for reminding me to be persistant and hang in there. Oy!

praying4amiracle said...

We are paying for my RE bill ( 5 IUI's and still not PG) and my surgery bill from lap so I know how paying for 2 bills without getting a baby in the end feels like...
Your sense of humor is not gone btw you are still halarious..cock blocking embryo's had me rolling!
My insurance pays for NOTHING and I am stuck with thousands to pay out of pocket b/c no-one can figure out what to do with me next...I'm not going to say "stay strong" b/c any woman who goes through infertility is already a very strong woman, we WILL get through this, we may be living in a cardboard box after all the bills but at least we'll have our baby lol!

jensays (what would jen do) said...

your first doctor sounds like he's got zero bedside manner. i'm glad you got away from him, most doctors like to find out first what insurance is going to cover and if it's a necessary procedure they figure out how to get it covered.
i still kind of miss jackson polyp, but for all the wrong reasons.

Katie said...

Life isn't always sunshine and roses, so it's okay if your laughter has disappeared for a while. You are human and sometimes you need to/have a right to be pissed or upset or anything else but funny. You know that, right? Your first doctor is a total fuck stick and I wouldn't pay him a dime. Do you know anyone who is a lawyer? If so, I'd talk to him or her and see what your options are. I know taking him to court is equally/more expensive, but I think it's worse to give in and pay it.

Thinking of you and hoping that your fractured funny bone heals soon. xo

Natalie said...

Hi Jay,

I was wondering where you were the past couple of weeks and hoping all was okay. I also had a "polyp removal" surgery last week. The only problem with mine is that even though they said they saw one on the very expensive HSG test, when they went in to do the "necessary" expensive surgery to remove it, they found nothing. And then they looked at me as if I should be happy that I just spent thousands of dollars for a "false positive". I guess it is good that I don't have a polyp, but now I don't have any explanation either.

I have learned over my years of IF, always ask what any procedure costs and if it is covered by insurance. I have become a stickler about that, and it drags everything out, I spend hours on the phone, but I know what I am paying before each procedure. Hind sight is 20:20 I know, but maybe it will help in the future if you need it.

Don't feel like you have to be funny to write. Most of us are never funny, so even you at partial funny brightens my day. Good luck.

Kelly said...

You absolutely have the right to feel bitter (and not jokey) about what's been going on with your ex-doc. It pisses ME off thinking about it.

ET said...

I know what you mean by "this is a mess." No-one can say precisely when Jackson appeared on the scene and/or what would have happened had he not been present. Of course, nothing in IF is clear cut. What’s clear is that your opportunity to make a decision about your treatment based on the reality of your situation was compromised. Was your doctor complicit in the deception or as ignorant as you? Only he knows. Regardless of the unanswerable questions, it’s unfair. Unfair that you (and we) suffer with infertility, unfair that having a child is seen by insurance companies as a “luxury,” unfair that the entire “adventure” is more painful than joyous. For all of this, it is reasonable to be humorless and angry… at least for a while. Then, we must work through it, let it go and embrace the hope of a new doctor, a new cycle, a new opportunity, and/or a new way of life.

I was with the same doc for 2.5 years - 7 IUIs, IVF, FET all BFN. I got a new RE simply because I moved to another state. I just had a uterine septum removed ... uh that's a congenital issue. I had no idea I had one, as it has never been mentioned to me. During that surgery, they discovered a hydrosalpinx. I asked if that had developed since last year when I had my last FET, my new RE said he thought it looked like it had been that way for some time. What does that mean? That I had a uterine septum and a tube oozing toxic goo into my uterus as I was hoping and praying that each of those cycles would work and paying thousands of dollars for the opportunity? I don't know ... I can't know, will never know. I do know that the congenital septum was present. Would I have gotten pregnant if it had been removed? It's well ... a mess. I'm angry and confused and the "what ifs?" could kill me. You have helped me along my journey of a thousand miles through your humor and sharing your feelings. I'm sorry that there are so many women on this journey, but thankful not to be alone. I hope you find a way to come to peace with this leg of your journey (having the insurance pony -up and pay the bills may be a start), and hope the next leg turns up both your funny bone and the child you long for.

the2weekwait said...

Again, these comments are REALLY appreciated right now. It's impossible to overstate how much reading these have helped tremendously.

Natalie - That's crazy what you went through. What the hell??? Is there such a think as a disappearing polyp???

And ET -- Your comment in particular really touched me. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that and your words of encouragement are very, very thoughtful.

Thank you guys... I've said it once and I'll say it again -- we may not know each other, but the bond we share is palpable. Sending you each my very best.

Misfits said...

So this whole process of conception plus insurance is equal to sucking donkey balls. I am pretty proud of you for not disintegrating into a turrets fit of obscenites every few words. Fifteen hundred dollars buys a Lot of shoes, if you know what I mean. Or a plane ticket to somewhere really good. What it shouldn't do is pay for fabtarded care. I feel insane about my two first doctors and not being handed off to an RE right away. It's such a chore to just get GOOD care that this kind of non-care or half-assitude is more than infuriating.

You will still be funny at the end of this. That funny bone is just broken and not severed. I hold such great hope for you since you said goodbye to Jackson.

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