Update Part 1
May 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
It has been ages since my last post and lots has happened. Firstly, I embarked on a series of blood tests. The first were to occur on day 21 of my cycle and to include my progesterone levels, rubella, hepatitis and to determine whether I have been exposed to the virus CMV. The clinic needs to know the latter as it will determine which donor I can be matched with. If I’ve not been exposed to CMV and I use a donor that has, there could be a risk to any future developing foetus.
The second test is to establish my blood group. As it is impossible to have a blood group test on the NHS unless you are pregnant already, Dr Marion has instructed me to make an appointment at a separate surgery and pretend. As I tend to do what I’m told, whatever misgivings I might have, I make two separate appointments at surgeries on the opposite sides of town.
For the first set of tests I am initially calm. The nurse who calls me in has soft skin that older, upper middle class women have, and she glides me back to the room. I imagine that out of her uniform she wears cashmere, pearls and tweed. I wonder why she has become a nurse, taking blood on a council estate, rather than partaking of bridge and afternoon tea. Her upright, calm demeanour lasts until she reads the forms that Dr Marion has sent me with and she tuts and sucks in her teeth. She tells me that she cannot take my blood as the form has been filled out incorrectly. She prods at Dr Marion’s signature, mutters “that woman” and that Dr Marion always gets it wrong. She says that I will need to go back to my surgery, get the right forms and come back another day.
I am rendered frantic at the thought of waiting another month for day 21 to fall again. I forget that it has already taken me months to get to this point and several more weeks will make very little difference. The possibility of this lost time is suddenly intolerable. I lose the capacity to talk rationally and I shriek. I ramble nonsensically about babies, clocks ticking and fertility clinics. The nurse does not look sympathetic. It is clear that I have walked unaware into the middle of a 30 year ‘Nurse-Vs-Dr-Marion’ war and there is no hope of surrender.
Please, I beg. The threat of tears sees her concede. She agrees that I can call my surgery to see if they will fax over the right forms. It takes several minutes of an engaged tone; then the automated message telling me that if I have chest pain to dial 999; followed by numbers to press for particular departments; before I speak to a living receptionist who tells me that they cannot release the paperwork without authorisation from a GP and there won’t be one free until lunch time. I gulp back a sob and flop into a chair before the nurse. I see a look of panic cross her eyes as she fears I will stage a ‘sit in’ until lunch.
She offers to take my blood and link it with the forms when they are faxed over. I thank her profusely while she finds a vein and fills the necessary vials in less than a minute. It is done and we share a look of relief, for me that the next stage in this journey is done and for her that I will never besmirch her surgery with hysteria again.
The following day I cycle to an alternative surgery on the opposite side of town for the blood group one. It is an afternoon appointment and all morning I have speculated about how I should respond if the nurse congratulates me, asks me my due date or how the morning sickness is, and if I should give voice to the lie. My longing for a child means that if I need to lie, then I will. But mostly it is fear of Dr Marion that propels me, fear of what she will do if I return having failed. I decide that I will remain mute, hand over the form, present my arm and make no eye contact.
I arrive in a rush and do not have any waiting time to see others being called in before me. A man emerges with a tell-tale plaster stuck to the crook of his arm and a couple of minutes later so does the nurse, who calls my name through. Only I am horrified to discover that it is the same nurse that I saw yesterday. I am unable to move from my seat. I frantically wonder if I can adopt a disguise but I remind myself that I cycled here, as I did to the appointment yesterday and I am wearing a highly distinctive flourescent bib that my dad filched from the health and safety cupboard at work which has the label of his employers emblazoned all over it. I am the only one in my city to own one and friends sometimes text me to report they’ve just seen me cycling down so-and-so road. This, along with the fact that I caused a minor fracas in the surgery the previous day means that she cannot but recognise me. I fear that she will think I have the blood test equivalent of Fabricated or Induced Illness, the need to have my blood taken unnecessarily, my insistence on the tests happening the previous day probably confirming this. At the very least she knows that I am not pregnant and will see through the scam between myself and Dr Marion. The ceasefire of yesterday will lead to all-out war between them.
She calls my name again and I stand, unable to flee. As she leads me through she gives no discernible sign that she recognises me and I attribute this to her chic refinement. I decide to stick to the original plan and say nothing. I hand over the form. She accepts it unquestioningly, tightens the belt around my arm and proceeds to stab me three times before she finds a vein. This is clearly her revenge. I grin, bear it and accept it as routine. She batches the vial up, and I thank her, and as I stand to leave she wishes me luck and I am convinced that she winks. Or perhaps I imagine this and I vow to buy some less distinctive cycling gear and perhaps dye my hair.