Monday, February 16, 2009

Neural-Tool Precepts


You might consider wearing a hard hat before entering this blog post any further. It's not pretty, but I've attempted to at least see the humor in what is just daily Monkey Momma life.

I’ve been a little frustrated lately with my OB’s office. Since this pregnancy started, I noticed there were a lot of changes going on at the office. It started with an actual physical remodel of the offices, which I might say in my non-design educated opinion, was really awful. The place used to have some lovely Japanese art, the walls were a cool Tiffany blue and the design and color scheme of the furniture and accessories were interesting and complimentary. You’d walk in immediately feeling peaceful. In the midst of infertility and pregnancy loss, this was a good thing. Of course, with my bent towards Asian decor, I just loved how it exuded a Zen experience right off the bat. Today? Brown, brown, brown. Nicely textured furniture in brown. Expensive Berber carpeting in brown. Pictures of flowers, in yellow, orange and brown. One of the nurses told me that one of the doctor’s wives did the design and wasn’t it wonderful? Smiling politely, but thinking inside, “Um…no. Actually, it’s really, really brown. Makes me think of turds. Which is not what I want to be thinking of when I’m laying on a cold table with my feet strapped in stainless steel.”

The ladies at the front counter are now different and not as polite. They’re gruff, business-like, bordering on grumpy on some days. Gone were the happy greetings I used to get from Connie and Cookie. Okay, new staff, I understand. Very busy snapping their gum, talking about their teenager that’s driving them nuts and what a jerk their boyfriend was to their mother, all the while, acting impatient while I sign in and fumble for my insurance and credit card.

Instead of the staff of very familiar, capable and friendly nurses like Sandy, Caroline, and Lydia, my OB now has one Medical Assistant, who shall remain nameless. She smells strongly of cat urine and body odor mixed, which is unpleasantly (and badly!) masked with some very florally drugstore perfume that I can actually taste because she’s taken a BATH in it that morning. She also snaps her gum and calls me “Sweetie”, even though I know I’m probably a good 10 years older than her.

My OB, a wonderful and caring individual, who I've ALWAYS adored, seems to be surrounded with a new staff that does not even come close to the level of personal care that I’ve received in the last 10 years of going to this practice. But then again, since this pregnancy, she hasn’t been returning my calls or emails in a prompt or timely manner like she used to. Granted, she’s about 9 months pregnant herself and I completely sympathize with pregnancy fog. I struggle with that daily, especially since I can’t take my ADD meds while I’m preggers. But it’s frustrating to be stewing for close to TWO WEEKS to get AFP/quad-screen results when I’m told it’s really just going to take 3 days.

It’s a simple test, they say.

Then why do I have to leave 2 messages with the Cat Urine Lady to not get answered and when I finally make a perturbed call, she only has one result on what is a QUAD screen?

MM: Thanks for the results on Trisomy 21. But what about Trisomy 13, 18, and neural tube defects?”

CUL: Neuro-tool-what?

I’m thinking to myself, are you serious?

MM: Neural-tube defects. Last time I was pregnant, I received very specific numbers, on all four of these birth defect tests. Trisomy 13, 18, 21, and neural tube defects or spina bifida. I was kind of expecting the same thing this time.

Paper shuffling, people talking in the background, snapping of gum. More paper shuffling.

CUL: Well, this is all Dr. H gave me, that your chances of Down’ that the Trisomy 21?

MM: Um...yeah.

CUL: Well that was 1 in 4,300.

MM: So you don’t have numbers on the other three results?

CUL: No.

MM: So why is this called a quad-screen if I’m only getting results for one test?

CUL: That’s a good question. *giggle, gum snap* But that’s all I have.

MM: Can we ask Dr. H? Or if she’s busy, is Sandy there? She’s the nurse that gave me the results last time. Maybe she can help?

CUL: Well, Sandy’s an RN, so she can read these reports better than I can. I’m just an M.A. I have to rely on Dr. H to give these to me so I can give them to you.

MM: Is Sandy available?

A big huffy sigh.

CUL: Hold on.

Cue staticky elevator music.

A very hormonal rant begins in my head as I listen to Hall and Oats in Musak: I’m so sorry to disturb your busy day on test results you promised to me five days ago. I’m 37. A quad-screen is a pretty important test and if you’ve had one tiny inkling that spina bifida runs through my blood, then you might not think it so bothersome for me to interrupt your day.



CUL: Okay, Sandy’s on another line, but I can tell you that the report states that Trisomy 18 shows a 1 in 11,947 chance, so that’s good. A strong negative. As for the uh…neuro-tool precepts, I’ll have to get Dr. H to get back with you. The results just say normal, they don’t have any specific numbers.

WTH!!! Neuro-tool precepts? Are you serious? But I'm almost giggling by now at the thought of what med school she attended.

MM: What about Trisomy 13?

CUL: I don’t see anything here on that.

I’ve given up at this point. I feel like I’m talking to a freshman in high school working the cookie counter at the mall.

MM: Okay, just have Dr. H get back with me.

CUL: Thanks Sweetie. I’ll give her the message.

MM: Okay, thanks.


Please know this: I am fully aware that when I have hormones surging through my veins at the pace they’re surging, my patience is very low. I try very hard to keep that in mind when things like this happen.


How on earth can an M.A. working full-time at an OB's office not know the term "neural tube defects"??? And asking a patient if Trisomy 21 is Down's? As my little nephew in Hico would say, for realz?

If I weren’t already half way through this pregnancy, I might seriously consider finding another OB’s office. To be honest, I've already Googled the best OB’s in North Dallas, but their practice's name is almost always at the top of the list. I've been going there since I moved to Texas over 10 years ago. I don't know anyone else or how good they are! I don't really want a new OB! I’d like to see where this office stands in the ratings a year from now, as these changes are just within the last several months. But good grief folks. Am I just being irrational and hormonal? Please tell. Please? I can handle it if that’s the case. Because then at least I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it's called an amazing little baby and then I can get myself medicated again and move on with a lovely life.

The light at the end of the tunnel? If you haven't taken our handy-dandy little poll at the top, please do. I can't wait to meet the little turkey! I just hope this staff doesn't try to pull him/her out with tongs on the Big Day!!!

Deep breath.

Okay, I'm better now. This experience DEFINITELY calls for some chocolate covered raisins tonight. Good thing it’s grocery night. Maybe I'll even talk N into watching some cheesy chick-flick or rom-com to ease the pain.

Neuro-tool precepts. LOLOL!


Pandamonium said...

I'm switching doctors the next time around...three strikes and they are out (not knowing or caring who would actually deliver Rachel, being worried about her size pre-delivery but never taking time to look into the matter other than guessing her weight, and "my" doctor quitting halfway through my pregnancy with no letter or acknowledgment other than "my" new doctor coming into the exam room). I'm looking at Julie's OB/GYN. Let me know if you find someone awesome where I don't have to drive forever!

Karrie said...

Ugghh...that sucks. I don't actually think you're overreacting. I'd refer you to my doc (who you would LOVE), but I'm thinking the commute might be a bit much and you'd have a hard time being in labor on your way here:-)

I think I would spend the evening eating chocolate and letting the endorphins flow. And if it helps at all, an MA doesn't actually go to medical school. They go to what is essentially a trade school program to learn to draw blood, do ECGs, and vitals. There may be a few other things, but it's not much more than I learned on the job. At least you don't have to worry that the med schools are totally falling down on the job;-)

McMama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

At the very least, you should tell the doctor next time you speak with her about your experience. Even if you don't go to med school, read a book or something and figure out the medical area you are working in! That is ridiculous.

Flakymn said...

I don't think you are over-reacting at all. If you like the doc, I think you need to tell her about the issues you are having so she knows. If it were JB, he'd want to know if his staff is not competent ... I'm frustrated for you!

Leigh said...

lol! ok, you did better than I would have....I probably would have said those things out loud to her. In my own silly words, "I hate stupid people." Kinda like they're probably not really stupid but they act like it and you are not on the same page as them so you both completely don't understand each other and you want to reach thru the phone and pull out her hair! Does that sound right? Yea, I can relate....seems as though we have the same hormones. I love my OBGYN if you're interested...he's FANTASTIC and helped save my marriage too! He is at Presby Dallas though. ((((HUGS))))

Mie said...

Gotta Love the hormones! All I've ever read about this sort of thing is that those who chose to switch mid pg were SO much happier that they did because they didn't have to worry about it anymore and those who didn't switch were more likely to be upset afterward and regretful, usually because it turned out that they didn't trust a decision a dr made at some point and felt they'd always be questioning it. Then again I run in the "natural" pg circles, where finding a dr who supports your decisions and spends time with you is key. So, take it for what its worth. I'm glad you hung in there!

Luke, Kristen and Pierce said...

Let me first apologize for laughing so hard at this. I am not laughing at your frustration, but man you are an excellent writer! :)

Jenny & I see the same peeps...can give you the info if you'd like. They are also infertility specialists.

Linda Box Taylor said...

At least, you can make a frustrating experience really funny!
I do understand about the quad screening results. It has been almost 2 weeks since my test and I'm still waiting on the results. I am suppose to hear today!
Hope things get better at the OB's office soon.

Mrs. Bick said...

From the sounds of your post things have changed, and not for the better, and if the dedicated, caring staff has been replaced with gum-snapping ding-dongs, fnd somewhere else to be. And fast. Stand up for yourself. Do what you need, for you, for baby.

All I can say is call Dr. Garrett Garner. Northlake OB-GYN (972)981-7777. Love him! I have only heard good things about him AND the partners. Also, I have several friends who also see him, and they rave as much as me.


The Kings said...

I have alot of the same feelings about this "new" office manager. That is what Dr. H told me is the reason for all the changes. When she told me that I wanted to say "Bring back the old manager, PLEASE!" I don't like all the brown, either. What happened to Dr. N's mom ,very nice lady, at the front dest and what happened to the nurse line and being able to talk to Sandy when you had a question!?! Now you have to go back and forth with some annoying operator just to talk to someone about a question!

Monkey Momma said...

Maddy, I was hoping you'd read and comment on this. I needed to know if it was just me or if anyone else that sees Dr. H has seen the same changes. I miss Sandy!!! And I didn't know Dr. N's mom worked at the front? Who was she?

Cubstarr said...

Uh... seriously. You should rethink your decision to stay with that OB office. Especially if your OB is pregnant herself, she will be out for a few months and then who are you going to see? You don't want to be left in the hands of those incompetent, urine smelling, gum chewing, lack of customer service, lack of style and taste women! LOL!

I don't think you were over reacting one bit... How can a MA not know the basics of the practice she is in? And if you don't know, don't answer! Transfer you to someone that does know!!! COMMON SENSE PEOPLE!!! =P Okay...I just feel for you since I totally know what it's like to deal with incompetency. (I deal with it everyday at work.)

Again, my advice would be to find a new OB, one that your friends trust, since I'm sure you trust your friends advice, and start fresh. It's not too late... I was thinking of throwing out my OB and going with a midwife, not because of his lack of competence, but because I just don't like hospitals and doctors. But he is a good OB and my friend trusted her with her two kids so I'm sticking with him.

Good luck hun! =)

Monkey Momma said...

LOL@Cubby! You and I are too much alike...I love your spunk!