Infertility: Dr. Debbie versus the Rhinosaurs
After I gave up on purely spiritual and/or natural remedies for infertility, I decided to pursue medical treatment with greater dedication.
My husband was still in medical school, and we barely knew the treatments for anemia versus hyperprolactinemia. Still leaning toward the natural/spiritual side, I picked a doctor who, unfortunately, was not exceptionally competent. It took only skimming a medical text to see that:
1) I didn’t have what he thought I had, and
2) he had prescribed the maximum treatment for the thing I didn’t have.
In his math, zero symptoms + zero accurate tests = one major medical condition.
My compassionate, incompetent doctor ordered a stat emergency MRI to see if I had a brain tumor (I didn’t), and then he proceeded to treat the condition as if I had the largest tumor possible.
The medical system has checks and balances in place. Within a few years, this doctor was checked and balanced. I don’t know the details – it wasn’t related to my care – but he was a kind man, and I wish him well.
This misdiagnosis, along with a handful of others like it, caused me to take the medical reins even more firmly into my own hands, and I hung on for dear life.
Around this time, my grandfather died. I’m not sure the cause of his death. They said it was leukemia, but there were whisperings that his body essentially had an allergic reaction to itself. This, along with several other unusual allergy problems in my family, made an impression on me. Out of the deep frustration of having “unexplained” infertility, I conjured up my own allergy-related diagnosis.
Like some of my previous doctor’s ideas, I didn’t have much medical research to support my diagnosis. Getting the necessary tests would be tricky. I couldn’t get a screening done by a reproductive endocrinologist yet because insurance wouldn’t cover it. We wouldn’t be able to afford anything out of pocket for another several years. I decided to try an allergist, which insurance would cover.
I made the appointment, arming myself with as much information as I could, to convince him to order the tests. I’m sure I arrived at the allergist’s clinic with a typed, bulleted list.
Looking back now, with a little better understanding of research, I cringe at those wild, unsupported grasps for answers. I wasn’t alone at all, though. Many people have awful experiences with medicine. Without knowing how to get answers, the frustration and distrust increase until some people just give up on traditional medicine altogether.
The allergist, to his credit, was very obliging. I think I was an interesting case among a sea of sneezers. The high point, from his perspective, might have been when I concluded:
“So… I’m really pretty sure I have rhinosauritis!”
That wasn’t exactly the word I used, but it might as well have been. I was very serious, and I completely botched the pronunciation of one of the words I had practiced so carefully for this appointment.
The good doctor grabbed the resident who was assisting him and exited the room abruptly!
The upside of this story is that he did order the tests for me. (And they were all normal… How frustrating still not to have a diagnosis!)
The other upside was that, by that point, I didn’t even care whether I gave the doctor a much-needed laugh out in the hall.
Sometimes, when you want something that badly, you just don’t mind making a fool of yourself for it. The longing propels you forward – without regard to personal cost.
This post is part of a series on our journey through unexplained infertility. To read the rest of the story so far, please click here to see the index of posts.