So we finally are back from the visit to the doctor’s office. Dawn and I arrived at the OB factory promptly at 10:30. There were at least ten people in the waiting room of the large baby consortium. Multiple doctors, nurses, billers, schedulers, attendants and funtionaries milled about beyond the smoked glass windows – the left arm not having the slightest clue what the right arm wasn’t doing.
Though “our ultrasound” (a pleasant euphemism, no weird jelly on my belly) was scheduled for 10:30 and consultation with doctor at 11:00, at 11:30 we were still sitting in the waiting room with the other sheep. I walked up to the magical window and very quietly but with unmistakable resolve mentioned that we had already been there an hour, that I had taken off work to be supportive, that we weren’t even in the door yet, and nobody seemed to be the least bit concerned about this, other than us. The receptionist blamed the ultasound woman and said she was just the messenger. I suggested I didn’t much care who was to blame, but that making patients wait a full hour before then even BEGIN the process was discourteous at best.
We were in the ultrasound room five minutes later watching the shadowy body parts of our tiny 14-week-old pre-person. Besides not wanting to know this time around – we think – it was also too early for the little gender parts to show up, so this was basically to make sure everything was where it should be, nothing was where it shouldn’t be, and make sure all systems were go.
The mini-dude or -dudette was thrashing around like a traffic cop, waving and gesticulating, heart beating loud as thunder – suddenly the whole operation went from concept to concrete, from abstract to specific. Oh yeah, this isn’t just about a cranky expanding wife, there’s something actually going on in there, “something” that in just under six months (still seems like a hell of a long time) will have a name and be pooping and breathing and gurgling all cutely and stuff.
We stalked into the ultrasound room frowning, fists clenched, and drifted out (they count on this, you know) with moony grins on our goofy faces, sedated by the reality of our budding creation – that’s why they do the ultrasound first.
Then we got to wait on the internal office bench – if given a choice, NEVER choose to go back OUT to the waiting room: out of sight, out of mind, out of guilt range, out of the loop. It’s much more efficient to sit there on the bench INSIDE, taking up as much space as possible, talking loudly, as various busy medico’s hurry by and try to avert your longing gaze.
This strategy had us off the bench and in an examination room within five minutes, moments later our sainted doctor, who delivered our 3-year-old saw us in there and wandered in. “What are you guys doing here?” he inquired after a warm greeting. “I was just making some copies.” It turned out that because there was such a disconnect between our scheduled appointment and our actual time with the ultrasound that they had kind of forgotten about us. Imagine if we had gone back out to the waiting room – we’d be there still.
He apologized profusely, discussed the perfidy of insurance companies, who got their freaking tort reform last year in Ohio but who are still reaming individual doctors to the tune of $100,000 per year for malpractice insurance – and this for a doctor with no complaints, no suits, no accidents. Like he said, “I’m the GOOD driver, and this is what they charge me. They told me I’m too popular.” He may have to leave the state before our December due date, but I got the impression we and his other patients may be able to guilt him into sticking around, at least for currently scheduled deliveries.
How can a system that drives the best, most popular doctors out of state or into bankruptcy not be considered broken? Maybe the peasants who dump their load right on the cash crop, then go back to reaping and sowing have the right approach after all.
Oh, and as far as advice to expectant fathers: this is my fourth time through and I have learned through hard experience the cardinal rule – don’t be an asshole.