Saturday, January 3, 2009

Close Encounters of the Clinic Kind

Every 3rd or 4th time we're in our clinic, we see someone we know from the "outside." These close encounters can begin as early in our visit as stepping onto the elevator -- since our clinic is the entire 5th floor of the medical building, when someone hits "5," it's almost like they've slipped you some sort of a secret handshake. Sometimes we exchange knowing smiles, sometimes we pretend not to have noticed them, even as we walk a few steps behind them down the hall to the clinic. Crowded elevators are helpful for the latter approach.

Then there's walking into the clinic and seeing someone you know. We've found at this point, it depends on: (a) how well you know the people; (b) the context in which you know them, and , (c) what day of the week it is.

For example, we saw a girl DH knew from high school who I also know from various social and civic organizations on a Sunday morning. Now, nobody is there on a Sunday morning for a consult or an initial visit. Sunday mornings are reserved for IUIs, IVF cycle blood monitoring, Beta tests, etc. Sunday mornings are for warriors. We sat and chatted with her while we both waited for our procedures, and felt we had found a compatriot in this struggle. It was a nice encounter, and we've emailed a few times since.

On the flip side, we saw the wife of a former co-worker of DH's in the clinic lobby on a random Tuesday morning. Tuesdays are the Statue of Liberty of clinic days. Tuesdays welcome everyone. Despite the higher stakes on the weekend visits, somehow they seem more intentional; on weekdays, the clinic is just filled with nervous people. Most of them have no clue what's going on, and their husbands are obviously weirded out by the whole scene. I prefer the weekends. Anyway, this "wife of a former co-worker" obviously didn't want us to see her, so she sort of did the "head-down-duck-into-the-lab" move that I'm guilty of doing myself from time to time. Those encounters are just weird.

Then there's what I call the "unavoidable hall bump." This has only happened to me once, but it made an impression. On my last visit, I was walking down the hall to check-out, and a girl I knew from college (not a friend, more of an acquaintance) was coming towards me down the hall to the exam rooms. It was face-to-face, head-on encounter. It also caught us both by surprise, and what I like to call "normal social conventions" took over. We both kept moving, but did the bright-eyed, full smile, "oh my gosh good to see you" thing. Very strange, given the circumstances. It was a quintessential clinic encounter.

I've found I have a different attitude towards these clinic encounters this time around. I don't mind seeing people in the clinic as much as in the past. We've done all the tests, we know the drills. All the staff know us. We know how many days are involved with which stage, and what a good Beta count would be. Hopefully we'll be able to encourage some folks along the way, too.

In a strange way, it's comforting to do this again. Kind of like Sunday visits are more calming than Tuesday visits. I'll take comfort where I can get it in this process. Grace and peace to all of you this weekend.


Leslie Laine said...

Great post! I smiled all the way through it. There's nothing like Clinic encounters, and I'm glad to hear that you're finding comfort and peace somewhere. Strange about this, we feel the same way. We didn't get to the ER phase last time, but starting IVF isn't as torturous this time because we've been there and we know what we're walking into.

I take great solace in that we're all in this together!!

Have a great weekend!

Alex and Jill said...

I love all of your encounter descriptions...we've all experienced this and we all do the exact same thing, like we're slick or somethin'. HA!

Have a great weekend, girl.

I Believe in Miracles said...

Did you see Will's post about their close encounters? It was nuts. Yours sounds crazy too. I've run into a couple people in the hall, but so far I've had no completely random encounters yet!