Here’s a fun picture. These are my brother's dogs Gabriel (left) and Daisy (right). They are all dressed up in their Christmas clothes. D'aaawwwwww.
Before this post, I feel I should point out a little something about insurance. I do have insurance through work, but very little of this process was covered. Ironically, all fertility testing was covered until about a year before we started this process. Go figure. I mention this now because this post is about the first item on the financial ticker, and our first reality check at just how much this would cost. They didn’t charge me at the time when I got the bloodwork, but they did send me a bill when my insurance denied almost all of the tests as "not covered". I think they paid for a small percent as a write-off because I remember the original bill was over $500 but I remember paying around $450.
I’m also not going to argue whether or not insurance should or should not pay for fertility treatment or even just the diagnostic testing, but just realize that most don’t so don’t get your hopes up that yours will. Always check first.
Initial Bloodwork – March 2011
This is routine before any fertility treatments. It makes sense to check everything out before they start sending swimmers in there. And they check for nearly everything. They check for STD’s, hormone levels, blood type, plus I also had to give a urine sample so they also check everything you can find out from pee too.
I made an appointment for a Saturday morning because I had to be fasting and I didn’t want to go to work after having that much blood taken. So my girlfriend and I got up bright and early one morning and headed to Quest Diagnostics. Just as a side note, you should always make an appointment before going to Quest. Especially in the morning. It is very busy and this Saturday was no exception. But we got to bypass the standby line and walk right up to the appointment counter. We checked in and then sat.
It wasn’t very long before they called me. Appointments get called almost as soon as they check in so you can imagine how this pisses off people who didn’t make an appointment and have been sitting there a while. They see you check in and get called quickly and some people get all kinds of pissy, especially old people. Sorry if that sounds bad, but it’s true.
Anyway, the phlebotomist takes me back and I hand her the bag of tubes the doctor gave me. She gives me a funny look and says “What’s all this for?” I told her fertility testing. She looked at the orders and then said “Ah, I be right back.” That’s not a grammar mistake either. She had an accent. She leaves and comes back with an armful of more tubes. I know armful isn’t an official unit of measure, but it’s a pretty good estimate.
She asks me which arm I want to use and I told her it didn’t matter. I have small, thin veins and it is always such an ordeal when I have to get blood drawn. And it doesn’t matter how much water I drink before, either. I drank almost half a liter before this and it didn’t help. Later in the process when I was getting blood drawn for all those frequent hormone checks, the phlebotomist at my fertility doctor just used the veins in my hand because it was easier than the arm.
She decided to start with my left arm. I knew it wouldn’t work because I’m right-handed anyway so the veins tend to be a little better on that side. But she tried the left anyway. She had me squeeze a foam ball and she flicked my arm for a good five minutes before giving up and switching to the right side. After more of this I asked her if she could just use my hand but she said not for that many tubes. It took about 10 minutes to find a vein in my right arm she was happy with and right before she poked me she said “I hope this one doesn’t dry up and we have to do this again!” I hoped not too.
So started the long process. Drip, drip, switch. Drip, drip, switch. It didn’t hurt much past the initial poke, but I did start to feel a little sick at just looking at all the tubes of my blood. She put them in a container in front of me every time she switched a tube. I don’t remember the exact number of tubes now, but I do know it was over 30. And I’m not even exaggerating.
Once the last tube was finally filled and she bandaged me up, I felt better because I figured I was almost done. Not quite. She left again and came back a good 5 minutes later with a long strip of name stickers, one for each tube. I had to check every one and make sure it was my name and it was spelled right. Then I had to sign that they were correct. THEN I had to give the urine sample, which by that time I totally forgot about. I didn’t have any trouble producing because of all the water I had drunk, but I just wanted to go. I was really hungry by this time.
I went into the little bathroom, made my water in the cup and then put it on the specimen table and I was finally on my merry way. When I walked in the lobby my girlfriend said “What happened to you?” She had seen so many people come and go after I went back because it took so long. Well, we were done now and we went and had a lovely breakfast together. And all of my bloodwork came back normal, so I guess it was worth it.