Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Hospital hell

Today I had to ring the hospital. I put off doing that because I always finish up in raging temper when I have to speak to them. Today was as bad as ever. They had rung me because I hadn't gone in for a blood test to find out whether I was pregnant or not. So I rang them to confirm that I'm not pregnant. It would have been so good if they had said, 'I'm sorry about that' or 'that must be disappointing for you.' But they never say anything like that. I then explained to them that my husband and I are now trying to decide whether we should go through the treatment again. I asked if there would be someone at the hospital who could talk that over with us. The woman on the telephone said, 'Yes, you could talk to one of the nurses.' So I said, 'OK, so should my husband and I come into the hospital for that?' The woman said, 'Oh no, you just talk to them on the telephone.' So we've spent thousands of pounds at this hospital, they've done nothing for us and we're now trying to take a very difficult and emotional decision .... and the best that they've got to offer us is a telephone conversation with a nurse. I mean, nothing against nurses but I just find that laughable. This hospital has a world wide reputation for infertility treatment but nobody in the place has any communication skills. Their whole approach is to deny that there is any emotional aspect to anything that they are doing. I just find that so shocking. They've treated me like a piece of meat. The truth is that they never wanted my husband and I anywhere near their hospital. That sounds paranoid but it isn't - this is the third hospital we've tried and they've all shut the door on us - slowly and politely. If you've been diagnosed as having recurrent miscarriages then no hospital wants to know because they can't help you and your story is not going to end well. Yes, I'm angry - very, very angry. I just want someone in that hospital to say something kind to me. It wouldn't cost them anything. But they'll never do it.


Maddie Moon said...

I'm stunned, Alice, that the hospital don't offer any kind of counselling service. It seems such an obvious and essential part of your treatment. No wonder you feel angry, I would too.
Thinking of you.

Tash said...

Yeah, the great toss up between European medicine and US medicine. I hate that sometimes "free" (and it's not really, as you've clearly stated, either monetarily or emotionally) means "free of strings, emotion, compassion." Because that's terrible. At least here when I cough up my bank account I feel like I'm the client and they owe me a service or else I'm taking my sack of bills elsewhere.

Sadly, this is never easy. Is there some support system -- online or otherwise -- you could plug into there and find out what other people have done? Who other people have liked? Are rates of success and reviews open like they are here in the states?

Anonymous said...

That is outrageous! Isn't there a process for complaining about such treatment?

I am so sorry you have to go through this.


Melissia said...

Alice,I am so mad that I am shaking. I cannot believe that you are being treated this way. In America, we tend to lead with our pocketbooks, but I understand what you said about having difficulty finding an IVF program. At my age no one had any interest, regardless of ability to pay or health, until we said the magic words, "donor eggs". My guess is that it is even more difficult in Europe where there are restrictions on number of eggs that can be transfered, etc.
Everyone was worried about failure and lowering their success rates. sad but true.
Regardless, you deserve a consult with your doctor to discuss your options and to talk about what to do next. If need be I can come over and use my American assertiveness to get you some answers. I even promise not to slap anyone! Although, I may "get ugly", as we say here in the South.
I do have one suggestion. I have found in my own health care travails that if I don't like a certain answer that I have gotten from someone regarding something I just call back at a different time of day on a different day and talk to a different person which often results in the answer I want. It is a terrible way to work the system, but sometimes you have to figure out what you want and them go get it. You are entitled to all of your lab results as well as your ultrasound results. Perhaps if you have all of this information you will feel more in control of the process and less at the mercy of the staff at the hospital.
They are responsible for meeting with you as part of your health care plan, you need to advocate for yourself, I know it is very hard, Especially now, when you are feeling so vulnerable, but it is the only way to know what direction you need to go in. Do not let that phone call and that uncaring woman stop you.
Keep calling and insist on an appointment with the doctor and his team, tell them that you and your husband want to discuss this past IVF cycle and plans for a future cycle. (He doesn't need to know that it may not happen with him as he has the caring of an ice cube).
After you have met with him and have a frank discussion with him about what he and his clinic can do to help you within the confines of the restrictions of the regulations in this country you may want to consider other options. Regardless of what he says or doesn't say, I think you will feel more powerful if you take the opportunity to tell him that when the IVF didn't work the worst part was that no one acknowledged that it didn't work and that no one was willing to discuss why it failed. I find that I have to speak out and that if I don't I feel very helpless and ultimately become very depressed. My feeling is that this is also a very common problem for us women, especially dealing with doctors.
By taking charge of your IVF experience and demanding the care and respect you deserve, regardless of the frustration and tears and energy it will take, I think that you will ultimately find that reserve of strength that I see in your writing, that strength that makes you such a great mom, that strength that will see you through this experience.
You remain in my thoughts.
( Now, if only you could fix my run on sentences!)

Tash said...

I nominated you for a blog award -- go check out my blog.

Beruriah said...

Here's from Tash's. I am so so sorry about Laura. And your other losses. i wish I had some thoughts here on dealing with the hospital. It's so strange - to deal with people's hopes and cravings to increase their family as if you've just found out the dealer doesn't have the fridge model you want or the store is out of the right color paint. I don't get it.

Sarah said...

It's like the scarlet letter, isn't it - the one whose baby died or the one who can't get pregnant or whatever. There's a giant sign on our chests wherever we go: Stay away from me or you might catch it".

I'm so sorry.

Honey said...

I echo Melissa, you have a right to be treated more than just physically and it's shocking how they have resonded to your needs.
I'm too shocked for words, they really really could have reacted a thousand times better to your very simple request.

Alice said...

Thanks so much for your comments. It is so good to know that I am not going mad.... And thanks so much for nominating me for an award. I am bowled over. I do not know what to say .... thanks so much. Alice