Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Highly-Anticipated First Appointment

My request for a civilian obstetrician was over-rode resulting in a referral to the local Naval Hospital. By local I mean 40 minutes of heavy traffic, one tunnel and one drawbridge away.
I managed to still get to my first appointment a few minutes early, which was good since I had to park on the 5th and top level of the parking garage and the find my way through buildings 1 and 2, to reach the 4th floor of building 3 and find the doctor's office. After a short wait I then heard that my trip that day was actually not for a doctor's appointment, but rather for new baby orientation and a meeting with a nurse. So first was a 30 minute slideshow educating those of us in the room on our first pregnancy, followed by three videos detailing the first, second and third trimesters.
The office was understaffed that day, so we were all forewarned that it might take some extra time for us to each get called back to meet with a nurse. In the meantime, we were being entertained by trimester one. Thirty minutes later trimester one ended and, without a nurse to put in the next video, we were only entertained by a blank movie screen. At this point the remaining mothers-to-be began nodding off in their seats for some much needed naptime.
Of course, I was the last to be called. For the next 10 minutes, Nurse Shirley referred to me as "'Lil Mama" and took my weight and medical history. Then she sent me down to the first floor lab for some tests and a reminder to arrive with a full bladder. Like that would be difficult- being pregnant and trapped in a waiting room for 3 hours. Nearly 4 hours after my initial arrival, I was finally able to wrap up my visit with some bloodwork. I made the mistake of handing her the wrong arm, the one with the hidden vein. So she dug around with a needle for a while, finally hit something right, and proceeded to withdraw bood. Unfortunately, she didn't choose the most productive vein and after an eternal 60 seconds, we both realized neither of us had the time to wait until the next 8 vials were filled. So the blood-sucking nurse profusely apologized and proceeded to stab the next arm.
At this point, it has been over 5 hours since my last meal and, as I had failed to bring along a snack, I was starting to feel the lack of nourishment. Fortunately, this arm was much more compliant and we were able to get all the vials full before the darkness started creeping into the corners of my eyes and my entire body broke out into a cold sweat. And so, although Nurse-Stabs-A-Lot may not be very fast at drawing blood, she sure is fast at retrieving snacks. Next thing I knew I was chugging some cranberry juice and cramming down a Kudos bar. A minute or two later I was able to walk out, head held high, with wobbly legs and shaky hands clutching what was left of my cranberry juice.
And so ends the world's most anti-climactic first appointment.

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