Rat or Radio?

There I am standing next to door belonging to my vampire Psychiatry doctor. I call him a vampire because his office hours don’t start until 9pm. (Technically they start when he arrives, so it could be 9pm or 10:30pm.) He has weird hours and is flaky about arriving on time, but he really knows what he’s doing. The kind that actually cares what you’re dealing with and will work with you to find a solution without automatically reaching for the prescription pad. Talking to him you feel like a person and not just a patient. And for that reason, I and many others overlook the odd hours and lack of punctuality.

This is “fast track” night. The night the receptionist has off, so no new patients. Just those patients he is comfortable our treatment is working and basically only need prescription refills. Making the whole operation a first come first serve system. It’s important to arrive early, or you may end up driving home at 2 in the morning.

To the chagrin of the stranger walking towards the door, I’m first tonight. He appears to be in his mid 40’s and we start up a conversation. He’s a guitar player who’s looking to start another band. (Sorry Bub, Jingle Bells on the keyboard is all I know.) He’s also a hairdresser and originally from New York. Moved to the area several years ago to help take care of his father and lives with his brother for now until he can save enough to move back to New York.

I found this conversation interesting and amusing even though my ADD was screaming this was utterly pointless and would rather get back to playing the game on my phone. Then he said, “My Brother and his wife live in a huge 4 bedroom house and I don’t understand why they don’t have any kids.”

Before I had a chance to respond his phone rang. He rushes off to have a private phone conversation leaving me standing there with the revelation that his brother and wife’s childlessness is probably not by choice dangling off the tip of my tongue. I waited, hoping to continue the conversation upon his return when a disturbing thought struck me, forcing me to swallow my words.

Would his brother thank me or hate me for revealing this information? Am I a radio broadcasting the word of infertility to this guitar playing hairdresser? Or am I a rat revealing a secret this gentleman’s brother didn’t feel comfortable talking about to his own sibling? There is a small possibility his brother likes big houses and doesn’t want kids, but I’m finding that to be more the exception rather than the rule. I stood there like Holden Caulfield feeling dumb for not knowing what I should do or how I should act.

This gentlemen returned holding a new issue of Guitar Player magazine and was now more interested in it than talking, so I went back to playing on my phone. I wasn’t ready to start outing another persons infertility. Not without at least attempting to explain the sensitive nature of the topic and why this information would be kept even from those family members closest to them.

Infertility is so much more than simply being unable to have a child. There is a huge emotional and social baggage that we carry with us. To be told we aren’t capable of preforming a task that everyone on the outside simply takes for granted. We in the infertile community took it for granted ourselves up until that one doctor’s visit when we found out a miracle or science would be needed in order to reproduce.

I think I may look into having some cards printed for this blog. So next time I can hand one to someone who questions why their loved one isn’t having children. Thereby spreading the word about infertility, and hopefully, providing them with knowledge allowing them to approach the topic with the sensitivity it deserves.

I’m open to suggestions.

© copyright 2011-2013

About ivfmale

Just a guy dealing with infertility.

Posted on January 9, 2013, in Purgatory and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I think you did the right thing!

  2. I would have told him that it’s likely not their choice to be childless – and that would have been the entirely WRONG thing to do. You did the right thing. There is education, and then there is outing someone. Educate when it comes to stupid shit people say to YOU, bite your tongue when they say stupid shit about someone else. I need to do this myself.

  3. dear all man and ladies that want to be father/mother BEWARE of dr. cc chung from gleneagles hospital kl!!

    My experience is horrible because i got the worst dishonest doctor from malaysia. i was with this doctor for 3 years and still not pregnant after 5 ivf treatment. he insisted that i should continue trying but due to financial tight so i stop and it was after 3 years than i only found out through blogs and friends experience that this doctor is a cheater!!

    he is well know for telling patients that their ivf treatment is failed and make us pay again and again for another ivf treatment. there was also patients that found out that dr.cc chung actually use those sperm or eggs that he tells his patience is fail to be sold to other patients. he uses his patients trust and egg/sperm to make more money. please spread this story out so that there wont be more victims..

  4. You def have a therapist with strange hours…I am in bed by 9 usually, lol

    I also think you did the right thing…infertility is a very personal thing and a lot of people prefer to be private about their issues

  5. Hmmm, I’m in a different camp, I guess. I would have said “maybe the childlessness isn’t necessarily by choice”. I don’t see it as outing someone (btw, using that term makes it sound like a shameful secret), but merely getting someone to think about their assumptions.

    And as a social worker, those are weird hours. You should wear some garlic aftershave when you go… just to be safe.

    • Thank you for voicing this opinion. Part of the reason I shared this story was due to the dynamic nature of the question, it is one that I see merits on both sides. Fate decided the situation for me. Had his phone not rang, I would have said the same as you. I was prepared to say those words, and I’m not entirely sure I would have felt bad about doing so, or even considered his brother’s feelings after having said it.

      I agree it’s not a shameful secret, but a secret none the less. Why we keep our infertility a secret is personal for each of us. I certainly felt shame at one point, but now the secret is more a blanket of protection from idiots.

      I’m thinking in the future I may take these opportunities to talk about my own situation and why I’m selective about which friends and family I’m willing to discuss my situation with. How painful this can be when everyone just takes fertility for granted. Maybe the person I’m having a conversation with can put 2 and 2 together. Although I’m not the best guide in these situations. For some reason when I lead a horse to water, they seem to just end up pissing in it.

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