Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stimming: A Play in Three Acts

Act One: Lupron, I Thought I Knew Ye

Enter our heroine, who is about to start her first night of stimulation medications for IVF.  She is slightly overconfident, having sailed through the suppression phase without a single drop of blood or even one bruise.  Let's be perfectly clear: she is VASTLY overconfident.  And also, she is very tired.  Not the best combination.  Our heroine has just finished watching the oh-so-helpful drug injection videos online, as provided by her RE's office.  She enters the bathroom.

Heroine: Okay.  Three shots tonight.  No problem.  I'll start with lupron - I've been doing it all week, no big deal, I'll get that one out of the way.  Oops - must wash hands.

Heroine washes her hands.  She gets out the lupron box and inserts the needle into the vial of medication.  She draws it up, as she has every night.  She prepares to take the vial off the needle.  For no apparent reason, the vial drips medication, which throws her off.

Heroine: CRAP!  Oops - dripped more.  Hold on - oh, no, wait, I can't put this needle down. there's an air bubble in there.  That can't be good.  I'll just slowly push up the...AACK!

Lupron shoots out of the needle onto the bathroom ceiling.

Heroine: CRAP!  Shoot.  I'll just inject the damn thing before I lose more of it.  Right here.  I haven't had any problems on the left side, so I...ouch!

For no reason, Lupron shot hurts like a motherf*&*er this time.  And also leaves a drop of blood.

Heroine: Of course.  OF COURSE.  Okay.  This is fine.  No problem.  The nurse said we were bound to bruise, no matter how hard we tried otherwise.  So this is fine.  I'll just move to the other one.  I'll do the Menopur.  That one looks harder.  We'll get it over with.

End scene.

Act Two: Menopurevildamnthatstuffhurtswhatdotheyputacidinthere?

Our heroine, summarily humbled by her experience with lupron, now prepares to inject Menopur.  She has been warned that this stuff burns.  So she is ready.  She has, however, forgotten the relative complication of this particular injection.  This does not bode well.

Heroine: Okay.  Menopur.  No problem.  First, I'll open the box.  Or, wait.  Boxes?  Is that right?  Wait...was I supposed to refrigerate this?  Oh, shit.  No - oh.  No.  That's Gonal-F.  Okay.  Menopur.  First, I pop the tops off.  Can do.

Heroine pops the tops off the powder vial and the liquid vial.  

Heroine: Okay.  Now, the q-cap.  That's...this one.  Right.  Twist on.  Done.  Now, I stick this into the liquid vial and draw up...wait.  There's 2 ml in here.  Wasn't I supposed to draw up the whole vial?  That's what the video lady did.  But I thought it was only 1 ml.  Shit.  Where are you now, stupid video lady? HUH?  What do I do?  Okay.  Read instructions again.

Instructions say to draw up 1 ml.  Heroine breathes sigh of relief.

Heroine: Okay.  1 ml.  Draw this up....oh, I forgot.  This is the one that doesn't stay put.  The liquid just wants to shoot out of there.  And my ceiling has been medicated enough for the evening.  So, I'll just hold this like this, upside down, with my right hand, while I try to twist off the q-cap with my left hand, which does  At all.  Video lady said this would twist right off, and I believe video lady was WRONG.  Oops..okay. Off.  So I'll throw this in the safety container.  Because I am all about safety!  I am the queen of safety!  Woo hoo!  Now I have my syringe full of sterile water, which I need to inject into the...CRAP!  I was supposed to leave the q-cap ON so I could put this water in the powder vial.  And I can't let go of this damn syringe, because all the liquid will shoot out.  But I only have 10 q-caps, so what should I do?  Good Lord, they gave me three hundred stupid alcohol swabs, which I have not screwed up once, and now the one time I need something extra, I don't have it.  So.  Be smart.  Think like a spy.  Think like Harriet the Spy.  What would Harriet the Spy do?  First off, she would probably be unlikely to be in this situation, given that she is a 10 year old girl.  And therefore not so prone to be doing in-vitro fertilization.  So.  I will just take the q-cap out of the sharps container and swab it with one of the five hundred extra alcohol pads I have.  And I will do this with my left hand while trying frantically to hold this syringe with the 1ml water in it, and also not poke myself.  This will be no problem.  

Heroine, in manner of frantic drug addict, shakes out various syringes and finally gets to the q-cap, which she then cleans off as best as possible with one hand.

Heroine: Okay.  Better.  Now...q-cap back off, into sharps container, needle on, ready to inject.  One...two...three...poke!  Okay.  I know this is probably going to burn.  Inject s-l-o-w-l-y...this isn't so bad!  Who said it would burn?  Big wimps.  I think people totally overestimate the effect of these HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WHAT THE HELL IS IN THERE?  ACID?  

Heroine removes needle and puts it in sharps container (because she is all about safety!) and reads ingredients of Menopur package.  Listed last: phosphoric acid.

Heroine: Well, that explains it.

End scene.

Act Three: Gonal-F-You

Heroine, now bleeding from both injections, prepares cautiously for the third.  She tells herself that every shot is one less she will have to do.  Very logical.

Heroine: Okay.  Gonal-F.  This should be easy.  Cute pen.  Turn to dosage, pull out...okay.  Done.  Now, remove cap, twist on needle.  Ooh!  Tiny needle.  Good.  Okay.  Ready.

Heroine injects Gonal-F pen.  Good so far.

Heroine:  See?  No problem.  In like Flynn.  Now, I just push the end of this...thing...why is this so hard?  Good Lord.  Do I push...CRAP!  Now I'm pushing this damn thing past the needle into my skin.  Somebody warned me about that.  Who was it?  It wasn't that stupid video lady with her soothing voice and her TOTAL DISREGARD FOR THE FACT THAT THIS STUFF IS HARD.  Keep pushing...but not that hard...but hard enough for the meds to go in...oops, too hard many clicks can there be on this thing?...oooh...okay.  Done.  And not bleeding!  Oh.  No.  Spoke too soon.  Crap.  Three for three.

Heroine removes pen and uses third alcohol swab of the night to wipe away third bloody spot from injections.  Heroine glances at the pharmaceutical convention on her bathroom counter and suddenly feels a bit lightheaded.  She goes to lay down on the bed, where she indulges in a rare moment of self-pity.

Heroine: Okay, this is it.  I have been patient and hopeful and I am still those things, but why do I have to do all this to have a baby?  Why can some people just have sex and be all warm and cuddly and then pee on a stick two weeks later and poof! pregnancy, when I have to squirt meds on my ceiling and bleed three times and then do this over and over again?  THIS IS NOT FAIR.  I need a girl scout cookie.

Our heroine, for whom all things are made better by a Samoa Girl Scout cookie, finds the strength to crack open a package and eat three of them in twenty seconds.  After which, she does feel considerably better.  Tomorrow, she tells herself, this will be easier.  Every day it will be easier than the one before.  And, if not, there are more packages of Girl Scout cookies in the freezer.

End scene


  1. I love this. The way you wrote it, I feel like I'm there with you, and if I were I would have helped you clean that Qcap :)

    Hang in there, and know that I'm right there with you (well, five days behind)!! Note to self: buy more girl scout cookies.

  2. oh my. you wrote this up in a thoroughly entertaining way, but i surely feel for you. can the hubby help at all? that is a lot to juggle on your own?

    in any case, thank God for Samoas and one day done!

  3. I should add that I really do prefer doing these shots myself (hello, control freak) - and that it went much, MUCH better on night 2. Huge relief. Hubby is all set to do the progesterone shots in a few weeks, but for some reason, I want to do these first ones myself. No Samoas needed last night!

  4. Oh dear, is it bad that I found this funny? I'm sorry you had to go through all that, but at least you got some comic relief (and girl scout cookies) out of it. Is it really better to do the shot yourself? I'd like to try one of these days, but I'm worried that I'll just keep hesitating with the needle in my hand, sort of like when I have to jump into a pool of really cold water and I can't make myself do it. I'm glad to hear things are going ok, though.