Letter #2 finally arrives and we’re absolutely certain that this time there will be answers! This extensive, painful, and pricy test had to be the one that illuminated our issues and puts us on the road to septuplets!
Not so much.
Everything is normal. Nothing more to see here. Move along.
At the end of his letter, Dr. K asks to see my wife on the tenth day of her cycle to perform a regular ultrasound and see how things are developing. Turns out that would be the very next day, which is a Saturday. We figure there’s no way he’ll want to do this on a weekend. We resign ourselves to ride out this cycle and pick up the following month, but we call the doctor anyway, letting him know that Saturday would be the day he was asking to see us.
Instead, he surprises us with these instructions: “Why don’t you two have intercourse at 9 and then come into my office around 11? That way I can also take a look at the sperm quality.”
Have I mentioned that I like this doctor?
“He probably meant 9pm and am, right, honey?” I mean, how many guys can say, “C’mon, baby, doctor’s orders!”
With all the uncertainty, all the ups and downs, all the oddness, we have to laugh at the thought of being instructed to be initmate.
At 11 the next morning and we walk into his office. Dr. K is finishing up at a conference. That means snooping, giggling, and Angry Birds while we wait.
I will be the champion of Angry Birds.
Sitting on the counter I spy an old, worn medical bag. Something you’d expect to see a pioneer doctor on some frontier TV show sporting lugging along on house calls to different cabins in the ol’ West, curing cholera and the Plague. It’s got all the “tools of the trade” and it’s embossed with Dr. K’s name. It’s so simple and dedicated to the craft. Purposeful and worn. This man has a love of practicing medicine.
Many exploded pigs later, Dr. K arrives. It’s a bit awkward being in a room with someone who not only knows what we did a few hours ago, but who asked you to do it.
As he begins, Dr. K goes into doctor small talk. He tells us more about growing up in Oak Cliff, playing ball and fishing out where we live. He tells us about a farmer that would let the young Dr. K and friends fish on his property, give them water, and let them use the bathroom. One day the man sold the farm and moved East. Dr. K said the farmer had turned to drinking because he wasn’t farming anymore. Dr. K is a sweet man. I glance at the medical bag again. We all have our talents, skills, and purposes. We cannot let them go to waste.
Dr. K tells these stories while performing the ultrasound. Every so often he measures a black shape, pointing out follicles and tubes, but to me it looks like the cable went out. I’m just glad all is looking normal.
He also takes a fluid sample so he can take a look at my sperm quality. He spreads it onto a glass slide for a microscope.
I get nervous. C’mon boys, make me proud.
He literally runs out of the room, slide in hand and makes a passing reference about the appointment being finished. We look at each other, not sure if we can leave or not. My wife gets dressed and we peek out into the hallway, toward his office.
“A picure’s worth a thousand words,” he says to us, coming out of his office. “Want to take a look?”
He has to ask? I know I’m going to see fleets of sperm, verile and swimming, covering the slide and charting a new level of masculinity unknown to modern science. Dr. K and I become medical marvels, making the talk show circuits.
But once again, not so much.
My wife looks first and as I soak up his cluttered office and wall covered in various baseball memorabilia, I hear phrases like: misshapen, not moving, fewer than I’d like.
I try not to let my shoulders sag too much when it’s my turn to take a look. Surely it’s not that bad, right?
My wife rubs the back of my arm as he points out one that has a weird bump on it, another that has a flat head, and so on.
“Here’s one that’s moving,” he says. I try not to knock over anything while he moves the scope to a fast moving sperm. Sure enough, there’s one swimming up a storm.
In a perfect circle.
Chasing its tail.
I have since named him Steve.
And, as if I couldn’t tell, he tells me Steve’s circling.
“There are some normal ones here,” he adds quickly. “I’ll show you what they look like.” He proceeds to switch magnification back and forth and move the slide around, scanning for one. It feels like one of those movie montages where the hours pass by, but nothing really changes. I honestly can’t remember if he found one or not.
He schedules me for an appointment to check out my sperm quality and sets up another ultrasound for my wife to ensure that the follicle released. He walks us out of his office, high-fiving us, while we try not to feel too deflated.
Have you ever encountered the frustrating issue of something just not functioning like it’s supposed to? What do you do?