SHE WHO HESITATES IS SOMETIMES SAVED
6 June 2003
I came out from the exam room, after helping with the latest patient and there was a
container of tarragon chicken salad from the market next door sitting in the middle of my
Sitting in the middle of the couch was a friend I hadn't seen in a couple of years, who
had dropped in just before the exam and who told me she'd wander around in the supermarket
while I was occupied. She had a sack from the market at her feet.
I picked up the salad and looked at her quizzically, not knowing whether to thank her
or not. She said "Oh yeah--I was going to ask if you'd like to have lunch
I was a bit flustered. Had she bought the salad for me in case she had to leave before
I finished helping Dr. G? Should I open it and eat it with her? We talked about dates for
lunch and settled on one. She picked up her sack and left. "Thank you," I called
after her, holding the salad.
What an...odd thing to do. Why a salad? Why tarragon chicken? Why without asking me if
I wanted anything. I mean, it was a lovely thing for her to have done, but it just struck
me as unusual. But I was sure she was just trying to be nice.
I tried to decide if I should eat it then. We had another patient sitting in the office
and now that I've started the food fotolog, I knew I couldn't eat it without taking its
picture first. I also debated about it. Just looking at it I could tell that it was loaded
with mayonnaise, and obviously not on my diet. But it was 1:30 already and I hadn't
had lunch yet and it was beginning to look like it would be another hour at the very least
before I would get a chance to get something to eat. I was very
But I didn't want to look like the idiot that I am by pulling a camera out and taking a
picture of my lunch while the patient looked on.
Maybe just a taste.
I opened the container and sniffed at it. Smelled very good.
But I would be strong. I would not take a bite until I had a chance to photograph it.
About then, the exam room door opened and Dr. G came out with the now-dressed patient
and he started giving me orders for what he wanted me to give to her.
Then he picked up the salad off of my desk, looked at it and said "Oh good--my
wife brought my lunch..." and walked into his office.
Now I understood why my friend didn't respond when I thanked her for the generous gift
she hadn't bought for me. I was very glad that this silly new obsession with photographing
all of my meals had prevented me from starting to eat Dr. G's lunch!
That was the second time today that a delay in action saved me.
We have somehow gotten on the list of agencies which arrange for surrogate adoptions.
All these agencies seem to be in Southern California and several of the surrogate mothers
or surrogates-to-be live in this area. In the early months of the pregnancy (or
pre-pregnancy), several exams have to be made, but they don't need to be done in the
office of the obstetrician who will ultimately follow the pregnancy.
So Dr. G has started doing these exams. I, for one, am thrilled. We begin the exams
before the surrogate-to-be has started on the program, and then after they've begun
manipulating her hormones, and then ultrasounds to confirm pregnancy with fetal heart
activity. One surrogate is carrying twins and Dr. G has done several ultrasounds of her,
so I've been able to see, for the very first time, the growth of a fetus in the early
weeks of pregnancy. Since they weren't doing ultrasounds when I was birthin' babies, this
is a whole new world for me. I'm used to seeing ultrasounds of uteruses...not of a uterus
with something in it (and twins is a real treat).
However, one of my favorite patients, who is carrying twins, has been having
some difficulties and it has required several appointments in the last two months. Things
have been so busy at the office that I haven't had time to get her bill put together. When
I finally did, I realized I didn't know where to send it. I had actually sent a bill to
the coordinator at her medical office, who sent it back saying it needed to go through the
agency for which she is carrying the babies. Only problem is that I didn't have the name
and address of the agency, but I did have a phone number.
So I called and had a chat with my contact there. She gave me the name and the credit
card number of the would-be parents and I prepared the bill. I was a little concerned that
the mother might go into apoplexy when she saw the charge I was about to make (which was
approaching $1,000 because it was a comination of four or five different bills).
I talked with her and all was fine. I had her credit card number, but Dr. G was on the
phone, using the line that shares with the Visa machine. I sat and sat and sat waiting for
him to get off the phone. I had already gotten my approval number from Visa and I just
needed to put the charges in the machine so it would be credited to our account.
Just about the time Dr. G got off the phone, the surrogacy agency called and after a
very confusing back and forth we finally determined that while I was discussing
Patient A, she had been discussing patient B and that patient A hadn't gone through their
Thank goodness Dr. G was tying up the line or I'd have to go through all the rigmarole
that you have to do to reverse charges on your visa bills.
I've been a person who did things precipitously, instantly, as soon as possible.
I think I learned today that sometimes doing things faster than anybody else isn't
always the best way to do them!