I complain a lot about the attitudes of Catholics (see interspersed through my last post); I think I am well justified in this. Catholic "former infertiles" seem to be some of the profoundest hypocrites; Catholic "homeschooling mother" types (excuse me, moms. It's not a vocation, it's a cultural trend) are the most profoundly vapid and obnoxious; Catholic institutions started recently and still run by the overtly pious are the most inept and corrupt. That is to say, not all Catholic former infertiles are hypocrites and insufferable; not all Catholic homeschooling mothers are insufferable either (there I think it's a majority, but then I suspect that I am such a rare species in their worlds that they can't even imagine what to say to me and in the absence of rational thought, the brain somehow switches into the "talk about junior's giftedness" gear); but I think pretty much all Catholic variants of worldly institutions are ineptly and corruptly run.
So while I have a mountain of evidence for all of this and believe that, if anything, I should complain more loudly and more often until or unless these messes are cleaned up, the contrapositive is also true.
Specifically: I know from my citizenship in blogdom that lots of IVF/typical fertility clinics are unhelpful, annoying, unprofessional, uncivil, and otherwise unpleasant. But it has been my experience that the most pleasant interactions I've had in the fertility-treatment-seeking nightmare that is still (but not for long!) a part of my life have been with decidedly secular institutions. Even when they're just about to tell me that they've never heard of treating someone without considering IUI or IVF and can't really imagine what that would be like, the phone-answering gals at IVF clinics are polite. They answer the phone when I call. They call me back promptly if for some reason they missed me. They give the overall impression that they want my business and my good opinion - rather than that they will be judged only by God Almighty, and they can consequently step on whomever happens to be in the way of their achieving what they perceive to be their divinely anointed purpose.
And I specifically want to give credit to one institution. Prosperity Specialty Pharmacy in Fairfax, VA is one outstanding institution. When they say "specialty," they apparently mean "fertility," and unlike just about every other institution I've encountered that deals with infertiles qua infertiles, they apparently don't see infertile women as a waste of good oxygen that could be used by expectant mothers. They answer the phone when you call; if you are on hold while you wait to talk to a pharmacist (yes! A real pharmacist!), you hear their marketing message, which is that specialty pharmacy requires specialized patient care. We all know that this is true; if you have to take your drugs on p+3, 5, 7, and 9, you need them today, or at latest tomorrow. Everyone understands this with cancer patients (of course) and pregnant women, but we are the black sheep in that fold and nobody cares if we ever get pregnant, or while our lives away wishing - just as long as we're not pregnant now. But Prosperity means this. (And BTW, they're not a Catholic pharmacy - the first gal I spoke to assumed I was using HCG as part of an IVF cycle, and was confused by why else I would be taking it. This assumption does me no harm, of course.)
I called them because my regular compounding pharmacy (which is also awesome, but less stunningly awesome) had no Novarel in stock and it was on back order, and I needed it in just a few days. I panicked. My regular pharmacy (which, again, is pretty darn good) told me what other pharmacies in the area carry the stuff. One had none in stock, but Prosperity had some. (Already a point ahead.) They weren't open late enough for me to pick it up, but they told me that they ship it. To my house. It arrives the next day. At no charge. Then of course my doctor (who wrote the scrip) had to tell the insurance company that she really means it and I should really have the drug before it could be paid by insurance. They suggested that I bill it to my credit card up-front, and then as soon as the insurance company had things straightened out, the pharmacy would refund the insurance company's payment to my credit card. So logical and helpful it's astounding.
I was really worried about trusting all of this to shipping, because what if they sent the wrong needles? What would I do? But they sent the right needles. I thought it hadn't shown up when I needed it, but it turned out to be tucked inside the door where I hadn't seen it. They were patient with this panicked phone call, too. I usually get Novarel, but they recommended I use Pregnyl (different brand, still HCG), because it costs less after insurance pays. I didn't even ask them to check. Then they sent me the 10mL bacteriostatic water instead of the 30mL I've been getting. Since I get 3mL syringes, and I take 2000 units per dose (10,000 total units of powder in an order), the most water I can use is 15mL, and I usually have to spend twenty minutes slowly draining exactly 15mL from the water before I mix it. This time, no such problem. Also in the bag of syringes they sent: a set of little alcohol wipes (one each for the top of the bottle and the injection site, for each day). For free. So I don't have to fetch out a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a tissue.
After all this, I was sure they would forget the insurance credit, so I figured I would call back in a few days to check, after checking my credit card charges. Not only did they remember and refund me the money, they called before I did - just to make sure I knew.
God bless the secular culture - sometimes the clearest reflection of divine love and respect for human dignity out there.