"Randy Quaid just measured my uterus."

"Should I be worried?"

"OK - maybe not Randy Quaid, but if Randy Quaid had a twin brother who was an OB-GYN... that'd be him. He also yelled at me."

"Am I gonna have to beat him down?"

"Randy Quaid sucks. I'm never watching his movies again."

Between the OB-GYN, the Perinatologist, blood draws and lab work, the Witch Doctor... er... Pain Specialist, and whatever other random appointment I'm told I need, I'm
in a doctor's office at least once a week, often more. Not only have I spent more time in waiting rooms than exam rooms the past several months and am sick of that rigmarole (if one more nurse makes me sit around in their waiting room for forty-five minutes past my appointment time with a full bladder, I'm afraid I'm going to have to pee all over their nice upholstery) but my purse is decidedly lighter every time I have to pay for someone to take my blood pressure, run a tape measure across my stomach and perform no other medical intervention. I realize that one of the reasons the United States has a lower infant mortality rate than most other countries is because of the constant monitoring and prenatal care and that makes me happy, but on these visits in between ultrasounds and blood tests, it irritates me to pay over $150 for the same information that I could get from two quarters at a pharmacy blood pressure machine and giving The Dormouse a tape measure.

So last month, when I had to schedule an in-depth evaluation and ultrasound with the perinatologist, I did not feel the need to schedule an additional visit with my regular OB. What the perinatologist was doing was more extensive and detailed than anything my OB would do... and.... aren't they supposed to be sharing information? It's not like I'm sneaking out in the middle of the night to visit Dr. Doom in a dirty, back alley abortion clinic on the sly. I've done my due diligence in full disclosure, thank you. So I went to see Dr. Doom and had a two hour ultrasound where they measured everything from the baby's head-to-rump length to the size of her fingernails. A copy of that report was then sent to my regular OB and all should have been kosher.

At the beginning of the month, I got a nasty phone call from the OB's office in a tone that basically accused me of child abuse: "We haven't seen you in a long time and we're wondering what's going on?"

"You haven't seen me in five weeks... and at my last visit, I told Dr. BeenThereDoneThat that my next appointment was at the perinatologist's office for the twenty week ultrasound. He said you could do that here, but I told him that since the perinatologist was doing more extensive measurements, I'd do that in place of my twenty week ultrasound here." Apparently, there's been a little competition and patient stealing between the Dr. Doom and Dr. BeenThereDoneThat and it seemed to be a sore spot at the time. But I still wanted the big, cool ultrasound where they'd actually spend more than fifteen minutes with you, and Dr. BeenThereDoneThat said it was my decision.

"Oh, OK. Well, we need to see you about every four weeks, do you want to make an appointment for this month now?"


So I made an appointment there and then a few days later during the first week in June. Unfortunately, I ended up having to play for a funeral on the day for which I had made the appointment. (Funny how you never have those kinds of things written into your schedule weeks in advance. How irresponsible of me.) I called as soon as I found out about the funeral to reschedule my OB appointment. The nurse was completely understanding and helped me schedule a make up appointment. The only spot they had available for me was three weeks later. So I rescheduled for this past Friday.

Walking into the office on Friday, I signed in and the receptionist looked at my signature and gave me one of those cranky schoolmarm looks, "We haven't seen you in awhile." Apparently, I'd been talked about.

"I had a perinatologist appointment in place of the OB one last month."

Once I was led into an exam room, the nurse gave me the same lecture: "We haven't seen you in awhile. You know we really need to be monitoring you every four weeks."

"Yeah, my appointment last month was at the perinatologist and he did all the measurements you would have done here and then some. You should have a copy of that report."

She glanced through my chart and nodded, "Yeah, we do."

"OK then."

"But it's been almost eight weeks since your last appointment."

"I had an appointment two weeks ago, but I had to reschedule because of a funeral. This was the only other time you had available."


She closed the chart, checked my blood pressure, gave me a million and one instructions for next month's glucose test, the only one of which I remember was "put this stuff in the fridge before you drink it because it tastes nasty", and left.

Enter Randy Quaid. This is a new doctor in the practice they hired after Dr. Coolness had a heart attack last year and, somehow assuming that his medical needs were more important than mine, retired. Randy Quaid looks and speaks just like the actor; the only difference being that in his white lab coat, he appears slightly less creepy... slightly.

"It's been awhile since we've seen you," said Randy Quaid with disapproval in his voice.

So I explained the whole thing above... again.

"Well, we really need to be able to monitor your blood pressure and make sure you aren't having any signs of pre-ecclampsia. You really, really need to have an appointment here every four weeks." Tsk, tsk, finger wag, etc., etc. Yawn.

"Well, I hear that perinatologists have training in taking blood pressure too. Dr. Doom took mine - 123/80 - and wrote in in the report. You don't have a copy of that?"

"Well, we also need to be able to monitor other things too. Like the baby's heartbeat and your uterus."

"Did the perinatologist not do that either?"

Glances at the report, "Yes, he did."

I kept my tongue at that point, feeling my silence has said plenty.

Randy Quaid then did three things: glanced at the blood pressure the nurse took - 124/83 - ran a tape measure across my belly, and jammed a heartbeat monitor on my stomach to hear the baby's heartbeat for approximately four seconds before turning it off without even approximating a per/minute count. It took all of three minutes and he was gone. $165.92 for those three services.

Thanks, Randy Quaid. I think the actor might have at least looked like he did more.

Would you let this man check your cervix??