I suffer from separation anxiety…and if you are a patient at The Southern California Reproductive Center, I sincerely hope you experience it too.
I first felt that pang of uncertainty shortly after Dr. Danzer told me his services would ‘no longer be needed’. That’s right. I was pregnant. 10 weeks to be exact. Dr. Danzer’s job here was done. Results were positive. Ultrasounds showed a little blob (which I was assured would soon look like a baby) and we had heard the heartbeat.
I was now being sent out into the world. Well, actually, I was just being sent down Santa Monica Boulevard to my OBGYN’s office…but still, I was leaving a place where I had become very, very comfortable.
You see, SCRC is not your typical medical practice. Their headquarters are right in the heart of Beverly Hills (but they also have locations in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Valencia, and Burbank). I had become such a regular, the valet guy knew me by first name. Building security would just give me the ‘nod’ as I breezed by, knowing I was heading directly to the 5th floor. Checking-in was more of a friendly hello than a formality. I was usually in the waiting room just long enough to glance inside a People magazine before being whisked down the hallway to the nurse’s station for whatever poke, prodding or procedure was on the agenda.
Along the way I came to know most everyone by first name. Desta, the Laboratory Manager, and I would talk about the Lakers. I would ask Dr. Danzer’s nurse, Marybeth, how her daughter was doing in college (she was studying to be a journalist). I became very close with the ultrasound technicians, (Helen, Neha, Sue, Kris and Dianne) as we played the monthly game I liked to call ‘Count the Follicles’ — which required nothing more than an ovulation cycle, some patience and a post-it note.
This place is 24-7 (well actually, more like 7am to 4:30pm) but they do have an answering service. They are open for business on the weekends and holidays. If you need to have an ultrasound on Christmas Day, you can better believe it’s going to happen. On certain times of the month, I would drop by as many as three or four times in just one week. It wasn’t because I was a ‘needy’ patient—it was because that’s how often they need to see you—to check your follicles, to draw your blood, to talk to you face-to-face.
Imagine my surprise when my OBGYN told me now that I was pregnant, she’d only have to see me once a month until I got to my third trimester. That was it? What? I had become very used to frequent appointments with my SCRC friends—who are not only medical professionals but expert hand-holders.
What’s a girl to do? Prepare yourself for the ‘change’ (it’s the first of many to come). Take SCRC off of speed dial (unless you are planning to have more children). Realize you are going to miss your friends…but they have a job to do and there is someone, just like you, in the waiting room right now, ready for their turn.