Rocket man

I don't get many check-ups. Maybe since I am a doctor I think I don't need to have them, the "I know better" syndrome. Maybe I am scared of the unknown or of sharing my deepest secrets or most intimate body parts with a colleague. Maybe I think I know the limitations of medicine.

But with IVF, I cannot escape. Certain tests are dictated by our RE and others by my partner in crime, Mo. Deep down I want to be healthy, so the desire is also mine. And since Mo takes her shots and goes to her monitoring every day, I figure I can do my part too.

Which leads me to The Rocket.

My urologist wanted me to get my sperm DNA tested to be sure that a medication I'm taking is not affecting my swimmers. There is only one laboratory in the world that performs the test to detect damage in the DNA of sperm (aka sperm chromatin structure assay). And this lab is in - of all places - South Dakota.

To get my sample from New York to South Dakota, Fed Ex (for a cool $150) ships a sort-of-mushroom-shaped contraption that contains a white metal tank filled with dry ice. It is ridiculously bulky and even more ridiculously heavy - weighing probably 20 pounds. Mo and I took one look at it last cycle and christened it "The Rocket."

So when my urologist said I needed The Rocket again, I had it sent to my sister's apartment. Like I want my sister to know that I even have sperm! Sigh. But she has a doorman who will accept items like bulky steel rockets in the middle of the day. And Mo and I do not have a doorman (and with all we are spending on IVF, may never have a doorman).

When I heard The Rocket had arrived, I left work and headed to my sister's. I lugged The Rocket home and did my thing. The whole device is just...strange, with metal buckles, and pipettes, and whatnot. Adding to the effect is the fact that when you open The Rocket to put in the specimen, the dry ice inside emits a smokey fog. I felt like a mad scientist.

Next stop: Fed Ex. The curt woman behind the counter took one look at The Rocket, backed away, and said, "No way. I ain't taking that here. What is it?" I thought of being honest, but then decided that was probably a bad idea (plus, I couldn't bring myself to tell her the truth). So I told her a partial truth: that the tank contained dry ice. She stood her ground. "Sorry. I can't help you. We do not take dangerous materials at this Fed Ex." Now, I know dry ice is not dangerous, but I realized this was a dead end.

This exchange was repeated at three different Fed Ex centers. Picture me, schlepping this insane metal mushroom all over Midtown Manhattan, turned away at shipping location after shipping location.

I was starting to get annoyed. I was starting to feel a little sorry for myself. I considered shouting, "It's SPERM! OK? SPERM! Maybe with a DNA problem BUT SPERM!!!!" But I decided that would not be so effective. Finally, I went to Fed Ex's NYC headquarters where the clerk didn't even blink an eye. She acted like my rocket was the most normal thing to ship. In fact, she told me that there had been another guy there minutes before with a rocket like mine.

So just like that, when I was about to give up, The Rocket was launched. I picture it flying over South Dakota right about now.

I think it's gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I'm a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone

Mo starts stims Tuesday night. Wish us luck.


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