When There Are No Words: Part II

by Gig Girl on July 28, 2010

If you haven’t had the chance to read Part I of this Gig Girl series, please click here to catch up (we’ll wait patiently). Again, please note that I’ve changed the names of some of the people and parties involved.  It’s a looooooong story (I suppose “When There Are No Words” is a complete misnomer – apparently there are LOTS of words) so I’ve condensed a few events just to make it easier to read, but have not compromised the actual details.

The first thing you should know is that after hearing that awful voicemail, I checked the phone number Dot had dialed from.  It wasn’t the office line.  I looked it up quickly online and realized that she had called me from her personal cell phone because it was late Saturday afternoon…and I know that Dot doesn’t work on Saturdays.

“She wasn’t in the office,” I said to the Hubs.  “She gave my blood test results and said all those things about me…said my first and last name…to a roomful of people that weren’t at the health clinic.”  That’s when the gravity of the situation really started to sink in.

I find it interesting just how differently the Hubs and I initially reacted to this realization.  To me, this was a woman who had all the very painful and private details of my struggle to conceive.  She had examined me, performed very personal procedures on me and had been the person I contacted each time something happened during my pregnancies.  My response to her accidental voicemail had a very visceral effect on me as I looked down through tear filled eyes at my uncontrollably trembling hands.  I felt violated, humiliated, mortified and yes, angry when I heard how callously Dot could dismiss and dehumanize me as a patient (to God know who a this point).

The Hubs, on the other hand, is often an emotional purist with one main feeling permeating most situations (maybe that’s a guy thing?). Ever my protector, he took one look at my tears and trembles and just raced toward pure, unadulterated rage.  I could actually see the wrath streaming across his face.  However, he knew he first had to check his fury for a moment:

Hubs: (hugging me) Hon, I need you to take a deep breath and please calm down.  Everything is going to be okay.  You heard her message.   Your counts are good.  We are going to take care of this, but I can’t have you getting upset.  It’s not good for you or the baby.

Hearing “the baby” snapped me out of it…he was right.  I had to get it together.  So, after much effort, I did manage to control the shakes and stifle the tears and get my blood pressure back to a more manageable count.  With a final hug and forehead kiss, the Hubs knew I was okay.  Now it was his turn to release a bit.

Some moments in a marriage are not meant for public consumption.  So, without sharing too many details, I will divulge that at the peak of his mountain of anger the Hubs actually said “Either we sue them for mistreating you or I go down there and punch someone in the face!!  Sue or punch! Those are our ONLY options!!”  As soon as he said it, we both looked at each other and laughed at the ridiculousness of it.  We needed that.  Now we could both assess what was ahead of us and decide what to do about Dot.

Despite my Hubs outburst, we truly are not litigious people (or punch in the face people for that matter) so suing was not an option.  We are also not vengeful people so pressing to get Dot fired was also not an option.  Ultimately, I realized that all I really wanted out of this ordeal was:

1) An immediate ultrasound to determine the viability and health of my pregnancy

2) This episode recorded on Dot’s permanent record so she’d think twice before discussing a patient in any way, anywhere, EVER. I NEVER wanted another woman to feel the way I felt after hearing that voicemail.  That would be enough for me.  The Hubs agreed, and we waited patiently for Monday to arrive so we could start getting this whole episode behind us and focus on this pregnancy that wasn’t supposed to happen.

My first call Monday morning was to the Registered Board of NH Nurses.  I told the Director’s assistant my story. She literally gasped and immediately put me through to the Director herself.  The Director was great and told me that this certainly qualifies as a huge breach of patient confidentiality, especially if Dot was out of the office.  She told me to discuss the issue with the head of Dot’s facility.  They will likely give her a warning of some sort and if I fill out the complaint form on the Board’s website it will go on her permanent record to ensure that if it ever happens again, Dot is done.  Okay, good to know.

So then I called the clinic and got the Assistant RN “Kate”.

Kate:  Hi!  I’m just looking over your chart and everything looks good!!  Dot is out on vacation so she wants you to wait until she gets back for your ultrasound, but I’ll get you on the schedule…

Me:  (with a sudden jolt of emotion) I got a really inappropriate voicemail from Dot over the weekend, Kate.  That woman is never to utter my name again, let alone EVER touch my file.  I want to schedule an ultrasound asap and I want to set up a meeting with you and the head of the facility to hear the message and discuss next steps.

Poor Kate.  She took the brunt of my tirade and then reacted quickly to get things set up for me. The next day, Hubs and I went and met with Kate and “Dr. D” (head of facility). My precious, type A++ husband had with him a bulleted list of action items and details to discuss to ensure nothing was missed in this meeting (he even had a line on the sheet that read: “Play voicemail now”…and no, I’m not kidding).

Kate and Dr. D informed us that Dot, as we already surmised, was not in the office the day she left that message.  From what they understood she was….wait for it….wait for it…AT A SCRAPBOOKING PARTY (seriously, could this only happen in NH?). Granted, some of Dot’s coworkers were at this scrapbooking party, but they were pretty sure that Dot’s grown up daughter (not a colleague) was the person screaming expletives in the background and there was a very good chance that other non-colleague people were there as well.


Out of the corner of my eye I could see the Hubs busting out his figurative hiking boots to start climbing that mountain of anger again in my defense so I quickly softened my tone and we proceeded.

To their credit, Kate and Dr. D were wonderful and appropriately horrified and comforting about the whole event.  They both asked me to please reconsider staying at the clinic, but the thought of ever seeing Dot again just overwhelmed me.  They told me that after today’s ultrasound they would transfer all my records to a neighboring facility and that I would be kept posted as to what happened to Dot regarding this incident.

The most important part of my day: The ultrasound looked perfect.  An embryo just over five weeks, placed exactly where it was supposed to be and looking absolutely gorgeous was growing inside of me.  Of course, given my history, it was too soon to exhale, but we felt hope restored…somewhat.

The most shocking part of my day: Later that night, Hubs and I sat at our kitchen counter going over the whirlwind of the last few days when we heard a knock at the door.

“Dr. T” stood at my door.  She is a partner at the clinic, the doctor I always envisioned delivering my baby should I ever be so fortunate as to make it to a delivery, and a woman from my town that I had met out socially through my neighbor. We are fans of Dr. T, so I asked her in.

Dr. T wasted no time; with tears in her eyes she immediately hugged me and said “I’m so so sorry this happened to you.  I just wanted to make sure you were okay and to let you know…we fired Dot.”

Click here for the third and final segment.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsy July 29, 2010 at 9:48 am

GG, I know this is a very personal thing for you, and I thank you for sharing…..But, what I really want to praise you on is your ability to tell a story. You do such a great job especially with your cliff hangers.

As I read your post, I kept want to find out what happened next, and in true format, you left us hanging. Maybe you should write some season finale tv shows :)

Hugs to you and the hubs, nobody should have to deal with what you went through. And Kudos to Dr. T for realizing your pain and actually making a house call!

Michaela July 29, 2010 at 10:49 am

I’m glad that the Dr’s came to that decision, it sounds like Dr T is a great woman! I can’t believe the way you were treated by “Dot”, no one should ever be treated that way.

You have me sitting at the edge of my seat here!

Jenny@LifeAfterYes.. July 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Oh my gosh! I’m so glad that the clinic stepped up to the plate and handled the situation. You sure know how to leave a cliff hanger! haha, can’t wait to read more :)

Melis July 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm

OMG are the only words I have…. I have nothing and understand your post title immensely. The things you share with the world are amazing to me and as Bets said you do it in an amazing way. I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

Jenn July 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Continue to be amazed…(Love the Hubs!)

Gig Girl July 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Me too – he’s a keeper :)

Jean Has Been Shopping July 29, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I’m so glad Dot lost her job! I literally gasped at this conclusion. Bravo to you and your husband, and congratulations on your pregnancy.
Visiting from blogfrog.

Mommycrat July 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm

WHAT a tale! I can’t believe how she behaved with personal information! I have worked in a job where I dealt peoples medical info from time to time and I just cringed. Happy to hear she got fired.

And hope you are okay.

Traci July 30, 2010 at 7:10 am

I just want to say that I know you may feel really horrid that they fired Dot but breach of confidentiality is HUGE. I would loose my job in a heart beat if I did something like that. I cant think that you are the first person she has ever done this too. Chin up, and know you, your health and that wee babies health are the priority in this situation. x

Laurie July 30, 2010 at 7:24 am

Oh my! Some good has come out of this. You are in a good place with a good support system. Blessings! Dropping in via SITS.

Lizzie July 30, 2010 at 9:12 am

How utterly crappy. You and your hubs handled the whole thing with grace and bless that Dr. T.
Praying all continues to go well.

motherknowsless July 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I second that on your skill at cliffhangers! Also love the bit “play tape now”!

Gig Girl July 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm

LOL – Gotta love a well organized man :) Thank you for the kind words and for checking in!

Rachel Cotterill July 31, 2010 at 7:53 am

Oh, you poor thing. I can’t believe you had to go through this – and it’s particularly awful at what must have been an emotionally difficult period anyway! Your hubby sounds super-organised, though!

Visiting from SITS to wish you a happy Saturday :)

tiffany July 31, 2010 at 9:44 am

Wow. You are an unbelievably strong woman, with an amazing husband by your side. This has to be a hard and painful story to tell, but even though I don’t know you I am proud of you! No one should have to go through that. I’m loving Dr. T too!

Lots of prayers for the blessing that you are carrying!!

Kelly July 31, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Oh my…been reading this series, the woman at the top was right, maybe you should write season finales :)
My heart went out to you as I read these….and am so very happy you have the perfect guy to stand by and stand up for you :)

chie August 1, 2010 at 12:20 am

I love the ending of you story…honestly, tears came out of my eyes. All I can say from Part 1 to Part 2 is God’s sovereignty over our situations. The devil has a way to take away that joy from you and your husband too when you’re supposed to be rejoicing for the news of your pregnancy.
I still hope that you’ll find a way in your heart to forgive the unforgiving. Hugs!

chie August 1, 2010 at 12:22 am

my comment was incomplete…lol
what I mean is “God’s sovereignty is magnified over your situation”

Grace August 1, 2010 at 7:23 am

I’m loving me some Dr. T! And I hope Dot is working at, say, a goat rodeo these days.

Annie B August 2, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Good riddance, Dot! Put that in your scrapbook!

Gig Girl August 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

LOL!!! Thank you for a good laugh!

Kir August 13, 2010 at 8:55 am

first, thanks for following my blog.
I am now following yours..however it’s so hard to come right in at such an emotional time for you.
I am so impressed with DR T coming to your house, being there to tell you what happened. It says a lot about what kind of person she is. As for Dot, All of us complain about our jobs, etc…but what she did was just completely unacceptable…and I agree with the reasons to let her go. Your First and Last name was the final straw for me.

HUGS to you my new friend.

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