Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Infertility Casino

I'm going to propose a new Vegas casino. I think a casino based on infertility is pure genius, because it is all based on hope and luck and losing all your money.

The doormen to the casino are actually pregnant women. At first you are happy to see them, smiling at them, perhaps asking where they bought their outfit as you hope to buy one soon. Later, when you see them walking through the casino on their lunch break, while you're broken and broke, you will refuse to look at them and put ancient gypsey curses on their minivans.

The slot machines for this casino will have to be specially made. The big money is if you can get an egg, a sperm and good lining all at the same time. If you only get one or two of the three, you lose. Don't worry, you will keep putting in your money and trying again. It's very addictive because you always seem so close to winning. Some people like me try for years, never getting that sperm and egg at the same time. Some people win, but then as they try to collect their winnings, they find that their money went into a tube, so they are forced to forfeit their winnings and be diverted to a special penalty box to wait out their sentence. The hope of winning makes people sit at those machines for long stretches, as they gain weight and are broken from their inability to hit the jackpot no matter how many books they read or special foods they eat or times they try. Meanwhile, fertile women will come in and win at one or two tries. They will gladly dispense advice that all that is needed to win is to relax.

One card game is similar to blackjack. The cards are also made special. They are embryos of various number of cells and grades. Based on your hand, you have to guess how many to transfer. If you pull a bad hand, no matter how many you transfer you will lose. Cards you do not transfer may be frozen for the next hand if they are good enough and if you pull the lucky "made it to freezing card." If you get quality cards, you can try for the blastocyst bonus round which is more difficult to reach but offers better odds of winning. If you transfer too many, you may win quads for which there is a penalty, or you may still lose but have no cards to freeze for your next hand. You don't get any cards until you pay the stiff fee to play, and even have to pay again to play again with your frozen cards though not as much. With the right combination and lots of luck, you feel you can actually win this game. Those who do slink quietly away from the table out of guilt for those haggard few who have played multiple hands and still haven't won.

The employees are all dressed like nurses or medical office workers. If you ask for directions in this very confusing casino, they will get extremely annoyed, roll their eyes at you for bugging them while they are clearly more important, then tell you to ask them a week from tomorrow at your set appointment time. They are very stingy with information, and too busy to deal with the likes of you. They will then add a charge to your tab for the priviledge of speaking to them.

The rooms are decorated in classic exam room style. They come with lovely cloth gowns, thin blankets, and paper sheets. A prenatal vitamin is left on your pillow every night. The sexy parts are the stirrups on each bed, and huge container full of condoms. Due to costs cuts, it is a BYODC - bring your own dildo-cam. Beware of calling room service. They always come in when you're still undressing, then back out and don't come back in for another half hour. It's very frustrating.

The food in the restaurant is all organic and very nutritious. Everything is full of folic acid. Of course there is no alcohol served, no matter how much the patrons have lost and need to take an edge off. Fortunately there is a very complete dessert menu with all varieties of chocolate. You cannot have an infertility casino without chocolate.

There are rides of course. There is one ride that is like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride that used to be at Disneyland. You are in a car, riding through some dark rooms. One is kind of strange with pictures of naked women, and you are handed a cup. As you leave, some are directed down the glorious path of good numbers, while others go to a scary chamber with two-tailed sperm chasing them. Fortunately they don't swim well so they don't catch you.

The biggest ride of course is the infertility rollercoaster called The Cycler. It starts on day 0 which is kind of bumpy. As you start the meds, you start to rise as hope builds. There are ultrasounds which are kind of exciting loops, but sometimes they are disappointing or just make you ill. At this point you are reminded that there will be no sex allowed while you are riding the coaster, as if you were in the mood anyway. The rollercoaster will go through the very hot flash spot, baby shower land (makes me grumpy, wish we could skip it), and the enlarged ovaries slow moving area. The highest point of the ride, where the roller coaster seems to come to a complete stop is procedure day. From up there you're filled with promise and hope that the ride was worth it. After that is the two week wait which is kind of boring for a roller coaster ride. You are still nervous, yet have no information. You try to guess which track you are on, but there's no clear way to know for sure. The ride ends in one of two diametrically opposed places, with more ending in the land of one line, which feels similar to the track falling out from beneath you.

The shows are daily, but getting tickets is very difficult. Once you are in, the great RE will start his magic show. He will mesmerize you with positive stories. He will scare you with new personal facts. He's kind of like that Crossing Over medium guy. "There is someone sitting over there who I diagnose with PCOS." Of course that patron is sporting her insulin-resistant belly chub, a few stray chin hairs, and thinning hair so it's not that mysterious, but this is new information for her so she is scared and grateful. He throws her some metformin and clomid, then with a poof he is gone. It's a very strange and surreal show, one you thought you'd never go to and never wanted to go to, but yet you're glad you're there because not going hasn't worked. Unfortunately, the tickets are very expensive, but then pretty much everything at this casino is.

While the casino is rolling in money, it is not a very happy place. Some people leave without ever winning, out of money and out of hope. Some move on to the annex, where special adoption games are played. Some walk gently out into the sunshine with less money but a great prize in their belly, knowing they may visit again someday but praying it's not soon. Some stay and never leave. You would think that due to all the sadness that it would have trouble attracting new visitors, but yet there is a line for new appoinments, I mean reservations. As long as you have the money, you are invited to stay and play. Welcome to the Infertilty Casino.


Blogger Mare said...

Oh my Gawd! The Cycler! I love that ride even though it scares the beejubus outta me.

I'm right in line for a reservation. As soon as I can arrange for my own dildo-cam. Can you buy those on the web?

1:19 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

"You cannot have an infertility casino without chocolate."

So true, my friend.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Brilliantly written! I am a casino-aholic, myself, and the comparison is perfect. This past March my husband and I were in Aruba - I was ovulating, it was "an" anniversary (2 1/2 years married) and I had just won $900 playing blackjack. You'd better believe we thought luck was on our side that night, and we "tried" all night too!

You guessed it - no dice. Not pregnant. Oh well, I bought a watch with my winnings!!! ;-)

3:43 PM  
Blogger JenP said...

Gah. I just can't stop getting that magic RE out of my head. Very eerily reminiscent of my 6am post-lap consultation.

This casino is what nightmares are made of!

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Groovy. May I suggest the infuriated IF tiger-lady who finally gets to attack the magician RE (a la Roy and Montecore) and everyone who rolls their eyes?


5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That was a really sharp and exellent post (as always). I loved it. Sigh, and I'm not a very good gambler, so I doubt I'd win big there.


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