Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Speak 'N Spell Lady, we hardly knew ye

Getting my Revlimid every four weeks is a million-step process. Fortunately, I have some really great nurses who handle 99 percent of everything (faxing the such and such to so and so and getting the correct blah blah code and all of that. It's very technical.). My job is to see the doctor, have all of my tests, and then call the hotline at Celgene, the drug company that makes Revlimid, and take an electronic phone survey. Apparently, the taking of this survey assures everyone involved that I'm not pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, or looking pregnant women directly in the eye.

For 30 cycles of Revlimid, the survey was administered by a computerized female voice. I always thought she sounded like one of those Speak 'N Spell toys from the early '80s. "Have ... you ... shared ... your ... Rev-li-mid ... with ... an-y-one? Press one for yes ... two for no ... or three for ... don't ... know." Early on, I lamented that Speak 'N Spell Lady was too impersonal. I thought that if someone was going to ask you all of these intimate questions, it could at least be a compassionate human voice.

After a while, though, Speak 'N Spell Lady started to grow on me. She became familiar, almost comforting. We were buddies. She was easy to talk to. I felt like she was on my side. Even though she never said it, I was sure she looked forward to my calls. I always looked forward to my favorite question: "Have you had your womb or uterus surgically removed? Press one for yes, two for no, or three for don't know."

What man put option three in there? What man??

Yesterday, I called to take my survey and something seemed a little off. Something wasn't right. What was it?

It was a compassionate human voice!

Speak 'N Spell Lady is no more! What happened? Did her batteries die? Did she get another job? After all of her years of service, she was fired and replaced by a human. I blame the economy.

Having to answer to an actual human just isn't the same. I mean, it makes sense for a computer to say something awkward and weird like "womb or uterus", but I can't believe an actual living woman got the script for this survey and didn't laugh until she peed.

Farewell, Speak 'N Spell Lady. Maybe someday we'll talk again, perhaps at the insurance company's 1-800 number or at the drive-through car wash, but I have a feeling that, somehow, it just won't be quite the same.


Susie Hemingway said...

This post made me smile today. Something a bit in short supply right now. The most important thing is you got your Revlimid - i wish you all the luck in the world with this treatment. Keep well and fighting. All very best wishes.

Ladyaero said...

Alas, we never got the chance to know Speak-n-Say Lady (my hubbie had a severe allergic reaction to the Revlimid, so no refills for us...though I'm pretty sure we also had to sign something that he would not sit too close to me, lest I become pregnant by proximity), but I'm sure her mechanical voice will be sorely missed.

I now have the strange desire to survey my friends, though, to see if any of them are unaware of the status of their uterus.

Anonymous said...

Mine's not put in any sort of effort for a while maybe somebody pinched it when I wasn't looking! :o I could be a 'I don't know!' ;D

Anonymous said...

i work for a pharmacy in the area that dispenses revlimid, and i have been on a first name, can-dial-your-number-in-my-sleep basis with speak and spell lady for quite a while now, since the pharmacies get to call and talk to her with every dispense of the rev. i, too, was very surprised when i noticed that her voice had changed. now it's not as much fun to repeat everything back to her in a robot voice.