"Mid April and the sun was shining, the air was warm, full of the promise of spring. I walked down the hill on the narrow path between the sheep-filled meadows. Things were definitely improving, my confidence was gradually returning and now I could even venture out on my own occasionally. It had taken a long time to get to this point, but slowly my life was returning to normal – well close to normal.
Little did I know what this day would bring. Just a quick visit to my GP, to chat about my meds and check on my blood pressure. No big deal. I happened to mention in passing just as I was about to leave that I’d had a little bit of bleeding recently, but not much. I just wondered if as my stress levels, which had been sky high for so long, were now dropping could be the cause and I was menstruating again. My GP thought that could be a possibility, but that it was a good idea to get things checked out just to be on the safe side.
Smear test, Ultrasound and Gynaecological appointments were duly arranged. They would be waiting for me with their instruments of torture sharpened and at the ready.
I had been a bad, bad girl and not had a smear test for quite a while. Life was complicated and challenging enough and as I hated having them, it had been easier to ignore the letters and just forget all about it. One of the practice nurses performed the smear test: definitely uncomfortable, a bit painful at times but I coped just with a little squeal or two. She was very reassuring, my cervix apparently looked fine to her experienced eye.
The hospital appointments were arranged in a rush and there was obviously some confusion. I got a phone call one evening to attend for a gynae appointment the following morning. I asked if there was anything I needed to know, but was told just to turn up. I arrived at the gynae clinic all on my own, as a friend was taking my husband out, and discovered I was having an hysteroscopy. I did not know what to expect. Sorry ladies, but it was horrendous. The nurses were fantastic, really supportive and patient. The procedure was agony. At first, an attempt was made to dilate my cervix to enable the small camera to be inserted, but this was impossible, it was far too painful. A couple of local anaesthetic injections were administered into my cervix and finally the camera was inside my uterus. The cervix had been numbed, but not inside my womb. I’m sure it was really a huge movie camera and all the attending crew for making an in detail documentary that had invaded my womb. As the camera was busily being positioned to take the requisite pictures, I was cutting off the blood supply to the hand of the lovely nurse who’d let me hold on (she may never knit again!) and was trying valiantly to distract me. Then a couple of biopsies were taken, oh such fun! Finally all done, but I’d turned blue, needed oxygen and extra pain relief. I was also extremely nauseous. The nurses were so kind, a wheelchair appeared and after a while, when I could get off the torture table with help, I was moved to a bed in a quiet bay to recover. Blankets, tea, biscuits and cake were all provided and the nurse whose hand will never be quite the same again, kept coming to check on my progress. After a few hours, I was deemed fit enough to go home and I slowly made my way back to my car and drove equally slowly home.
Apparently some women hardly feel a thing – lucky devils! Others experience a little discomfort but nothing they cannot cope with – if only. Quite a few need a local anaesthetic, but then they are fine – no such luck. Those wonderful nurses have seen it all and yet were still surprised that I did not swear and stayed on the table, even though many ladies in far less distress are reduced to swearing like a trooper, or trying to escape their fate.
A welcoming bed awaited at home, more painkillers and eventually a fitful sleep. My husband returned home and was shocked to see me in such distress.
The following afternoon, the appointment letter from the hospital arrived. I had to attend the gynae clinic, for a one-stop shop appointment: ultrasound scans both external requiring a full bladder and then vaginal; then an hysteroscopy. I was not to drive and had to be accompanied and it also gave me a little info about the procedures. Such a shame the appointment was for the day before. If only I had known and been a little better prepared for my ordeal!
The ultrasound scans had not been performed as I was blissfully unaware that they were going to be done, and none of the staff in the clinic had known either. Another appointment arrived shortly after with a new date for the scans. I duly attended, had the external scan but was told the vaginal scan could not be performed as it was too soon after the hysteroscopy and that the scans should’ve been done first. Yet another appointment was therefore required."
Part 2 will be posted soon.
xx Kaz xx