So, my “final” diagnostic exam was today. That would be the sonohysterosalpingogram. It’s almost as fun to undergo as it is to say folks, let me tell you! (Insert snarky sarcasm here > <)
In all honesty though, I did what I was told to do. I drank 20 oz of water about an hour prior to the exam. By the time I got to the doctor’s office I was feeling that little urge. I told myself this was good, as the doctor’s office told me my bladder needed to be full. Teeth almost floating = full bladder. I was doing good. I made it to the doctor’s office, and signed in. The waiting room was packed. A 9:00 appointment was the latest appointment I had presently had at the office. My earlier 6:30 and 7:00 appointments generally saw a couple of other people in the waiting room, but today things were packed. So, I took a seat in one of the available open spots. And…I waited. And, I waited some more. And, my bladder became fuller. By the time the nurse called my name, I was practically sloshing when I walked. BUT SHE WAS ONLY TAKING ME FOR BLOODWORK! I had to have blood drawn, to confirm that I am not pregnant, before the actual exam could be done. So, I had the blood drawn, with my foot tapping the entire time, because dammit I HAD TO PEE!
The nurse finished up the blood draw, and informed me that the actual “exam” part of the appointment would be in an hour, and that I would need to empty my bladder now, but make sure to rehydrate so it would be full for the exam. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! I was told (1) at the time the appointment was scheduled, (2) at the time I received the “what to do before the exam” pamphlet, and (3) when I received the call confirming the appointment THAT I HAD TO DRINK 20-24 oz OF WATER AN HOUR BEFORE THE APPOINTMENT. When my appointment is scheduled for 9:00 a.m., that means bottoms up on the fluid intake an hour prior…at 8:00 a.m. Yet now you tell me that I really didn’t need to drive through rushhour traffic and sit in the waiting area trying so hard not to pee my pants before you call me back? Thanks. Really.
So, off I went to hit the restroom before I exploded on the waiting room like a water balloon. And, then I started hitting up the water fountain to “rehydrate.” I checked back in at the reception desk about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time I was asked to. And, I still waited. And waited. And waited some more. The entire time I waited, I could feel that urgency to go becoming that much more urgent. Just before the deadline I had set for myself (i.e. if they don’t come get me in the next 10 minutes, I don’t care about having a full bladder for this test dammit, I’m finding a restroom), the nurse came out and called my name.
On the long walk back to the imaging room, there was a little chit-chat, and I was informed that if my bladder was too full, I might need to go enough to relieve the pressure, but still leave some for the purposes of the test. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? How much is “too much” and how much is “not enough” for the purposes of the exam? This isn’t Goldilocks! It’s my friggin’ bladder we’re talking about here. Have you ever tried to shut that valve off once it’s opened up? How do you empty your bladder, but only partially? Well, I figured it out…kinda. Because, my teeth were floating by the time we got back to that little room. The nurse could apparently see my little “I gotta go” dance happening, and told me I would need to use the restroom first, but not to empty too much. So, I gave it my best.
The first part of the exam was basic sonogram…an internal sonogram. It was painless and relatively effortless, with exception to the pressure asserted on my bladder by the probe. Really people. You tell me to have a full bladder, and then you poke it with your little probe. Are you trying to make me pee all over the floor? Do you have a running bet each time a woman goes into that little room whether or not she’ll make it through the exam without peeing everywhere? After that part of the exam, she again tells me that I can probably release a little more pressure from my bladder. Apparently the sonogram indicated that my bladder was still more full than I thought it was. But, now that I have that whole “go, but not all at once” thing happening, I give it another shot.
In the meantime, the nurse has called in one of the doctors to actually do the sonohysterosalpingogram part of the exam. Any guys who may be reading this might want to duck out here. Likewise for those women who may not want to know “that much” about my business may want to do the same.
So, there is a little table set up with a speculum, a huge cotton swab, and some pink fluid. We all know what the speculum is for. The huge cotton swab was to swab my my cervix for the exam, and the pink fluid was the disinfectant to be used on the swab. The doctor was nice enough about things, and explained each step of the process. She gave me warnings when she was going on to the next step of everything. Everything was going as I had anticipated. A little bit of pressure here. A little bit of poking there.
Then there was the chit-chat.
I had pretty much tuned out on the conversation between the doctor and the sonographer. It generally invovled the doctor telling the sonographer which direction to poke in and which images to capture. It was no big deal…until they started talking a little bit softer, and the conversation geared toward whether or not “it” was a problem.
Hello! I’m still in the room. Don’t talk as if I’m not sitting here in an already-vulnerable position. What’s the problem?
After a couple minutes of back-and-forth, they finally cue me in to what’s up. Apparently there is a problem in that my uterus didn’t “open” when they flushed it with saline. Apparently it just flushed the saline back out. The downside is that the images they obtained weren’t all that clear. They did what they could, but wanted to check with the department head (my regular doctor there) to see if the images would be sufficient or if they would need to do something else to clear up the images. So, they pulled the drape back over my knees, printed out what images they had and vanished for what seemed an eternity.
Although I was hoping for the knod that the images they had were good, I knew they would need to do some further probing. And, when they re-entered the room, it was confirmed. The images were not good enough to use. They needed to do more probing. This time, they needed to use a larger catheter. Just the words everyone wants to hear. But, what are you going to do, say no? So, they re-prepped everything and got the ball rolling again.
Talk about painful. Granted, I have not had the pleasure of labor pains. But, having someone practically pry open your cervix and shove a catheter in there is not my idea of a party by any means. And, oh yeah, I still had a full bladder at that point, which was still not helpful in and of itself. But, we’ll get off that soapbox, because there’s more story to tell otherwise.
Again, the doctor and the sonographer were discussing whatever was going on with the exam. Again, I tuned out the majority of it because it was again direction as to what images to get. Well, between that and the heightened discomfort from the larger catheter and urgency to pee at the most inopportune time, the discussion was seriously the least of my concerns. And, then they did it again! The conversation I heard went something like this:
Doctor: Can you get that over there?
Doctor: Over there. Or is that the catheter?
Sonographer: This? It looks like the catheter.
Doctor: Not that. What’s that?
Sonographer: I don’t know. Let me see if this helps. [She pushes something on the machine or whatnot.]
Doctor: That’s not the catheter. It’s in the wall.
Panic immediately set in on that last one. They were still having problems getting a clear image, and there is now apparently something “in” my wall? The only thought running through my head is one of the three abnormalities that showed up on my earlier sonogram is apparently a defect that is in my uterine wall? Does that mean I need surgery? Is it cancer? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? And, why aren’t you talking to me about it?
The exam part of everything was wrapping up. While the doctor was removing various things from my person, she indicated that the images would again need to be reviewed by the supervising doctor. She gave me the go-ahead to finally use the restroom, get cleaned up and dressed, and specifically asked me to remain in the exam room before heading back out to the front desk. This request did not help my already freaked-out response to the discussion they were having.
Sitting in the chair in the corner of the exam room seemed like an eternity. Finally the sonographer returned, but the doctor was not with her. She simply informed me that my doctor would review the results with me at the time of my appointment next week. This served a couple of purposes: (1) it reassured me that whatever they were discussing about my wall was apparently nothing that would kill me between now and next week, but (2) it makes me that much more curious as to what’s going to be going on to address this wall issue. I am 99.9% sure that I’m going to have to have some sort of procedure to correct the abnormalities in my uterus. I was fairly confident it would be a DNC following my previous exams and appointments, but now I’m not so sure about that. If there’s something in my uterine wall, I might be looking at surgery. And, what does that mean with regard to my hopes of conception?
I seriously think that had I not overheard the discussion between the doctor and sonographer during the exam, that I would have been none the wiser, and would have simply awaited the results for discussion at the next appointment, without a second thought about it.