To begin with, I am trying to book an appointment with a gynaecologist. This is a baroquely bureacratic process, starting with my GP deciding I need to see a gynae, segueing through ‘and therefore phone this number so our secretaries can give you a special code to give to the booking system for the hospital which you want to attend,’ the which number I duly phone only to be told that the secretaries haven’t received the message from Doc Tashless, so can I go away just for the moment, and then a week later I receive an answerphone message telling me I now may indeed trouble the secretaries. I do so, and between us we decide that as Big Teaching Hospital Down The Road has a waiting list of several months, I might do worse than try the Hospital Out In The Countryside. They give me a referral number. I phone the HOITC. I am spoken to by a woman who so exceedingly clearly could not give a fuck I am surprised she even bothered to breathe this morning. She takes my details and says she’ll call me back. I don’t want to be called back. The fridge contains one cucumber and a bag of beansprouts. I want to go to the supermarket. I am starting to feel put-apon. I do laundry, resentfully. After an hour or so Can’t-Be-Buggered does, surprisingly, call me back. My referral number is inadequate. I offer to call her back once I have sorted out this inadequacy with GP secretaries. I assume the grunt is one of assent. I call the secretaries, who find that I have indeed copied the number down incorrectly. We all giggle. I call the HOITC again. Their phone-system promptly collapses and refuses to let me talk to any human beings, apathetic or otherwise, for the rest of the afternoon. The supermarket is not visited. I find something in a plastic bag to defrost and fry into submission. I am consumed with longing for chocolate.
Monthly Archives: October 2006
I have been off sulking for a week, with a bad cold. Very boring. Really. Shocking tedium.
Anyway, today I went back to Doctor Tashless to get my blood test results and for a quick internal examination. I did not get the internal – Doctor Tashless said, and I quote, ‘Mumble mumble chaperone mumble,’ which I am liberally interpreting as there being no nurses available to stand about looking bored and thereby ensuring that neither Dr nor myself are too pleased and/ or traumatised by any undercarriage exploring. So now I have to faff about with the arcana of the local surgery’s dimwitted booking system to see if I can get an appointment at a time when I will actually be able to attend said appointment to let yet another person, preferably female (because females can chaperone themselves, it would seem) stick two fingers up my bestest and wiggle them around. Not that I’ve been all up-tight and grumpy all week about having to go and let Dr T do it, oh no. And to think I was planning on spending this very moment right now drinking gin in a ‘thank God that’s over’ kind of way.
Blood tests. Damn their collective hides, and damn me or going into clueless mode and just sitting there and nodding and only twenty minutes later suddenly thinking of all the things I ought to have asked, and I hadn’t planned a list of things to ask in advance because like the doughnut I am I assumed the whole point of getting test results was to have information. Anyway:
– Testosterone – elevated. No shit, Sherlock, she said, smoothing her Errol Flyn and wondering whether to go the whole hog and grow an Abraham Lincoln to match.
– Sex Hormone Binding Globulin – err, something. Dr T tried to explain to me how it worked and went into a waffle about testosterone having to take a bus rather than walking. I assume it is low, as the testosterone was high, but, and this pisses me off, after Dr T’s bus theory of blood chemistry (which I did not need, on account of being mad keen on doing my own research), I still don’t know. But something Not Right.
– Thyroid – normal. HAH. Especially as not-right SHBG is associated with thyroid disorders. And my BBT is over a degree (centigrade) lower than just about everyone else’s. I assume I need that complicated test for not thyroxin but whatever-that-hormone-is-called that stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroxin. Must make fuss about this at some point.
– LH/ FSH – I have no idea. Dr T showed me the computer screen. I am short-sighted. I could not read it. As I peered at it, Dr T moved onto my testosterone and public transport for hormones and, not unnaturally, I got distracted. Damn. Damn damn damn. I will see if I can get hold of my results to have and to hold in my own hot little hand, and then I can Look Things Up and see if I can make any sense of it. Or not. I don’t even know if Dr T thinks they are OK or not. Arse.
– Blood-count/ anaemia – fine. This is the moment in which I am vaguely glad that I am not nearly sentimental enough to have become a vegetarian. All that drained exhaustion? Meh. Cold on the way, sleeping badly, emotionally frazzled, I suppose.
Bewildered. That’s me. World’s most rubbish patient. And a grand demonstration of why I actually do want my husband to come along. He might actually remember what it is we wanted to know and rescue me when I am sitting there nodding and smiling like a carnival queen on diazepam.
Dr T prepared me a referral to a gynaecologist at The Big Teaching Hospital Down The Road. Which is probably a good thing, and may well lead on to me actually knowing one day what exactly is up with my SHBG and LH and FSH. I still think I need a reproductive endocrinologist, but Dr T assures me that I need to see the gynae first. NHS bureaucratic to the point of WTF. But this is progress and therefore a Good Thing.
And then Dr T went into confidential mode and broached the subject of – oh terrors! – a Sperm Analysis! All concern that my husband might find ‘this kind of thing difficult’ and be reluctant to consider it. Oh really. Wanking into a cup in the privacy of your own home is difficult, and going to a building full of sick people so a stranger can stick two cold gloved and slimy fingers in is not? Men sometimes amaze me. Men sometimes amaze my husband, who was perfectly chirpy and collected about the idea, said it was sensible to get it done, and seemed vaguely disappointed that he could do it at home rather than investigate the BTHDtR’s wank studio and porn collection. After all, I had been reading him trés amusing anecdotes on the subject from other people’s blogs. So, he must go and make his own appointment with the GP surgery so the Mills of NHS can grind him out an hour and a day and a set of instructions and a cup. With a lid.
And finally Dr T asked me if I wanted to take Metformin. And there I had been thinking NHS GPs regarded treating PCOS with Met as heresy. I said I would need to think about that one. And I do need time to think about that one. On the one hand, yumminy scrumminy side-effects of wind, belly-cramps, nausea, headaches and diarrhoea. And it might not work. On the other, it really does work for quite a few people, making them slimmer and encouraging normal hormones and ovulation (and I am sick of being a lard-arse). So, I am Thinking About It for a couple of weeks.
The husband (still no nick-name, especially after we decided that ‘Nuts’, while amusing, was just a tad too obscene) and I will be going on holiday for a week, leaving tomorrow. I want very much indeed to Not Think About It during said holiday. I have to get my head round being taken seriously and offered treatment and therefore having to take it all seriously myself, and I have spent the afternoon so far feeling sorry for myself. I’m so used to being told all I need to do is lose weight and maybe take up meditation and have a colonic irrigation in a wood in Germany (indeed. My mother’s idea, bless her), it’s almost horrible to be told that I am actually broken and need fixing. I thought it would be a relief to have a doctor find a real thing wrong and deal with it. I blind-side myself once more.
Bugger it all. I’m going on holiday. I’m going to drink alcohol and coffee and eat blue steak and paté and have sex for fun and only for fun.
Oh, yes, sorry. I did go to the doctor. I went to the doctor a over a week ago. Let me quickly recap. I have been spotting on and off, but with never more than a week or two between spots, as it were, since the 14th of June. Yes, I know. I’ve just gone and looked at my charts. Bloody Hellfire. On the 17th of August, I started bleeding ‘properly’ (red blood, needs tampons. As opposed to spotting – brown or pink or rusty spots or stains, can get away with no san-pro, may ruin favourite knickers in any case), despite not having ovulated since I started charting. And after that, I settled into a rhythm of bleed-spot-spot bleed-spot-spot for the next five weeks. The bleeds were always very sudden, and heavy enough to embarrass me in public, and I was very lucky to have always been at home or in handy reach of a loo when they happened. Then they’d slowly peter out for a few days… and… gush again. In all this, I nevertheless seem to have ovulated. I got egg-white cervical fluid, a funny stitching pain in right side (where I fondly imagine the malicious satsuma to be lurking), my basal body temperature dipped and then rose and stayed risen for eight days, and I stopped gushing. Spot spot spot, but hey, I was still rather pleased. A crappy O, but mine own. Day nine, woosh. And no pathetic petering out, oh no. I bleed like a stuck pig (and I grew up on a farm, and yes, I DO know, and yes, very Jude the Obscure, and also, ick, but still) for ten days before I crack.
On Monday, I dragged my haemorrhaging self to the surgery to ask for an appointment, and to my irritated bewilderment I was given one for that very afternoon. I had wanted a day or two’s grace so I could force my husband to come with me and ‘act supportive’ (I suppose, by the way, that I had better think up a suitable nickname for the man. ‘My husband’ makes me feel like Penelope Keith). I thought, briefly, about arguing with the receptionist, but she was approximately half my weight and half my age and I decided that a) I couldn’t face watching her trying to spell my name again and b) I was being a wuss about this doctor visiting thing and really, truly, the husband (haven’t thought of a nickname yet) was considerably worse at being collected and forthright than I was and I could always drag him along NEXT time and anyway, how was I to feel properly martyred if I didn’t go alone and get bullied? and, and I think this crowned it all, I was beginning to leak through the latest super-jumbo hamster-tampon. So I took the appointment and scuttled home.
Only to scuttle back again later. I do live just around the corner from the GP surgery. Tres handy. Husband (husbeast? Him outdoors? Oh, ick) anyway, said man I married was not overwhelmed by the news, as the particular doctor I had fetched up with was Not His Favourite Doctor – unsympathetic, brusque, daft mustache, that sort of thing. I must report that the daft mustache has vanished (shame, I’m quite fond of facial hair. On men. My own Errol Flynn, I am less fond of). Anyway. Doctor Tashless was indeed brusque and matter-of-fact.
And it is a huge but, which is why it got its own mini-paragraph.
Doc Tashless did not:
- Tell me to lose weight
- Tell me to go away and keep trying
- Tell me that all women have difficult periods sometimes (as one doctor once told me, back in the days when I used to faint in pain because I had a dermoid cyst the size of an Agricultural Show Winner grapefruit on my left ovary. Moron).
- Refuse to look me in the face
Doc Tashless in fact did:
- Agree at once that this wouldn’t do at all
- Asked me whether I had gained weight solely because it could be a symptom of thyroid problems
- In fact, ask a lot of questions about symptoms such as dry skin, unwanted hair, was I coping at work (barely), sleep patterns, acne, how much pain I was in (not much, luckily)
- Not once in any way hint that this was all my own fault for being so lazy and careless as to get fat (possibly because he himself was not exactly a whippet – moral of story, insist on being treated by fat doctors).
- Refer me at once for lots of blood tests
- Write me a prescription for Tranexamic Acid to try and get the bleeding to at least slow the heck down
- Ask me to come back in a week or two’s time, for an internal exam and to discuss the blood-test results
- Tell me he hoped I’d feel better soon
I got home to find the bleeding had stopped. I had no idea Tranexamic Acid had such a strong homeopathic effect that the very sight of its name could do the trick. I cheered up immensly.
Obviously the bleeding started up again avec extra blood-clot the next morning. Bang goes another pair of kecks, and also my husband’s (nope, still can’t think of a nickname) track-suit bottoms.
Anyway, the very very gentle and competent phlebotomist at the surgery took my blood that next morning, I started hoovering up six pills a day of the goodly acid (insert Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds joke here), bleeding slowed over the next week and is now, finally, only spotting (seventeen days of the heavy. Seventeen! I want a medal. Preferably made out of chocolate. Also, some horse-shoes to suck). And we are waiting for the results of the bloodtests, so I can go back and get poked in the personals by a mustacheless man my husband doesn’t like much.
It really, really, could be a lot worse.
I think I am suffering from a bloggers version of golfer’s yips. I keep sitting down to write somethingorother, and I keep leaping up again to, oh, I don’t know, water the basil. Make tea. Stare at the washing-up.
Starting this blog has been… complicated. On the one hand I want to (need to! Need! Must!) write about my annoying ovary and how it and its glandular cohorts have taken over my entire body (not bad going for a blob the size of a satsuma) and all the emotive churning and thrashing and lashing-out this causes. On the other hand I was bought up to believe that if you talked about periods and hairy toes and – God forbid! – sex, your family would spontaneously combust with shame and you’d have to be banished, orphan as you now were, to live under the puffin colonies on St Kilda. And again, on the one hand the above-mentioned family nevertheless feel it is their bounden duty as fertile people to alternatively give me advice and scold me. This I REALLY need to swear and scream about, and my husband is fast running out of usable ear-drums. And on the other, what if anyone I know finds out? Will I then spontaneously combust etc. etc?
And on the final hand (is this my hand? No? Sorry, would you like your hands back?) the one thing I have found very helpful has been reading other people’s blogs. I am not alone. I am not shamefully weird. Yes, there is something wrong. Yes, it does hurt, and it is scary, and I am allowed to be miserable. Also, it could be worse, and also families are ALL impossible at some point or another and their advice is, as I suspected, mostly crap. It has been very comforting.
And, startlingly, it has been extremely funny. I had always been shy of doing ‘funny’ when it came to my half-assed partial set of innards (make a joke about cysts and it’ll be Svalbard for you!). But here were ladies who were being, not only brave and moving and interesting and intelligent, but ow-ow-ow-ribs-hurt-make-them-stop funny. In particular, Leery Polyp, whose post about toddler-poop made me laugh so hard for so long I went purple and slid shaking to the ground (I have nieces and nephews and much younger siblings, oy vey, have I been there); A Little Pregnant; The Naked Ovary. More will be added to the blogroll as and when I find them.
So, I thought, I may as well try blogging about it too. I am allowed to stop if I don’t like it.