Well, now, the NHS, bless its Socialist principles, is still veering between utter bewilderment at my very presence and extreme and courteous efficiency.
On Wednesday the 7th, I trundled back down to my favourite shiny Hospital in the Country, and sat in the Gynaecology waiting room for, oh, a half-hour or so, which I am sure is not that bad as waiting times go, but I was feeling quite flushed and fluttery with nerves and couldn’t even knit for twitchiness. The waiting room is also used by haematology and it seemed to be full of freaked out children waiting to be stabbed. Another reason not to get the knitting out – look, oh frightened minor! Needles! Five of them! Heh heh heh!
And of course the gynaecologist (not, after all, Mister Doctor, but a somewhat less dismissive (and slender) registrar) was completely perplexed to see me.
‘I thought we’d released you to the ACU,’ he said, flicking through my notes over and over again. Perhaps they had little dancing men on the corners?
‘ACU want the endless bleeding sorted out before they can do an HSG,’ I said.
‘Why?’ he said. ‘It’s a hormonal problem. ACU should be sorting that out.’
Long pause in which I made WTF faces. And then, remembering oh those many happy hours with Doctor Google, I managed to mumble ‘Polyps? Endometriosis? Fibroids? Scar-tissue from the operation?’
He flicked through the notes again. ‘Did you have an ultrasound? Yes? Hang on, I’ll go see if I can find it.’
More long pause. I sat and studied my nails and wondered when, if ever, I’d have the strength to give up biting them again. I could hear the registrar saying encouraging things like ‘well, where is it then?’ in the corridor. The remains of my nails flinched in expectation.
Tumbleweed. Lonely harmonica music. Pages fluttering from the one-a-day calendar. The slow passing of the seasons.
But he did come back, after several ice-ages, bearing the ultrasound results – apparently unearthed from a filing cabinet kept fourteen miles away in a disused bomb shelter with a time lock – and beaming. No polyps, no endo, no scarring, no fibroids, and quite a thin lining (wha’?). Oh, yes, and a text-book cyst collection on the Satsuma, which was indeed satsuma size. So, it’s hormonal.
Therefore he gave me a prescription for two weeks of oral Provera, a lecture on no, absolutely no, sex whatsoever, really, no sex before the HSG, a discussion on how often to take pregnancy tests (lots! The 50 Pee-Sticks of Irony have reached apotheosis and become Useful!), and then a short but impassioned lecture on not using tampons every day for fear of Nameless Horrors happening to my Precious*.
And then I went for another waiting session outside the hospital pharmacy, which completely cleaned me out of loose change. I wonder how much Provera actually costs? I wonder how much two weeks of Provera costs in the States? It cost me £6.65, in that the drugs are free but the NHS charges a prescription fee to ‘cover costs’, so either, as with many things NHS, I have a real bargain, or I’ve been a tad ripped off. I think in this case I shall have to kneel down and kiss the NHS’s lovely toes.
And then I went home and booked the HSG with Radiology over the telephone. Radiology (personated by a man with a lavishly nice voice) were quite keen to find out where I was in my cycle. I had to explain I had no cycle to be anywhere in. And then about the bleeding and needing at least a week to take the Provera in, so that I would stop bleeding for the sole and especial purpose of being squirted full of radiocative dye in their tender care. The Nice Voice went off to consult with his colleagues, and I shifted the phone from ear to ear and considered the fact that a few years ago I would have sooner sawn off both my feet with a blunt spoon that even to admit I might so much as have a womb, let alone a leaky one, to a strange man with a nice voice. He came back with a lovely appointment, on a Monday, so I won’t have to take time off work, hurrah! Monday the 12th of March. And lots of injunctions not to have sex, and take my antibiotics like a good girl, and not have sex, oh, and did he mention no sex? I am beginning to wonder if the ACU has the habit of referring people to HSG only to have them turn up obliviously three weeks pregnant.
Meanwhile, the uterus has taken the impending approach of Provera-enforced restraint as carte blanche to ramp up from light-possibly-spotting to oopsie-must-dash-talk-to-my-colleague. And I did dash, and left the woman yelling ‘I haven’t finished talking to you yet!’ at my retreating back. Oh, but spending Saturday at work was bad enough without the Claret Extravaganza (wasn’t it the RAF who spent WWII referring to blood as claret? Must dig out my Biggles books again).
Like I said, I don’t work Mondays. I am spending this one following instructions and using pads instead of tampons, and remembering all the many many reasons I used to loathe getting my period back when I was at boarding school and tampons were verboten among the under-sixteens. (Don’t ask me why. My school existed in a pre-War time-warp. Can you imagine, the Sixth-Formers used to run a racket smuggling tampons in to us. At normal schools, it would have been tobacco and pot, surely).
*A complicated Tolkien/Merchant of Venice joke, if, like me, you overthink everything.