Monthly Archives: September 2011

And another reason why I need therapy

Satsuma is a reformed ovary, these days. She popped on CD16. I’m serious. 16. That’s… that’s not even ‘late but in the normal range’. That’s normal. Wikipedia normal. Biology textbook normal. I shall buy her a whole string of ponies. And a dogcart.

H and I had sex for fun, yesterday.

Infertility veterans that we are, sex tends to be concentrated in the ‘possible-fertile’ days of every month (Second marriages be damned, this is the real triumph of Hope over Experience), and once Satsuma has cooperated, we tend to go a bit ‘and on the seventh day, they rested. (Also on the eighth, ninth, and tenth-through-fourteenth)’. But yesterday, well, H was doing the washing-up half-naked. So.

And as matters reached their satisfactory conclusion, I burst into tears.

I tried not to. I kept my face away from H and wrestled desperately to not sob, but I wrestled to no avail, and H, concerned, then increasingly freaked out, stroked my hair and asked over and over, what was the matter?

I was crying because we’d had sex, and it hadn’t hurt.

For most of my adult life, sex has been, eh, Important To Me. I’ve always enjoyed it. Whenever H and I have had issues (oh, come on, we’ve been together for 18 years. There will have been issues), they’ve usually been about the fact I want more sex than H does (which is not to say H doesn’t want sex. He just doesn’t want it exactly as much as I do. Anyway, we seem better matched on that these days).

For the past year or so, sex began to be a tad uncomfortable just about the time I ovulate. Nothing too distracting, nothing a shift in position couldn’t solve. Just, Satsuma would get very tender and didn’t care to be prodded (oh dear. I don’t know how else to put that). And then, it slowly became more uncomfortable. Painful. But just for that day or two. It was fine.

Then, the pain became more diffuse, more ‘uterine’, more like being jabbed in a bruise. It would segue from the lingering tenderness the week after my period finishes into the painful several-days-worth of mittelschmerz. It became harder to ignore, harder to deal with by shifting position. It’s still not so bad as to Stop Play. In fact, and I say this with trepidation, because I’m aware it makes me sound perverse, when I’m pretty turned on, it takes more than that level of pain to ruin things. But it was tiresome. It’s also one of the reasons I am so concerned that I have full-blown endometriosis.

The last couple of cycles, the pain has been bad enough to, eh, distract me at the crucial moment. Again, not bad enough that I need to stop, but sex was definitely developing an atmosphere of dutiful endurance, and this was Not OK. And then, cramps, after sex, that go on and on until I take painkillers.

I was – I am – bitterly upset by this.

For the last couple of cycles, what with H’s job-application stress-levels being elevated (remember, his place of work was closing down, putting him and all his colleagues out of a job), and what with me being apathetic and grouchy, we were really only having the Triumph of Hope sex.

Of course, I wasn’t telling H any of this. Why ‘of course’, you frootloop? I hear you cry. Well. So that we go on having sex. H is, among his many other admirable qualities, a gentle soul. He was truly distressed on those few occasions when he has trod on my toe, or that time he rolled over to face me in bed and pinned my nipple to the mattress with his elbow (big tits are a world of hazard). Hell, he’s distressed when I am in pain and it’s nothing to do with him at all. He’s distressed by acted suffering on TV or in movies. He can’t watch surgery or injections, he closes his eyes for great chunks of ER. I didn’t think he’d be particularly happy to discover that sex was hurting me.

He’d intellectually understand that it was all For The Greater Good, and that I wanted him to carry on, and it wasn’t hurting too much. He’d even agree that this was how things had to be for the moment. But I couldn’t see his heart being in it at all. Knowing H, the very idea I might not be enjoying matters would have a deleterious effect on his own enjoyment. This is actually a good, sweet thing. H’s cor gentil is one of the main reasons I married him. If he became indifferent to, or callous about, the sufferings of others, he’d, well, he’d not be my darling H, would he? It’s just… biologically inconvenient when trying (desperately) to conceive.

So there was all this, worrying away at me. How long before sex became too painful for me? How long before H became aware of the fact it was painful and went on strike out of sheer empathy? And why, literally for fuck’s sake, did I have to lose this too? As I said above, I’m keen on sex. It’s important to me. This is not fair.

So I wept, when we did it for fun and it didn’t hurt at all, not even a little bit. I felt I’d been given a reprieve. A little raft of grace in a sea of suckitude.

We talked – well, we had to, what with me sobbing alarmingly – and now H knows all about it. This is no doubt the healthier, saner way to run a marriage, and he’d’ve found out sooner or later anyway. We shall have to see how much trouble this will cause, if any. H’s ability to compartmentalise, normally infuriating, may come in remarkably handy. Trepidation hovers, nonetheless. It’s trying to get pregnant as a giant game of Wipeout. Who or what will knock us out of the game first? Me? H? The laparoscopy results? Satsuma?

If the laparoscopy in November doesn’t find any endometriosis or anything else it can deal with, I don’t know what I’ll do.

How strange to be outed by tears of relief.


What is the Universe trying to tell me?

Being unable to shrug off this cloud of gloom, doom, anxst, rage and apathy by my own sweet self, I have seriously embarked on an attempt to find a counsellor. Moreover, one who lives within an hour’s public transport of my place of work and place of domicile, who deals with infertility and recurrent miscarriage (ie, won’t say ‘just relax’ and precipitate a punching incident), who doesn’t cost the frikken’ earth, and who can do evenings or weekends. So far:

  1. Never answered my query emails. I sent them to all three email addresses she had listed on her website. She states, in several places on said website, that she is keen on prompt replies to queries.
  2. Only had vacancies on the one night of the week I work late shifts. I could not shift my late shifts, my colleagues also having lives they wanted to get on with. And then, bomb-shell, several email exchanges in, she revealed she was pregnant, and would be going on maternity leave soon. I explained that, actually, given the Dead Baby Thing, this was not going to work for me regardless of the shift unrearrangements. She sent me back a very sweet email saying she perfectly understood and wishing me luck finding suitable help.
  3. Sent me an auto-reply to let me know she was on holiday for another week.

The hell, Universe?

99 things

99 Things I Have Or Have Not Done. May’s list from a while ago. I carefully quickly deleted her responses to avoid any possible cheating.

Bold is for “done”, italics is for “Would like to do.”

1. Started my own blog – well I tried but quickly ran out of inspiration of what to say; I may well try again, but it’s more likely to be work related.
2. Slept under the stars – not something I’d do again in this country, far too cold; I prefer star-gazing from a hot-tub, bur probably best not to fall asleep in that.
3. Played in a band – played in a windband.
4. Visited Hawaii – no and not near the top of my list either.
5. Watched a meteor shower – not had much luck though, only ever seen a handful of meteors.
6. Given more than I can afford to charity – I give to charity reasonably regularly, but not huge amounts at a time.
7. Been to Disneyland/world – no, just no.
8. Climbed a mountain – at least two – Snowdon and one in Austria; been on top of a mountain in Switzerland too, but admit I took the cable-car most of the way up.
9. Held a praying mantis – nope.
10. Sung a solo – I’m pretty sure I have.
11. Bungee jumped – no and not likely to neither; too much adrenaline makes me feel very sick.
12. Visited Paris – seem to have missed this one on a couple of occasions; would be nice, but not a high priority destination.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea – is it particularly spectacular?
14. Taught myself an art from scratch – photography, much improved over the last few years – finally went on a weekend course recently, which will hopefully give me a little improvement boost.
15. Adopted a child – it’s a possibility, but not something that I’d put down as a ‘like to do’ at the moment.
16. Had food poisoning – probably, I think some slightly undercooked chicken on a BBQ at uni, although far too much alcohol also taken that evening is equally likely to have contributed to the messy night.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty – nope, not been to the USA (and unlikely to) skimming down the list this may be slightly tedious; tempted to replace all the American destinations with a wider variety of world sites…
18. Grown my own vegetables – no garden and several year waiting list for allotments, so this isn’t going to happen in the near future; I would probably grow the more expensive and exotic veg, rather carrots and potatoes, oh and herbs, lots of herbs.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France – so tempted to say yes to this to confuse people…
20. Slept on an overnight train – definitely want to take the Caledonian sleeper to/from Scotland, almost done it a few times, but needs far too much pre-planning to get tickets at a reasonable price; usually hire a car in the end and do visits to interesting places on the journey, which is also great fun.
21. Had a pillow fight – pretty sure I have (don’t have a great memory).
22. Hitchhiked – far too introverted for that sort of activity.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill – hmmm, sometimes I may have exaggerated a touch but always been slightly ill.
24. Built a snow fort – far too busy sledging.
25. Held a lamb – only a roasted bit of one, I think they’re tastier like that; or prettier in the distance.
26. Gone skinny dipping – not since I was a kid mind.
27. Run a marathon – never likely to get to that distance, should really try for a 5K or something.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice – I valued my family and internal organs too much to auction them off.
29. Seen a total eclipse – almost complete solar and complete lunar.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset – sunset far too easy, think this should be just sunrise; think I’ve done that once (not a morning person).
31. Hit a home run – why would I want to do that? what’s a home run ever done to deserve a beating?
32. Been on a cruise – Nordic fjords definitely calling, but being stuck on board with goodness knows who makes me hesitate wimp out; also requires lots of forward planning, not easy to do when TTC.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person – nope.
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors – how many generations back before they count as ancestors? I’ve been to the house one of my grandmother’s was born in. I have traced my paternal line back a few more generations to Shropshire area; keep meaning to do more research in local parish records there.
35. Seen an Amish community – nope.
36. Taught myself a new language – taught myself PHP to a prett fluent level, but had tuition for the more advanced level; considering dabbling in Ruby or Python.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied – not something one can predict as a future event; feel rather guilty leaving as a no though, as certainly living comfortably and not scraping by despite multi-year wage freezes, increased NI tax and now govt wanting to rob me of extra contributions. Materialistically I’ve always wanted to own property but just missed the bottom of the ladder by about two or three years when prices shot up in the 90s/00s. Such a first world issue.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person – only from a train window.
39. Gone rock climbing – see bungee jumping.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David – only the copy in the square.
41. Sung karaoke – I can sing, but never plucked up the courage (or found exactly the right amount of alcohol) to participate; main problem is I’m not confident enough that I can remember the whole melody of a song!
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt – another nope.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant – no, not had occasion to – not sure when one would? Certainly wouldn’t rule it out as a random act of generosity – intriguing concept.
44. Visited Africa – another continent unexplored; given that I burn to a crisp in UK, however, I’m not sure that would be the ideal continent for me.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight – not that I can remember.
46. Been transported in an ambulance – though only as an extra passenger along with May.
47. Had my portrait painted – don’t think so.
48. Gone deep sea fishing – no, not keen on being completely surrounded by water in anything smaller than a large ferry.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person – nope.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris – why so many things in Paris? this one does actually interest me though.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling – no, aqua-phobic for being under water.
52. Kissed in the rain – that has a lot to answer for doesn’t it, May 😉
53. Played in the mud – have a vague impression I was impossible to keep out of it as a toddler.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre – do they have them in the UK?
55. Been in a movie – no, only in a TV documentary (only for less than 10 seconds, was very envious at the time that the camera lingered on my brother for about 30 seconds).
56. Visited the Great Wall of China – it’s just a lot of old bricks isn’t it?
57. Started a business – as part of school business studies project; we created ‘pet’ rocks (pebbles) and other items (like nails) by affixing wobbly eyes and other adornments to them. In adult life I’m far to risk-averse, unless I come up with the next Facebook or retire to the outerwherevers to run a small shop.
58. Taken a martial arts class – never found the idea attractive really.
59. Visited Russia – would love to see the Moscow underground stations.
60. Served at a soup kitchen – something I keep meaning to do.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies – I think it would be slightly creepy if I had.
62. Gone whale watching – see deep sea fishing.
63. Got flowers for no reason – I assume this means procured flowers for no reason, rather than received?
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma – ashamed to say no, and now I’m on blood-pressure medication it makes it less likely.
65. Gone sky diving – see bungee jumping.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp – I visited the holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum though.
67. Bounced a check – my work experience placement at school was in a local bank. One of my jobs was to go through the checks and pull out the ones the bank was going to bounce. Really awkward, as I knew one of the people I had to do that for (never let on though).
68. Flown in a helicopter – I’ve flown in a light aircraft, but not in a helicopter yet.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy – not specifically, there are a few items from childhood still at my parents’, but not specifically toys.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial – I think this would be difficult, having not been to the US!
71. Eaten caviar – only the cheaper alternatives; meh.
72. Pieced a quilt – started but never completed.
73. Stood in Times Square – see US answers passim; very tempted to visit the shopping centre of this name in Sutton just so I could answer yes to confuse people.
74. Toured the Everglades – see above; Everglades in Bromley anyone?
75. Been fired from a job – I’ve been not given job that I had to apply for after contracting in the role for 18 months, I think that counts.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London – several times.
77. Broken a bone – my toe is the most dramatic I can manage though.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle – see adrenaline ‘allergy’ comments above.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person – damn, nowhere in UK with this name.
80. Published a book – unlikely, being a man of few words.
81. Visited the Vatican – I think I’d be too tempted to commit criminal damage.
82. Bought a brand new car – no, it’s first few miles the deprecation is enormous; I have hired a brand new car that only had 12 miles on the clock, it didn’t strike me as particularly special in any way. Why I have marked this as a future possibility is that if I’m ever in a situation needing a car again I’d probably get an electric one and that would more likely be bought/leased from brand new, just because I don’t think there’ll be a big second hand market for them for a decade or so yet.
83. Walked in Jerusalem – you mean the Jerusalem Passage in Islington? no, I didn’t think so.
84. Had my picture in the newspaper – only a regional title, but playing the bassoon in a wind group busking for charity as a teenager.
85. Read the entire Bible – not sure I want to pollute my mind that much.
86. Visited the White House – no, and there are so many to choose from.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating – I’ve skinned and gutted a rabbit, but it was pre-caught/killed.
88. Had chickenpox – don’t remember it much, think I was about age 9.
89. Saved someone’s life – not directly that I’m aware of. I did feature, in a photographic sense, in a drug rehabilitation poster/leaflet, so maybe that helped someone in some way…
90. Sat on a jury – no, very annoyingly my jury summons went to an old address and I didn’t get it until after the response deadline.
91. Met someone famous – a few, nobody particularly glamorous though.
92. Joined a book club – as a student I belonged to a book club.
93. Lost a loved one – I remember the loss of two aunts, a cousin, a grandfather and a great-grandfather in my family and a grandmother in May’s. Most importantly though, Pikaia.
94. Had a baby – ngngngngngngng. It would, of course, be May having the baby, as I lack the right equipment.
95. Seen the Alamo in person – to give you a headcase 🙂 probably not the one you’re thinking of though.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake – nope never been to US for the nth time!
97. Been involved in a law suit – no.
98. Owned a cell phone – is there anyone who hasn’t?
99. Been stung by a bee – yes, and found I was alergic! I was stung on the tip of my finger, but my whole arm swelled and had rash all over my chest. Annoyingly there is no predicting whether next time will be less or more severe. I carry an adrenaline jab around in the summer.

I tag you, if you didn’t do it previously when May did. You’ve read all the way down to here, haven’t you? You know you want to really.

Brass neck

I am minding my own business, well, minding my place of employment’s business, as I am after all paid to do, at 10 in the morning, somewhat caffeine-deprived, in a state of mind that can best be described as ‘vague’ also ‘auto-pilot’. And up trots one of my lesser-known colleagues, and without so much as a ‘good morning!’ she asks me: ‘So, are you expecting?’

She accompanies this extraordinary conversational sally with a highly expressive gesture indicating the wearing of a watermelon in the waistband of one’s trousers.

‘No,’ I say, flatly, brusquely, in tones indicating this is very much not a subject I am prepared to be forthcoming on. I wish very much I’d said something more to the point, such as ‘mind your own fucking business, bitch,’ or, possibly, more reasonably ‘that’s an extremely personal question and not one that I’m prepared to discuss with you.’ But we were in the middle of the stacks and prolonged personal discussion is not encouraged.

Nevertheless, undaunted, she goes on: ‘You see, we were all discussing it in the tea-room, and I said I’d ask you!’

I give her a look. It is normally the sort of look I give dog-turds in the middle of the pavement, but she seems cheerily oblivious and adds ‘well, it’s not like you look really, you know,’ *watermelon gesture* and at this point I turn on my heel and stride off.

Because hitting her briskly in her yammering cake-hole with Richard Gross’s 900-page tome on psychology would probably create more problems then it solves.

I have been working at this particular place of employment for five or six years now, and I have been utterly spoilt. Most of my colleagues are introverted and slightly geeky, and a lot of them are single, or have kids in their teens. They are not interested in babies and pregnancies or their colleagues’ private lives, or, if they are, they keep it to themselves. By and large, I have been extremely lucky, given the horror stories I have read on some blogs of nosy, tactless, oafish, smug, bitchy coworkers. And work, therefore, tiresome as it could be in other regards, and stressful as I find some aspects of it, was always a safe place, where the infertility-and-miscarriages part of my life could be put aside.

And now this.

It’s not just that the nosy bitch asked That Question You Do Not Ask Any Woman Who Is Not Actually Crowning (my God! Such appalling manners! I am appalled!). It’s that she let me know she and several other colleagues have been gossiping about me.

My poor tummy is often bloated, especially in the week after my period and the week of ovulation. It’s too painful to hold it in and it seems to inflate like rising bread when I get really hormonal. It’s a bugger, but there it is. And OK, I am off sick a lot and there was a big fuss last week because I had to rearrange the entire week’s work schedule to create enough shift-swaps to get the morning off to go to yet another hospital appointment. I can see why this would set off someone’s pregdar. Well, it would set off mine. But here is the thing. I wouldn’t ask. I wouldn’t gossip about it. Being curious doesn’t give me any right to know. If someone tried to gossip with me about a colleague, I’d say ‘well, if she wants us to know anything, she’ll tell us. If she doesn’t tell us, it’s because she doesn’t want us to know anything. Did you watch the Great British Bake-Off last night?’ I can safely say that this is what I’d do because this is what I do do, at work at least, when someone’s health or private life comes up in conversation. [Caveat – with friends and family, I am less restrained, what with being human and fallible. But I’d still NEVER go and ask ANYONE a question like that. Never. And have told various relations not to be so bloody nosy about whoeveritis on occasion too. So].

And now I know, every time I walk into the tea-room, the office, that some of my colleagues have been gossiping about me. Speculating, eyeing, judging, making assumptions. And I hate that. I hate it so much. Work is no longer the infertility-and-miscarriage free zone. And as well-meaning as my colleagues may very well be in their chat (hmph), I fucking hate that I’m the subject of it. And that they’re so colossally wrong in their assumptions.

And that I’d give my fucking right arm to be able to answer ‘well, yes I am!’, and stick my belly out with pride.

And that it’d still be none of their fucking business.

Iron in the soul

Now that I’ve – for the moment – parked my mother and her health issues back on the shelf marked ‘pending’, I can have a little think about the rest of my week.

It has been rather a wayward week, this. I think I owe about one third of the English-speaking world emails, the floor in the bathroom has developed an alarmingly bendy place under the lino (I think a floor-board needs replacing with some urgency), work is Entering The Thunderdome (New students enter, temp staff leave), H keeps getting nosebleeds and I think he has a low-grade chronic sinus infection, I broke the heel of my nice cute boots AGAIN (I think the cheap wee sods need resoling altogether), the boiler keeps going on the blink when one is in the shower (wakes you up sharpish, that), and so on.

On Wednesday, however, I spent the morning with HFF, Solnushka (surprise bonus, I hadn’t known she’d be there), and extra-surprise bonus our friend Z, who lives hundreds of miles away, which lead to me yelling ‘what the hell are you doing here!’ at the top of my voice across Trafalgar Square, totally ignoring the others, in one of my genius moments of Social Awkward, I Haz It. Anyone’d think I wasn’t pleased to see him. Oy.

So, as we had several small children about us, we spent the morning chatting while they romped, then having coffee and ice-cream, then watching the Changing of the Guard, then letting the smalls romp in Green Park for a while. Well, I say chatting. We did that in relays, as Small Persons Require Supervision, but they are very cute Small Persons, and I worship them. Especially as, not being their Adult-in-Chief, my main tasks were holding tea and minding push-chairs, which don’t answer back or gallop off towards unsuitable bodies of water (ie, I had the really easy job).

Kids are fascinating. And as soon as you get used to them, they change, and fascinate you all over again. And Sol had a brand-new one – babies are extra-fascinating. Beautiful, strange, wonderful, and fascinating.

When I had to say goodbye and go to work (late shift, hence morning free for frolicking), I felt, well, cheated. I’d’ve so much rathered spent hours more chatting and watching the kids.

Being a grown-up sucks, eh?

Our kids, even. I wanted to spend the day watching our kids. I stomped off towards the bus in a total ‘I hate my life’ rage.

It’s ugly, and bitter, that seeing my friends and having a perfectly nice morning with them should have left me feeling so angry. I’m in such a shitty mental place right now.

Eurydice would have been due in the last week of August, you see. I wish I didn’t remember their due-dates, sometimes. It makes me feel disloyal, thinking that. And stupid, for feeling disloyal. As if it matters at all whether I remember their due dates. I don’t know the dates of the chemical pregnancies, for example, and yet, I still count them as losses, I still wish one of them had lived. Dates are irrelevant. And yet, and yet, I should be sitting at home with stitches and a milk-stained nightie and unwashed hair and arms aching with strain because I daren’t put the newborn down, not for one second, not ever.

And Pikaia would be two-and-a-half. And if I’d had her, would I have ever got pregnant since, would I have even tried to? If she’d lived, I wouldn’t have ever felt so lost. I wouldn’t have known it was possible to feel this lost.

Most days, I don’t think I’ll ever have a child. I think that I’ve had my chances, and they were all duds, poor little sods, and that’s it, I’ll never get pregnant again, or, at least, not with an embryo that knows how to grow a spine. When I have sex with H on ‘fertile’ days of the month, I struggle to suppress a terrible rage, that wants to cry and scream and throw things, because this is pointless, bloody pointless. And yet I also get antsy if we’re not having sex, because, obviously, I am indelibly stained with hope and longing.

This is not a pretty state of mind. Hope isn’t a beautiful, poetic emotion, not for me. It’s like the manacle keeping me chained to the side of the juggernaut of infertility and loss, forcing me to run with it, dragging me when I fall. In fact, I almost hope, when I have the laparoscopy in a couple of months’ time, that they find my fallopian tube blocked solid and my ovary sealed off. So I can say, that’s it. I’m done. We’re stopping. I want my body back before it gets any more damaged. I want my life back, before it’s all spilt and wasted. I want my marriage back, my social life back, my poetry back, my writing back. I want that week every month back. I want me back.

And I know, if they look, and find the least chance I could conceive, then I will go on trying. Because Hope, for me, is not the thing with feathers. It’s the padlock and chain with no key, the steel-jawed man-trap, the bite of the crocodile, obdurate, heartless, intransigent.

Dramatically, I add to the clan of fellow-sufferers

Friday was supposed to be a tiresome-but-necessary day, in which I spent the morning trekking over to the Mothership Hospital for a pre-operation appointment (weight, height, MRSA swabs, and recounting your medical history), and the afternoon facing down the Forces of Entropy at work. But as I was putting my shoes on my mother called.

‘Hi, Mum! Sorry, I’m just about to go out, I’ve got a hospital appointment. Yes, for that operation. It’s routine, I’m fine… Mum? Are you OK?’

No, she wasn’t OK. Not at all.

Do you remember back in April my mother had some issues with her lady-parts, and, as I am clearly the expert on all the things that can go wrong with lady-parts, she called me for advice? She was originally diagnosed with a burst ovarian cyst, but she had a couple of appointments with a specialist (I nagged. I am a good nagger), and it turned out that she actually had, or also had, an ovarian dermoid cyst. I don’t think I’ve talked about that on the blog at all, because it got drowned out by the big family wedding, and by my Dad’s heart-attack, and my own vapourings, and H’s being made redundant, and anyway, Mum was being sensible for once and doing what her specialist told her. And it was her medical stuff, not mine. Also, I lost my left ovary to a gigantic dermoid cyst when I was 18, and the whole situation was Just Plain Weird.

On Friday, my poor Mum had woken up in severe pain, so bad she was sick, and didn’t know what to do. So she called her eldest daughter, fellow-cyst-experiencer, and expert on all things lady-part.

I told her very firmly to go and see a doctor right now this minute. It sounded like ovarian torsion – the cyst twists and cuts off circulation to itself and part of the ovary. That is how I lost my ovary – the torsion actually tore poor Kumquat across as well, so it was a bit of a mess by the time they got me into the operating theatre. On the other hand, cysts can and often do untwist again before things get that bad (which also happened to me a few times before the Final Wrench). And I told Mum that if it got any worse, or she felt faint or dizzy, to skip the doctor and go to hospital right away. And that I’d call her back in fifteen minutes to make sure she’d got an emergency GP appointment, also, she was on no account to drive herself, was her husband there? He was, and when I called back, she’d got an appointment for that morning. I talked her through symptoms to watch out for and when to panic, and promised to call back at lunch-time.

My own hospital appointment was boringly fine, apart from the fact my heart was racing and my blood-pressure was a tad high. I said to the nurse that I was worried about my mother, and she agreed that’d be that, then, before sticking a cotton-bud up my nose. She also swabbed my bikini line, and I didn’t even have the mental energy to care that I haven’t trimmed it for about a million years and look like a yeti in electric-blue knickers. She gave me a provisional date for the surgery, which happens to be H’s birthday, which I think should complete the full house of Celebrations My Innards Have Fucked Over. And then I rushed back outside and called my mother again.

She had seen the GP, who had given her better pain medication, and got her an appointment to see her specialist on Monday, and told her pretty much word for word what I had said about dizziness, sickness, when to panic, when to go to A&E. Right. OK.

I called her again yesterday evening, and the cocodamol was helping, but making her feel sleepy (well, it would). She still felt wretchedly uncomfortable, but was hoping to last the weekend. I told her not to be unnecessarily brave, and to go the hell to A&E if she felt even the tiniest bit worse.

She then said she really felt for me, going through all this pretty much every month. I pointed out ovarian torsion was really rather more serious than adenomyosis/endometriosis/whateverthefuckitis. She said yes, but my pain was clearly about this bad regardless, and I should know, as I’d had ovarian torsion too, and, well, yes, and no. And maybe. And it depends. Pain is funny like that. I think sometimes my period pain is indeed as severe as some of my episodes of ovarian torsion, but it sucks much less because I’m not scared during my periods (except of the pain, obviously) and I was scared I was fucking dying when I lost my Kumquat.

And, anyway, it seems sad and peculiar to me that my mother should be made to get a grip on this empathy thing by going through the same thing I did, rather than by the far easier and more practical method of using one’s imagination and intelligence. Or, in other words, the Universe is being a dick about this.

I called Mum again today, and thank fuckitty she was feeling a lot better. So I have now relaxed. And I can get on with getting my knickers in a knot about my own out-breaks of cramp (now in New Improved After-Sex flavour! FUUUUUUUUUCK).

Honestly, so many other things happened this week that I wanted to write about, and all I can think is, my poor, poor Mum.

P.S. – Neither Trouble nor Diva are at home at the moment, as they are visiting their respective fathers, who live in different countries. So I can’t even work off the anxst by getting huffy about them being completely useless in a crisis. Ohhh, I am not a nice person.