11 Oct 2011

Hestia...stands up for herself in a small, significant way

The Transvaginal Railway
Men - look away now.

I think that you know I like to have a bit of a laugh in life.  I'd rather laugh than be miserable. But I'm also the sort of person who errs on the side of caution rather than gay abandon - and this is especially the case where my health is concerned.

A while back I got some scans done - nothing too drastic - just ultrasound (like when you are having a baby) except they're looking at your cute little fibroids.  And the less pleasant transvaginal scan.  It sounds like a rail journey across a desolate part of Russia, but in actual fact - it's perfectly fine - don't worry about it if you need to have one.

Anyway, the results came back - a normal uterus thickness is 4mm.  Mine was 14mm.

In anyone's book This Wasn't Good.  Especially my mother's.  Who sent me news clippings about women who had been diagnosed with womb cancer....and the first sign had been a thickened womb lining.  Talk about scaring the living shit out of me!

She was just worried, I know.  So I went back to see my Well Woman Doctor and we talked about the results.  My period had come later on that day of the scans, so she said that my womb lining was probably perfectly normal.

'Probably'. It's not a reassuring word.

She suggested that we organise a new set of scans to put my mind at rest.

So the letter arrived and today was the appointment day.

Up I went to the hospital, my bladder full as instructed.  And I waited and waited and waited.

The nurse materialised and apologised for the delay.  I informed her that I would really REALLY have to go for a pee in the next 10 minutes.....she brought me along to the little cubicle and I pulled my jeans down around my hips.  We spent 10 minutes chatting about the weather, kids, holidays etc.

The ultrasound lady duly arrived with her coffee.

I've had her before and she's not chatty.  But I am.  Especially when I'm nervous.  And I was nervous.

'What are you here for?' she asked, pushing her spectacles up, scanning the screen.

I explained - the womb lining thickness....the womb cancer fear..... silence hung between us.  She sighed.  'Your womb was perfectly normal.  When was your last period?'

I told her.

'Well, your womb lining is going to be thick again.  It's only thin directly after your period.' *sigh*

I said nothing.  The blue gel was duly dolloped onto my abdomen with  little ceremony and off she went - measuring and clicking.  I stared at the ceiling tiles.  I said nothing.  It was over in about 10 minutes.

'Right.  If you want me to check your uterus, you'll need an internal scan.  Go and empty your bladder.'  Another sigh.  The dismissive tone was unmistakable.

The nurse apologetically ushered me out of the cubicle and to the toilet.  'Are you alright?' she asked me. 'Your colleague has got an attitude problem,' I said through gritted teeth.

'Other people have said the same,' said the nurse.

I stood in the toilet for a few moments, wondering whether I should bother going ahead with the scan.  Who wants an irritated woman sticking a wand up your chuff?

I returned to the room and silently removed my jeans and knickers.  Whether the nurse had said anything to her or not was neither here nor there.  I wasn't inclined to talk. Neither was she.

Up went the wand and off she went, directing it around like a sort of fanny-orientated gear stick, clicking and measuring, clicking and measuring.  At one point she wordlessly nudged my tense knee out of the way. I could feel angry tears pricking at the back of my eyes.

This was the third time I'd seen this woman and she had been very detached and 'untalktoable' every single time.  I always give people the benefit of the doubt - maybe she had stuff going on in her own life.  But there was no doubt about this attitude today, this was the worst: She was angry with me for taking up this appointment. Angry with me for what else? Being scared I might have womb cancer?  I felt black  ire roll off her in sullen waves.

It didn't last long and it wasn't painful.  I decided that I Was Going To Say Something....but not until I had my clothes on.  It's hard to look impressive as you're wobbling on one leg trying to get your knickers on.

Even when I was fully dressed, she sat with her back to me at her desk.

The nice nurse opened the door for me.

'By the way,' I said - nice and quietly and firmly,' My Well Woman Doctor OFFERED me this appointment.  I didn't REQUEST it. It was to put my mind at ease.  Thank you for your time and skills.'

The woman turned and nodded.  I turned and left before any further conversation could be entered into.

Whatever might be wrong with me, it could only be better than whatever might be wrong with her.


  1. You're right, she has to live with that attitude all the time. It must be hell. You, on the other hand, have charm, intelligence, and humor--all fantastic things to live with. I know which I'd rather be. (Well, in fact, I'd rather be me because I'm used to it, but you know what I mean.) ;-)

  2. Ali, Once again you had me in stitches! I have had a similar experience and it was HORRID. I hope what you said made the b**** think.

    PS you may like to know I have done another Renée Perle post, I know you are as almost as obsessed as I am.

  3. It's amazing all that information they learn and not one ounce of empathy anywhere to be seen. Glad you spoke up for yourself. Horrible woman. Xxxx

  4. I had the same experience last year, but in my case the ultrasound operator was lovely and chatty and totally put me at ease. It doesn't hurt to be nice to people and the world is a much better place for it. I ended up being diagnosed with fibroids and having a Mirena coil fitted during a hysteroscopy - I would recommend it if it's suitable for you x

  5. Well done Ali!

    I think we are fortuntely in that most of the peopel we deal with health wise are good, and kind. I also think it is very important that those who don't are a) told they aren't up to scratch and B)reported. They are being paid to take care of you. You are not wasting their time - I generally hate this phrase but your taxes actually are paying for her job. People who work with the public should be nice to the public.

  6. I hope the little ray of sunshine gets her ass fired. we had to put up with this shit when we were going through fertility treatment. When my wife expressed her frustration with the whole process, the doctor said "what do you expect at your age."

  7. aaagh....don't know whether to laugh or cry......oh the horror and we've all been there at some time or other but I think the older you get the worse it feels ....I had similar when I went for my you're-50-now smear... not enough being told you really are an old c*** you then have to deal with one!!xx

  8. Hi Ali,

    I think you were very restrained! As for her bedside manner, it's weird as I thought they got training specifically in that sort of thing these days. I had a minor op a few years back, and the doc was very good with his bedside manner, apart from the fact that when I commented on it he admitted he'd just been to a training day :D

    Hope your mind is set to rest by the results, even if the messenger deserves to be shot!

  9. She's in the wrong job if that's how it makes her feel. The trouble with people like that, is that they drag you down to their own level before anything you say goes in, and you don't really want to say "You're a really unfeeling cock of a woman". Think you handled it very well.

  10. wow, that was a restrained comment you made to her. people like her make me angry because it's so easy to be nice: one of the things i am really good at and really proud of is my ability to put my patients at ease. i know people don't like going to a dentist (or an ultrasound tech, or an MRI or whatnot) and they need to be made to feel better. this i do. it doesn't cost me any more time or effort, but it does pay off in a patient that more often than not leaves the office with a smile.

    i hope you made her think, though i wouldn't hold my breath if i were you.

  11. I do feel sorry that you had to go through all that, plus of course the worry about the thickened endometrium.


    Give a thought to the poor bloody technician, who after years of study is still being paid a pitance, and every day, yes EVERY DAY she has to stick her wand up many ladies FUDS.

    Would you be happy?

    Stainless Steel Labia or not, it isn't something I'd be happy doing every day.

    Next time you go, try something different.

    Try sprinkling some glitter over the area,

    or even, as the song suggests,

    fit a small fairy light .

    Sure to get at least a grin.

    In the last resort, you could always try using Tartarus's false teeth.

    Bet that'd get a scream.

  12. I do not like her. I do like you and your standing up for yourself. I hope all is fine too.

  13. I don't like her either. I don't like her one little fecking bit.I don't like that you're going through this. One little fecking bit. I am not remotely happy. But you write a dream and your description of the wand as gear stick made me smile when I am not Remotely In A Smiling Mood. huggage, hon, serious huggage. xxxxxx

  14. Dear Alison, If only some people had a greater sense of empathy they would know that we weren't presenting our bare fannies for our own personal amusement. The woman is a cow and good on you for your dignified response. Have you thought about writing a letter? Imagine if it hadn't been you but a migrant with poor English or an older lady. Still laughing by the way re the camel's toe. love Lindaxxx

  15. She was terrible to make you feel like a burden. What difference could it possibly make to her workflow if she is doing a scan on you, or on a patient she considers more "deserving." A scan is a scan. Sheesh.
    "Transvaginal railway" made me laugh though.

  16. Patience C - glad I made you laugh!

    Linda - I WILL be writing a letter this week.

    Exmoore Jane - thank you - huggage accepted gratefully!

    Siobhan - yep, fine - glad you bought those shoes btw!

    TSB - not even if I opened my legs and a tiny figure of Andy Stewart popped up singing Donald Where's Your Troosers (in manner of ballerina in little girl's jewellery box) would this woman crack a smile, methinks.

    Polish Chick - good on you - you sound like a much nicer person than this old crab ANYWAY.

    Looby - I am definitely keeping 'you unfeeling cock of a woman' in hand for the next encounter lol!

    Chloe - am expecting the results to be similar to last time, but at least I'll know that it's nothing sinister.

    YaH - you'll never be an old c*nt! You're way too fabulous for that!

    Wally - that's dreadful. Really dreadful - your poor wife (and you!) must have been in bits! What a bastard!

    LM - I think she was in the wrong job, she never seems to be pleasant.

    Mrs P - I agree - a bit of chat helps put you at your ease when you are in a very vulnerable position. Even if you feel terrible, a smile costs nothing.

    Marion - thank you!

    Dash - loved that Renee Perle post. Yes, I am obsessed!

    Jesa - thank you - that's really kind of you to say those things about me. Am blushing lol!

    Ali x

  17. Oh god, from the cuttings to the deeply unfriendly woman... a whole level of unnecessary stress! I once had a smear from a really snappy woman, who also happened to be rather forceful... I wish I'd said something about her. People like that should be told that it's not on to behave like that!

  18. This is why the NHS is shit - someone like that wouldn't get an INTERVIEW for a job in the private sector, let alone be allowed to see patients. I hate the way that, because its free, you have to put up with rudeness and incompetence. One doesn't have to put up with this at the vets or the dentists (because we pay) - why are NHS staff allowed to be so vile?

    Is it worth dropping a letter to someone? It is quite valid to insist that you be treated kindly and sympathetically when having any kind of procedure.


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