|The Transvaginal Railway|
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.