Saves Nine, or Thereabouts

Continuing the theme of our glorious NHS:

Yesterday, Harry and I drove 31 miles to the regional hospital where I have received all of my fertility treatment to date, and where Harry spent 10 days in the (brand-new, state of the art) intensive care unit. I took my ticket, glumly noted that I was 81st in the queue and settled down to entertain a tired-but-refusing-to-nap toddler – in a ballroom-sized waiting room, containing nary a toy or book. I had anticipated a good old British queue and came dutifully prepared with sticker books and crayons, but there’s really only so far 2D Bob the Builder will take you: an hour and forty minutes later, I was running out of ideas. When my number did eventually pop up onto the screen, I was ushered into the inner sanctum – where Harry spotted a large toy box, and dove in happily. I was promptly and skillfully phlebotomised; the entire procedure took less than a minute. Then I had to extract my furiously protesting toddler, who had not even had time to strew the toybox contents messily onto the floor, which is his preferred method of proceeding.  NHS logical thinking FAIL. And then 31 long miles back home.

Today, I left Harry in the care of my mother, and drove myself to my local hospital. My appointment time was 2.15. I eventually made it into theatre at 5pm. Yes, theatre.

See, I had it in mind that it would be a quick snip of the scissors type-job. I had mentally signed up to a tiny slice of the scalpel and voila! A couple of minutes to stop the bleeding, and away I would go. I started to smell a rat when I was formally admitted, bunged in a gown, and consented. When I was (eventually) led into theatre which possessed the usual complement of begowned-and-masked nurses, I was beginning to wonder if it was worth babbling that really, it didn’t bother me all that much, and perhaps it was too much trouble to everyone, and maybe it would be better if I just went home and we forgot all about it?

It began to dawn on me that perhaps I had underestimated quite what the job entailed. A bit of lignocaine gel obviously wasn’t quite going to cut the proverbial mustard here: I was evidently going to be repeatedly jabbed in the perineum with sharp needles. Arse.

 The nurses (a competent, kind bunch) were potty with excitement over their brand new stirrups – a menacing pair of highly padded black plastic bondage boots – although it took them some time to work out, firstly, quite how to attach them to the trolley, and secondly, how to insert me inside them. They eventually velcroed me firmly into position, so I consigned to history my last vague thought of overturning the drugs trolley as a distraction and legging it down the endless corridors, hospital gown flapping madly, my fat bottom twinkling out of the gaping fabric at my unfortunate pursuers.

Philogynae was actually pretty skillful with the needles; one was sharp enough to make me draw breath, but God knows, worse things occurred in the area when Harry appeared. He pointed out the problematic web of skin to the juniors craning close over his shoulder, and talked them through the scalpel cut. I enquired, as he worked away, if another vaginal delivery would have done the job for him, and he agreed it would have done, albeit untidily. A stitch in time, I thought… 

I vociferously sketched for him the mind-blowing, consciousness-withdrawing pain I had suffered when Harry’s head became firmly wedged half-way out (the fiercest contraction at its peak was nothing in comparison to it, and I do now wonder if the second uterus and my [full to bulging] bladder were pressing down on nerves somewhere) and requested that he properly ensure the route for any future baby-heads was… free from obstruction, shall we say? He cheerfully agreed, although I thought I could maybe hear a faint roar of protest carried to me on the wind from home, 15 miles away.

I think I got what I asked for. The nerve block was total, but I suddenly became disagreeably aware that my bum was now sat in a small puddle of blood. Lovely. I watched, fascinated, as he drew long, gruesome lengths of bloodstained suture thread up into my view, and then down again. The tugging sensation as he tied them off was most peculiar, and put me in mind of c-sections I have heard described – painless, but most unpleasantly weird.

I was wheeled out of theatre at 5.20, and deposited in recovery. I was mildly surprised, upon clambering down from the trolley, just how much blood was on the fresh sheet they had put underneath my bum before leaving the theatre. Day 4 of period not withstanding, I appear to have bled plenty, and I am now fairly curious about the nature of the topography changes.

I experienced a little difficulty in discharging myself, as the nurses in recovery were horrified that I intended to drive myself home, and protested that I should obtain a lift. I dryly informed them that farmer’s wives are rather expected to paddle their own canoes at the best of times, and certainly in busy season. Hearing this seemed to actually increase their agitation, so to cheer them up I bracingly told them that the previous time I had been admitted to hospital I had unceremoniously discharged my 2nd-degree-torn self some two hours post partum, in the face of rather dour medical disapproval, and had promptly galloped at high speed across the hospital car park, lugging my own 3 heavy bags, and comically dragging my dead leg – which was the only thing the epidural had managed to successfully numb. I tried to drive the car, but John caught up with me by that point.

In fact, I had actually never suggested – or even particularly desired – that John accompany me today, as I am, when you get right down to it, reasonably good at wearing big-girl panties. There is also the secondary consideration that John is spectacularly bad at hand-holding, being fairly impervious to discomfort himself. He is even worse at kicking his heels in waiting rooms. Finally, a few stitches and an undercarriage shot full of lignocaine does not render someone incapable of safe independent locomotion; I shall be feeling far more sorry for myself tomorrow, I expect, when I am swollen and sore. 

Anyways. I am… re-sectioned. The area in which this rather chilly-looking young lady has her uppermost piercing is the area in which I am, once again, sporting stitches. The local anaesthetic wore off a few hours ago, but Philogynae enthusiastically bunged two Voltarol suppositories up my arse – in friendly fashion, you understand, but nevertheless… enthusiastically. He also told me he would prescribe voltarol suppositories to bring home, but discharge nursey was a bit hard of thinking and seemed to think he meant aspirin. I didn’t bother contesting the issue, I have plenty of voltarol here from the last time my back went.

Philogynae heard my descriptions of the disappearing adenomyosis with puzzlement. I explained that the period directly following my adenomyosis diagnosis was shatteringly painful. The period I am currently having – following on from August’s you-have-two-lovely-normal-looking-uteri-Mrs-HFF! scan, has been comparatively painless. He told me I was presenting a enigma; I gloomily agreed. He evinced no surprise at hearing that CRM were talking about laparoscopies and hysteroscopies, and obligingly sent the nurses scurrying to photocopy the scan report for me to show my consultant in a fortnight.

Scan report 

He also, upon hearing my Not The Right Uterus Again, Thankyou pregnancy worries, advised me to pay the £10 fee for a copy of my medical records, the maternity section of which could be shown to CRM. I was a little stunned hearing this, as I had always understood that requesting a copy of one’s own medical records in the UK was tantamount to declaring Intent To Litigate to the hospital in question, but he assured me not. I will be phoning up first thing in the morning, as I am avidly curious to read my labour notes: such a momentous few hours, about which I remember so very little.

So… here I am. Sat gingerly on the office chair, with legs clamped tightly together. It’s burning and stabbing a little bit, and the stitches feel scratchy. I shall, unfortunately, have to go and pee soon; I have been putting it off, but the time is nigh. I am intending to follow it up with an early night, accompanied by Voyager, which has been Shannon’s lifesaver to me throughout today’s lengthy wait (it has taken a good deal of concentration to ensure that I have not lapsed into phonetic Scots while writing this post, me bein’ verra osmotic wi’ accents, ye ken.) a plate piled high with illicit munchables, and packets of voltarol and paracetamol clutched firmly in my paw.

I am heading bogwards. Wish me luck…

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