Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Playing doctor

OK, but not in the naughty way you are all hoping for.

As I reported a few weeks ago, I had a dodgy smear test result which meant I was referred to the hospital for further checks.

Smear test cells, aren't they pretty?
Of course everyone kept telling me that it wasn't a big deal, and I was personally quite convinced after the initial panic that it wasn't.

But, to make a long story short, it turned out that my cervix was covered in pre-cancerous cells which had to be removed.

The whole procedure was projected onto a colour screen.

I was lying there in that gynecologist dentist-style chair, spread-eagled and covered only by a very unattractive NHS towel (bless the NHS), whilst a little camera was pushed up my vagina to project my cervix to the TV.

For some reason whenever I have dealings with the NHS it involves a trainee watching it, so this Asian girl had the pleasure of staring at my privates whilst the doctor woman made comments like "can you see here?" and "I'll take some pictures so we can study them closer afterwards".

Which I guess it's good; it must mean they're hiring a lot of people and training them properly... Always willing to help scientific progress, me.

They gave me a local anaestetic distributed by a horse syringe sized needle to my cervix, which was only medium painful but made me really light-headed.

"Don't look at the screen," the doctor said. "It sounds as if you're in a tin," I said, "my head feels really strange."

"The needle doesn't go quite that far up," she quipped.

My cervix looked very sorry for itself. Instead of its regular happy pink, it was white, kind of the way your tongue would look if you'd burnt it all over. Even I, knowing nothing about cervixes, knew that this wasn't good.

"We'll remove all this abnormal tissue," the doctor said, and again I wasn't allowed to watch.

They put a large sticky patch on me to ground me and heated up a metal wire loop to burn it off with.

I think this was the closest I'll ever get to having a barbecue in my vagina (some good Google search material there I think). It felt really hot, but obviously due to the anaestetic I felt no pain. I could faintly smell burnt meat as she seared the area to create a scab.

"You'll have a bloody discharge for about three weeks until it heals," one of the assisting nurses said. "And if there are black bits, don't worry, it just means the scab is coming off."

Yum.

My poor cervix bit has been sent away for further analysis, but they're hoping they caught it well in time. I have to go for annual smear tests for the next ten years though.

Then for the death blow: "No sex for about three weeks," she said.

I'd consulted web sites beforehand which all indicated about 10 days, but hello! THREE WEEKS?!

What am I going to do with my life until then??!

Although J helpfully remarked when I told him: "That'll be until the end of the World Cup, then..."

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear we were all wrong, I'm sure they got it all this time and you'll be fine. I'm just happy to hear they caught it and all. Too many people ignore stuff like that due to embaressment and all. I had my first smear done a few months ago, I was terrified. They found nothing on mine. However it just made me sad in a way, not that the test was clean but it reminds me that someday I'm going to have to explain to A that theres a really high chance I'll never be able to bear children. I know he wants at least one or two, but as much as I would want one myself in some ways, it's probably not in the cards.

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