I was referred for ‘Hysteroscopy and Endometrial Pipelle Biopsy’ as part of my RPL tests. I knew about the camera bit but I think the doctors omitted to tell me about the biopsy part. For good reason.
More on that in a bit…
In my experience, I’ve always heard pretty quickly about when the appointment is but there’s a number of weeks wait between getting The Big Date and attending The Big Appointment. But 5 weeks on, nothing. Consultant Secretary couldn’t chase because it’s a different hospital entirely so they could only give me a number to call. No answer. Tried a different number. Wrong department incidentally but that lady gave me another number of someone who was the line manager of the other number at which there was no answer. Tried. No answer. So I left a message.
24 hours later, I’d heard nothing, so I tried again next day on original number about 3:15pm. Answered! She was absolutely lovely, said my situation had been brought to light (by the line manager), they apologised profusely for the wait in receiving an appointment time and that I was looking at 5-8 weeks until the actual procedure. Then she asked me to hold, came back and said, “How’s 9am tomorrow morning sound?” There had been a last minute cancellation and because they were literally due to close for the day, the first appointment of tomorrow would simply go to waste. Unless, of course, some over-zealous, crazy woman, counting down the hours since the referral went through, called at the precise moment the cancellation was realised and at the last available quarter of an hour in which said cancellation could be filled.
That’s me! *waves*
I realise sometimes cancellations are absolutely legitimate, but more than often they’re not, and pushed-to-the-limit services like NHS aren’t notified prior to Stupid Time-Waster Patient not turning up (see any GP wall for a poster outlining wasted time due to patients just not bothering to attend) which means hours and hours of one-to-one time with healthcare professionals are lost, all the while, poorly people are being told there’s no space available.
But however this cancellation came about, this miraculous little empty appointment on a day that I could make it with minimal work disruption, I am so ridiculously thankful that I phoned at that moment. Now, there’s no appointment wasted, no professional time wasted and no anxious 5-8 week wait for me. I usually maintain that I’m unlucky, but with this, I was the complete opposite. High five!
So 17 hours later (and getting through the worst traffic known to man), I arrived. The Nurse Practitioner doing the hysteroscopy was brilliant and the Student Midwife with her is clearly going to be an asset to the profession. Everything was explained clearly – with the use of a ball point pen and a few fists… :-O – where an instrument would be inserted through my cervix and scraped down the lining a few times to take some cells…fun! And in we went. Only one moment of ‘Oh crap!‘ was when she described the discomfort I’d feel for the biopsy, informing me that it’s usually done under general anaesthetic so if it hurt, I wasn’t being weak (good old NHS cuts, suspending this option unless emergency surgery…). And now I quote:
“It’s quite uncomfortable. It will make your toes curl and you’ll want to kick me. But please don’t.”
*cue nervous laugh*
Uncomfortable? The saline flooding my uterus: yes, uncomfortable (period pain). The camera fiddling around: ow, yep, that’s uncomfortable (tugging/pushing feeling). Endometrial Pipelle Biopsy, i.e. Claw Your Uterus Like An Angry Tiger Claws Its Prey: ouch.
Normally, I chat utter nonsense throughout all uncomfortable procedures. But this was akin to the sting of a needle drawing copious vials of blood, the heat of when you hold your palm above a candle and it feels ok but then suddenly burns you, twinned with what I imagine dragging a fishing hook down bare skin would be like, all this right through your very middle. No small talk about, “Ooo, isn’t it nice to see some sunshine!” or “Going on any holidays this year?” could distract me from this. It honestly was pretty rough.
But I’ve felt fine since; no discomfort, just a bit of stomach ache now and again but nothing really. After-effects of sunburn is worse, ha. Yet another thing that wasn’t as quite as bad as Dr Google told me it would be.
And anyway…for the sake of a few seconds of “OW!”, it WILL be worth it…right? Course it will.
It was good news in that I have a wonderfully healthy and symmetrical uterus with no problems that she could see (pretty amazing to see my insides on a tv!). So structurally, my abdomen is the uterine equivalent of a supermodel, an athlete, a goddess, possibly all three. Whether she’s a toxic one of these, we’ll soon find out when the biopsy results come back but right now, I’m basking in the glory of having a photogenic uterus and, to quote my GP nurse, “a cute and perfectly formed cervix”. (Note: must add that to my CV…)