Surgically enhanced housewifery
Posted on July 1, 2009
It must be about 7 weeks ago now that I went to see my GP about the results of my scan, (no, not that GP, another one: same practice, different male doctor, but this time a nicer one) and to discuss treatment options now that it’s been confirmed I have fibroids. But to be honest, he didn’t really seem to have much of a clue either. He mentioned the possibility of me taking some tablets to help control my periods, but admitted they’d do nothing to help with the fibroids themselves. He also mentioned the Mirena coil, which he said they would normally fit at the surgery but, because I’ve got so many fibroids and my uterus is all bent out of shape because the biggest one, Freddie the Bastard, is growing on the outside wall of it, they wouldn’t be able to do in my case, so if I wanted one it would have to be fitted at the hospital using an ultrasound for guidance. But again, the Mirena is used to control periods the same as the tablets so it still wouldn’t solve the fibroid problem.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the visit ended with him agreeing to refer me to a gynae consultant. Hallelujah!
And Monday was the big day. The day of the important I’m-finally-going-to-see-someone-who-knows-what-they’re-talking-about hospital appointment.
L came with me this time because Dave was away oop North on work business. It was a baking boiling hot day in Norwich, so when we arrived at the hospital with about 30 minutes to spare we decided to go straight on in rather than loiter outside in the heat: “Hang on a minute while I just go and have a pee” I said as we got to the gynae department. Then, once I was sorted, I went up to the desk to let them know I was there.
The clerk checked all my details, then asked “Did you bring a urine specimen with you?”
“No, it didn’t say anything about that in the letter.”
She handed me a plastic pot
“Do you think you could do one for us now?”
“Ermm, I don’t know, I’ve only just been”
“Well, if you could try…..”
I went and sat down next to L. Grumbling. “If they wanted a specimen why didn’t they say so in the letter? Now what am I going to do?”
“Stop panicking, if you can’t do one you can’t do one.”
For a while there were only us two and a couple of other people in the waiting room, but as time went on it slowly began to fill. People either chatted to each other in hushed tones, or they sat and flicked through magazines. Me, I stared at the clock. About 10 minutes before I was due to be seen, I jumped up: “Right, that’s it, I’m going to go and try.”
I came back 2 minutes later jubilant. “Hah! I filled it.”
“Great. Are you going to calm down now?”
A nurse came and took me off to be weighed and measured. I didn’t bother asking her how much I weighed, but I did ask about my height, and it turns out that Dave and the kids are right when they keep telling me I’m shrinking. I’ve lost half an inch!
And then it was through to see the consultant.
She asked me the usual questions, made some notes, and then told me she was going to examine me. She said she was also going to do an endometrial biopsy.
“You might feel some cramping when I’m doing it, but it won’t take long.”
And out came the speculum……
……..and the big long thin thing that had to go through my cervix and into my uterus.
I won’t go into too much detail about the joy that is an endometrial biopsy, but suffice to say it bloody hurt. And I did that really annoying thing I always do, and tried to minimise just how much pain I was in. So rather than being honest and going “Ow ow ow fuck fuck fuck that fucking hurts!” I sank my teeth into the top of my left arm and made a little whimpering sound instead.
Once she was done we talked about my options. But there weren’t any really. Contrary to what my GP said, I’m not a suitable case for a Mirena coil; I could have hormone injections for 6 months that would shrink the fibroids, mimic the menopause, and make me feel like shit, and then once the 6 months is up the fibroids would in all likelihood grow back so I’d be back to square one again. Or I can have a hysterectomy and get this sorted once and for all.
So I’m having a hysterectomy.
The maximum waiting time is 18 weeks. So it’ll be happening some time this year. Before November.
Just before I left the nurse handed me an information sheet.
And that’s when I discovered it.
A hysterectomy helps women become better housewives:
“For the first week at home you should take plenty of rest but are able to make a cup of tea, do dusting and easy household jobs. Sit on a chair when possible to reduce standing. Gradually increase household jobs e.g cooking, ironing, and using a vacuum cleaner until by 6 weeks you are back to normal…”
What? dusting? Ironing?
Not for me it’s not.
OMFG! What are they going to do to me?
I’m going to lose my uterus, and gain housekeeping skills instead!
I have to say that Cath was exceptionally brave about the whole endometrial biopsy thing.
But beware, the information sheet says Cath will be able to drive 8 weeks after the operation, which is something I have been urging her to learn to do for a long time. I never knew that surgery could give you new skills.
You should never read leaflets they give out at the doctors. While bored in the waiting room I read one last week that went on about how you shouldn’t turn to drink if you’re made redundant, but instead be sensible, budget and go for a jog.
What – on bloody JSA of £60 a week? I’d soon be in the gutter and drinking meths I’m afraid. I needed a drink just after reading the leaflet.
Oh, Cath! Torn between laughter and horror. It’s like being stalked by the Patriarchy… just when you thought you were safe, you open a leaflet and – what’s this? – BWAHAHAHA…
And I know it’s a bit tedious posting clips, but I really hope you’ll check this one out. It’s relevant to this post, it’s very funny AND it takes less than a minute to get across what would normally take me hours of ranting.
I’m going to lose my uterus, and gain housekeeping skills instead!
I can’t believe that I ended up laughing when someone said that she was going to have a hysterectomy. You got me, Cath.
Good luck! With getting through major surgery, that is. Not with getting on with the housework.
I seem to remember someone bringing me a manicure set and beading kit when I had mine… But once the nasty bit is over, it’s fun doing the “lady” wot lunches and having friends visit for a bit instead of schlepping into the office every day. So enjoy it while it lasts….
Hehe. But it was an ironic post-feminist manicure set and beading kit Sharon, and anyway, I’ve heard you made some truly lovely jewellery with it once you thought no one was watching…..
Oh god, I’m so going to regret that gift now aren’t I?
Second that, Deborah, about laughing.
But sympathies to Cath.
Sigh. Frikkin sexist morons wrote that leaflet. Of course, laydees do housework!
I want to have time off work. And get manicures. Not so keen on the hospitals and surgery and pain thing though.
I’m wondering what the information leaflet for prostate surgery says:
I wonder if they do a post modern hysterectomy, where you can just get the time off work without the surgery.
That would be good.
Good luck. I know two people who’ve had hysterectomies due to fibroids…my aunt and a friend.
Polly – it would, yes.
Alternatively, there is such a thing as a sickie. Not that I would ever do such a thing 😉
good luck cath! thanks for writing such amazing blog posts xx