Impaled by choice. Skewered. The sharp pain went through my vaginal opening, echoed up my stomach and crashed into my spine. I wanted to scream, instead I did the huffing breaths to ensure that I didn’t faint and began talking about the silly cats. The attempt at distraction didn’t help reduce the incredible pain and discomfort of a colposcopy procedure. The gynecological doctor kept apologizing for hurting me. At least she admitted to having a similar exam so she knew what it felt like, which is why I will only see female medical practitioners. Agony.
My menstruation cycle has become erratic during the past two years. I thought it was because of the starting of Peri-menopause. I qualified for the Sage Program due to lack of health insurance and being over the age of 40. I received a no cost pap and pelvic exam and breast x-ray. I’ve had to endure P & Ps since I was in my 20s. The first encounter was to procure birth control pills from Boyton Health Service at the University of Minnesota while I was an undergrad. Uncomfortable, embarrassing, and painful. That was back in the day when the doctor would stick their finger up you bum and press on the ovaries. Humiliating and disgusting. I have diligently subjected myself to the procedure every other year. However, I haven’t had health insurance for several years it has been a while since I have had to endure that experience.
When I turned thirty the doctors added a breast exam. I’d always had the palpitations during the P & P but getting an x-ray is a different modus operandi. Each boob is compressed several times between two pieces of plexiglas. If the technician isn’t careful, you will get a bruise. Not enjoyable. This year I went to the Piper Breast Center at Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Parking is deplorable but the Piper Institute is wonderful. The receptionists were a bit cool but the volunteers and staff was terrific. The suite looks like a spa and I got to wear a soft bathrobe and sip tea while I waited for an exam room to become available. It was degrading when the technician announced out loud that I was a part of the Sage Program. Otherwise, it was a lovely place to be. All they need is harp music, wine, fruit and cheese and it would be perfection. www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpcd/ccs/screening/sage/index.html
I’ve had abnormal Pap Smears and had to get them redone on at least three occasions, yuck. The second smear was always normal. This year the Gyn RN Nurse Practitioner was concerned about my unpredictable period. Per example, during May I trickled for three weeks, three bloody weeks, ugh! I had a normal four-day period in early June and then two weeks later I spotted for five days. She recommended a biopsy. Thus, the horrible colposcopy. I had to pay for it because my P & P was normal, which sucks.
The OB-GYN (obbs and gobs doctor) started by inserting a cold speculum into my vaginal opening. I requested the smallest version since it has been years, too damn long, since I have had sexual intercourse. The speculum was too short so she had to get a longer one and that was also cold from the air conditioning in the clinic. She then inserted a device to force my cervix open (tenaculum). My cervix is “shy” since it is curved away from the vagina, which is why it would be virtually impossible for me to carry a child full-term. I had to clutch my hands into fists and place them under my pelvis to tilt the cervix a bit. It was incredibly uncomfortable.
“This will pinch,” she cautioned. Ha! The impalement occurred when the doctor threaded in a long plastic tube used to scrape endometrial tissue off the wall of my cervix (endocervical curette). It was horrific. My body reacted with violent cramps. Under the advice of the Gyn RN I had already consumed a couple aspirin but it did nothing to dull the pain. The first tube didn’t collect enough and she had to do it again. It took all my powers of concentration to not scream. I had to wait for her to push the samples into a formaldehyde bath before she began to remove the instruments of torture. The whole procedure was less than an hour.
The intense cramps continued for about twelve hours. It was extremely uncomfortable to sit at a desk for work. I ate a lot of aspirin and tried to focus my thoughts elsewhere. My vaginal opening was tender. It felt like I had had sex. Internally it was sore, I felt bruised. It took more than a day for the cramps to finally cease and I was physically uncomfortable for several days.
I hope the test results are “normal.” I don’t know what I would do if they diagnosed cancer. I have no health insurance and few financial assets. I don’t have any dependents besides the cats and no strong relationship bonds with humans. I have friends but would not want to burden them with my suffering. If I was diagnosed with cancer, I would get rid of my material possessions, sell the house and move into an efficiency apartment. I would procure a lot of pain medication. I would not tell anyone, except you, dear readers. As I near the point of inability to take care of myself, I would commit suicide. Sad, but true. I’d rather die than suffer.
Informational resource at www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/gynecology/cervical_biopsy_92,P07767/
Men all pause.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing: all rights reserved.