Friday, November 30, 2007

What $750 Buys at the RE's Office

Warning: to anybody uncomfortable with women's anatomy and specifically my anatomy, please stop reading this post now.

Frequently while sitting in the RE's office, often while my legs are in stirrups or I'm enjoying the pleasures of the ultrasound wand, I find my self thinking about the irony that I'm paying to do all this. But it was not until I experienced the joys of an HSG that I truly understood the truth of these thoughts. So let me share with those unfamiliar with the joys of an HSG what exactly $750 bought me on Wednesday afternoon.

The purpose of the HSG is to determine whether I have any uterine abnormalities or blocked fallopian tubes. Basically it involves injecting a dye into my uterus and tubes that can be seen by an x-ray. For many reasons, I would not quite describe this procedure as pleasurable:

1. The stirrups: these are not your run of the mill stirrups. Rather these are the HSG extra special stirrups. In sum you have to try to rest the back of your knees on them without having them fall off as your RE sticks a wide variety of apparatuses better fit for interrogation than the practice of medicine in your vee-jay.

2. The speculum: not only do they stick the enemy of every woman in me once, but twice. And yes the aforementioned torture devices were involved both times.

3. The gynecological equivalent of an obstacle course: once they've inserted the aforementioned torture devices, they ask you to find a way to propel yourself backwards on the exam table. Then when dye flow is not satisfactory they ask you to twist your body in crazy directions. And finally when the whole thing is done you have to propel yourself back to you original position. Of course all of this must be done without dislodging the torture devices.

4. Sharp instruments and the cervix: frankly these two items don't mix. I mean this sounds like the basis for some video entitled "Pap Smears Gone Wild". Definitely a horror flick.

5. A "little" bit of cramping: do RE's receive specific training in this lie they feed women during their fellowships? What I experienced could not be characterized by the term "little". I mean talk about the understatement of the century. How about an overwhelming, shooting pain in my lower pelvic region especially on the right side? Mine may have been worse due to some possible blockage but couldn't they at least give a girl some forewarning about that???

So the result of all this, as you may have ascertained from #3 and #5 above, is that no dye went through the right fallopian tube. The RE who did the HSG (not my regular RE) was very non-committal about the results and said this could be due to (1) a blocked right fallopian tube or (2) the left fallopian tube is just super open and the dye goes through the path of least resistance or (3) the HSG is wrong. Obviously I am quite upset about option #1 as this means my left ovary is my only option ruling out at least 50% of my cycles...maybe more as my left appears to be much lazier than my right. Also I'd want to know what caused the blockage. I'm quite worried about the possibility of endometriosis especially because I've had low grade pain on the right side of my pelvic region for 3 or 4 years now that my regular doctor was unable to diagnose even after an ultrasound. It's not like I need endo on top of an undiagnosed ovulatory dysfunction. I mean hell, let's just throw some crazy uterine abnormality in there for good measure, and then my reproductive organs can serve as some personal, self-contained contraceptive device. Option #2 certainly sounds better but does that mean that sperm also takes the path of least resistance? Then option #3 sounds the best on one hand but does this mean I need to do another HSG?

I won't know the answers to any of these questions until I meet with my regular RE on December 13th. In the meantime, I'm taking the stance that if the world was fair, any woman who under went an HSG would automatically get pregnant. I mean it absolutely kills me knowing the things that so many women must go through to have a baby when others have kids with no problems and have absolutely no comprehension of just how lucky they are.


Jewels said...

Two words, Shi-tee.
I'm scared.
I totally agree with your last statement about knowing the things that so many women must go through to have a baby when others have kids with no problems and have absolutely no comprehension of just how lucky they are.

C said...

Amen, sister. I'm sorry to hear about the potential blockage! I'm not sure this will make you feel better or worse -- the $750, stirrups, and speculum considered -- but HSGs are notorious for being only mildly accurate. I've heard they are wrong 1 out of 3 times. *wince* Would your insurance cover a laparoscopy? If it's done to look for endo? The tightwads they are, our insurance company had no trouble forking over the cash for my lap. And I have lovely pictures of my uterus and ovaries to show for it. They are framed in our living room. (Okay, not really!) Good luck and keep us posted.

Katie said...

Yes, it was no fun. Luckily, I had several friends who had already been through this procedures and took a vicodin prior. And then, the procedure got delayed, so I took another. Didn't really feel much!

jenn said...

yikes. Definitely scared. althoigh it can't possibly be worse than the exploding kidney. just more humiliating.

Monica said...

I had totally forgotten until you mentioned the stirrups that when I had my HSG, I was on a normal table. There weren't any stirrups at all! I actually had to try to prop my feet up at the edge of the table and try to stay out of the way. I woulda preferred the stirrups--then I woulda actually had a place for my feet!

KatieM said...

Hey hun, I just wanted to say sorry about your crappy HSG again and I do hope it isn't option 1. As for the HSG itself though, did your doc not remove the "enemy of all women" after he inserted the catheter? Because mine did and I can imagine how much more uncomfortable it would have been had he not. Oh, HSG was 1000!