Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The HSG that stole Christmas

In reviewing my recent post about our first visit to the RE, and the comments thereto, I got to wondering if maybe I have been doing my usual habit of getting ahead of myself. By this I mean my tendency to leap from Point A to Point W in the space of a few nano-seconds. I do this with everything, it's the way my mind works. I'm known for this at work- it's both an asset and an irritant to my colleagues.

These great cognitive leaps, often without so much a thin bungee cord to bring me back, are frequently taken without any solid fact, foundation or substance. I rely on intuition, flashes of insight, the eureka! method. Quite often, I'm right, and it's simply a case of dispensing with the slow, plodding blah-blah-blah reasoning to take us there. And other times, I'm just talking crap. E. is generally very good at reeling me back in, which is one of the reasons I love him so.

So I should maybe clarify that all my chat about Dr TickTock alluding to a preliminary diagnosis of "unexplained" was really the result of my reading between the lines. Drawing inferences, leaping to conclusions. He hasn't said anything on the basis of that one visit, except to look over what thus far appears to be a perfectly normal file. All my bloodwork- normal (apart from the TSH, and we've fixed that.) All my cycle charts- normal. E.'s first SA- more or less normal apart from a potentially wonky morph issue. Accordingly, Dr TickTock made a few cryptic remarks, which I have proceeded to interpret in an inimicable fashion. Plus, he's ordered more tests.

It's here the fun begins.

One of the things that has begun to dawn on me in recent months, with a growing sense of foreboding, is how much schedule juggling is required when undergoing infertility treatments. I know that in the big scheme of things, I am a complete novice, but already I am daunted by the logistics of trying to arrange the next set of tests. For reasons that will become clear in a minute, I'm slightly obsessed over how it's going work out. So at the risk of boring you all stupid with the tedium, here's the deal:

As I mentioned, Dr TickTock wants an HSG for me before doing anything else. There is, however, at least a seven month waiting for an HSG on the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. My tax dollars at work- HA!

In order to obtain this test any time soon, I have to get a referral to the local private hospital, where I will pay hundred of pounds for the exact same doctor (who would have eventually done the test at the NHS hospital, if I could be bothered to wait til next April) to carry out the procedure. However, the referral to the private hospital can only be obtained from my GP. The receptionist would not let me speak to Dr Best Friend on the phone for this, and the first appointment I can get with her isn't until the end of next week. There is then at least a three to five week waiting list at the private hospital, and I understand ideally it's best to do the HSG during the first part of the cycle, prior to ovulation but not during my period.

Assuming we manage to get the HSG done by the end of December, we are supposed to go back to see Dr TickTock for another consultation. But if we haven't, for any reason, managed to accomplish this, together with another SA for E., we will have to postpone that appointment, and wait for another opening. Which would be likely to be in an additional three months time, so say, March.

Now, this would not be so bad- the timescales, while not roomy, would probably be manageable. Except that my parents, in particular, my mother, are very keen for me to come home in early December. You see, thanks to the extortionate airfares if one flies at Christmas, as opposed to three weeks before or three weeks after, we don't usually see each other during the peak festive season.

My poor mother. In her heart of hearts, she really wants a daughter, who having married a nice man and produced two bouncing grandchildren, lives within a day's drive. Instead she gets funny infertile me, shacked up with an intractable Scotsman in a foreign abode. The rest of the year, she bites her tongue (more or less) about the situation, but I think she finds the distance at Christmas truly dismaying.

As a compromise, the plan was for me to come on my own at the end of November/beginning of December. We were going to squeeze in about 10 days of undivided family time, complete with mother-daughter shopping trips and father-daughter fishing off the boat dock. I confess, I was rather looking forward to all this. Christmas here tends to be something of a muted affair, with just E. and myself, so the idea of a break in the sun with the folks beforehand was very welcome indeed.

Looking at my calendar, and the possible dates for the HSG, I've now had to rule out early December as a likely time to fly back to the States. Unless I take out an additional mortgage to pay for the HSG and the airfare for a flight closer to Christmas. Except that the horrendous expense aside, E. doesn't want to go there for Christmas, and neither of us wants to be apart over the holiday. Which takes us into January, when E. was hoping to get away for a short New Year's break, when it may be hard to get away from work, and when a close friend was asking if she could come to visit for a week.

I'm sort of tearing my hair already. I know I can't please everybody or even please myself. I know the HSG has to get done as soon as possible to enable us to move on. But it's already seeming unfeasibly complicated. Who should I decide to disappoint, and when? I know the timing may well work out. Then again, given the number of variables conspiring to fuck things up, it may not. Either way, it's going to make it very difficult to plan anything. This is, frankly, something of a bummer.

I feel like sending out a seasonal greeting which announces that, due to the requirement to have X-rays taken of my uterus and fallopian tubes, Christmas is cancelled this year.


At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scheduling sucks, with a big S. Basically, when you cycle, your entire life revolves around it.

I hope things work out. Unexplained is the worst diagnosis. I hope they find something fixable, and easy. I'll be crossing fingers for good stuff for you, girl.

Karen/naked ovary

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Soper said...

Hey, I already did that!

What if you got the HSG done in the States, while you are home at Christmas? You can take the pill to get your cycle at the right time, and pay out of pocket for the procedure.

Mine cost like $300, of which my insurance paid half. I don't think it would be a problem to get it arranged, people fly to the U.S. all the time for medical care as long as they pay out of pocket. My HSG was done digitally, so the doc could just e-mail it to your RE in Scotland.

And when you do get it done, wherever it is, (1) take a couple of pads with you, as you will bleed, and (2) make them give you a Xanax or something equally nice, 'cause it hurts like hell when they stick the tweezers up your wonker.

At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scheduling this stuff takes such a toll on your life.

Soper's got a good point about trying to do it in the States if you can.

Hope your diagnosis is something easy to fix.


At 10:43 PM, Blogger Jen P said...

Best Wishes Mare. I've only got assvice as for as this is concerned. Time with the 'rents is much more important than any old xray. I guess I'm a sentimental fool...I'd love to have the type of relationships with parents where you feel pain at not seeing them.

I second (or third) Soper's call to get it done in the States. Spend the time with your folks and get it done.

Ok, enough of my assvice.

Hope all is well.

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

baaaaah humbug. I sent out an email telling all those who knew about our IF woes to "bare with us" during this time of uterine remodeling and drug therapy. No matter what, you're gonna piss someone off... at least that's what I learned. I just figure that this is the time for me to be selfish. For you, too. You're going through enough, after all. One word of advice on the HSG... DRUGS. Illegal or otherwise. Take many.
Good luck my friend, Jen/VintageUterus

At 11:30 PM, Blogger lobster girl said...

Yes, scheduling tests and bloodwork and cycles is a huge pain in the ass. I was just wondering myself how much I should delay/cancel/modify travel to accomodate treatment.

I think (assvice) that the idea of getting the HSG while in the U.S. is brilliant! You could probably even schedule it now, and then you'll know you've got it set and you'll be ready for your next consultation.

Whatever you decide, I hope most of all that you do what feels right for YOU and no one else. (Perhaps not even E.)

At 3:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Soper, so smart and all-- I really like her idea. Kill 2 birds with one stone. Not a great analogy, but you catch my drift.


At 8:43 PM, Blogger Orodemniades said...

Good luck with whatever you decide. Due to the scheduling nightmare and money woes, I haven't been home in 4 years...which sucks. If you can get the HSG done at home, I'd go for it...but beware that it may take you down for a good few days (in my case I spent 5 days on in serious pain). Although you might be one of the lucky ones and have no pain at all! Alas, there's no way to know until the day.

At 2:24 AM, Blogger Lala said...

You mean that the receptionist won't take a message for your Doc. and then have them call you back? That's retarded(love that uncool word!)
I agree with the HSG in the States if you can swing it, I didn't suffer any pain though. Everybody's different. It was neat to see inside. Good luck.


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