Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Stand in the place where you live

When I went back to university not so many years ago, I had this one professor with a....distinctive style of lecturing. Standing at the podium in front of 150 students, she would talk for an hour AT TOP VOLUME. Now, bearing in mind that a good many of the other lecturers would mumble their inaudible way through the material, this was not always a bad thing. She was screechy and extremely nasal, but you weren't going to miss a key point as a result of not being being able to hear her properly.

The only time it became unbearable was when she became overly excitable about one of those key points. She was fond, for example, of posing "yes or no" questions to the class, which no one had any intention of answering in front of their peer group. When enough of an excruciating pause had elapsed, she would SHRIEK the answer in a banshee cry- OVER AND ABOVE what was already TOP VOLUME.

"THE ANSWER", she would bellow, "is NO!"

And the "No!" would be sort of drawn out in a long pitchy nasal kind of wailing shriek. "Noooooooo!" Think Cartman from South Park, only female and about 3,000 time louder.

I nicknamed her "The Jackhammer". Which, unfortunately, kind of caught on amongst my fellow students, and I lived in mortal dread for the next year that she would find out it was me who had labeled her so. Especially since she was my course adviser, and I needed her to sign stuff on a regular basis.

I tell this story apropos of nothing, really, except that to this day, sometimes when I am answering a question for myself, I hear her voice in my head. If nothing else, she was definitive. And loud.

The question for me the last couple days was brought about by the whole "HSG-Christma"s dilemma. (To digress again for a second- I do wonder if those two words- "HSG & Christmas" have ever been juxtaposed before in this way- I'll have to keep an eye on the Google searches.)

Specifically, a number of you posed the very good question/suggestion/advice that I could have the HSG done when I was home visiting with my parents over the festive season. Thus cutting through the logistical knot of when to go, and as opposed to being jerked around here, trying to hoop jump referrals, re-scheduling yadda yadda.

Now, can I just say that:

a: this was a very good suggestion, and thank you to everyone for your comments and views
b: I had already thought briefly of the idea, but hadn't really gnashed it over in my mind at that point of writing the last post.

I have thought about it. And Class, the ANSWER is NOOOOO!

See what I mean? The Jackhammer.

Now I will try to give you an insight into my thinking. This is difficult, because at the risk of being overly cryptic, the main reason would involve writing about a conversation I had with my mother, and my feelings thereto. Now, I know I write about all sorts of personal stuff here, but I made a solemn vow awhile back that one of the things I would not blog about in any detail is my parents, or our relationship. I had once written a post about something that happened with them which, in retrospect, was unkind, and not the kind of thing I would want to air in public. I felt really uncomfortable about it, and finally deleted it. So I am trying to stay true to those self-imposed limits. Also, I am scared my mother will find my blog, kill me, then disown me.

But let us suffice to say that at this point, I think it would be better for me and my mental health if I took care of it here.

The other reason is also a little hard to articulate. But I got to thinking that the whole treatment option in America vs UK touches upon an issue which does come up for me from time to time.

You see, moving here was very hard in lots of ways. Maybe it was because things went badly wrong for the first two or three years, but I spent a great deal of time regretting my decision. I thought a lot about what I had given up, what I missed. About whether to go back.

However, much as some people are able to make the world their pingpong ball, I really couldn't face the prospect of another international move- which, in reality, would have been a retreat- and the inevitable starting all over again with nothing- no home, no friends, no job. And it wasn't even if as if I had burned my bridges- it was that I felt those bridges were never mine in the first place- that they had never existed.

Finally I decided the only way to not make myself crazy was to focus, fully focus, on living here, and to not constantly compare the two places, or long for things which may or may have come to pass if I had remained in the States. To make the best of things in the place I had landed, the place I had chosen for better or worse, to call home.

Now, I know that what is being proposed- namely, one test- is not the equivalent of saying "adieu" to my adopted homeland and relocating permanently to America. That in fact, it would be a good solution to a logistical problem, no more. I realise this. And, believe me, depending on how things go for us, we certainly would not rule out the option of pursuing treatment in the States someday.

But in the short term, I feel like I need to somehow make this work for me here. I am hopeful that in learning my way around the system, I can gain some control, which will enable me to make some positive decisions, based on the best possible options, and not necessarily what looks easiest at the time. I am not wholly confident that I can successfully negotiate the minefield of treatment Scheduling with a capital S, as Karen so aptly put it. However, at this point, I am determined to try.

For example, after I wrote the last post, I wrote a letter to Dr Best Friend asking if we could expedite the whole referral process. She phoned today to say of course, she would get on it right away, and that I didn't need to go in for an appointment with her next week just for that. That I was on a "treatment journey" and her job was to help me tie this up as neatly as possible. I have yet to hear back to confirm an appointment date, but it was step in the right direction, I thought.

I love Dr Best Friend. Remind me to ask her, when next we speak, if she can fix me up with some heavy duty painkillers prior to the HSG, cause from the sounds of it, ibuprofen is not going to cut it.


At 10:58 PM, Blogger amanda said...

Good luck with the scheduling, and yes, get the drugs. I took a Vicodin for my HSG, and quite honestly, I wish I had taken a couple.

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Toni said...

Maybe I had two really good HSGs - but mine never required anything more than a couple advil. DEFINITELY take them before does help.

At 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody seems to have a different experience with those HSG's. Um..let's just say, I wish I had taken an Advil before the big stirrup spread. It's wasn't unbearable, but I think I had one of the more painful ones. As always, I'm so very lucky when it comes to all things IF related. Good luck with the Scheduling. Heidi

At 12:53 AM, Blogger Dee said...

I agree everyone's experience with an HSG is different but one thing you should ask Dr. Best Friend is if they use a balloon catheter during the HSG. If so, girl, ask for drugs, the stronger the better! Sodium naproxens (anaprox), vicodin, percocet; hell, a vial of crack might do the trick. Don't mean to scare you, especially since everyone's tolerance varies...and you know your body best. Low threshold for pain? If so, ask for a script for something to take the edge off.

If they don't use a balloon catheter, my guess is the HSG won't be as uncomfortable and may call for a few Advil or something along those lines.

At 2:45 AM, Blogger Soper said...

Well, it was the tweezers holding in the tube that hurt the most for me. Oh, and the SEARING, BURNING PAIN of the dye. Afterwards wasn't too bad, a little crampy, but during it -- Oy Vey!

Mare, dear, you think WAY too much about being an expatriate. I know, I know, there are other issues there. Whatever works best for you, dearie. I'll keep the assvice to myself from here on out.

And about the book, you can even make up a NEW fake name for yourself, so no one will EVER know who you are or where you are, until I sell you out for $$$$$ BIG POWERBALL BUCKS. Seriously, I really want it to work, and I'm worried we won't get the big guns (Karen, Julie, grrl, Patricia, et al) on board and it will SUCK. Any ideas for convincing folks to join in?

Vegas sucks, let's all do a spa retreat...

At 3:53 AM, Blogger Soper said...

Oh, and my prior comment was made before I sat down and went through all the wonderful comments on my blog, offering to help. Now that I've made a list of people who have offered to write, I see that there are many more than I thought (my initial reaction was, well, it's just me and Mare! Bwah!). Sorry if I offended anybody... You know I love you all! *SMACK*

At 4:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, do get the drugs. I didn't do the advil before the procedure and that wasn't fun. I was actually crampy a day or two, but nothing bad. You have to do what works best for you and your life.


At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, Mare, I need to give you advice here.

I'm in kind of the opposite position, being Australian living in America, so of course I can't possibly even see a doctor in America, let alone have a test, because of the cost.

Let's just say that to visit an American RE once would cost the same as an IVF/ICSI cycle in Australia.

So, I spent a lot of time trying to book very expensive, very difficult to change flights around my period, being very vague with work and family as to what my plans were, and trying to convince my doctors that they certainly could do all the tests in one fell swoop.

It si ridiculosly stressful. something has to give. You need to think about your priorities, and decide to go with the main game, and let the rest of it take care of itself. Seriously. You don't need the stress.

At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the UK as well and you are absolutely right - you will figure out the system eventually. In my experience, absolutely nothing is reliable. But another idea might be to try calling round clinics/hospitals in London & see if any have v short waiting lists (Barts, Guys, etc) to do HSG privately. I have a feeling it'd be easier down here. And as for the HSG - take the heaviest painkillers you have. I found the worst bit was lying there holding the damn liquid in your tubes while doctors faffed around gabbing about how patent they were. Good, good luck.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger E. said...

I'm so glad you have a Dr. Best Friend, Mare. You will work out this scheduling, because you kick ass. For me, the HSG pain was balanced by the answers it gave me. For me, it ruled some things out (which was a relief); I think even if it had ruled some things in, though, it would have been a relief to know what I was dealing with. Also, they told me my results right away, which seems like such a rare blessing in the world of IF testing.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. I'm so glad you're moving forward. Thinking of you...

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Jen P said...

Mare, I'm so glad you decided. I think indecision is harder than Scheduling. Scheduling is what is driving me mad right now and I find it's a holiday compared with the internal turmoil I feel before a decision is made.

And as for protecting your family, it's a wonderful thing.

I hope you're doing well and that things work out swiftly and smoothly and aren't as hectic as it could be. Ask for the drugs! Then you can relax a bit more and it's all over v quickly.

Best wishes to you and E and hope things are grand in the Barn.

At 3:14 AM, Blogger Lala said...

OK, not really assvice but a fun idea. Have a stopover in Canada, I'll whip you in to the clinic where they did mine, you'll get the dye in, be out in minutes and out in the change room commiserating with the other ladies, (oh and 1 Guy I saw in there????) Seriously, funny eh? Again, for me, it was pretty much pain free. I had a trans vag ultrasound that hurt more.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger lobster girl said...

Sweet Mare: Whatever is going on with your mom, I hope it's not making you feel too badly. My mom has said some truly unbelievable things to me about IF, but I also don't post about them. It just seems too dangerous, or like a betrayal, or something. But wow, they have been doosies.

You'll find your HSG one way or another. Hope my assvice didn't bug you. Just want the best for you schweetie! *kiss kiss*

As for the HSG pain, I was okay until the dye was pushed through. And then, good good! that was some serious pain. I hadn't taken Advil beforehand, let alone something stronger, and sure wish I had. But it subsided after a couple of minutes, and I was just kinda uncomfortable afterwards.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger DeadBug said...

I have no advice, assvice or experience to share, so I just want to wish you the best possible luck in getting everything scheduled as you need it. Oh, and I WANT DOCTOR BEST FRIEND.


At 1:28 AM, Blogger sherry said...

Pack the're gonna need it.

That is all! Oh, and I lurve you!!

At 1:30 AM, Blogger chris said...

Had two, they didn't hurt, but you know, everyone is different. Don't you hate that phrase? Like you didn't know that. Anyway, I'd ask for drugs just in case. This sucks. No reason it should suck even more. Good luck.


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