Monday, April 20, 2015
My HSG experience
We made an appointment with the doctor for the hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test for Monday. I had to be at the appointment at 7.45 in the morning.
I have never been to a hospital before, so the whole thing was almost an exotic experience for me (at least for a while). I took my little bag with a jogging suit and slippers, a book for reading and an expensive German women’s magazine as a consolation gift for myself. I also had something to drink and a chocolate.
At the reception, I had to give data, the name of my doctor, and the name of the test. Then, they said, I should go to the second floor.
There again, I introduced myself to the nurse, who went with me to a private ward. Actually, I was not imagining such a luxurious room in a hospital in Hungary, where the rooms are mostly with 4 beds. I almost felt regret, that I would miss this real collective hospital experience. I seemed to be a VIP guest, because I was the private patient of Dr. Horváth. I even got the key to my room, so I could lock it, if I needed the powder room.
I closed the door behind myself, and I changed my clothes. I didn’t bring pyjamas, because I decided not to loose my dignity. So I had sweatpants with a comfortable flannel shirt.
After changing my clothes, I opened the door a crack. The people outside should not think, I would imagine, that I was in a hotel, where you could separate yourself from the others, if you wanted to. I lay down to my bed and started reading the Hungarian version of Bridget Jones diaries. I laughed a lot and by the way, I realized how good it was that I had a man, at least.
Until midday, nothing happened. To find some variety, I went to the little girls room, twice, and changed from the book to the women’s magazine.
At 12, they said to me, that I could come to have lunch. I had a weird feeling, when I went to the dining room: It was like a hotel with very low number of stars (or maybe none). It had ugly furniture and a toilet on the end of the corridor. But, what a nice surprise: they give you lunch for free! I got fork and spoon from the nurses, because I, the inexperienced hospital patient, didn’t know, that you should take it from home because there was silverware shortage due to pilferage. I wanted to mingle, so I sat down at a table with three women and began to paddle my soup.
The age of the women was between 50 and 70, all of them had housecoats in bright colors and night clothes with little flowers. And obviously, all of them were sick. I was ashamed of myself, because I was just one of them, at age of 28, and I was ashamed of myself also, because I felt at the same time, that nothing was wrong with my body, I just a slack about, while they had God-knows- what horrible diseases.
I almost began with the second dish, when I heard my name. The physician in attendance arrived, who had the job of checking every new patient on the floor.
I went into the examination room. I saw five or six doctors and scrubs at the table, only men. They broke their chatting and eating, and stared at me. I was the only young female patient.
The nurse lead me to the examination table and after catching my eyes, she drew the curtain in, and separated me in this way from the mass of the white coated young men. I got off my pants and my panties, and laid down spreading my legs, just like nothing would be more natural for me, than doing this in the presence of 6 young men.
The physician in attendance examined me manually and went away. He asked me, why I was hospitalized. He had good bedside manner. Although he didn’t tell me, what exactly he was doing to me and why he did it.
At half past two in the afternoon, when I was very bored in my single room, my doctor showed up. Earlier on the day, he had appeared on the scene, but then he acted like he didn’t see me and didn’t know that he was the one who had hospitalized me.
“Unfortunately, we can’t do the HSG today, the radiology closed at 2 pm.” He said, and added: “We will postpone it until tomorrow.” I saw that he seriously meant, that I would spend the night in the hospital. I asked him, polite and scared, if this would be really necessary. He was in a good-natured forgiving mood, and said, that I could go home now, but only on the QT. I should talk to the nurse. I should leave some of my clothes there in the room, so they wouldn’t give the room to another patient. I should be back tomorrow morning, before 7.45, before morning rounds.
Very quickly, before he could change his mind, I sent a phone message to Ádám, to come for me. I changed my clothes and we hurried home.
I was very disappointed, of course, because I wasn’t through with it. I phoned my German group, and said, I couldn’t come to our lesson. I’m not a very good liar, so I didn’t give a reason.
The next morning, we woke up very early, so I could sneak back in my hospital bed. The doctors came around 8.30. I had been never a part of hospital rounds before, I had never been a patient. I knew the situation only from medical television shows.
This is how it happened: Suddenly, I heard two knocks on the door of my room, and the nurse came in, behind her a middle aged, tired-faced doctor, and a lot of young guys in white coats. They were so many, that they could not really come in to the little room, just peer in from the door.
I tried not to show, how it felt for me, a feeling that should be well known for monkeys in the zoo. I sat up comfortably, in with my legs crossed. Usually, I don’t see my guests lying in bed.
“You will have a HSG?” The doctor asked shortly, looking to his papers.
“Yes, Dr. Horváth will do it.” I said, to avoid misunderstandings. Not, that this apathetic stranger could touch me!
“Were you informed about the test?”
I didn’t know what to say. The truth was, that I had no clue about this test. My doctor didn’t tell me many things, because I didn’t ask him. I didn’t want to suggest to his colleague that he was a bad doctor. But I didn’t want for them to think that I knew everything, and maybe would expect from me something, that I had never heard before.
“Ehh… what should I say?” I thought out loud.
“Yes or no?!’ The strange doctor said shortly, huddled his papers up and stormed out of the room as quickly as lightning, with all his hangers-on. Only the nurse caught my eyes.
They closed the door behind themselves. I was alone. I cried. That was the day number 2, that I spent totally exposed in the hospital. How I felt depended on the goodwill of uncountable strangers, what and how was happening to me was almost surreal. Kafkaesque.
Before 12, my doctor charge into my room and asked me “How are you?”, and I said, fine. It was lunch time: when the nurse saw, that the doctor had personally come to consult with me, she insisted on taking my lunch to my room. Dr. Horváth said, he would come back in a half hour, and disappeared.
He did come back, but not in a half an hour, but that’s only a minor detail. And I had to confess: when you are hospitalized, you have a lot of time.
We went to the examination room, because he wanted to put the catheter in. The type, that is used by little babies, you know. He was displeasured, because I had no night-dress, but in was pants.
“You can’t hold the outlet barrel, while we go to the radiology.” He explained, but then, he had an idea: “No problem, I will fix it with an adhesive tape to your leg!”
I survived the procedure like a hero, but my face could be a little bit wry, so he asked: “Are you all right, Anett, or are you having convulsions?”
“No, I’m okay.” I assured him. I tried to be a good patient, just like I tried to be a good girl, a good teacher and a good wife. I didn’t want to upset anybody.
We took the corridor to the elevator. The radiology was 2 floors lower, than the examination room, of course.
I had never walked with Dr. Horváth together before. I hadn’t realized earlier, that he was a little bit shorter than me.
He pushed the call button of the elevator, and tried to chat, but I caught him up in the speech letting him know, that I was afraid and I would faint. I sat on a bench and made my world good. When I came around, the head nurse washed my forehead with a wet cloth. The doctor stood a little farther on, wringing his hands. He looked so helpless.
“Why did you get so scared?” The nurse asked me. “Because of the test or because of the possible result?”
“Because of the test.” I made the confession. I was no hero. Honestly, I think, I didn’t collapse because of the fear to the test. It was enough for me, the knowledge, that a catheter was hanging out from me, that was fixed to my leg, and I was marching to the elevator among unknown people. Just like an android, having some parts of me from metal, chatting to this stranger, who wore white clothes.
They got a wheelchair and a male-nurse, so finally, I reached the radiology.
There was not a soul, except for a young doctor, who received me unbelievably kindly. He introduced himself (he was the first one with a white coat, who did this to me!), and asked me about how I felt.
“I’m super” I said, and smiled ashamed.
I had to stand to a wall, to that I got tied to. The whole contraption was moved, until we (the wall and me) were lying down. Then, they injected some dye through the little pipe into my uterus, so they could see on the monitor, that both of my oviducts are permeable.
That was not really surprising to me, because I never had this feeling, that something would be wrong with my female genital organs, and that would be the problem of getting pregnant. I took the medicines only for the sake of the doctor. So I felt now not really great joy, only a little relief.
I wanted to, but they didn’t let me walk back, I was taken with the wheelchair, as far as my room. I said goodbye to the male-nurse but I didn’t give him money, although he did a good job.
I crouched back to my bed in my single room, pretended to be brave and read my book. My doctor came in and I gave him the money.
In our country, you have the medical system free, if you have insurance. But because everybody has insurance, and the doctors’ payment is low, you think, it is better, to give them extra money in envelopes. So you think, you will get some extra attention. In this way, I could hope for extra attention and told my doctor, that I fainted before, because the other physician in attendance had treated me so badly. My doctor said, if I didn't have a fever, I could go home at 5 pm, at my own risk.
The waiting was even worse, than in the morning hours. At 16.45, everything was in my bag. A nurse showed up with a thermometer. I held it for two minutes in my armpits, and it went to 37 Celsius. I decided, not to measure it for the full 10 minutes, as it was ordered. I didn’t want to give it the chance, to go higher. I felt my head very hot, but I signed the papers, and ran to Ádám, who was waiting for me in the car.
I did something, that I never would think about myself. I always thought it would be the sign of a lack of self-discipline: when other people don’t follow medical orders 100 %.
I had a vision that something would go wrong, and I would have the shame, to be taken with an ambulance back to the hospital, from which I had escaped. But nothing went wrong, luckily.
I could go to sleep and dream (in my own bed) with the knowledge, that it was proved: there is no physical problem with me. That I couldn't get pregnant yet could be only a misunderstanding.