It is against human instinct to leave the house without going to the bathroom first. I dislike ultrasounds.
I always drink as much as they ask, which is always way more than I have capacity for. And then I end up being unable to keep it for the two hours before the appointment, and have to start all over again half an hour before leaving, which means my bladder continues to fill up in the waiting room, even though I’m no longer drinking.
This time when I went, the technician didn’t even ask me to empty my bladder partway, and I know I was as full last time. I had to lie there in agony, toes cricked and ankles twisting, as she did the sonogram. And because of that cyst on my ovary, or whatever it is that causes that random severe pain in my lower abdomen, holding it for that long is actually a little painful, especially at the time of the month where I’m somewhat bloated anyway.
Interestingly, she asked me if I would be all right with a trans-vaginal exam. (Last time, this wasn’t even offered, though I had gone in expecting one. Obviously they’d found what they were looking for without one.) I said this would be all right; after all, I'd carefully groomed myself for close quarters. But when the technician found out I was not and had never been sexually active she said she couldn’t do it. I was both puzzled and relieved--I mean, if she needed to look at the back sides of the ovaries to ensure I had no other cysts developing, what would it matter what else had been there?
She was, of course, puzzled that I was on birth control although not sexually active, and I surprised myself by saying quite matter-of-factly, “Well, I’m hirsute, so it’s part of my treatment for controlling the hair. I also take aldactone.” Maybe I was tired, after being wrung-out about the appointment for so long. When I get emotional and stressed, I become very frank with people. She just hmmed like this was a perfectly normal answer, which I actually found vastly reassuring.
When the technician had enough pictures and said I could go to the washroom, I bolted out of there, not even bothering to wipe off the gel. Then she got me to lie back and began really squishing my abdomen with the transducer. It wasn’t causing me any pain, but here’s the thing: the monitor on the wall was on, so I could see what she was seeing. And I’d been having twinges, mere ghosts of that severe pain, all week, radiating from the same spot she kept going over and over, a couple inches under my navel and slightly to the right. And I could see cross-sections of this dark spot, almost like a hole, as she passed over it again and again, pressing and pushing and trying to get good shots of it. I was too afraid to ask what it was, because it looked big enough to be an ovary, but... it just didn’t seem to look like one to me. Was it the cyst? Did I want to know?
She took the pictures to the radiologist, and then came back saying she needed more. In the midst of this, my bladder was filling up again from the water I’d downed half an hour ago. So I had to go take care of that, come back and let her literally dig around some more. And I just gazed at this mysterious oblong hole on the sonogram on the wall, horrified but intrigued, and oddly pleased that whatever pain I had been experiencing for years, we were looking at the right spot.
But now I have to wait until the endocrinologist calls me with the results, to find out just what that black spot was.
But you think ultrasounds are awkward? My pharmacy is not too far from the clinic, so I went over to pick up my prescription refills, and as we got into line I was explaining to my mother (who drove me, I would speed like a bat outta hell if I drove myself to an ultrasound on a full bladder) what had happened. Little did I realize, one of my old friends from high school who I hadn’t seen in eight years was standing right behind me! She was on her phone, and though she stopped to exchange pleasantries I got no hint that she heard me say “trans-vaginal.”