I’m waiting for an ultrasound and I’m about to piss myself.
I’m getting a hysterectomy, which I want very much. I’m expectant; not as a mother. I’ve been looking for a way to scorpion-kick this diseased meat satchel for over a decade and I couldn’t be happier.
I have endometriosis and adenomyosis. And no children. That’s where interpersonal communication on the matter gets testy.
I expect the comments section to blow up with several reactions to a hysterectomy at my age: rage, accusations of my selfishness (lol what?), curiosity, congratulations, confusion, whatever else the talking heads decide. Go for it: it might be the first time in a long time I read a comments section!
They said to drink four glasses of water before the appointment. I still needed clarification, so I questioned how much water that was.
“You know – a glass. Just a glass of water, like you’d give to your kids.”
Without kids, I tried to picture the amount of water I would give to children I could feasibly have at this age. I asked again, “So, a highball glass, or a pint? Something in between?” I’m difficult.
A medical office usually smells of sticky children: rotting apples and the grey hanger-tang you get from using your hand as a garment rack while shopping. This one smelled of Febreze, which reminds me of when you tape a dryer sheet over a fan to make your house smell less like the dog. Oh, you never do that? Aren’t I just your dirtbag queen, then?
I drank enough water. Obviously, as I keep talking about the sweet relief of having a piss like it’s the culmination of hours of tantric sex.
The waiting room is upholstered in woven fabrics and laid with heavily-patterned carpet. I think you’re asking for trouble when you fill a plush waiting room full of brawling children and people whose bladders feel as large and hard as a pomelo chilling in your pelvis.
Remind me never to apply for a job in a medical office: few stalwart people have the immunity and intestinal fortitude to work there. I don’t. I have extremely weak guts.
Now I’m on the exam table in a dim room that’s a bit too sultry and… outré… for what’s happening – namely, someone’s very politely asked me if I’m ready for “the wand”.
“Yes, of course, go for it,” I manage like the blurting garbage adult I am. But between the sexy wall sconces and a dildo cam heading into a full-bladder-IBS-sour-diarrhea sandwich, I was handling myself, okay? And the lube was too fucking hot.
I sucked my teeth because I wasn’t used to the heat. “Just out of curiosity, what do you use to warm up the lube?”
“Can’t you tell? It’s a baby bottle warmer.”
I can’t say I’ve used one in the last decade. There must be a lot of babies out there with sore mouths, but I wouldn’t know anything, so I keep my mouth shut and focus on the mental dyke I’m building at the end of my urethra.
So they … swish it around? Stab me a little? I think they just stabbed. It feels like a stab. It could be my bladder pressing up against my touchy bowels; my brain not sure what to do except scream until it rends the cognitive dissonance—a personal hell of its own creation. I boil down to two reactions:
To pee; or
Not to pee.
The tech does a flapping motion with the arm holding the wand. I hold in a squirm as she looks aside at me. “So, what brings you here today?”
I assume she’s read the sheet, so it should be obvious to her by now that I’m not pregnant. I’m tempted to tell her that my uterus is there for boudoir shots; the wall sconces and their absurdity keep me in check.
“My surgeon booked me for a hysterectomy on April 5th. His booking coordinator asked me to attend this appointment as part of pre-op.” There. That’s super good. Keep being good. She’s got a camera prodding your bladder and your cervix at the same time—is that possible?
She has this … look. I’ve seen that look before.
I saw it when I was pregnant and told the radiologist that I was not in a relationship with the father. That look.
“Are you sure it’s adenomyosis?”
“That’s what my surgeon told me.”
Her face. Eyebrows up, wrinkled nose, shitty glance at my face then eye-flick away.
I should tell her I prefer a gentle withdrawal. I’m too focused on whether I’m stopping pee, poo or guts from spilling out of the new perforation in my nether region.
She withdraws the wand. Hard.
I clamp down like a Kegel Grand Master.
You’d think a straight woman would know what it’s like to get your shit mixed, as vaginal walls clamp down and then withdraw hard like that.
Some folks really like their chunk of power where they can get it.
Take a chunk of my uterus while you’re at it, I want to say, as everything in my abdomen feels like cotton candy clinging to a stick while she pulls out the ultrasound wand.
“The radiologist will have to review your scan. If you leave the room, the bathroom is on your left.” She doesn’t even look at me as she scoots out.
I wrap the gel-stained paper around my waist and book it for the loo.
Relieved, I go back to the room and await the radiologist.
The sultry bordello lights have been turned up to full glare. I feel a sense of peace and rightness with everything in its new, invasive light.
The radiologist comes in and quizzes me on why exactly I’m having a hysterectomy.
I give him the line about my diagnosis.
“Well, I happen to think there’s nothing wrong with your uterus. No enlargement from what I can see.” And the stare. The “fight me” stare. This is getting too adversarial all of a Wednesday morning, buddy.
You know when a guy mansplains feminism to you, and you tell him, “Thanks, I’m aware—I have a degree in Women’s and Gender Studies, so I’m fully aware that feminism benefits men, too”?
This is the opposite: a radiologist asks me for my non-medically-trained opinion on whether or not my own reproductive organ needs removal based on its size.
I could have told him that my surgeon knows my medical history, so he should ask my surgeon, but at this point I want a Slurpee and Round II in the bathroom. In reverse order.
“My surgeon and I have discussed it, and not only do I fully consent to a hysterectomy, I’m enthusiastic.”
The tech seems to have gotten the vapours, or realizes she has no pearls to clutch. She leaves the room. I smile.
The radiologist nods. He flaps the papers holding their stapled corner. Nods at me again. “You can go now.”
That was probably the fun part, in hindsight.
So here we go. Full steam ahead. This asshole sack of disease and pain called my uterus is on its way out for good, and it can’t come out too soon.
Keep an eye out for Part Two: The Procedure - coming soon.
Image courtesy of Kitmondo Marketplace (ALOKA SSD-3500SV) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Michelle Telford has written about music education for Long & McQuade's Gear Guide 2015, and about opera supertitling for Schmopera.com. Michelle recently finished writing the libretto for the mini-opera, "Orpheus and Eurydice... ish", which will premiere in Saskatoon, Canada in June of 2017. Michelle likes her pets and a few people. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.