I had my hysterosalpingogram (HSG) today. Well, sort of.
I have been anticipating having the HSG for about a month and, I must say, I was more than a little nervous. And all of the preparation that went into the day didn't help to calm me down. Given my prior surgery, Dr. S. prescribed for me a four day course of antibiotics, which I began on Sunday. Because of the "discomfort" that many experience during the procedure, she also suggested that I take 600 mg of ibuprofen prior to the appointment; I complied. The hospital, also concerned about reactions to the procedure, required that I had a driver. So Tony took a half day off of work.
We arrived at the hospital 30 minutes before appointment time, per request. We reported to registration where they took care of HIPPA and the financial concerns. We were then directed from the registration waiting room to the radiology waiting room. We arrived, and I had to do a double check to make sure we had not wandered into geriatrics. Not only was there no patients under the age of 50, the receptionists made your favorite Wal-mart greeter look young. Although they walked around in very slow, confused circles, eventually it dawned on one of the receptionists to give me paperwork and order my procedure. I filled out and returned the form and, shortly thereafter, we were led to the third and final waiting room.
Several minutes later I was called back to answer the all-important question: were my tubes blocked. The nurse, very nice, had me undress, conducted her standard interview, and explained the procedure to me: betadine (for sterilization), speculum, more betadine, catheter in cervix, balloon inflated, and contrast dye injected for x-rays. She also reminded me that I could experience some cramping or "discomfort." I assured her I understood, she took a couple of before x-rays of the area-of-interest and left to retrieve the doctor.
Also very nice, the doctor comes in, asks me the same questions I've answered at least three times since being there, and re-explained the procedure. I sign the consent form, and we're off -- less than a half hour away from important, possibly life-changing answers.
I assume the position required for all speculum insertions, only the radiology department can't spring for stirrups. They do, however, have lovely little knubs (their term) for the heels to rest on. Ladies, as uncomfortable as stirrups are, the knubs are so much worse. I make a mental note to be thankful for stirrups in the future. Bad sign #1: I'm missing stirrups. The doctor, who I have previously identified as "nice," now rubs betadine on the external parts. Did I say rub? I meant scrub! I'm talking food-caked-on-dish for a week type of scrubbing. Ouch! Its all over soon enough though and the speculum goes in. No, that's not so accurate -- the speculum was pounded into place. Think hammer to very stubborn dowel. Bad sign #2: scrubbing followed by pounding. I assume the speculum found a comfy place to hang out because I felt betadine being applied to the cervix followed by pressure as the catheter was slid into place and the balloon was inflated.
I was then told to slide back so that I would be positioned flat on my back for the iodine insertion and x-ray taking. This, for me, was the most uncomfortable part of the procedure. What was slightly uncomfortable with knees up was significantly more so once I was laid out flat. Nothing I would describe as painful, though. The doctor attempted to ink me, but the x-ray revealed everything was not positioned correctly. He informed me that he was having trouble getting the catheter all of the way into the cervix. Bad sign #3: doctor cannot get catheter into cervix. I scoot back to the edge of the table where he plays with the catheter for a few more minutes. Then he declares that the procedure cannot be done because he cannot get into the cervix. He claimed that I have "narrowing of the cervix" likely caused by scar tissue. He suggested that either an OB catheterize me as "they may have better luck since they do this type of thing every day multiple times a day." Or, he suggested the scar tissue be removed surgically, and then the procedure repeated.
So much for the HSG. So much for answers. So much for moving forward.