Four Men and an (Potentially) Infertile Lady

November 8, 2018

🦆 Duck walk. 🦆 After my HSG test was completed and while I was still horizontal on the X-ray table, I was handed a GIANT wad of paper towels and the male technician said: “We can Duck Walk back to the bathroom for you to change.” This is the story of My Duck Walk of Shame. Here’s a video of a Duck Walk for mental pics…

(Oh, also…in regards to the title, Google: Three Men and a Baby or, it’s lesser-known sequel according to Scott when I told him the title of this post, Three Men and a Little Lady. Also, it was just a cardboard cut-out and not a ghost. Google: Three Men and a Baby. Ghost.)

Week two of fertility testing for ol’ Seven Eggs Martin consisted of an HSG test, an ultrasound, and some more bloodwork before we would wrap up the testing and wait to hear the plan of procreational attack on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Work was particularly intense at that moment, I felt like a probed pin cushion, I was emotional from all the bad test results I’d already received, I was dodging signing up to bring anything for the office Thanksgiving potluck (our floor has its own kitchen stocked with plates and napkins so my office potluck sign-up staples weren’t an option), and I was just counting down the days until Scott, Stout, and I could head to Joshua Tree for our little peaceful Thanksgiving.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts how you have to do certain fertility tests at certain times in a woman’s cycle and, according to Dr. TT’s office and everything I’ve read online, an HSG test needs to be administered in the 7-10 day window *after* the first day of your period. An HSG test (Hysterosalpingogram 😳  Test) is a special kind of x-ray used to evaluate female fertility. An outpatient procedure, the test takes no longer than a half hour. It involves placing an iodine-based dye through the cervix and taking x-rays. These x-rays help evaluate the shape of the uterus and whether the fallopian tubes are blocked. (Viva la Google!)

While waiting for the day of my test, I decided to hit up Google to see what other women were saying about having HSG tests.  I know each woman may have a different experience with this test, but the range of reactions to this test was wild!  Some women thought it was mildly uncomfortable, but popped some Advil afterward and never felt any worse than they did the first few days of the period.  Other women acted like this was the worst test they had ever encountered and were bed-ridden with the most intense cramps they had ever experienced for days afterward. While I’ve evidently never felt the often severe side effects of my Stage 4 Endometriosis, I have felt the joy of multiple kidney stones. Kidney stones are no freaking joke and have landed me in the ER so I figured I’d probably be ok after my HSG test. Dr. TT’s office had also given me the green light to pop four ibuprofen immediately following my test and advised maybe just chilling at home the rest of the day.  I got this.

The morning of my appointment, I hopped in my car, popped on some Taylor, and made my way to the lab. I forgot I wasn’t supposed to eat or drink for four hours ahead of my test and promptly downed a bottle of water on my drive. I also forgot to bring my trusty four Advils with me. Once I got to the lab, I made my way to the convenience store next door for some Advil and a bathroom break so I wouldn’t give it away to anyone at the clinic that I had broken the no food or beverages rule before the test (Straight-As Jessica strikes again).

I check in at the front desk and a male lab technician calls me to head into the back for my test. I’m going to call this particular male lab technician, “Angel Tech.”  Why? It’s coming up!  Angel Tech leads me back into the lab room where there’s a giant X-ray machine hanging over an exam table.  Angel Tech asks me when the first day of my period was and I tell him it was Thursday, November 1st (you already know a lot about my insides at this point so hopefully a period start date doesn’t freak you out…feel free to track my cycle for fun now!).  He does some counting and then tells me he needs to go check with the radiologist to see if they can even do my HSG test today because they normally do it on day 8-11 of a woman’s cycle.  I was on Day 7.

My Brain: *#@* *#(@ (%*$#@ $*#@(#$!!!!!!!!  WTTTFFFFFFFF?!?!?! Day 7-10…SEVEN THROUGH TEN!  That’s what Dr. TT’s office said, that’s what all the terrifying blogs/forums say, not one thing I’ve read has said 8-11…NOT ONE!  WHY IS THIS LAB SAYING EIGHT TO ELEVEN NOW?!?!  I SUMMON THEE, HELLMOUTH!  But, like, let me get out of here first. (Google: Hellmouth. Buffy. Sunnydale.  Basically, I wanted a giant hole to open up under the lab and swallow it into the fiery pits of hell.)

I picked up my phone and texted Scott about how I was on the verge of losing my mind and he might have to drive to the lab to get me….or, possibly meet me at the jail with bail. A bit dramatic? Possibly, but this whole fertility testing process is an emotional rollercoaster and I thought the ride was almost over…I was not ready for another sudden drop. (Also, I LOVED rollercoasters in my teens/20s.  Now, instant migraine.  And not even an instant migraine because I rode the god-awful wooden “Gwazi” at Busch Gardens Tampa!  Any rollercoaster = instant migraine now. Getting old sucks.  Hmmm…I bet there are crystals for this!)

Angel Tech comes back into the exam room and tells me we’re good to go on doing my HSG test today as long as I don’t have any spotting going on.  NOPE. No spotting here, let’s do this!

My Brain:  Hellmouth, stand down. 

Angel Tech reminds me that the regular female radiologist for the clinic is on vacation and I will have the male radiologist from Denver who is covering her vacation. I shall call him “Denver Dude Radiologist or Denver Dude”  Denver Dude Radiologist wasn’t in the room yet, but he’d be there soon. To recap, we have Angel Tech (reason for his name to be continued…) and Denver Dude Radiologist.  As The Count would say, “Two Men…Two Men for my HSG test!” Well, except…I guess The Count would never have an HSG test…ok…moving on!

My Brain: Seems weird they have to bring in someone from Denver to cover a vacation, but sure. Let’s go! 

Angel Tech hands me not one, BUT TWO, full-length CLOTH hospital gowns and tells me to put the first one on like a coat and the second one on over the first one like a regular hospital gown then tie it in the back.  Angel Tech even gave me cozy non-slip socks to wear for max comfort on the exam tables. There were no stirrups on the exam table so the non-slip socks were to keep my feet in place on the table for the speculum.

My Brain: Well, shiver me timbers!  This is more like it!  Socks and TWO hospital gowns?!  This is max privacy for my lady parts!  Hooray!  Take that, comfy recliner! 

Little did I know what was waiting in the wings for me.  I head into the restroom connected to the exam room, feeling *pretty* good about this test now, and change into my TWO cozy hospital gowns and socks.

I emerged from the restroom cloaked in my two gowns of privacy and the number of men in the room had multiplied to two.  I thought Denver Dude had joined the fun but Angel Tech informs me he’s training a new technician today (the new guy in the room) and that “Tech Trainee” was going to be shadowing my HSG test.

My Brain: Alright…so that’s male Angel Tech, male Tech Trainee, and Denver Dude Radiologist once he joins the party.  So, three…three men and this infertile lady. 

Angel Tech tells me to take a seat up on the exam table and that Denver Dude will be in soon to walk me through what’s going to happen during the HSG test.  Then, a man wearing a thick, protective X-ray vest in a bright orange camouflage design enters the room.

My Brain: This must be Denver Dude…

Orange camo-vested radiologist guy introduces himself (I don’t remember his name…it’s Orange Camo Dude for this post) and walks me through the HSG test.  Through my not-a-doctor lens, he tells me he’s going to pry me open with a speculum, insert a balloon filled with dye into my cervix, pump the dye through my Fallopian tubes, watch to see how the dye flows through my tubes, make sure there’s no blockage, and then I go on my merry way.  He’s sweating profusely while he’s explaining the test to me and seems super nervous.  He wraps up the explanation by telling me HE’S ALSO A TRAINEE AND WAS GOING TO BE ADMINISTERING MY HSG TEST WHILE DENVER DUDE OVERSEES HIM.

My Brain: Wait, this isn’t even Denver Dude Radiologist?  Also, do I trust someone wearing orange camo and who is *this* nervous when just explaining the test? He is sweating bullets already and I’m supposed to trust him with my cervix, a speculum, and a bag of dye?! Also, I am *not* a fan of anything camouflage…(sorry to my pro-camouflage folks out there.  No judgement…camo just isn’t my thing. I know I grew up in Northern Florida which is basically Southern Georgia, but ehhh to camo except for the military.) Soooo, that’s Angel Tech, Tech Trainee, Orange Camo Dude, AND Denver Dude.  Four men…four men in this tiny exam room with me while dye is being shot up into my tubes.  Am I being punked?  If the female radiologist was here, then it would only be her and Angel Tech.  Why do I have to be a guinea pig here today?  They should really limit the number of trainees to one during tests.  This is ridiculous. FOUR MEN to replace one woman radiologist?!

img_2285

Agents Smiths as seen when my sister and I toured the Warner Bros. lot over the summer.

Orange Camo Dude then assures me that the front desk nurse (a woman) will also be in the room to chaperone these four men while they review my insides. THEN, TWO MORE MEN ENTER THE ROOM along with the front desk nurse!  Both new men to the party are wearing golf shirts and look like they are about to hit the links at any moment. Orange Camo Dude asks me to lie down on the table and assume the good ol’ speculum position at this point and I quickly stop the party to ask who are these two new men in the room. Angel Tech tells me one is the actual Denver Dude Radiologist and the other is another doctor in the lab.  I ask if the other doctor from the lab is going to be in the room too (bringing my total of men in the room during my HSG test to FIVE).  Angel Tech assures me that it will *only* (ha) be him, Tech Trainee, Orange Camo Dude, Denver Dude, and the front desk nurse in the room during my test and that I can wait to assume my speculum pose until after this 5th male doctor leaves the room.

The 5th Beatle leaves the room and we’re officially down to the small audience of Angel Tech, Tech Trainee, Orange Camo Dude, Denver Dude, and front desk nurse for my test. Denver Dude never officially introduces himself to me and just stands there while Orange Camo Dude starts the test. Speculum in, cervix exposed, dye-filled balloon inserted…and we’re off! There was definitely cramping once the balloon was inserted and it was not the most comfortable thing in the world. There was also a weird pain running down my leg, but I was told that was normal in some women. Plus, there’s the giant, cold metal speculum holding you open so all-in-all *not* a relaxing day at the beach. Oh, I forgot to mention that Orange Camo Dude was going to have to “pop the balloon” for the test to officially start!  The balloon is not-yet-popped and Denver Dude  is positioning a monitor with an attached keyboard to a spot where all four men in the room can see it. This monitor with the keyboard attached is where they are going to be able to see the dye flow through my tubes.

Denver Dude: Hey, isn’t there a remote control for this monitor so I don’t have to use the keyboard?

Angel Tech: Yea, I think so, but Dr. (insert name of the woman radiologist on vacation here) never uses the remote and just uses the keyboard during the test. I’m not sure where the remote is because she doesn’t use it…ever. 

Denver Dude: Yea, I know I can use the keyboard, but I’d prefer the remote.  Do you know where it is?

My Brain:  He *just* said he’s not sure where the remote is…

All four men begin looking through cabinets and drawers for the remote. Where am I during all of this, you ask? Oh, just chilling on an exam table with my legs spread open with a speculum opening a direct portal to my insides where a dye-filled balloon awaits being popped while it also causes some pretty intense cramps. (I will not be a drug mule any time soon.)  I can tell Angel Tech is very uncomfortable having me up on this exam table while the four of them wander around the room looking for a freaking TV remote. Angel Tech glances over at me, gives me what I feel was a look of remorse, and also gives me a super quick pat on my shoulder to signify he knows looking for this remote while I’m in this position is complete and utter BULLSH*T. (Sorry Mom.) Hence why I’m calling him Angel Tech. He was at the mercy of this stupid remote-obsessed doctor and had to look for the stupid remote. I love my husband. Scott, love you, dude!  I know many of you also love your husbands/boyfriends/sons/fathers, etc., but often men wander around looking for objects that are right in front of them and we have to step in to “find” the object.  I wanted to jump off the table and find the damn remote for these four men…speculum, dye balloon, and all! Or, I wanted to slap Denver Dude in the face and tell him to just use the damn keyboard.

Angel Tech: Here’s the remote, Dr. Denver Dude. 

Denver Dude:  Great!

Denver Dude points the remote at the monitor and presses a button on the remote. Nothing happens.  He presses the button again.  Nothing. He starts banging the remote against the palm of his hand. I’m still chilling with my insides exposed and waiting for the balloon to be popped.

Denver Dude:  I think this remote might need new batteries. 

Bangs the remote against the palm of his hand some more.  More button pushing.  More nothing happening.  My cervix…still feeling a breeze.

My Brain: Oh, for *#@(@ sake! (I curse a lot in my brain evidently. I’m not a sailor outside of my brain.)

Denver Dude:  I need new batteries for this remote.  Can someone get me new batteries?

Here’s where my deep-seated patriarchal issues probably come into play now. I should have spoken up for myself here.  I should have called out that I was in a very uncomfortable position and if the test could be done by pressing buttons on the keyboard vs. a remote then could we please just get the test started. Angel Tech had said twice now that the female radiologist never used this remote. Instead, I “politely” said nothing while these four men roamed around the room, the room where my private bits were on full display,  looking for AA batteries for a remote that was not needed but preferred.  The front desk nurse was of no help…I don’t think she was even paying attention, but it was also not on her to point out how this was a bit absurd.  I should have spoken up for myself and pointed out the absurdity. (There are DEFINITELY crystals for speaking up for yourself, I bet!) It took Angel Tech going into another part of the lab to track down batteries before the test could officially begin.

Orange Camo Dude nervously pops my balloon and the dye starts working its magic.  I can’t see the monitor to see how everything is flowing, but Denver Dude is pointing out things to look for to Orange Camo Dude.  I kid you not…Denver Dude then sets the damn remote down and never picks it up again for the whole test. He used the keyboard the whole time. Denver Dude then says that my left Fallopian tube isn’t lighting up.  Still without ever introducing himself, he asks me to contort my body into this extremely uncomfortable position to see if “gravity” will help the dye flow into my left tube.  I hang out in this half-leaning over, half-butt up in the air position with a speculum inside me for about 5 minutes and everything starts flowing properly.  While he won’t say it’s the final result, Orange Camo Dude says it looks like everything is flowing correctly in my tubes and the test wraps up.

Once everything has been removed from inside me, Orange Camo & Denver Dude leave the exam room so now all that’s left is me, Angel Tech, and Tech Trainee.  I’m still lying down on the exam table and Angel Tech hands me a GIANT wad of paper towels.  DUCK WALK TIME! He tells me to slowly sit up on up the exam table and place the giant wad of paper towels in between my legs so we can Duck Walk into the restroom together.  Tech Trainee just stands there in silence.

My Brain:  Uhhh….ok. What in the world…

I take the giant wad of paper towels, sit up, start to stand up to begin this Duck Walk, and that’s when I realized exactly why he handed me this giant ball of paper towels.  I wasn’t quick enough getting the paper towels in the desired position and suddenly this gush of red, watery fluid comes rushing out….of me. I had contemplated taking the comfy socks home with me, but not any longer. There was a puddle forming with no signs of stopping and I just stood there in stunned silence trying to wrap my brain around what was happening.

My Brain: Wait…was I supposed to put the paper towels down there before I stood up?  He didn’t say that, did he?! I honestly don’t even know what he said.  I just had four men staring at my insides and now I’m gushing fluid.  WHY WOULD THEY MAKE THE DYE RED?  Wait, is the dye red or did nervous Orange Camo Dude nick an artery and I’m hemorrhaging?! Am I bleeding out?!?!?! WHERE ARE MY CRYSTALS?!?!?!

Me (voice a bit frantic)Is the dye red or am I bleeding?

Angel Tech:  The dye is a slight red so it lights up on the screen.  You’re ok…let’s slowly walk to the restroom.

Angel Tech takes my arm and I basically Duck Walk to the restroom.  I wasn’t quite as low as the guy in the video above, but I was pretty low because with each step it felt like Niagara Falls released from my insides.  I don’t even know how that much fluid fit in there.  It was never-ending. The restroom was probably only 20 ft. away but it felt like 2 miles. We finally made it the restroom where I shut the door and continued to deal with the aftermath of this HSG test. Angel Tech offered me a pad, but one of my friends, who also had undergone this test, had given me the heads up to bring a pad with me.  It was oddly so comforting to have my own pad from home (Thanks, unidentified friend!). I cried a bit once I was alone in the restroom. I’ve never basically peed myself in front of two men I don’t know before…or, in front of men I do know. I was probably in the bathroom for about 10-15 minutes just waiting for the leak I’d sprung to die down. I gathered myself, got dressed, and walked back out into the exam room to catch the tail end of Tech Trainee mopping up the path I’d made leading into the restroom.

I know if I do get pregnant that pretty much all modesty goes out the window during exams, but I’m not there yet.  Although it seemed like the result of the HSG test was positive, I left really shaken up from the four bumbling men looking for a remote and batteries while I was exposed for all to see and then having no control over fluids escaping my body.  I popped my four Advil, threw on some Taylor, and then I got a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s because I didn’t know what was up with the sushi scene around the lab. On the way home, I drove by an Anheuser-Busch brewery.  I grew up near an Anheuser-Busch brewery so the smell immediately reminded me of home and it made me a feel a bit better.  The brain is weird.

There’s going to be one more post before I take a little break for the holidays.  The culmination of all these tests and what the results mean for our procreational path is headed your way next week.  Plus, Scott and I have a little Freaky Friday moment.

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