I don't think I have any male readers, but if you happen to be a male, you might want to click off right now.
So today was the day. My appointment with a female gynecologist across town.
I couldn't really sit as I waited for my name to be called, so I just sort of leaned to the side. Like an old house that has seen better days, and just can't stand up straight any more, so it lists to the side.
Took forever, but it usually does on a first time visit. I had been told today would just be a consultation.
She was very nice. I had laid there on the examining table trying to close my eyes to the horrid fluorescent lights above. People like me have trouble with fluorescent lights, sensory wise.
Why don't they find something else to light the room? There was a small lamp, and after about 45 minutes of lying there, I asked the nurse if I could turn off the overhead lights. Sure. I began to relax some after that.
However, if I'd known what was coming in just about 20 minutes, I probably would not even have left home this morning at 9 a.m.
"First, she said, "You have a terrible yeast infection. And we have to treat that."
I begged her not to do an internal exam, but she said she would do as little as possible. She told me the atrophy was pretty bad. Yeah, I knew that. And I now have a rash as well which looks red and angry.
Then she said: "I'm going to need to do some biopsies, so why don't you go take care of this yeast infection. Because it's going to be painful enough without that being a factor."
Stupidly, I said: "I've had this for ten years. I am in agony. This is not quality of life. Just do it."
She said: "Well, I'll warn you again that this won't be in the least bit pleasant, but we'll numb the areas as best we can. I normally do this in the procedure room, but let's just get it done." She told the nurse what to go get.
Here she comes with these huge needles I tried not to look at. I thought I would pass out as she inserted them. Heck, would the biopsies hurt any worse than this? Just start cutting!
Then she pours betadine in that region, which set me on fire. I'm biting into my fingers at this point.
Then comes the cutting. I'm not even sure at this point what it is for. I am beside myself and just want it over with. I don't want to ask questions, I just want to get up off that examining table.
It was somewhere on the other side of bad. It takes awhile. I hear her say (I think) left labia and then right labia to the nurse to write down. I tell her I've been having stabbing pain in the left side.
When finally she's done, she then says: "Don't touch this area with anything. Not so much as a wet wash cloth. Do not sit in water. It's going to turn black. Don't let that scare you. And you're going to bleed for awhile."
They hand me a maxi pad, the likes of which I have not seen in 30 years come August, when I had my hysterectomy at age 28.
The nurse comes back, hands me some samples and says make an appointment for two weeks. She should have the results back by then.
The results of what? I'm still unclear. But I'm in such a fog of pain I don't even ask.
I get up, gently put on my clothing, and go out to make an appointment. It is kind of surreal, because I'm myself but I'm not myself. I'm somewhere in between my selves.
I leave the office, which is in a huge hospital complex. I have parked my car in a parking garage. But I am confused and can't remember which direction.
I go to the lady sitting at the information desk and tell her my dilemma. I asked her if she had any ibuprophen or anything.
She tells me she's had biopsies and it's best to get some ibuprophen in you fast, so she points me down a hall toward a gift shop.
All these turns and of course I'm wondering if I can find my way back to her. She told me to come back to her desk after I get it.
I buy some water and take it right there, then walk back to her like I'm about to give birth and there might be a head sticking out somewhere.
She calls security and tells them there is a patient who has just had a procedure and is disoriented and can they please come get me and find my car so I can leave.
She tells me to go outside and: "See those green round cement things sticking up out there. Perfect size to sit on to wait for them."
Sit? SIT? I perch on the very end and at that point I find myself rocking. The pain seems like there must surely be a head coming out somewhere because I feel all torn up.
Finally he gets there and I gingerly sit in the passenger seat. We find my car.
All I knew at this point was that no way was I driving straight home and letting the dogs see me in this shape. They are too attuned to how I feel. I'll make them sick too.
Of course I don't go out until I have a bunch of errands. So I go get my hair cut, in a fog, kind of holding myself up with my lower arms in the seat.
I then drive through a McDonalds and get some iced coffee. Hell, I know it is going to sting coming out but I need some caffeine to help the pill along a bit. And don't I deserve a bit of coffee after weeks of not having any?
I'm beyond any sense or caring. I just want some iced coffee, and throw caution to the wind.
I get my coffee and gratefully sip at it. There's no point in thinking past the next few minutes, much less when it will have to come out of me.
I then drive to the eye glass place because my warranty on my glasses is about up and I need to talk to them. From there I go to the Walmart Market and roam around like a chicken with its head cut off.
I can't remember what it was I needed. I didn't write it down. So I just wander. Because wandering is better than sitting in my car. I get a spray bottle because that might help when it comes to cleaning since it can't be touched.
Of course on this day there are no handicapped slots open, so I had to park a ways out. I manage to pay twenty something dollars for my purchases and off I go to sit down in the car. But boy, I'm looking forward to that iced coffee waiting for me.
No matter how it may pay me back for having gotten it.
Thankfully I had last night downloaded these photos I'm showing today, and I had a post started about summer or something. But I deleted all that. Because I want my readers to have knowledge of these things in case it happens to them.
We women have to stick together.
(A sweet reader sent me this very cute dish towel.)
On fire. Yes, I'm completely on fire. And wearing something against that part of me is sheer agony. I then drive to the bank, where I sit in line to do my business. But by then I'm kind of fading in and out, and I'm pretty peaceful and kind of glazed over feeling.
Like I've had a few drinks or something and time is kind of non-existent. I'm in that state where you aren't really sure where you are or where you've been. But it's a peaceful place and what does it matter anyway?
I then drive to the pharmacy right around the corner from where I live because hey, I'd better get this infection calmed down or I'm never going to feel better. I have eggs and milk and yogurt and cottage cheese in sacks in the passenger seat, and I hope this doesn't take too long.
I pull up the lane to the window, and guess what? He is out of my medication. That was when the camel's back could simply take no more. Tears are running down my face as he calls all over town trying to find it.
Finally he does, which means I'm going to have to drive back the way I had just come, and he will fax the prescription over, he tells me. So off I go again.
When the camel's back gets broken, there's no telling the outcome. I'm crying and not thinking because I just want to forget the whole awful morning and the pain that came with it.
So finally I get to the other CVS. I have a card the doctor had given me to help pay for it (if it goes through with my insurance) because "this is going to be very expensive," she told me. "But you really need it."
They tell me it will take about ten minutes or so, so I sit as still as I can on the fire that has taken over the place where I sit down and stare blindly out the windshield and don't think about a damned thing.
When all is said and done, the card meant I didn't have to pay a dime. Apparently I might have to next time. But I'm really not thinking very far into the future right now.
I gratefully, oh so gratefully, thank the pharmacist as though he's just sewn one of my limbs back on for me, and begin the drive home.
I tell myself to act normal because Abi picks up on the least little thing and then gets sick. But I have found this very calm place now where I think maybe I am lying down in fluffy clouds that are my safety net. My brain's way of seeing that I don't mow anyone down with my car or drive into a wall.
I bring my groceries, just a few sacks, that of course by now have condensation seeping from them, and come in the door. I quickly get my clothes off and a towel under me and here I am now.
In two weeks I shall go back to that maze of parking lots and offices and find out whatever it was she took biopsies for. I don't think it was for anything dire. Something to do with my tissue or skin or something maybe? Any nurses out there know why I just endured this?
I have already taken the Osphena pill and the generic Diflucan for the infection. I googled Osphena and apparently it helps to repair tissue. I wonder if mine is beyond repair after ten years. But I'll give it a shot.
No, not a shot. I don't want to think about a shot. I'll give it a go.
So I wrote all this for those of you who commented last week when I wrote that post on vulvar vestibulitis that I'd wanted to write about for years, but felt too embarrassed to. What the hey, we need one another. And we need information from one another. We shouldn't have to endure the aging processes of our bodies alone.
Because I went for ten years just sucking it up and living a limited life because doctors simply didn't seem to know what to do. So they threw everything at it and nothing worked.
The burning has calmed a little, but then I came in the door and promptly started digging down underneath the bathroom sink for the hydrocodone I knew I still had from ankle surgery last November. And popped one of those suckers pronto.
I can't say it has helped a whole lot, but at least I'm not shaking anymore and I think the shock of the whole procedure has worn off.
Would you have waited a few weeks to have this done and taken care of the infection first, as she suggested? Or would you have done like I did and just said do it, do it and get it over with? Because I knew for two weeks I'd be obsessed over what it would be like.
Long post. Long day. Been hurting and burning and itching and having stabbing pains for a very long time now. I don't know if it would have been beneficial if someone had told me that menopause would cause things to happen like brittle bones that are easily broken or tissue that would atrophy.
I don't know if it would have helped or prepared me in any way for what the last ten years has doled out.
But every time I see that commercial they recently started airing all the time about "we women didn't know that sex could be so painful during menopause," I have to wonder if my ex is seeing those same commercials. And maybe feeling just the least bit bad for telling me it was all in my head.