Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Maybe not at family parties

I have private medical insurance. In the UK, this is a licence to queue jump and see the same consultant that you probably would have seen on the NHS, but quicker and possibly for a slightly longer appointment time. So within a very short space of time I am in front of a man whose daily life involves looking at people's bowels.

The same stomach palpation. The same result. This time not only does he want to look at my bottom, he wants to put a camera up it as well. This is a test called sigmoidoscopy, which looks at the lowest bowel section. It involves blowing air in, for a clearer view. So, at the end of the consultation, when you are supposed to be concentrating on next steps, you are desperately trying not to fart long and loud in front of pinstriped professional to whom you are talking.

As the sigmoidoscopy shows nothing, there are two further tests. One is a colonoscopy, which is a a camera all the way round the colon. I am thankful to hear that I will be sedated for this. But first there's a trans-vaginal ultrasound to rule out any obvious gynae and pelvic tissue issues, such as ovarian cysts. Only if that shows nothing is the colonoscopy necessary.

The TVU takes place about a week later. The Olympics have kicked off by this point and the doctor doing the procedure and I are swapping our Olympic experiences as he does his stuff (he has been to the tennis and was disappointed by how disinterested some of the professionals were in being there; I have been working as a GamesMaker and am having a great time - this procedure is taking place on one of the only two days I am doing my real job during the Olympic period and so I am working from home).  The procedure takes a surprisingly long time as he looks at my liver, kidneys, uterus, ovaries and general stomach area; it's also surprisingly invasive - I should have paid more attention to the name of the procedure really, rather than harking back to the stomach surface gliding scans of pregnancy. One thing is the same - the full bladder and the great joy of having someone press down on your stomach when you really need a wee. Right. Now.

I'm directed to change back into my clothes and wait in an adjacent room. The nurse comes back and offers her apologies, but the DVD burner in the computer is not working so unfortunately she will not be able to give me a copy of today's results to take home, although the consultant will be able to access them.

Honestly, what would I have done with them? Shown them at parties? "Look, Granny, that's my left ovary."

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