Viva las trompas!

Some things sound better in another language.

In French, garbage becomes “poubelle”, which sounds kind of light and airy and delicious to me. A happy little button-nosed white poodle could easily be called poubelle.

In Spanish, I have discovered, fallopian tubes are “trompas”. This sounds far jauntier and more characterful than plain old tubes. I felt a sudden rush of affection for my trompas when I learned this word. They somehow seem more likeable now.

“Trompa” also means trumpet, and the gleaming curls of a trumpet’s innards are reminiscent of the curvy squiggles that fallopian tubes make in x-ray images.

I got a close-up view of my trompas today when I went for a HSG test – basically the doctor runs ink into your uterus to see how it flows through your system. They say (and by that I mean the vast world of Google search and fertility chatrooms) that the test itself can boost fertility in some people, giving the tubes a bit of a rinse-out. Thy also say that it can be extremely painful.

I was maintaining a decent front when I arrived at the clinic for my test this morning, but inside I was quaking. I am a big chicken with all things medical. It’s not something I am proud of. Faced with sick people (or even very old people) I recoil in horror. My first urge is not to help them, or comfort them, it’s to run away as fast as possible so they can’t infect me. There was never any question of me entering into a “caring” profession such as doctoring or nursing, because the shameful truth is I am too freaked out about having their misfortune rub off on me to be of much help to anyone.

Over the years I have learned to put a lid on this visceral reaction – I no longer break out into a cold sweat the moment I set foot into a hospital or clinic and I don’t think I have offended any sick or old people recently by jolting away from their touch. But I am never going to be a Mother Teresa.

So there I was again, semi-naked, legs splayed while yet another doctor stared up my nether-regions, and freaked out about the pain that was to come. I had taken some pain pills an hour before, as advised, but some of the accounts online had talked about “the worst pain of my life”.

I wanted to write this post for other women out there who may have to have this test – it really wasn’t that bad.

The doctor asked me to breathe deeply a few times and as he did so he got his instruments in place in much the same way as he would for a pap smear. This is never fun, but it’s not so bad. Then he directed me through various breathing exercises as he went about his work. At one point I was fast breathing in the way that you see women in labour on TV movies breathe. It felt slightly ridiculous but it kept my mind off what he was doing and it helped. As he took a series of x-rays I would see the ink filling up my uterus on the screen behind me.

It took about 10 minutes, and then he recommended I go and rest for three hours, which gave me a nice chance to catch up on a novel. I didn’t need to take any more pills, and I feel fine.

The results will be sent direct to my specialist but the radiologist said that it looked like good news to him.

So fellow chickens, if your doctor prescribes a HSG test, don’t worry too much. It will all be ok.




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