Saturday, August 18, 2007

Diagnosis: Infertility

I had my hysterosalpingogram (HSG)—finally. I had been putting it off since I started seeing my reproductive endrocinologist in February. Since I have PCOS, my problem has always been that I don’t ovulate. I figured I wanted to conquer that problem, before thinking about whether my tubes were blocked. I made it all the way through several failed Clomid cycles, before she told me we couldn’t go on until I had the test.

So I made the appointment at a local hospital. I was surprised to find out that my insurance would cover the HSG. My HMO covers all diagnostic testing, but no “procreative management” procedures (i.e. IUI, IVF, etc).

I received a call the day before the exam, and the woman on the line asked if I wanted to pre-register for the procedure. She explained that it would save time the morning of the exam, so I played along. She asked me the basics (SSN, birth date, contact info) and then asked me a bunch of ridiculous questions (my race and religious background—WTF?).

So my husband and I walk into the clinic in the morning, about 15 minutes before my appointment. We check in at the radiology desk, and the woman at the desk asks me my name and date of birth. Upon hearing my reply, she said, “Uh oh”—never a good sign. Turns out the woman who did my pre-registration was new, and she screwed up my date of birth. I’ve been around enough hospitals to know that your SSN and your birth date are the most important numbers they need. She had my birth date completely wrong, making me 11 years older than I am. As a result, I had to make my way over to the admissions desk and re-register.

Walking over to the admissions desk, I looked at my file. At the top of the page, it said:

Diagnosis: Infertility

It’s jarring to see it spelled out like that. Diagnosis: Infertility. It kinda sounds like the name of a television show that would air on Lifetime Television for Women. It might be a C.S.I. spinoff, like C.S.I.: Uterus.

After the registration fiasco, we waited a while, and were finally led into the exam room by a very sweet nurse. She instructed me to undress below the waist and put on a gown that opened in the back. Both the nurse and the radiologist were very nice, and explained every step of the procedure both beforehand and during the exam.

The doctor inserted a catheter into my uterus, and then up into one of my fallopian tubes. He admitted that he went a little too far, and it was evident by the massive cramping I started to feel. As he injected the dye, the pain worsened, and my husband and the nurse held my hands to get me through it. I was surprised at how much it hurt—I had heard that some women feel some discomfort, but what I felt was beyond discomfort. I felt like a big pussy, but I was in a lot of pain.

The doctor moved the monitor over near my head so I could see the dye move through my tubes as he performed the exam. I didn’t realize I’d get to see the results live, and I really appreciated being told what was going on. After we finished, we got copies of the pictures from the nurse (I don’t think they’re supposed to do this, which made me like my nurse even more).

As expected, my tubes were clear. This clears me for moving on into the world of injectable fertility drugs.

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