If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
A little over a week ago, I had an appointment with a new gynecologist. Let me clarify that; it's been so long since I've been to a gynecologist that ANY gynecologist would be new to me. I could cheerfully have done without this appointment except that a clear PAP smear is a requirement prior to further evaluation for a kidney transplant.
My internist, bless his heart, referred me to a lady doctor, after being specifically informed that I prefer a male. The male doctor in the practice that could see me in anything like a timely fashion is the man that treated my mother when she lived in this area. Thanks, but no thanks, too many creepy vibes there. I'll see the female doctor.
My appointment was at 10 and I walked into a very busy waiting area. After sitting down I heaved a sigh and prepared to wait. I can say this; there were a wide variety of patients there. Young women with their mothers, probably there for their first visit (that brought back a cringing memory or ten), young expectant mommies and couples, even a woman older than I! Off in the distant background, I could hear a young child whining. I don't know about anyone else, but the last place I would bring my child is to my gynecologist's office, but that's just me.
I'd been sitting there for no more than ten minutes before my name was called. First stop, the bathroom so I could pee in a cup. Puh-leeze don't tell me you're going to do a pregnancy test! Well, yes, but also a dip test for proteins and glucose. Have you looked at my chart? I"m a diabetic in renal failure, trust me, I have both of those. Oh, okay, you go ahead and do what you want.
Next stop, the assessment station where I get weighed (that was a bright spot, down another 5 pounds), blood pressure (118/63), temp (98.3), pulse and respiration (64/1😎 so evidently I'm still alive and kicking according to all the indicators. Then off to an exam room the size of a closet. There was barely enough room in there for the table, never mind me and the doctor. The nurse practitioner asks me all kinds of questions about my kidneys, is the right one worse than the left or is it the other way around? Does it really matter? They're both shot and I need a new one, that's the whole point of this visit. Are your periods stil regular, when was your last one? No, not regular; my last one was about 10 years ago. That raised an eyebrow. I deny any discomfort, pain, or other "girl" trouble (her words, not mine).
She tells me that I can get undressed, just my pants and underwear, and hands me a paper drape. Evidently since I just had a clean mammogram in March, I don't need a breast exam. The doctor will be in in just a minute. Sure enough, I barely have enough time to fold my jeans and panties neatly on a chair before the doctor knocks on the door. She introduces herself and shakes my hand. She's very nicely dressed in a skirt and top, and she's beautifully made up. She's very pleasant and businesslike, just the way I like my doctors. She review my chart and asks a few questions. Do I have any concerns?
Well, actually, now that you mention it; there seems to be some confusion between my various doctors as to whether or not I'm actually menopausal or if the sudden cessation of menses is due to a medical cause such as diabetes or renal failure, or if it's due to undiagnosed hormonal issues. She says she'll check that out. I lie back on the table, put my feet in the stirrups, and away we go. She peers under the drape and says my pubic area looks "spotlessly clean". I should hope so; I did shower before I went, and I shaved as well.
After introducing the speculum (not warmed, thank you very much) she notes that my vagina and cervix "look the picture of health". She warns me that things are about to get uncomfortable as she collects the samples for the PAP smear. She's absolutely right. She asks about vaginal dryness, I tell her that's what lube is for. No it's not really an issue; intercourse is not painful, blah, blah, blah. She stands up and performs the bimanual exam and says that everything seems perfectly normal. Bless her heart, she doesn't say a darned word about those pesky cobwebs she must have cleared out of the way as she approached my cervix. She tells me I can sit up. What? No rectovaginal exam? I guess that's okay, I had just had a colonoscopy the week before, accompanied by many such exams from my partner while he was here. She offers to do a complete breast exam if I have any doubts but I don't.
She says the results from the PAP smear will be back in ten days "or so". Really? That long? Yes, things are kind of backed up and the lab is slow. If they get an abnormal result, they will immediately do a reflex test to confirm their finidings. Then this, "I'd like to schedule you for a transvaginal ultrasound so we can figure out whether or not it looks like you in menopause." Looks like? I don't think so. I counter with "Is there not a blood test that will tell us the same thing?" Why, yes, there is! Good, I'm on my way to the lab for another doctor anyway, let's just draw some blood.
Anyway, this past Wednesday a nurse calls me from the office and says (in a very concerned tone of voice), "Your lab results are back and they are consistent with menopause. Would you like me to schedule a follow-up appointment with the doctor so you can decide what you want to do?" What could I possibly want to do? Have my periods back? As if I've been pining for them over the last ten years? I gently explain to the nurse that this is not a crisis, just a curiosity. I'm waaay more than happy with the results.
Like they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
ladydocisin 12 years ago
I know just what you mean about wanting menstruation to stop Mashie. I had heard the same thing about following the pattern of your mother. As with everything else, my mother and I are entirely different. She started menopause when she was about 46 and continued through it for an extended period of time. My periods stopped completely when i was 41, and very suddenly; one month I had a period, the next month I didn't, and that was it. The hit flashes and night sweats have continued though, but they are also subsiding now too. Life is good.
Mashie 12 years ago
Glad to hear you are doing better, still kicking according to your latest set of vitals, and that there were not too many cobwebs covering your cervix. lol.
I really really wish I were closer to menopause. They say that often times you can gauge how long you might continue from your mothers history and what time or age she stopped. Not sure how true this is, but if my mother is any indication, then I am still looking at another 20 years. Really, it's already been almost 30. Grrrr. Enough already.
Good luck on your medical journy. We all appreciate the updates. Take care.
Lady Teddy 12 years ago
Congratulations on your continued weight loss, LadyDoc! I am glad to hear that the Gyn visit went well. Mine is scheduled for Monday, 7-18. It has been a few years, since my last visit, mainly due to insurance issues. Thankfully, those are now settled, so away I go to the exam table!
Lady Teddy, in a wet Pacific Northwest, USA
Dr Marcus Welby 12 years ago
Tis positively therapeutic that u r in good humor. I know there are so many challenges; but, stay your course. There are so many beautiful things in this world to experience, starting with your grandchildren, your daughter, play partner, all of us here, and ???
Stay on the bright side my friend, and let us know when we can help!