Monday, February 9, 2009


(Advance warning - there may be some TMI here, so if you don't like talk about periods and blood and lady-parts, you might want to skip this one.)

My husband's employer changed our insurance last year from Blue Cross to Aetna, and, as a result, we can't use any of our old doctors anymore. In that time, my anemia has been a recurring problem (one that was diagnosed by my old doctor, but the insurance changed soon thereafter and I was never able to do follow-up with her) and my blood pressure has been steadily climbing. I know I need to get treated for these things, but that means breaking in a new doctor.

I once had a doctor look over my paperwork and see that I had attended a local liberal arts college and was also employed as an optician. He said, and I quote, "I've always said a degree from that place wasn't worth anything," insulting both my education and my career in one shot!

I had another who was a great doctor but was also totally nuts. She and a friend of mine travelled in the same social circles and I got to hear all about her insane love affairs, which were all dramatic and soap opera-y. Finally she lured her own receptionist away from her husband and children, and then suddenly decided to quit private practice, and the general wisdom was that she was growing tired of trying to keep her sexual orientation a secret from her patients. She always liked to chat after my exams, during which she had ripped apart the paper garment that was only covering my top half, talking about this and that as I sat there shivering and attempting to wrap the shreds of paper around my bare chest.

Now, in the last 6 to 8 months, I have been having irregular periods. Like, sometimes every two weeks, and never longer than 23 days - when I used to be like clockwork. Then Saturday I woke up with a sharp, stabbing pain in my lower left side, generally where I think of my ovary as being. I ignored it - as I always do with any kind of pain - and we took the kids to the mall. I was sore and very, very tired while we were there, and I took a long nap as soon as we got home. When I got up, the pain had increased and I was too uncomfortable to do anything but sit perfectly still.

The next day I was still sore, but it wasn't as bad, and today is much better. My period started last night as well.

So, I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and call a gynecologist this morning, picking an office out of the list from the Aetna website. By some miracle, someone had just cancelled, so I was able to get an appointment for just an hour later. I kissed the kids, waved bye to the sitter, and off I went.

Of course I waited forever, lightheaded and sweating from another heavy period. When I finally got in, it turned out I was seeing a nurse practitioner instead of an M.D., but, okay, whatever. I began telling her about my irregular periods and she dismissed that with the immediate diagnosis that I am getting older (39!) and I'm probably "peri-menopausal." Okay. Then I explained about the pain, but she interrupted me with a condescending talk about "mittelschmerz" and what happens when you ovulate. Then she said, "And since you just ovulated, you should expect to see your period now in about 14 days." I told her she needed to check the chart because I clearly stated that my period arrived THE NEXT DAY. Then, without missing a beat or acknowledging that perhaps her initial certainty may have been a bit hasty, she ordered a sonogram while trying to sell me on the Mirena I.U.D.

My husband wanted me to find another doctor right away, but I'm going to go ahead and get the sonogram and wait for her to call me with the results. And though I really hope I just had a particularly painful ovulation and that my crazy periods are just age-related, there is a part of me that hopes something shows up on the sonogram so that when she calls to tell me about it, I can go, "But you said I was just ovulating! Mittelschmerz! MITTELSCHMERZ!"


Diane Cransac said...

Sorry but that lady does not sound like who you need at all. Yes, it is normal to have ONE abnormal period a year...when you go from regular as clockwork to crazy all over the place, this is not normal. You arent old enough to be going through menopause. Truthfully from what you described it sounded to me like an ovarian cyst bursting. They can cause all kinds of problems. I had one once the size of a grapefruit and when it burst it was extremely painful. I had irregular periods and weight gain, etc. A sonagram could show if you have cysts but Im not sure if it will show you if you just HAD one. I'm also conused as to why she tried to push an iud off on you? I had one placed and when they did they stressed the point that it would cause me to have heavier periods and more cramping. Why would you want to make matters worse? Well sorry for the long winded book...but she doesnt sound very sympathetic or knowledgable....

Anonymous said...

I just don't get it! I have heard McCain say if you want a "socialist" health care - go to Canada! WTF?? We are so blessed to have a universal health care system here. Those making more then $40,000 pay around $495.00 per year on their income taxes, and employers with a payroll over $400,000 pay 1.95% of their payroll to the health care system. It may not be perfect..but it works quite well. We go to the doctor (whichever one we choose) when we when we want...MRI..Cat Scans..Cancer treatment..Heart operations..etc etc are all included. I could not imagine a health care system that could bankrupt a patient. That would be horrible.Any employer that offers extended benefits covers things like dental..glasses..chiropractor.
I had alot of "women" problems in my 30's..and ended up having to have a hysterectomy (no charge)I could get up in the morning and by afternoon be in for surgery BEFORE my cyst burst on my ovary. Apparently women get a cyst every month and it get flushed away with their cycle. Some don't wash away and cause alot of sudden pain. By the daughter is anemic and she had to go for B12 shots once a week for 2 months to build it back up. (She did not have to pay) Now she has to take 1,000 mg a day of B12 but feels much better...She now has energy. By the way..her periods were like you are describing but she had to go on the pill and it regulated it. So I guess this is more then the comment you thought you might get! Hope it all works out for you!

Lynn E said...

What are you my soul sister, you sound like me bitching about how fantastic it is to be female. ha! Been where you have been and mine was a cyst explosion on my ovary. They had actually had an ultrasound of the cyst and it was the size of a large egg. Bigger than the ovary. Way so much fun being female.