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7.11.11

The Letter That Came Early

Sitting having a natter with a friend whilst our boys played nicely together I heard the postman deliver some letters through our door.
With Charles busy making his friend some cups of tea and they looked over his toy cars (he normally grabs the letters from the door and sorts them into mummys letters, daddys letters, charlies letters and food letters) I went to the door myself.
Straight away I noticed the envelope with NHS stamped in big blue writing on the front.
I felt sick.
The only letter I was expecting was the one with the results of my Cervical Screening Examination from last week. I was told the results would be with me in 14 days...not 5.
So obviously I thought the worst.

The morning of the examination I sat in the bath for an hour. Followed by a shower. I then waited until I needed to be out of the door until I got dressed.
I cried just before I left but pulled myself together and headed out. My life, my health, my boys, Jade Goody, all ticking over in my head. And yes I'd even put on some of my Jade Goody perfume just so it kept her fresh in my mind.
I got to the doctors surgery, signed in at the electronic screen and was informed of a 19 minute wait.
Not good.
I didn't want to be able to sit for 19 minutes and think about what was going to happen. And what happened last time I was examined.

Then the board bleeped and my name was written in small red led lights.
Its time to do this!
I walked towards the doctors rooms and went to head right down a seperate corridor to the nurses rooms, I was called by a lady and told to follow her into a room which was in amongst the doctors rooms.
I'd seen this nurse recently when she diagnosed Harrys oral thrush and I warmed to her immediately.
I walked into the room, and didn't know whether or not to sit down or strip off straight away and get on with it.
I sat down.
"So how are you?"
"Nervous" Then the tears came.
"Ok, we're doing a smear test then are we?" She said in a soft kind voice.
We talked about my concerns, about my labour.
She told me I didn't have to do this.
I told her I did.
We to'd and fro'd for a while with this until I said "I'm doing it today. I have to" and with that she said ok, locked the door, drew the blind around the bed and shut the window.

As soon as I sat on the bed I gave myself a pep talk, in my head of course.
Just relax. It'll be done soon. She does this everyday.
I looked at the wall as the examination took place. Although I was ok with her doing what she was doing I just couldn't look. I'd then not be able to relax.
We were talking through some of the examination and I was surprised at how much it didn't hurt.

All I had been told by women before, for years, is how much a smear hurts, how humiliating it is, etc. Never hearing of a positive story.
Sometimes I think women can be far too dramatic. I think its just in our nature to be like this. And sometimes we can't just say "actually it wasn't that bad". We have to, instead, talk about how it hurt, how we were embarrassed, how the nurse was rude, and just the bad points.
Sometimes I think we need to "man up" and look at things from a mans perspective and just say "yeah it was ok, done in 2 minutes, nothing to worry about".

And that's what I'm saying now.
Ok its not comfortable and I expect the device placed in could hurt depending on your body and the person placing it there but we have a voice.
If its uncomfortable, then say so.
If it hurts, then say so.
I was surprised at how quick the examination was.
I had 3 swabs taken and it lasted all of 2/3 minutes.
The nurse said she was done and I asked what the fuss was all about.
And felt silly for crying.

As I got dressed she explained about when I would get results back and about a possible small bleed.
I thanked her for being so kind and admitted I was glad when she called me through as I found the other nurses can be quite hard and harsh and thinking I'd be seeing them made me nervous.

She then said that for future examinations to ask for her if I want to if it makes me feel comfortable.
I said I would.
Then as I left she said something we can all relate to...
"Its your body and your choice"
She was right. You decide what to do with it, who see's it and who touches it.

I did have a little cry of relief in the car and when I got home.
It did bring back some memories of Harrys birth but more so at how rough one of the midwives was and how her actions could of ended up with the vessel being broken and Harry not being with us.

So then I relaxed, thinking that I might as well relax for 14 days as there's no point in worrying until the letter arrives.
I thought surely the letter arriving today must only be a bad thing.

"The results were normal. This means you are low risk at developing Cervical Cancer"

Now I wait another 3 years until my next one and I do feel relaxed about it.
Its daily routine for the nurses and will now become a 3 yearly routine for me.
Nothing to get worked up about. Infact I wouldn't even feel too disappointed if the tests became yearly.
I will try and make sure I can again have a nurse I am comfortable with and I do believe that we should fight to be able to choose who see's us for private consultations.

As for the examination. 3 minutes of feeling a bit uncomfortable for such an important test is so worth it.
Seriously, if you're putting it off for fear of embarrassment then pick up that phone when the surgery opens tomorrow and book your Cervical Screening Examination PLEASE.