Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NaBloPoMo 8: Trauma

As today has been another worky worky day, and we're out tonight at a church meeting, I'm going to write from the official NaBloPoMo prompt for the day.

Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event.

There have been a few traumatic events in my life, as I suppose there are for anyone.

Most of mine seem to circle around health issues of some kind.

When I was very small, I had my tonsils out, and I have vivid memories of nightmares I had about being put to sleep by the anesthetist where I would struggle and struggle as I thought I'd never wake up. Very traumatic. I am pleased to report the operation went well, after all, I'm still here.

More recently my traumas have stemmed from dodgy female parts. In my last year of uni, an ovarian cyst flared up just as I was about to take my finals. You know how pain can have a texture? Sometimes it is sharp, sometimes it is dull, somtimes it is stabbing?

This pain had a texture like nothing else I have known. It was stabbing but almost granular, and radiating from deep to shallow. It made me nauseous and it was just awful. Fortunately, they didn't have to operate on it, but the cocktail of pain killers they gave me completely strung me out. I was talking nonsense. When Tom took me into uni to get me signed off as I was in no fit state to take my exams, they were all for me taking them as I was there already. Until I rambled something at the member of staff, and Tom said to them " That didn't make any sense to me. What about you?" and suddenly they were all no, ok, postpone it.

The most recent trauma was last summer when I had an ectopic pregancy, which ended in me losing a fallopian tube. There I wrote it. You don't know how hard it is for me to be upfront and say it. But I'm going to write about it

I had been suffering with extended stomach ache and heavy bleeding for a few weeks, which given I had a copper coil fitted wasn't completely unusual, but it had just been getting worse and worse. I was grinning and bearing it, as in my last job, I had to take holiday to go to the doctors, and I didn't have much holiday left. Stupid me.

But on that day at work, I went to the loo, and when I tried to stand up I thought I would faint from the pain. It was the exact same texture as the pain from the cyst but hundreds of times worse. I made my excuses from work and called Tom to pick me up as I could barely walk. I am grateful that at the time he'd just finished his Chaplaincy job and so was around. I don't know what I would have done other wise.

He took me to what we thought was drop in centre in the city centre hospital as it was closest. Turned out in the time since we'd last been there, it had turned into a minor injuries unit, but as the receptionist had admitted me, we stayed rather than going to A and E. I sat swimming in and out of the pain, surrounded by sprained ankles and wounds.

I have to say, normally I'm a big fan of the nursing profession, but one of the nurses at the minor injuries unit provided me with the worst care I've experienced. She was rude and dismissive in manner, and belittled us for coming there rather than to our GP or A and E. She seemed to take no account of the fact that I was in huge amounts of pain and that we were scared and not sure what to do.

There was another nurse there fortunately, and she was a bit kinder. They fed me some painkillers, and made me do a urine sample, asking if there was any chance I could be pregnant. We said no, as I had a coil fitted, but the sample came back positive, and then my memories get a bit more hazy. I think the kinder nurse said some words about how this must be a shock and to take some time and some deep breaths and so on. They made me a doctors appointment at my GP for later that day.

I suppose one of the real traumas of this was sitting there at home waiting for the appointment talking through what it meant to be pregnant in this situation with Tom. It was a complete shock, I thought I'd taken all proper precautions, went for long term contraception as it was supposed to be better, non - hormonal as it suited me better and so on. The shock of being one of the tiny stats in the leaflet was hard. We knew a pregancy with a coil in place is often not viable, but after much mulling and talking and crying we decided that if it was viable we'd keep it. It would have meant a lot of financial hardship and being pregnant at our wedding but if it could survive the coil removal then it would clearly be meant to be. But really it was waiting to see what happenned. It certainly didn't feel real.

As it happenned, the lovely doctor at my GPs examined me, which hurt immensely, decided it was serious and packed me off to the Princess Anne hospital. It was traumatic to be on the general women's ward, the patients a combination of pregnant women, and those with gynacological problems like me. As I was swinging between wanting to be pregnant and not wanting to be pregnant it was hard to see other pregnant women.

I don't remember much about my hospital stay, as I was on lots of painkillers. I remember Tom staying with me for as long as he could, and having to face his own trauma of phoning my parents to say I was pregnant and in hospital. I remember increasingly serious members of hospital staff coming to check on me as it all looked more serious and they needed to operate on me. I remember Tom kissing me goodbye just before I went into the operating theatre, and the kind older nurse who put blankets over my legs as I was so so cold waiting for surgeons to be ready.

When I came to, I couldn't bend at my waist was bloated from the gas they'd used to blow up my stomach to use for the keyhole surgery and had three new tiny scars to add to my appendix scar. I think I stayed in hospital for another two days, and my dad came down to see me, I can't remember if that was before or after, it was all a blur. When I came home, I sat on the sofa alot, and fortunately, we'd already agreed to go to see Tom's dad in France, so I had a week of recuperating in French sunshine reading and moving slowly. Sleeping on the ferry over there was dreadful mind.

In removing the ecoptic pregancy, they had to remove one fallopian tube, which has reduced my fertility around by around 30%. Apparently the remaining tube will waft across to catch the egg from which ever ovary fires that month. We laugh and joke that I managed to get pregnant around a coil, so we must be super fertile, so it won't matter if we want children going forward.

But the trauma is that the choice has been taken out of my hands somewhat. I don't know how my body will react if we decide to have children naturally going forward or even if I'll be able to have any at all. I have an increased likelyhood of another ecoptic pregnancy.

I also mourn the potential of a child that never was. It never had a chance, even if it wasn't planned, and wasn't really wanted, it was something for a while. If it had been viable, I would have a 7 month old baby now. It was a something made of me and Tom, and it never was anything. It hurts that I didn't choose to be pregnant, didn't choose not to be pregnant, and can't make an easy decision going forward.





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