Friday, October 8, 2010

We can neither confirm nor deny our ability to give a straight answer.

I am fairly certain that the entire medical industry in America is hell bent on providing the American public with absolutely no answers what-so-ever.  For years I have had abnormal Pap smears.  After each scary result wherein they suggest I may have cancer, but can't be sure, "it's probably nothing to worry about", they tell me to definitely come back in six months so they can run more tests and tell me how abnormal I am.  Awesome.
Then, I bleed upon conceiving.
"That sounds serious.  We should definitely see what happens in a month."
I bleed more, and my HcG levels are dropping.
"This is a very bad sign.  Come back in six weeks and we will definitely tell you that we are very concerned."
Finally, Tuesday I go in, and everyone is very grim faced and sympathetic.  "Yes, we are concerned.  Come back next week for another test.  We will have more platitudes we can give you as we stall for answers."
I can't take it, my voice trembling, I finally get the balls to ask, "Is this typical period for a miscarriage?"
"Well, you know, we need to watch it closely and work with what we have..."
"Yes, but generally, how long does a miscarriage take?"
"Everyone is different.  If this continues for awhile we will investigate."
"How long would you say?"
"Well, we don't want to intervene unnecessarily..."
"But what if I am still bleeding after the next several tests?""I think it is important to let nature take its course."
For a moment I briefly consider lunging over the desk and throttling the lovely spiritely woman who is clearly determined to make me cry.  I decide to try one more time before settling on manslaughter.
"Do you think I will still be bleeding in a year?"
Her expression demonstrates she thinks I am being ridiculously over-dramatic.  Finally, a straight answer!
'So sixths months or less?"
She purses her lips and looks insulted, "I would certainly step in before sixth months."
I honestly feel a wave of relief.  I go for broke: "Two months?  Do you think it will be longer than two months?"
"Listen," her tone no longer compassionate or sympathetic.  She leans forward and looks me into the eye.  I feel as though she is being honest for the first time, "If after our test next time I don't see necessary progress, we will do an ultra sound and probably consider a D&C.  If your levels do fall, but you are still bleeding by the end of the month, we will need to intervene.
I would thank her, but the sense of relief has made me choke up; I can only nod.

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