Self care

21 Apr

On 23 August 2021 I wrote

Today is the proper start of my week’s holiday. And I started in true style, wapping out my breasts and having them squished until just before I squealed.

Seriously ladies, get your mammaries screened. It was 10 minutes of slight discomfort in a Tesco car park and then the rest of the week can only be an improvement.

This post reminds me that there were many other things going on during That Year.

Content Warning: the rest of this post focuses on gynaecological issues.

In April I had nipped home for a few days so I could have a hysteroscopy under anaesthetic. It was scheduled on the first day that the hospital opened up again for day surgery after Covid restrictions, and it was certainly the first day I had been anywhere where I could overhear conversations … sitting in a room wearing a hospital gown, with the door open to the corridor, I could hear all the NHS staff blethering away to one another, some work conversations and also a long chat between the anaesthetist and a nurse about fasting (it was Ramadan, the anesthetist was fasting, the nurse was not this year). It reminded me of Mum and Dad’s parties when we were little, and we sat at the top of the stairs peeking through the fanlight above the dining room door, and we could hear the gentle hub-bub of party conversations, with occasional laughter, clinking of glasses and general joyousness.

The hysteroscopy included the removal of a number of polyps and also the insertion of a coil, to provide me with a hormone booster, “to control your periods” – the original symptom that had led to this point was 6 weeks of constant very heavy and painful bleeding, which had left me drained and uncomfortable.

It had taken well over a year to get to this point, after several consultations and an attempt to carry out the hysteroscopy without anaesthesia. The consultant had said a hysteroscopy can be ‘quite uncomfortable’ but that if it was too much I’d be able to get it done under general anesthetic instead – I was led to believe that this was incredibly unusual. When it came to it, I screamed like a banshee with the pain, grimacing and saying I could cope with it. Why did I do this, and not just immediately say, “No, this is beyond my pain threshold. Get that fucking thing OUT of me”. Later I read the following guidance: “Some women feel no or only mild pain during a hysteroscopy, but for others the pain can be severe. If you find it too uncomfortable, tell the doctor or nurse. They can stop the procedure at any time.” It made me really angry that women are expected to give it a go, to see if they can cope with the pain; I wonder how many actually experience no pain at all? I suspect this policy is a result of a patriarchal health system. And it is not ok.

Throughout 2021 I was constantly tired, and increasingly unable to think straight (which I put down to tiredness); I would wake in the middle of the night and just not get any more sleep, nothing helped. During the day, out of the blue I would suddenly overheat.

It was clear that my hormones were no longer doing everything my body needed of them.

I didn’t get prescribed HRT patches to properly try to sort out my various symptoms until July 2022. The HRT helped me almost immediately, being able to sleep better was transformative. And that rag bag of seemingly unrelated symptoms, which I put down to ‘life’ eased.

But back to August 2021…. I was looking forward to a week of nothing, of staying home and sitting on the Terrace sewing or knitting, of trying out some new recipes, and of generally recharging. It felt somehow selfish, but I also knew that I needed to focus on me for a while, to give me the space and time to recharge a wee bit.

As has been said to me so often, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

My cup was empty, time to fill it up.

The next post will go back to Mum-related dementia-inspired content. I make no apology for this diversion to gynaecological topics. Life throws up surprises. So do blogs.

One Response to “Self care”


  1. Taking Smock of the Situation | Shewolfinthevalley - April 25, 2023

    […] Self care […]


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