Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Difference Between Doing and Observing Vs FEELING

I was writing about medical testing and then decided to look up a hysterosalpingiogram... a procedure performed on me to determine if my fallopian tubes were open. And then I found this video of the dye going into the fallopian tubes. But was amused by the delightful music accompanying the traveling dye. So HAPPY! Perhaps a happy and wondrous vision for radiologists and other medical professionals to behold.

But, what struck me, is that would hardly be the accompanying music I would've chosen from my end of things on the table ...enduring the hysterosalpingiogram. I was told to take an aspirin prior to the test. I really don't think it helped me.

The sweet nurse offered me her hand to hold for comfort. In those days (24 yrs old) ..I was more of an ice princess when it came to hugging other people or touching them and saved personal contact for boyfriends or at that time my husband. Reserved. I was reserved. I cringed whenever someone hugged me and I had to hug back. So the fact that I even reached for her hand, speaks volumes for the fear that was coursing through me about the procedure.

Thankfully for me ...although unfortunate for the nurse ...I held her hand. As the procedure progressed ..I did not even whimper ...but I squeezed her hand so hard that she may've pondered getting a hand x-ray for herself when it was over. I knew I was squeezing, but I didn't realize just how hard until she commented afterward. But she was so sweet and she helped me so much.

I have had painful procedures of varying kinds over the years and sometimes someone will hold your hand and other times they do not. I think it really helps when they offer to hold your hand. It demonstrates that they think enough of you and what you are about to experience ..they care to reach out and support you. And so not only does it help tolerate the pain during the exam/procedure ..but also helps psychologically - you don't feel so alone in the moment and that also helps physically. Anyway, that has been my experience.

Isn't interesting how tolerance of pain can be assisted with another distraction ..such as holding onto someone or something. Gripping and gouging ...actually. Heck nail imprints are STILL on the patient's chair in the hygienist's procedure/exam room. You should've seen the patient's chair in my dentist's procedure room ...shredded like a Siamese cat was getting a root canal while still conscious! ;) Okay ..well in my mind I'm shredding it to bits and pieces.

But gripping and gouging something does help. And breathing. Breathing techniques helped in early to moderate labor ...until I hyperventilated when the intensity greatly increased and I learned I wasn't progressing and seemingly stuck forever. (So much for the pelvimetry test prior to going into labor.) No more fancy breathing after hperventilating. I just couldn't do it and was very much looking forward to the C-section ...anything to make it stop... the pain make the labor pain stop.

And breathing techniques work in urology exam/procedures too. My urologist does have to coach me to breath a certain way and ...then I relax enough for him to do what needs to be done. We have that down pretty well now, although last summer we didn't think to do it and I was tensing up all the way. And then more recently ..the breathing worked like a charm. And it's not that it doesn't hurt ...just not as much.

So, lets get back to the real reason for this post. As I said earlier, the delightful music accompanying the hysterosalpingiogram in this video, may convey the wondrous awe of the medical professionals performing the procedure and/or evaluating the results ...but, from this patient's experience on the table; having the dye injected into her fallopian tubes with the pain exacerbating as the dye progressed ...well ..suffice it to know that I would've used the music in the following video to accompany the procedure.

It's all a matter of perspective.

I'm just saying. :)

PS Thankfully my tubes were open or I would've had no need to research pelvimetry tonight. :)

PPS Thankfully it was that same year, thanks to God and a good friend ... my mentor ...that protective barrier I had put up (learned from my younger years), thawed and I a became the complete opposite. I am a hugger, hand holder and always there to reassure physically ..not just with words. Touch is therapeutic and is healing both ways in physical encounters. Touch can convey what words sometimes can't and I believe is life giving to one's mind, body and spirit.

PPS Gee ...I guess I really have 2 posts in one here. :)


HP said...

Remember me? Just checking back in to see how you are. Good to see you are still writing. Hope to be in more frequent contact again now.

SeaSpray said...

Hi HP -Yes I do and welcome back. :)

I struggled a bit with the writing this year, but think I am getting back on track.

I'm glad to see you are writing too.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

Pissed Off Patient said...

We need to find whoever put that music to that video and make sure they have a few HSGs.

I started running away--trying to get up off the table and leave--during my HSG. They can hurt. Alot.


SeaSpray said...

Welcome Pissed off Patient. :) yes they do hurt.

I have experienced and seen other times when patients have gone through more pain then necessary because the medical professional was insensitive to the patient's experience. Thinking ..I'll just do this fast and it will be over with ...oblivious to the patient's suffering. I think a patient should be made as comfortable as possible ...emotionally and physically prior to anything about to cause them great pain.

A friend with lung cancer had a radiologist try to shove a larger then what she was used to pleurex tube into her side without pain med of any kind ..topically or internally taken. She is a stoic person and does not like to bother the docs, but she could not handle it and cried out and then he did something for her pain.

I have to say that knowing everything she has been thru ...I saw red. That seemed unnecessarily inhumane. Dr Mengele anyone?

I have another friend who would not return for a follow up because she had a horrendous pain experience when they put a needle deep into her breast, could not find what they were looking for and so moved it around. She cried out and was squirming on the table. Nothing was given to her. It's been 5 yrs and so it must've been benign. Point being ..the experience was so bad - she wouldn't get checked. i think she should ..but understand her fear. Why could they not have given her something?