Learning the truth behind “there may be some discomfort”

I’m back from spending four days being cared for by the lovely staff at University College London Hospital. Every step of the way the staff have been professional, caring and just plain lovely. Even though I don’t have a definite answer to what happened, they have an idea and I’m in a position where I can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

So what happened?

For just over 4weeks I’ve had intense pain in my right side, nausea, fatigue and some other stuff.

A few weeks back I spent a day in urgent care at UCLH as they were concerned about appendicitis – fortunately it wasn’t that and I sorted out a referral to have a scan done on my ovaries (which would be happening in about two weeks time).

Then things got much worse very quickly in space of a few hours this Thursday. I was in agony, hot and felt very sick so I went back to urgent care at UCLH. Again, they thought it might be appendicitis but the pain is not quite in the right place and things weren’t quite appendicitis-y. The gynaecology team wanted to scan me but it was late at night and they don’t do that sort of scan overnight so I was admitted to the ward.

I arrived on the ward in the early hours of the morning and was immediately looked after by one of the nursing assistants who explained things and got me settled. In the morning, the nursing team came by to do their thing. Later that morning I went down to have the ultrasound.

Getting an ultrasound when you’re not pregnant or at risk is difficult. It’s not something they can just do unless they have a very good reason to, even then it’s not as straight forward as saying “we want this person to have a scan because we suspect xyz”. So, I’m really grateful to the gynaecology team for making the decision to scan me rather than send me away with a referral.

For various reasons, they weren’t able to do a transvagional scan and it’s really difficult to get a good look at your ovaries and womb on just a normal ultrasound so…they go the other way. I did get a choice, they could keep trying with the ultrasound or I could go for it. At no point was I pressured into doing something I felt uncomfortable with, my privacy and comfort was respected at all times and if I felt too uncomfortable they’d stop.

It was uncomfortable and a little painful, but it wasn’t for long and they now had a starting point to work from. There wasn’t anything on the right, although I do have a 7mm follicular cyst on my left fallopian tube (nothing to worry about unless it gets to 3cm) so back to waiting for a surgical consult. This took time as the surgical team were very busy in surgery but eventually a surgeon came to see me.

The second surgeon did a few more checks and thought there might be something going on with my small bowl so prescribed something in a “let’s see if this helps” way and in the morning they’d review. In the morning I was seen by one of the bowl surgeons who felt what was going on wasn’t surgical so it was back to being gynaecological in his view.

The gynaecological team came back to talk to me and they didn’t have a definite explanation for the pain but they think what happened was a large cyst burst but as I didn’t have any lingering infection or anything like that it just a normal cyst, nothing horrific. They were happy to discharge me and I’m going back to my GP.

The original purpose of the pill was to manage things like this, being a contraceptive was just a happy side effect. I know there a lot of unpleasant side effects to the the pill but considering everything I’ve been through in the last few days I’ll take those side effects over another hospital stay!

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