So...emm, this is kind of weird. If you've been following me for some time, you'll know I don't really post a huge amount personal stories about my life. But my followers have grown over this year (helloo by the way!) so I've been thinking that maybe all of you guys would like to know more about me...via juicy, bite size gossip-y posts? If you enjoy this sort of thing (of course you do my voyeuristic minions), please let me know in the comments section (not the one in the footer of my website, that one is dumb. The one just under the post headings in my blog feed). And now...relax and bring out the popcorn.
Once upon a time, a woman and man desperately desired a child. Then, on one passionate night.....
Okay, you don't need to know that bit.
Basically, I got pregnant. And being the impatient person that I am, I took one of those digital tests around 4-5 days before my missed period. It was positive. I was happy. But there was one problem:
I kept having cramps on one side of my lower abdomen. Now a wise human being would have probably waited to see a doctor before doing what I did- which was google my symptoms. It took me a second to stumble across 'ectopic pregnancy' on the NHS website and start to panic. Surprise, surprise. Anyway, I didn't tell anyone about my worries and simply persuaded my husband to take me for an early check-up at some private hospital in Kuwait.
Act 2 Dumb Doctors
At my check-up.
Yemeni lady doctor: How can I help you?
Alwia: I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.
Alwia: Yes thanks. But I am having some side cramps....
Note: This is the point where I should have shut the hell up. Instead I say:
I actually read it could be a a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.
Doctor: (Begins to look worried) Okay. Let's have a look.
So this woman gives me an external ultrasound, five days before my missed period, and goes:
'Emm...I can't see the baby.' Well, duh! It's the size of a grain of salt moron. 'Would you like a better scan so we can see?'
I'm like 'sure,' thinking that she's probably going to use some more advanced equipment only to be be asked by a nurse if it is okay for her to stick a giant phallic scanner up me. I look at my husband, shocked, and at this point my bladder is about to explode. But I say yes and get ready. So these two doctors start 'scanning' while I'm writhing because they're pushing 'the equipment' right against my bladder. Then they start whispering to each other and tell me to relax, so they can properly get in there...God I hate internal scans.
Once they're done, I sit back in the office with hubby and the doctor is looking grave and solemn as hell and says:
I just stare back too shocked and scared to ask what that 'something' is. But a part of me was like: 'Shit, I'm going to die.'
The doctor continues: 'You need to go to the emergency services in another hospital right away. Don't wait till tomorrow.'
We leave the office and a nurse gives us some paperwork and says in the most Hollywood, blockbuster way:
'GO! Just go!'
So we're in the car, driving to a government hospital because they have more resources and I'm crying my eyes out.
Act 3 The Most Disgusting Hospital EVER
At the government hospital, I'm forced to go into a segregated women-only emergency section. By 'women-only,' I mean the patients are all women and alone and the doctors are all men. I love this logic. My husband waited outside while I sat with 30 other pregnant women who were groaning and in pain. Alone. The place was tiny, dirty, with not enough seats. Many heavily pregnant women were standing outside the offices of the doctors. Then there was the frightening scene of seeing women on stained stretches, covered with dirty sheets like corpses, being wheeled out.
(I discovered that they do this because the women wear headscarves and so it's easier to throw a sheet over their faces and bodies like that when they go into male areas.)
I was freaking out.
Eventually, I got seen by a very bored Egyptian doctor who talked to me in whispers and codes like: 'I'm going to give you an examination.' Which I then realized meant ' take your pants off.' I wish I was joking.
Then, that horrid man, gave me a 'finger examination.' FOR NO REASON.
People....people I asked doctors about this and none of them could explain to me why that man needed to put his fingers up me. At that point, I had already read about the procedures taken for potential ectopic pregnancies which is a blood test, where they monitor you HCG levels. There's nothing about sticking a finger up there. Scans and blood tests. No bloody fingers.
I should also point out that despite growing up in the UK I have never been handled by a male doctor and when I gave birth, the vast majority of the doctors were female. So I'm not used being touched by male doctors anyway. But in the Gulf most of the doctors I saw were male and that alone made my experience very uncomfortable.
Act 4 Discovering the Bullshit
So while I was at this hospital, I discovered that the female doctors in the private hospital were incompetent idiots. This is what they told me:
Internal scans are not done while a woman has a full bladder. I was ordered to pee before my second one.
On my report the doctors had confused my right ovary for my left ovary.
The 'thing' they saw was a cyst according to them. But actually it was just my yolk sac and was measured incorrectly.
I stayed till 4 am, waiting for my blood test result to come out. They were fine. Then had to go to the hospital again for more tests after a few days. They were fine again but it was a terrible, traumatic experience which could have been avoided had I been less neurotic and gone to competent doctors. So the moral of the story is: don't self-diagnose and don't put ideas into your doctor's head.
Hope you all enjoyed this week's post. Let me know if you want to read more story-time posts! See you next Tuesday.