I’m not gonna lie,
My skin and bones have seen some better days.

– Real Friends, Floor Boards (Everyone that Dragged You Here)

 Doctors and nurses

I recently had to go into hospital for a day visit to have a procedure and some tests done.

Oh happy, happy, joy, joy.

It is one of those moments when you don’t particularly relish being a chick! Not to get into the nitty-gritty here, but I had something called a hysteroscopy (not to be confused with a hysterectomy which is much, much more serious!). I had tests come back showing abnormal cells in my cervix, and this was really about checking things out and making sure all is well with the pink bits here in the land of the Good Girl.

You know the drill. A pap smear by my doctor led to a referral to a gynaecologist who then proceeded to do another pap smear and biopsies. It’s uncomfortable but it’s not terrible! I had been experiencing abnormally heavy bleeding for quite a long time and the clincher for me was random bleeding that occurred during sex. I hadn’t experienced that before and it was both embarrassing and quite worrying!

My new gynaecologist came highly recommended by my friend, Bella. He suggested different kinds of the contraceptive pill in an effort to fix the problem and eventually stumbled on to a new one that managed to normalise things. As my pap smears were still showing abnormal cells and there seemed no reasonable explanation, my male gyno decided that he needed a bird’s eye view of my cervix…as you do!

I told the Producer I was heading in to have some tests done and he did something really unexpected and very lovely.  He offered to take me and look after me afterwards. Now, for me this was a very big deal! I went silent, trying to digest what he’d said.

“You’d do that for me?” 

He couldn’t believe my surprise, but I’m not used to having a man care for me like that. It’s been a long time. Like a lot of single mothers, I am in “taking care of others” mode on a permanent basis. I’m also still getting used to the Producer being in relationship mode. It’s all new for both of us.

He laughed. “Put that in your blog!  The Producer shows sensitivity and commitment.”

What?! Oh dear God! Did he just say the “C” word?!

Yep, he really did.

It’s fair to say that my guy continues to surprise me.  So I stayed at the Producer’s place the night before so we could be at the hospital by 7am. How rude! 7am and not allowed coffee?

When filling out hospital details, they asked him if he was a ‘friend’.

“No, I’m her partner,” he replied.

I’m pretty sure both he and the admissions clerk heard the distinct sound of my heart falling in my chest.

Partner? I have a Partner?! Shit…I do. I have a partner.

I acted very cool, I didn’t make eye contact. Inside I was doing a bit of a happy dance.

So we (yep, “we”) got trundled off into a room…well a bed, with curtains drawn instead of walls and I had to disrobe and put on a hospital gown. You know the one – flimsy white number with inadequate ties at the back that barely hide your arse. Gah!

Being naked in front of the Producer is of course fine…though I realised for the most part he sees me in lingerie. This was different. Being in a hospital gown? Not so cool.

Here’s a truism of life…No one, and I mean no one, looks sexy in a hospital gown and no make-up. I mean no one! I felt a little exposed.

I was asked by a nurse to remove my nail polish on my fingers, and I wasn’t thrilled. Painting nails takes time, lady. I’d also painted my toe nails and made sure I was waxed appropriately. They really must have thought I’d gone to a lot of trouble for the operation!

I had this sudden moment of panic! I was going to be naked, with my legs in stirrups and I had to think about if I was sporting any bruises! I mean, sex with the Producer is passionate and never boring – and I do tend to bruise very easily, having very pale skin thanks to my Anglo-Saxon heritage.  Did I have any hand marks on my arse?! I joked with the Producer about it. As it so happened, I wasn’t sporting any bruises on the day. Can you imagine some of the scenarios? Imagine if someone went into surgery with cuff marks on their ankles! That would give the medics something to talk about!

I’m sure medical staff have seen it all! A close friend of mine is a theatre nurse at a private clinic and she recently admitted her friend’s man to have a colonoscopy. When the procedure was done, she singed her name on his arse in permanent marker!  Cheeky girl. She explained that quite a lot of men come out of anaesthetic with an erection. Really? I had no idea!! She shrugged. For her, it’s all in a day’s work and nothing to write home about! She causally noted she’d seen so many hard-ons, she’d lost count. I found it fascinating.

She said she had also seen many vaginas and all in various states of baldness or natural states. She once had a 70-year-old Italian patient that was very concerned about her “bush”. That’s what the patient kept calling her pubic hair. She simply reassured the woman that there was nothing they hadn’t seen before. In the end, the poor woman wasn’t particularly hairy and her concerns were groundless.

I wanted to know if they discuss patient’s bruises and the like during surgery. I so amuse her with my questions! The answer is yes, they talk. She said it wouldn’t surprise her if my surgeon was joking about my waxed pink pinks. She thought it was very considerate of me. I didn’t do it for the doctors!

I don’t have tattoos but I know a lot of people who do. Doctors and nurses must see some incredible ink, I’m guessing. I’d love to see a book of tattoos, piercing marks, bruises and scars taken in the operating rooms of hospitals. Or is that just the voyeur in me?

While we waited at the hospital for the procedure, the Producer suggested that we play doctors and nurses, quite tongue-in-cheek, of course! You have to love it.  He stayed with me until they wheeled me into surgery, kissing me good-bye. He stayed at the hospital and waited.

All went well. I was tired after the general anaesthetic and I was quite sore, and feeling nauseous. Not glamorous at all.

I’ve learnt that I am a terrible patient. I’m not good at being waited on. This is something perhaps I need to work on. I am impatient with myself.  I simply couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital and as soon as they removed the drip, I was pulling on my clothes despite the discomfort! I really wanted to just lay down and sleep and felt it would be easier to do so at the Producer’s place than in a cold hospital.

The Producer was gentle and lovely. Leaving the hospital he held my hand and my handbag and guided me to the car. Yes…he held my hand. The small things mean so much for me.

I spent the night with him again and he looked after me very well. I didn’t want to eat but he insisted I try Greek organic yoghurt and he climbed into bed next to me until I slept. I just saw another side of him. A depth that I hadn’t been privy to before. This is the man I know he is. The glimpses I had seen through the bravado on the roller coaster ride of our time leading up to the relationship status.

That was a first. Spending two consecutive nights together. A week end away might have been more romantic, sure, but it meant a lot that he was there for me.

I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the past couple of weeks through this hospital visit.  I’ve learnt that I tend to hide my vulnerability from others. People perceive me to be strong – and I do believe I am, but all humans have moments of frailty and vulnerability. So, I tried to be honest. I told the Producer I was feeling nervous about the hospital visit, and in turn he reassured me that all would be well.

I’ve learnt to trust the process of this relationship gig a bit more. To try to go with the flow. To not over think every little thing. I’ve learnt that I am worthy of being looked after just as I look after and support others in my life. I’m still feeling my way – doing the juggling act between being present in the relationship, but not intrusive.

It’s a learning curve.

I’ve learnt to breathe and believe a little more. I trusted my instincts with the Producer. In the end, that’s all we can do. It turns out, he’s very good at making me feel safe. That, believe me, is no mean feat!

Mostly, what I’ve learnt is that no one looks good in a hospital gown and if you find a man who sees you in one and still thinks you’re cute, you might just be on a winner! I’d much prefer to be wearing a hot nurse’s outfit, and now that I’m recovering, I’m looking forward to giving the Producer a once over…but that’s a confession for another day!

Health Footnote: Please get a regular check up from your GP!

It is recommended that women in Australia have a pap smear every two years from the time you become sexually active. Early detection of any change in cells can prevent the onset of cervical cancer, and other diseases. For more information about Pap Smears, check out:

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/papsmear#2

It’s important to note that a pap smear cannot detect ovarian cancer. If you notice any changes in your body or you’re concerned, report it to your doctor! For more information and facts about symptoms, check out:

www.canceraustralia.gov.au

It is recommended that women self-check their breasts monthly. Should you notice any changes, or detect a lump, always see your doctor. The risk of breast cancer is elevated from the age of 40-49 and 50% of all women diagnosed are over 50. For more information on free breast screening in Australia, click on the link below:

http://www.breastscreen.org.au/Breast-Screening/The-Facts