Half an hour past my scheduled appointment time I was still sitting, pantsless, with a group of five other women. Each of us was wearing two gowns– one opening to the front, one opening to the back– and the white wristbands required by the hospital we were in.
We were all there alone, except for one woman who had come with somebody who appeared to be her mother. Forced into intimacy by our shared situation and the narrow “U” of chairs squished into the small enclave off the main hallway, we chatted awkwardly from time to time. I struck up a passing friendship with one woman as she told me about her husband’s desire for a child and dubious sperm quality.
The doctor, Dr. Left again, sauntered down the hallway. He’s 40 minutes late, and carrying his medicine bag over his shoulder like it’s his letterman jacket. My new friend is soon called after him: she disappears for ten minutes and then reappears, smiling weakly. My name was called before I have time to ask her if it hurt.
Dr. Left was in a hurry again, and his seemingly frantic pace– only a minor issue when he was sitting across a desk from me– is much more alarming when he’s holding a speculum. There was little bedside manner as he did the hasty work or injecting dye into my uterus, but then he paused and pointed it out to me on the screen beside us. “Look, it’s that little triangle.” And there, between my pelvic bones (weird, I can see my bones!), it was. Much smaller than I had imagined, somehow, with ghostly tubes snaking up from it. As I looked at the onscreen rendering of my uterus, the actual one cramped but not terribly. Dr. Left took a couple of photos, and then it was done.
I left to retrieve my pants, being sure to smile as I passed the women still waiting. “It’s not that bad”, I told them. And it really wasn’t.*
*No, really! One period-like cramp as they injected the dye, and then very mild cramping for a couple of hours afterwards. Not nearly as bad as I had expected.