When The Doctor Said I Was ‘Doing Too Much Drama’ During A Painful Invasive Procedure

Trigger Warning: This deals with anxiety, trauma due to infertility, and gaslighting by health care personnel and may be triggering for survivors.

The time was ripe. Our life was almost on track with our planning. A new home was booked. At the professional level, we were at a not-so-bad place. The family was anxious about a grandchild (more than us). So we decided to start trying for the baby.

We took the appointment of one of the leading gynaecologists in the city in a reputed private hospital. During the visit she did not check anything, just wrote a long list of tests to be done before coming for the next appointment and prescribed folic acid.

I have been always a little wary of medical tests. But it was necessary. Among the plethora of tests, one called HSG (Hysterosalpingogram – here it explains what it is) seemed scary. But I decided not to research much, lest it stops me from getting it done. My first mistake.

So I tried to book the test with my doctor. But she was too busy and we were asked to get these tests done by a different doctor. So off we went to another diagnostic center, booked our date as per requirements, and received a list of instructions to be followed. I did not know which doctor was going to do the procedure and I did not seek her review. That was my second mistake, rather a blunder. But, nothing prepared me for what was coming.

Such drama! Cannot bear such small pain and dream of becoming a mother!

On D-day, a male attendant took me to a room that looked like an OT, and was given a green gown to wear. Terribly aware of my nakedness, and skeptical about what was in store, I looked forward to the visit from the doctor. To my dismay, it was the male attendant who came to prepare me along with another female attendant.

The whole setup looked super scary. I tried to ask the people present how painful it can be. While the girl remained tight-lipped the guy at least tried to explain the process without divulging much.
“We will push a dye to see if the fallopian tube is blocked or not and take a picture of the same. It is not painful but a little uncomfortable.” He said. It was a lie.

After waiting for god knows how much time the doctor entered in haste. Did not even take a look at me, leave aside any greeting, and started the procedure.

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I had never experienced such excruciating pain. I started screaming in agony which alarmed even my husband waiting outside. To this, the doctor started shouting at top of her voice, “Nyakamo hochhe? Ei tuku byatha sohyo hochhena ar ma hote choleche.”(Such drama. Cannot bear such small pain and dream of becoming a mother.)

By that time I was crying profusely. And each gasp from my voice seemed to irritate the doctor. I couldn’t tolerate the pain and was struggling. And the doctor was grumbling something like, “I do not have the whole day to wait for you. If your drama doesn’t allow the x-ray to be captured right, don’t blame me.” But I was unable to stop my sobs.

As I look back. I understand I was not only crying out of pain but also the invasiveness of the procedure and the offensive comments that I had to endure.

I experienced severe cramps and bleeding for the next few hours when I was told I was fit to leave.

Ladies, know what to expect when doing an HSG

The advice that I can share for the currently struggling women is that HSG is a useful investigation for evaluation of infertility but be more prepared before plunging in.
• Research the procedure, the diagnostic center, and the doctor review before proceeding
• Take a painkiller beforehand. Some of my friends took it and it helped them.
• Request the doctor to use local anesthetic agents.
• Insist on pre-procedure counseling.
• And don’t let anyone lead you to a guilt trip with the childbirth process which is a completely different process with a dilated cervix.

In our society, everyone wants a baby. And it is not always as straightforward a process as most movies want us to believe. But nobody wants to speak about the crores of women undergoing painful invasion of mind and body in the process of treatment. So it is the onus of the patients only to seek their comfort and fight for that right.

PS. The x-ray report came out well. There was no blockage. But, I never visited that diagnostic center and changed my gynaecologist too. Had to undergo certain other procedures before my son arrived, but the treatment by two very kind doctors helped me to cope better.

Editor’s note: Women regularly face #MedicalMisogyny from health care professionals. For the WHO World Health Day 2023 theme of ‘Health for All’, identifying this misogyny and ensuring #Equity in healthcare is essential. All of April, we will be sharing stories with you on this these, either personal stories or fiction. Find them all here.

Image source: Marie-Eve Beaulieu on Pexels

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About the Author

Sreeparna Sen

Sreeparna Sen, Banker by profession, finds her solace in writing. A Computer Engineer by education, she is a voracious reader. When she is not dealing with the loan documents, you can mostly find her nose read more...

27 Posts | 66,536 Views

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