I always thought it would be cool to have an out of body experience. Some people are freaked out by just the thought of it, while others think it’s hocus pocus and no such thing is possible. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is possible, and I’m scheduled to have one next month. This OBE isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but then again the Universe sometimes has a twisted sense of humor when it comes to some of my rockets of desire.
So anyway, several months ago I had some lab work done. (This is putting it mildly.) It’s about to get graphic, so feel free to stop reading right now and either go find a good recipe to save to your Pinterest board or scrub your floor. Either will be more relaxing and much more gratifying than what I’m about to share.
As of January of this year, I hadn’t had a period in … oh, I don’t know, maybe 18 months or so. Yay me! I was thrilled to have graduated from periods, cramps, hot flashes, and so much more that I’ve buried in the far dark stretches of my memory. And then, out of the clear grey sky (remember? I’m in the Midwest, and that’s pretty much all we have in the winter) in February, I had a period. Full. Blown. Period. Cramps, bleeding, clots (yes, I said it… clots), and a general feeling of complete shit on a stick. Just like old times. What. The. Fuck. Knowing this is not normal, and in fact is abnormal, I called my doctor. “Let’s have a look-see,” she suggested. And so the lab work was scheduled. Blood work (OH, I’ve got plenty of blood to work with!) and probably an ultrasound. Depending on what “we” find, perhaps a biopsy. Oh-fucking-yay.
Blood work was gorgeous. My numbers were fabulous. Doc beamed over my panel. So we schedule the ultrasound. I mentally prepared myself. A lot. I anticipated from past experience that I was likely to get the cattle-prod version of the ultrasound. Even though I was not currently sexually active, at least not with another person, I was not looking forward to being probed – particularly in a clinic, and especially with an audience of one. How unromantic.
Still perioding and cramping, I show up for the appointment. I was guided into a dimly lit room by the (thankfully female) lab technician. She instructed me to sit on the table, slide the waistband of my pants down, and lift my shirt up for her to begin the procedure.
“Hot damn! I got myself all psyched up for the hot poker. Thank god!” I was so excited. I was to be immediately deflated.
“Oh, that will come. This is a two-part procedure,” said Wanda. (Probably not her real time, but I decided that was appropriate.) Damn.
When she was finished with the belly ultrasound and the technician pulled out her magic wand, I was horrified. I had forgotten how big that joy stick was. Fast forward, please, to the end of Part 2 of the wanderful experience. I won’t get into the nitty gritty, but I will confirm (or deny) what you’re thinking. It was not a stay at the Sybaris. Let’s just say it didn’t provoke an orgasm.
So back to the doctor’s office I go. The results of the ultrasound showed two fibroids. No surprise, as I’ve been told before that I have them. Apparently they never go away, but sometimes you experience symptoms and sometimes you don’t. I’m in the special group. The ultrasound also shows a thickening of the endometrium, which isn’t normal for post-menopausal women. I’m now in the extra-special group. “Oh, and also, you have a prolapsed uterus.” I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a compliment. “So I recommend we do a biopsy to see if we can find out what the cause of the bleeding is.”
Joy. Let the fun commence. Again.
Back to the doctor’s office I go. Before the procedure, she explains everything that’s about to happen. She also explains that, depending on what the pathology report indicates, she may recommend a hysterectomy.
While I really no longer have a need (as in, using them for their sole intended purpose) for my reproductive organs, I can’t say that I’m particularly excited to have them removed. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t care that I wouldn’t have them, and I truly am happy that I wouldn’t have to deal with the potential future havoc that they could unleash. I’m just not keen on the idea of going through the surgery part. “Just a few snips laparoscopically and we can remove everything vaginally.”
Say what? Yeah. My doctor said that with pretty much a smile on her face. As if it’s no big deal. As if the cleanup crew is just gonna come in with a shop vac after she makes five “small” incisions on my torso to suck my babymaker out via my sacred cave. I’m envisioning scars on my belly that resemble a smiley face. If only I could be so lucky. “Like Shrek says, all you need it for is making babies.” Wait. Did you just say Shrek? You’re dispensing medical advice based on words of wisdom from Shrek? Yes. Yes she was. My view of you will be forever changed. Check back later. I’m not sure if this changed view will be in a positive or negative way.
So where was I? Oh, right. So she continues explaining all of the what-if’s and various scenarios and makes me sign a consent form for the biopsy. This shit’s for real. Okay, fine. I sign, then saddle up into the stirrups. She gives me a warning before everything she does, explaining along the way, which I appreciate. I think. I imagine pink skies, lying on the beach, leisurely munching on un pain au chocolat while sipping café au lait at Les Deux Magots. Purple unicorns shitting rainbow Skittles. Anything happy to remove myself from the current situation. It works only mildly.
After all is said and done, the doctor begins blathering on about what will happen next, how long it will take for the pathology report to come back, and who knows what else. She then picks up the small jar that contains tiny fragments of me swirling around inside. “See? No big deal. Wanna see the tissue samples?” At this point, I’m not feeling so hot. “No, thank you.” Why am I being polite right now, anyway?
I don’t consider myself a squeamish person when it comes to blood and gore. (Well, except when I have to clean raw chicken, but we’re talking about a different kind of animal here.) In this situation, we’re talking about my own blood and gore, and quite frankly, it makes me more than a little woozy. Let me share. Some more.
She’s still talking about something, but my vision becomes blurry and she begins to fade away into mist as I softly mumble, “I’m not feeling well.” The next thing I know, she’s in my face, literally, asking me if I know who she is and where I am. The fuck just happened? I’m moderately freaked out.
Doc explains that I just experienced vasovagal syncope. Holy crap, what is that?!! Well, apparently it is not uncommon. Compliments of the Mayo Clinic:
Vasovagal syncope (vay-zoh-VAY-gul SING-kuh-pee) occurs when you faint because your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. It may also be called neurocardiogenic syncope. The vasovagal syncope trigger causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly.
“Oh. That’s happened before,” I say.
“Why didn’t you tell me?!” she exclaims, sort of smiling. Yet not.
“No one ever used that term with me. No one has said I have that tendency. No one ever told me that it was worrisome.” So now I know.
“The next time you have any sort of procedure, tell your care provider so that they can be prepared. There isn’t anything that can be done to prevent it, but at least we can be prepared for it.” Awesome news. I’m feeling incredibly extra-special at this very moment.
She continues. “You were only out for like two minutes. Your blood pressure and heart rate dropped, so we’ll want to keep you here until you’ve fully recovered. Do not get up off this table. Just lie here for a while. I’ll have the nurse check on you a couple of times. DO NOT get up off this table.” She then exits the room.
Well, no chance of that since I feel like complete shit. Speaking of which. Oh my god. What is that smell? It seriously smells like poop. Oh. My. God. Did I fart while I was passed out? Ugh. How fucking humiliating! If I can smell it, I know she can. The nurse can. They’ll go back to the nurse’s station and talk about the patient in Room C that farted after a minor biopsy, and what on god’s green earth did she have to eat this morning?? Could my day get any worse?
Oh, yes. Yes it could.
The nurse comes in a couple of times to check on me. All seems to be going well. But I’m pretty sure that smell is still lingering. Perhaps it’s just stuck in my nose. I’m still beyond embarrassed.
After a while, the doctor comes back in one last time to check on me. Looks like the color has returned to my face, my pupils are no longer completely dilated (such that she couldn’t see any of my iris), and my blood pressure and pulse are more stable.
“What did my vitals drop to?” I’m curious because I have already been diagnosed with sinus bradycardia (basically, slow pulse).
“Your pulse was about 40,” and I have no idea what she said my blood pressure was. Not good, is all I can recall. 40. FORTY beats per minute. That’s not even one beat per second. I’m now in the Rare Gem category of special. But wait. It gets even more special, if you can imagine.
I’m told to proceed with caution getting up off the table. Before she leaves the room, I tell her I feel like I’m bleeding and ask for Kleenex. Instead she gives me a dry washcloth and I use it to check “down there.” Yep, sure enough, bloody hell. She digs in the drawer and pulls out a maxi pad that’s only slightly smaller than a loaf of Wonder Bread and hands it to me before exiting the room.
I gingerly slide myself down off the table and do a more thorough cleaning. Wait. Something doesn’t feel right. I do a little plié and reach a little farther with the washcloth. I inspect it and gasp out loud. Yes, you guessed it. It was not a fart that escaped when I passed out. There in my hand (well, in the washcloth, thank god), was a small piece of poop. POOP, people. I shat myself on the table. Holy fuck. Now what?! I’m pretty sure I’ve never been so humiliated. A grown woman. Pooping on the table. Oh my god. You shit yourself. You literally, seriously shit yourself.
Panic ensued. What the fuck do you do with a piece of poop when you’re not in a bathroom?? My eyes darted around the room. If I put it in the trash, they’ll know for sure that I pooped. It will no longer be a suspicion. The room will wreak for the remainder of the day. And then some unlucky sod will have to empty the trash and it will have permeated a good, long time so that he gags while trying to tie up the bag. No. I can’t leave it here. What am I supposed to do – take it with me??!! Think. I-Spy. I spy the exam gloves on the wall holder. I pull out a large one and stuff the poo burrito into it and tie the end. I shove it into my very small purse. It’s now bulging. Has anyone ever asked “Whatcha got in that bag, anyway?!” when your purse is clearly overstuffed? You respond, “Oh, you know, the kitchen sink! Makeup bag, wallet, phone, glasses, sunglasses, gum, a bottle of water, snack bag, the day’s mail…” And feces. I’m carrying feces in my purse.
My day has reached the lowest of lows. I slink out of the room, Wonder Bread in place and my cramps long forgotten. My mind can only focus on the fact that I just shit myself in public. With an audience. In my haste to get to my car and get the hell home, I forgot to deposit my doo-doo bag in the trash receptacle outside of the clinic. So there I was, driving my embarrassment home with me. Before dropping it into the trash tote, I take a picture to keep as a reminder of perhaps the most humiliating experience of my adult life.
To top off my magical day, I realize that I can never again truthfully say, “I shit you not.”