Friday, March 2, 2012

Doctors and Hospitals and Tennis Balls: A Husband's Perspective

I have an epic Valentine's Day post about ready to go, but in the spirit of doing things chronologically, I wanted to do a quick post about The Wife's recent visits to see the doctor from my point of view.  I don't need to give a lot of details here, since she has done such a good job of chronicling her adventures over at her blog, but I still wanted to give a little info and some links to her posts for people who are interested and might not regularly visit Hinkypunk Station (though of course you all should... she is funny and clever and witty).  I don't think this will be TMI or anything, but just be aware.

First, a story:  One day it was Christmas 2011.  In the earliest morning my beloved wife gave me my first Christmas present--the news that we were finally expecting our firstborn.  Most of the dozen or so people who read this blog are probably aware by now that we've been hoping to add a small humanoid to our little family for a while, so this was really exciting news.  She was just a few weeks along, so we didn't spread the word right away (it was the hardest secret to keep during the Christmas festivities, believe you me), but things took a troubling turn just a few days later when certain curious bodily signs and/or symptoms led us to visit the doctor.  To make a long story (involving several hospitals, a very long ER visit --a word to ER doctors:  DON'T say something like, "There's some kind of big mass here..." and then never address it again--and finally seeing a good specialist, which Julie has documented much more fully here and here), it was discovered that we lost the poor wee thing, but this led to a few tests and getting some real information.  As it turned out, what Julie was carrying, as it were, and had been for some years, was a benign mass the size of a tennis ball on her uterus (it was attached to the outside by a stalk, which leads to it being termed a "pedunculated fibroid," which is like the funniest medical term ever).  It wasn't extremely serious, just a mass of tissue, especially since she didn't even know it was there (some people feel extreme pain from them), but it could cause problems with future pregnancies and life in general, so a few weeks later out it went (which Julie has documented here).  It was a fairly non-invasive surgery due to interesting and exciting technology described in the links above, and she was left with just a few little incisions on her tummy.  I really wanted to be present for the procedure, I was like, come on, I promise I won't get in the way, I'll just stand in the corner quietly and watch!  I even (later) illustrated it to get my point across:
But I guess that's just not how things are done. While she was in recovery Doc came out and gave me the scoop, including showing me high-quality, super-sharp pictures of my wife's insides.  I mean, how many people get to see that?  It was fascinating.  He showed me her appendix and her fibroid and her many other innards, and explained to me what he did and what was removed and how it all went (that is, successfully).  He also indicated that she has endometriosis and that they removed an endometreoma from one of her ovaries, which might have had something to do with our difficulty conceiving for these past many many months.  So that was taken care of too, and when it was all said and done she spent a couple of hours looking like this:
Julie was a champ in surgery, especially for a rookie, and it was my great pleasure to wait on her hand and foot until she was feeling better, and beyond of course.  Before too long we went home and recovery continued.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and a few days ago we had our follow-up appointment with Doc, where he showed Julie the pictures I saw (which she was really hoping to see), and checked her incisions to make sure they were healing well and right (they were), and where he explained again the things he told me while she was recouping.  He gave us some options for managing the endometriosis and assured Julie that biologically and reproductively she's still young and has many child-bearing years ahead of her, should she desire such, and was particularly encouraging when we reminded him that she had in fact been pregnant before the surgery.  Anyway, there's a lot more to it all, but that's the gist, and Julie wrote about it here, including an artist's rendering of what has been dubbed the Tennis Ball, since (alas!) we didn't get copies of the pictures to take home.  In the end it was a good visit, and we know our options going forward.  We are of course sad to have lost our first positive pregnancy, but we have high hopes for the future, and we're glad to have resolved some of these issues about which we wouldn't even have known otherwise.  Like our neighbor said, it's like when you get glasses after all your life and only then realize that you weren't able to see very clearly.

This has been a heckuva way to start the new year, but we have come a long way and are determined to make the rest of 2012 better than the first part of it!  Mostly at the moment my biggest concern is with the obvious miscommunication between hospitals and billing and insurance people, since they keep sending us odd statements that don't make much sense.  Here's a tip, hospital folks:  Don't send the bill until the insurance has had a chance to process and figure out their portion, and THEN send the final statement and I'll be glad to pay it.  Having said that, I am ever so grateful for our excellent insurance and our having added Julie to it just last fall.


  1. What an excellent summary of events! I like how you say "the poor wee thing."

  2. I personally hope that another wee one is added to your lives very soon! It's just too bad you won't be able to give him (should it be a him) the strong name I have given mine, but I suppose as a last name it will suffice :)

  3. Hospital bills and insurance are never fun to deal with. Get used to getting a hospital bill before the insurance has done their part. Happens whenever you deal with a hospital. Though the first one should say "This is not a bill" on it.