2/23/12 I arrive for my appointment. My name is called and I am ushered into an exam room. A friendly nurse (can't recall her name) takes my weight and b/p and a brief history of my complaint. She leaves the room and Dr. W. enters shortly after.
Dr. W. remembers me from my accompanying my husband on many of his visits. We joke that it is "my turn now" and then we get to business. Dr. W. listens to my complaints and takes a thorough history. He is specifically interested in the history of cancer in my family.I lost my mother in 1999 to ovarian cancer and one of my sisters to breast cancer in 2010. I have another sister who is a breast cancer survivor.
I feel embarrassed to admit to him that I have never had a mammogram and have not had a pelvic exam or pap smear since 1986. In fact the only physical exams I have had are the annual ones that are required by my places of employment and many of those are rudimentary at best-only checking for things like back problems, eyesight and hearing-not very in-depth at all.
He is non-judgmental for which I am grateful.
He tells me he will do a pelvic exam and pap smear and leaves the room so I can put on a johnny.
The nurse comes in and we chit-chat until he returns.
The pelvic and rectal exam are done efficiently and quickly and he palpates my abdomen for masses. He leaves so I can dress and then he returns.
Dr. W. has compassionate eyes and a kind voice-this is how he always is for as long as I can remember and he has been my husbands doctor for a long time.
He has a great poker face so I can't really tell what he is thinking.
He tells me that I definitely have fluid in my abdomen-he doesn't call it ascites yet.He sends me down for some lab work and then on over to the local hospital for a CT scan of my abdomen.
At the hospital I freak out when they want to inject me with the contrast-I don't know if it was due to stress or nerves, whatever-I refused the contrast. They did the scan anyhow but I knew the pictures would not be as good without the contrast.
I sit and wait for Dr. W. to call me, again feeling ashamed about my behavior.
They come and get me to take the call and Dr. W. tells me the scan confirms the fluid pockets in my abdomen. Everything else is unremarkable (not surprising since I refused the contrast-he doesn't say this but I wouldn't blame him for thinking it)
He schedules me a time to come in to see him the next day to go over my lab values and set up an appointment for a paracentesis.
To be continued...