Today I went for an ultrasound. I've been having ripping sensations in my lower abdomen when I sneeze or cough lying down for years. However, lately the bumps under my cesarean scar have become larger, so I thought I'd better get it checked out. Could be built up scar tissue/adhesions, could be my intestines squeezing through a scar that is reopening. Whatever, that is not the point of this post. The point is I went to this ultrasound alone.
Big deal right? Well yes, it is a big deal. I had a horribly botched procedure done at the hospital, a few years ago. It re traumatized me. I have been suffering from flashbacks and anxiety surrounding medical procedures ever since. Scott took me to my procedures. He would book time off work to be there to hold my hand. Though we often fought soon after the procedures, during them he comforted me.
I hadn't even thought about my anxiety around procedures. I was too busy setting up things with my kid's father to make sure they were taken care of, for that to cross my mind. Then suddenly in the ultrasound waiting room it hit me. The anxiety attack. I began to gasp for air and then cry. I put my head between my legs and focussed on slowing my breathing. The tech called me in. I stood up breathed deep, shook out my arms and wiped my tears. When I got into the room, she said something to me. I had no idea what it was.
"I'm having an anxiety attack right now." I told her through a very tight throat. "Just give me a moment." Then I stood up tall gathered myself and said: "Okay, what do you need me to do?"
I often disassociate during medical procedures. My body kind of freezes and I go somewhere else. Personally this is my favourite coping technique, though it's not really in my control. It's sort of like I'm not there, I'm not anywhere, then the tech talks to me and I'm on the bed again and time has passed. I know she's trying to help, watching someone disassociate can't be easy. But I'd rather just be gone. When she pulls me back the fear is waiting for me.
Soon enough the ultrasound is over. She leaves the room. Then I burst into tears, bent over and gasping. Then it is done. I wipe my eyes and walk out, head held high.
I did it without him. I did it without anyone. Once during one of his visits with the kids after we split up, my ex told me I would never get better without him. He yelled at me as I called the taxi to get us out of there: "You need me! Your putting your health at risk by not letting me help you!"
And though obviously, considering my near miraculous recovery following our break-up, I could and did get better without him, I always held this fear of freaking out during my tests and procedures. Maybe I did need him for that still. How can I do this without him holding my hand? I'll tell you how. I just did it. I freaked out a little, sucked it up, released my emotions right after, and walked out of diagnostic imaging like a Boss.