articles… and some resources…

If you haven’t already checked on these articles and resources, I’d recommend it. Sorry I’m behind schedule a bit – some are from last week.

The Women’s Health Initiative and the Body Politic” looks at our perception of women going through menopause. We treat this “condition” as an illness with various treatments including hormone therapy (estrogen and progestin) and hysterectomy. These treatments can be controversial and sometimes harmful for the patient, including a higher risk of breast cancer for those taking both hormones.

A couple articles on exercise: “What’s the Best Exercise?” and “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?

There seems to be much controversy about how one should exercise and how much. Is walking  better than running? Do you really need 30 minutes 5 days a week? Part of the problem seems to be that anything considered to be outside “thin” is seen to be abnormal by most people. I can think of sitting through many an exegesis by particular people I know about the “problem” of “fat people who don’t exercise.” Exercise may seem to be obvious, but it’s not. Bodies vary in ability, thyroids process differently.

I also came across this feature in the Health section of the NY Times called “Patient Voices” that chronicles experiences of various diseases/disorders including HIV/AIDS, lupus, OCD, ADHD, and many others. It’s multimedia with video interviews. If you’re interested in other patient forums specific to your illness/etc., you can try PatientsLikeMe. I originally wasn’t accepted into the forum because my particular condition wasn’t included. However, I received an email from the site that finally accepted me! There is also healthtalkonline as a resource too.

ultrasounds…

I had pelvic and abdominal ultrasounds this morning. Not as easy as I thought they were going to be. First, you can’t eat for 8 hours before the exams. At least I had mine at 8:30 this morning, so not too bad. That’s only for the abdominal exam, however. After that one (easy peasy), you have to go eat a bit and drink 40 oz or more of liquids to make your bladder full. I sat in the cafeteria and chugged water (and coffee…) and ate a yogurt parfait. (Hospital cafeterias are sad.)

After a while of drinking and reading, its back up to the radiology department. The first pelvic ultrasound was easy enough other than the pressure on my bladder – you’re not allowed to pee! However, there was a third exam I had to do that I wasn’t made aware of before this morning – another pelvic ultrasound that is more invasive for women.

Interesting how I was unaware of this more invasive diagnostic. Who was supposed to alert me to this? My physician who ordered the test, the radiology secretary who calls to tell me how to prepare for the procedure, or the person that did my first test, who mentioned three tests, but I didn’t understand what this meant? Or, is it on me because I didn’t research the procedure on the internet like I usually do? I have had multiple ultrasound tests – mainly echocardiograms – ultrasound of the heart – so I didn’t think twice about having these done. I thought that the ultrasound is performed only on top of the skin. Little did I know, it’s not.

But that’s how it usually is when it comes to the patient’s knowledge. We, the patients, are sometimes encouraged to ask questions, at least we see this on 8.5 x 11 paper signs in some hospitals and medical centers, but not many physicians or test technicians really suggest this. The test is performed on us, to us, and we lie back and witness the technicians chatting about our “cute ovaries” above us: “left, right, left, right” moving the probe back and forth from the inside.

There is not much dignity to be had while lying back on an examination table wearing an open robe. Staring at the ceiling. At least the lights are dimmed in ultrasound labs.

To prepare for an abdominal ultrasound, click here.

To prepare for a pelvic ultrasound, click here.