To start out with, I've only had one pap smear in my life. And it was a really bad experience. I didn't realize quite how bad until today. The gynecologist was really brusque and not remotely gentle. She acted like my fear and pain was a huge imposition. She clearly did not know how to handle a fat woman. She made suggestions about how I should diet before the exam began, which right off the bat made me uncomfortable. And now I can add today to the list of things that will probably trigger me as well.
So, the last two days I've had cramps as well as sharp pain so severe I could barely move or get out of bed. The usual OTC meds were doing nothing. Today, I had class, but I could barely walk. So I went over to the health center to see if I could get something for it.
Now, I used to have really bad when I was high school, but it wasn't ever quite that bad, and it has not been anywhere near that since I started taking birth control. So I was freaking out.
The doctor at the school health center was awesome. She said that it could be any number of things. However, the one possibility she was worried about was that my ovary was torqued (meaning twisted). It was a slim possibility, but it is very dangerous if not caught and treated. So she sent me to the ER.
Some internalized misogyny here in that I kept trying to convince her that it wasn't bad enough that I should go to the ER. The idea of going to the ER "just for cramps" seemed ridiculous to me. But she convinced me I should.
The ER is where things get fucked up. The male doctor who sees me is brusque. He makes it clear that he doesn't think I should be there. Hey, douchebag, it is men like you that are the reason I tend to downplay illnesses I have. He keeps asking me how bad my pain is, as if I'm lying and will give him a different answer if he asks again.
Finally, he consults with an attending. They decide to get the ultrasound my original doctor suggested. They send me upstairs to get it. All goes fine. Then the technician tells me that they also want an internal ultrasound.
Instant panic. I can't breathe. I've tensed up. My mind is back at the pap smear, remembering how painful it was and how dismissive the gynecologist was of my pain and fear. I tell the technician I can't do it. She tells me the doctor really needs it and that it is less painful than a pap smear and shouldn't be too bad. She keeps pushing until I give in.
We go to do it, but she can barely get the camera a few inches in because it hurts so much. She isn't exactly being gentle, either. She says it will work if I just relax and that I'm tensing up and making it impossible. Which was probably true, but I wasn't choosing to tense my muscles, and I couldn't exactly will them loose. Finally , she gives up and I'm sent back downstairs.
At this point, I'm shaking and crying, clearly not doing well. Yet I'm left alone in my room with the curtain wide open. The doctor doesn't come back for over an hour. When he comes back, he goes about convincing me that we really need the ultrasound. He talks me into it. So they give me some Percoset, hoping that would do the trick.
Back up I go. In spite of the narcotic, it still hurts way too much for me to handle. The technician rolls her eyes as she puts the machine down. She goes to talk to the doctor. He says to try more Percoset. So they give me more. And yet again it is too much.
By this point I'm shaking and sobbing. They send me back downstairs. Another long wait. The doctor comes back in and says that even though they weren't able to get the internal ultrasound, the image from the external was actually okay. I only have a ruptured cyst. Not once was any of this mentioned before.
Every time he and the others made it sound as if the external ultrasound got nothing and that getting the internal ultrasound was vital. Sure, it would have been useful. But not anywhere near as important as they made it seem. And every time they insisted that it was my choice and proceeded to pressure me and make me think I really didn't have a choice.
TLDR: Went to the ER because of severe pain that worried my primary care doctor, ER doctors acted like I shouldn't be there, talked me into medical test I didn't want, triggered me, let me alone, then talked me into trying to do the test again. Turns out they did get results from the first test and didn't need the second.