A Man’s View # 10 – When it’s Nothing to do with Infertility

This a Man’s View is not about infertility directly but what goes through your mind when other things happen.

It’s been quite on Accepting Infertility recently

A Man's ViewIt’s been a tough few weeks to put it mildly culminating just over a week ago on Wednesday 8th June.  That was the evening that Nicci and I spent a lovely few hours in the local Accident and Emergency.  Nicci was in considerable pain and unable to move without severe pain (there are supposed to be two pains in there).  As we drove to the hospital all sorts of thoughts were running through our heads about what was wrong and what the treatment would be.

Before I go into the details a bit of background about how Nicci ended up in all that pain.  It all started back in March when she slipped over in one of our local supermarkets and landed heavily on her hip: imagining cartoons and banana skins will give you a pretty accurate idea of the events.  Obviously lots of pain but initially we thought it was getting better.  However, at this point you need to remember that Nicci has a frozen pelvis due to her stage 4 endometriosis which means that the muscles in her lower back and around her abdomen are very tight.

Pain, pain and more pain

Well at the beginning of June the pain got worse as did the tightening of muscles in her back and the “heat” in her hips and coccyx’s.  Pain medication was increased whilst exercise was decreased and whilst things weren’t great the situation, at least, wasn’t getting any worse.  That was the status quo until Sunday 5th June.  Her back feeling particularly tight Nicci did some stretching to alleviate the pressure and twinged her back.  Rather than less pain there was more.

By Wednesday (8th) morning it had developed to the point where she couldn’t move and a doctor’s appointment was booked for the afternoon.  Having taken an hour to get out of bed, dressed (well bottom half anyway) and into the car, the doctor’s surgery was by-passed and we went straight to A&E.  The pain was so intense she thought she would pass out and her whole body was shaking.  I don’t mean a little tremor either: both arms and legs were moving violently even though she was attempting to control them.

Thoughts running through the mind as we went to A&E.

Well as you know, if you are a regular reader, Nicci’s endometriosis has been getting progressively worse recently.  Although the pain is under control the majority of the time there are occasions when she gets a searing pain where her left ovary should be: I say should because it was removed three years ago.  The tightness in her back has got to the stage where she needs to have a combination of pillows under her legs in order to find a comfortable position in which to sleep at night.  Surgery is on the cards: it’s just a case of when.  Too early and it will need to be done again priory to the improvement the Doctors say MIGHT come with the menopause.  Having already had two extensive surgeries, the last of which resulted in a “blues and twos” 3am rush to hospital a few days after being discharged, means that neither of us are thrilled at the idea of further surgery.

A Man's ViewSo here is a little list I promised you of things we thought it could have been.

  1. The fall in March had displaced some of her internal organs and they had now been stuck by the endo into a position that causes serious pain. Endo does this anyway but the thought was that it might have aggravated or sped up the problem.
  2. Nicci had actually broken her hip in March, or at least chipped so bone and this was referred pain.
  3. That the twinge she had on Sunday was in fact her tearing some of the endo tissue away from her spine
  4. The twinge was actually a slipped disc in her back.
  5. That the twinge was caused by a trapped nerve in her back which had become suddenly more acute overnight.

Luckily it turned out to be number five on the list: a trapped nerve between L4 and L5, which is now slowly mending with the help of some serious medication and lots of rest.

What has this got to do with infertility?

Nothing and yet everything.  The endo has caused the infertility and if we had still been trying to conceive it could have been a major stumbling block. Here’s a man’s view on the various outcomes.

If it had been number one above, and the endo had stuck something somewhere it shouldn’t be, then we would have been looking at some pretty major surgery to unstick it.  I know Nicci has had two surgeries to unstick a frozen pelvis but this would have been slightly more urgent and the fact that organs were where they shouldn’t be more of a worry as to any further damage.

If it had been number two (the broken hip), then Nicci would have been off her feet for quite some time following surgery if it was more than a chipped bone.

It number three (endo tissue being ripped away from the spine etc) then we would probably have been looking at immediate surgery to repair any bleeding/damage caused; what that surgery could have entailed was at that stage unknown and the possibilities are endless.

Number four (sipped disk) would have required anything form rest and drugs to surgery and physio.

And number five (trapped nerve) as we now know is treated with rest and drugs.  The question about any long term damage is still unanswered: only time will tell.

If we were still trying to conceive then all of these would have caused delays in our next steps.  Sex is most definitely out of the question at the moment and if we’d been about to start an IVF cycle that would have been delayed/halted until Nicci had fully recovered.  All of which just add more stress and pressure in an already stressful and pressurised situation.

Is this different for the infertile?

A Man's ViewWell the ramifications I believe are different for the infertile.  For so many years our primary focus has been for us is to get pregnant and this puts a different complexion on how we view pain in the wrong places.

If we hadn’t been infertile, and not suffering from endo, then probably the thoughts going through the mind on the way to hospital would be; slipped disc, broken hip or trapped nerve.  The immediate ramifications would be the same but the secondary ones, the domino effect of infertility, wouldn’t exist in the form of being forced to wait to try and conceive.  The fact that we may have an underlying medical condition that makes us infertile adds a different perspective to getting an injury/having an accident.

I hope that I haven’t taught you anything you didn’t know already: however, I want to leave you with one passing thought.  To those that are not infertile or suffering from an underlying medical condition their reaction to our worry about what caused the pain and the possibilities/outcomes would be very different.  Their reactions to our fears on the outcomes will not be as supportive as we may want.  They would not understand the domino effect of infertility and wouldn’t look any further than dealing with the immediate situation.  Sounds like a Man’s View to me!



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