Women and Ultrasound - A Day In the Lives of Six Women
Acting on a Health Concern
Seldom do we go to the doctor, much less submit ourselves to laboratory examinations and procedures without any compelling reason. The feeling that something is not quite right inside my body made me call my trusted doctor. With instructions to have some laboratory tests done before coming to see her, I trooped to the nearest reliable diagnostic center and prepared myself for the expected long wait. I did get what I expected (the long wait) but got an unexpected bonus in gaining insights on six other women who like me were waiting in line for the performance of an ultrasound procedure.
The Women in Line
On this day, I was designated as patient number 5. I was the last one for the morning schedule, coming after a teenage girl who came with her mother, a new mother-to-be who came with her husband, a nun who was on her own, and a mother in her 60s who came with her daughter. Almost everyone knows how it is with women and waiting. Sharing tends to lighten the load that we carry in our minds and hearts. We eventually ended up sharing our reasons for being there in that place in that particular time, most especially when the lone male in the room had to leave for a while to attend to some work-related matters.
Patient Number 1 - The Teenage Girl
The patient herself was very quiet and it was her mother who did most of the talking. She was there because her monthly period failed to come for four months already. Even while talking with as much candidness as one can expect from a relative stranger, I thought I detected a hint of fear and anxiety in the mother's voice for some reason other than the possibility of her young daughter having a medical condition.
With the high incidence of teenage pregnancy today, the mother was almost expecting to hear that her daughter has joined the statistics of teenage mothers. Although visibly embarrassed by her mother's voiced-out suspicion, the teenage girl seemed ready to let the incident pass in consideration of her mother's genuine concern for her. The ultrasound results negated this fear and obviously provided needed relief as well as a clue as to what is really causing her condition. She will have to undergo further testing to find her desired cure which I hope she gets soon enough.
Patient Number 2 - The Expectant Mother
Among all of us who were there to be examined, this patient had the brightest disposition. It is quite obvious why this is so. After all, she is the only one there waiting for the service not because of any confirmed or suspected sickness. She is expecting not only one but two bundles of joy because she was carrying twins in her womb. The ultrasound procedure was just for some preparatory requirements before giving birth.
One call from the expectant mother that they were next sent the expectant father flying right in. It was actually a very heart-warming scene, hearing them gush about their soon-to-come boys. The coming of new life is really one of the greatest wonders this life can offer.
Patient Number 3 - The Quiet Nun
This patient was the most reserved among us, limiting answers to what is asked without appearing aloof in any way. She was there for an ultrasound to check suspected problems with her ovaries. Like the first patient, she had to come back for other tests. My prayer goes with her.
Patient Number 4 - The Woman of Experience
Experience not only refers to numerical age but to actual challenges faced and have survived. Among all of us, this patient was the "experienced" one. Having had undergone breast lump removal two years before which turned out benign in nature, breast ultrasound forms part of her yearly health maintenance routine.
This time she is having an ultrasound for another lump discovered on her breast. Her daughter voiced her inner fears to me when her mother entered the examination area since there was no one else in the room but us. Their biggest fear was of course cancer and I felt her pain for her mother.
Patient Number 5 - The Woman Who Needs to Know
It was finally my turn. My purpose for having an ultrasound is mainly preventive in nature. It is to follow in the best way I can the recommendations of doctors who I trust. The primary benefit of having them performed is gaining the peace of mind that I need to be able to live without fear in spite of the occasional aches and pains echoed by my body. I do have to admit that I dread discovering that I have any medical condition but I cannot for the life of me, ever imagine myself going through it blindly. I need to know so I can do what is needed.
Relevance of Ultrasound to Women
I have never really looked beyond ultrasound more than a diagnostic procedure required by doctors. With the short interaction I had with six different women (teenager and mother, expectant mother, nun, older mother and daughter) in that ultrasound room, I have come to realize that it serves a purpose specifically in helping save women's lives through early detection of potentially dreaded diseases. Our ages varied in the same way as our personal circumstances did but we came together that day to find answers to our health concerns and find support that can only come from human interaction.
The ultrasound serves an important function for women including women who are trying to become pregnant, pregnant women, women dealing with gynecological disorders regardless of age, women going through menopause, and women concerned about cancer and other diseases. Every medical test comes with the fear factor in receiving unexpected results but it is always better to have a fighting chance if the need to fight comes. Sometimes the only difference between a victim and a survivor is the time of detection.