The college session is over and we plan to write together during the Christmas holiday. Here is vhapter 25 in the meantime, in time for Christmas!
My life so far, Episode 19: Medical visit
Letters : 11245 Words : 2142
So, this episode is late. I was under strict orders not to publish it until my daughter, who wrote most of it, had the chance to review it, and college is more intense than planned. But here it is, finally.
Are you always 100% there at school or at work? Are you sometimes only 70% there? Or even 20% there?
I estimate that on that day, I was 2% there, just enough to carry my body from one room to another, but not enough to even know what I was supposed to be learning.
That it caused zero issues for my education is terrifying. I couldn't follow any classes for a full day, and didn't miss anything.
I know Mindy talked to me about her new crush, but don't ask me his name or why he is, I have no clue whatsoever. She mentioned something about a new friend, Edith? Yeah, Edith, but like I said, I was like 2% there. She did ask me what was wrong, but honestly? I don't know what I told her. It wasn't the truth about my possible condition, that is for sure.
My parents, again, were waiting for me after class to get to my x-ray, which was my first one, other than at the dentist.
It wasn't any scarier or whatever. I put my hand on a plate, the technician retreated behind a wall, and then, it was done.
That she hid was worrying, what about me? But like she explained after, I get one, she does one every 10 to 15 minutes. That, I could understand.
And then, we waited. A good hour after the scheduled time, but hey, it was short notice and a favor to us.
Robert was wearing ordinary clothes, not like a doctor white coat, which surprised me, more than seeing him with clothes for the first time.
"Julie, I am happy to see you. I might have some pre-good news for you"
He makes me sit on the examination table, and my parents sit on the chairs in front of his desk. He stands between us.
"Pre-good news?", I ask.
"Well, I still need to do a full checkup, sorry, I have to be thorough, but I think might have the simplest problem to solve"
"Your pituitary gland simply doesn't know it's time for you to become a woman. Your bones show you are the proper age, and your hormones are perfect, for this condition, I have to say."
"Which is?", I ask
"Secondary hypogonadism. That means that your pituitary doesn't send the estrogen to boot up your female body. It's like it doesn't know it's time."
"And that's easy to fix?"
"Well, yeah. Much easier than, say, PCOS. Polycystic Ovaries syndrome or if you didn't even have ovaries. Yours just didn't wake up yet. In short, you take a pill that emulates them waking up. It's that simple. Like I mentioned Saturday. Honestly for you, that was the best outcome possible, other than discovering that you had just started puberty but had not yet shown signs. Well, that's not the case."
"Yeah. So, I will do a check-up, but unless I find something, you have two options in front of you, and I am fully ready to back you up on either"
"Take or not take the pills"
"That is the question", he says, smiling.
"Can you walk her through the decision?", says my mother
"Sure. That is a great suggestion. Let's start with not taking it. If you don't, you won't start puberty for real unless your pituitary gland decides it's time to do so on its own. It might be next week, next year, or never."
"Never?", I say
"In which case, you come see me, or any other doctor, and get the pill I proposed to you. Hey, I can make you a script, and you have a year to use it. A full year. I can also make you another one in a year, even if you don't take the first one."
"And if I never take the pill?", I ask
"Well, you probably will eventually get your puberty. Most do."
"And if I don't?", I ask
"Let's not worry about that. Eventually, if you don't take the pill now, you will either get your puberty naturally, or you will decide that enough is enough, and provoke it with the pill."
"If you take it, you will follow more or less the calendar I gave you. In at most a year, you will start to actually look like a teenager, you know what that means"
"Breasts, pubic hair"
"Not final, but you know, halfway there. Living on a prayer", which I now realize is a Bon Jovi song, but it flew over my head back then.
"That suits me. I mean, I think I am the last in my year, but at least, next year I'll have caught up with them"
"Well, with them right now, and some of those with a longer puberty, but Julie, you have a lot to do to catch up. You will, in about 2 years, but it will be a long process over time"
"But it's the fastest we can do, right?"
"Increase the dose, and I insist on that, will not accelerate the process. It takes time to transform a girl into a woman. Like butterflies, only, you can't just hide in a cocoon for 2 years. You have school and friends and need to build this too", he says, touching his head.
"I get that"
"And increasing the dosage increases the side effects"
"What about cancer risks?", asks my mom
"Negligible. She will take them for 2 to 3 years, and we will check if she is stable. If not, we'll keep the lowest dose possible. The pill from our mother's youth was many times stronger than what I might give her after puberty, which is most likely stronger than what she might be taking now. Plus, it takes decades."
"And she won't need it that long?", asks my father
"Well, she might, she might not. We'll have to do tests and eventually, I will transfer her to another specialist"
"Oh?", I say
"I only treat minors. I can see you until you are 19, perhaps 20, but it's pushing it.", he says
Well, I am 19 today, and he still follows me, but like he said, he is trying to get me a new endocrinologist, one for adults who will understand properly what I need.
"The problem is that my job is to take kids, and turn them into adults. I studied adults, but I don't work with them, I don't keep up with the research. I might miss something and it would be a disservice to you."
"So, what is the examination about?", I ask.
"I'll close the drapes here, and let you put on a gown. I know, we are both naturists, but rules are rules. Here, I am your doctor, not your naturist friend. And yes, I have to close the drape. Make sure to remove your panties. I will use this", and produces a plastic tool in a sealed bag.
"It's a speculum. I will insert it in your vagina, and use a flashlight to see your cervix. There is 50% chance, I will also insert one finger, this one, inside your vagina. It is not sexual, it not for pleasure. I will have a glove, and some lubricant to make it more comfortable. My other hand will be on your lower abdomen, flat. By moving my finger, I can feel your ovaries and everything in my flat hand. Now, I will only do this if I fear something is wrong.", he says,
"Now, you are old enough that I will warn you. If I decide to do the test, I will warn you, but if I feel something wrong, I might need to insert a second finger, but in the rectum to test ligaments. It allows me to better feel your ovaries. If I do it, I will warn you, but don't panic. It doesn't mean something is wrong, only that I want to make sure it's not"
But I was panicking inside. His voice was soothing.
"Can my mother hold my hand?"
"Sure, 100%. But change first."
I nod, and he closes the drapes.
"You will be alright, Julie", he says. "You are doing great."
I put on the gown, but it fits all weird.
"You can open", I say, and he laughs.
"Oh, I should have said. It's backwards, you put it from the front. No worries."
He extends two stirrups and asks me to put my feet in them. My mother stands up and holds my hand.
He puts a glove in his right hand, and holds the speculum with his left. He also puts a flashlight headband
"Ok, I have to do this exam, I am sorry"
I take a deep breath, and he examines me. It's honestly much faster than I thought, and I felt almost nothing, just the cold of the plastic. I think he looked for about 4 seconds.
He moves away, and removes his glove, without about inserting it. He then touches on both sides of my stomach with his right hand.
"It's all good, Julie! No need to do further tests"
"Oh yeah. Your cervix is perfect, and your hymen is almost absent. Lucky girl"
"I didn't have much of one either", said my mother
"Julie, the hymen is a piece of skin which ruptures the first time you have sex or get penetrated"
"Didn't you just do it?", I asked
He laughs. "No, this is a small tool to help see. It's not big enough to break most hymens, which have holes in them, or you would be able to evacuate your periods without having sex first"
"I see", but I didn't. Even today, I don't get it. Why do we have that?
"I just have to take your vitals, and you will be able to go, Julie. I am thrilled for you. I know the last 48 hours must not have been easy, but tonight, you will be able to sleep well, perhaps with your first pill already taken"
"Perhaps?", asks my mother
"Some take it in the morning, some in the evening. It's up to you. It's not for contraception, so the timing isn't that important. Oh, and once per week, she can switch it up by more than 2 hours, or every day by less than 2. Like, if she takes the first one at 8, she can take it tomorrow at 6, and then at 4, and then the next morning at 8. But don't switch too much. The body needs some regularity and you end up with too much at once"
"Which doesn't make it faster", I say
"Exactly. Now, I have a tough job for you", he says. "It's something I do, but many other doctors don't. You decide"
"I am listening"
"Get an agenda, and every night, before bed, count how many pubic hairs you can spot. Even if they are just barely showing up. And then, do the same for your armpits. Finally, note your aureoles and if there is a bump in your nipples."
"No, I am serious. This is data to properly chart your progress."
"I'll get her one tonight. We have a few at home, she'll get to pick the one she prefers"
"You have multiple ones?"
"We import some. We have samples", says my dad.
"Do you import medical supplies?"
"Like medication?", my dad asks
"No, like tongue depressors and swabs and stuff"
"We can, why?"
"I own this clinic, perhaps I could save money with you guys"
My father laughs.
"Perhaps if you had 20 clinics"
"Oh, we need a lot of volume?", he asks
"No, we need a lot of volume. We can be the distributor, but we need many orders to even import"
"I'll talk to other clinics and keep you informed"
My father left him a few business cards and the guys shook their hands.
As a note, it did occur, and it helped my parents keep making money when more factories closed. It didn't make them rich, but every bit helps.
I got dressed back up, behind the curtain, and we soon left for the pharmacy.
It was silent in the car, but we soon were back home, nude, with the pills.
"So", I said
"It's your decision, kiddo"
"I know. But it's a big one"
"It is, but it's not at the same time. You will most likely turn into a woman one day, this doesn't change that, only when it will occur"
And so, I took it. And we talked that evening. And I did my homework, which I miraculously completed.
Before bed, I counted my pubic hair, which sounded weird, and noted it in one of the agendas that my mother gave me. It's an undated one, so you write in the date in the corner of each page. In short, the number is 5. It won't change soon, so I won't bother repeating it.
I did find a way to sleep, without crying.