So I womanned up and took myself down to the urogynaecology physiotherapy department for my first appointment yesterday. Not my first ever appointment, but my first since Thing2 speedily tore his way out. The shadow of my last physical recovery from pregnancy/birth was almost blinding and I realised that I had been nervous about the first physio appointment post birth since I saw my two lines.
I have spent a lot of time looking back at key moments or scenes to try and understand how I got so depressed, where and when and why it all went wrong the first time. And a lot was related to physiotherapy and the first time I walked in to a physio’s room and let rip, with honesty, about how I had become, it wasn’t just losing my mojo but one of my basic function.
I am by nature and inclination competitive, believing it wasn’t called the human race for nothing. For years I was great at school, did well at things I engaged with, performed and yet there I was not only having buggered up giving birth (despite the child bearing figure I’d put up with for years on the promise I’d be good at birth) but having to admit that I couldn’t really describe myself as adequately potty trained any more. I had a marvellous physiotherapist and the trauma of that day was all in my head, and in spite of her kindness, straightforward honesty, warmth and positive treatment of me. She had a look and a feel and asked me to do some basic squeezes. She was encouraging and generally nice and then sat me down to discuss what she’d found. She rated my control and muscle strength out of 5. I got minus 5. I mean, minus 5 for fuck’s sake – that’s not a 2:2 or 3rd, that’s a degree without honours.
This time I clenched for her and coughed, detailed my list from my previous post, discussed wearing pads for protection and how often I go to the loo. My witty defences were out in force. ‘How much do you drink in a typical day?’ she asked. ‘Not enough!’ I said. However, she was respectful and kind and gracious. She made me feel at ease and unembarrassed in the flange and piss talks, she examined me with care and kindness. I sat down for the results back in my clothes, all Tena-ed up. She said this time I was 2 out 5, that my symptoms corresponded with that and that as last time I managed to -5 to 5 turnaround in around a year (so would be deemed as someone who responds very well to pelvic floor exercises and training) this time she thought it would probably take 6/7 months. Result. I said a silent prayer to the Gods of knackered netherregions who must have been watching out for me in November.
She also talked about my age (quite young for this degree of damage) and hereditary issues (other women in my family with similar problems) and said she’d like to refer me to speak to a gynaecologist in this area when things have improved a bit to talk about the future and what could be done or might be advised as I grow older (inevitable), hit the menopause (likely), have more children (unlikely). I could tell that last time the idea of planning for possible problems in the future would have seemed like a sentence, a horrible confirmation that nothing would be right again. This time I feel more that maybe in the midst of a condition where I literally struggle with control over something so normal most of us forget we’re doing it planning for the future is a good idea. So I’ll keep clenching and look forward to what they might say.