I went for an ultrasound on Monday. Baby’s fine. Only kidding.

I’ve had a weird pain in my side for almost a year. Started out just after last year’s summer holiday, but it’s never really been that bad. I only really went to the doctor due to the worry. Because you’re not meant to just have ongoing internal pain in your side are you?

Anyway, there’s been blood tests, and possible diagnoses (excess stomach acid), and pills, and more appointments, and waiting, and then finally, “Let’s get you in for a scan”, and then COVID so the scan was cancelled, and then rescheduled to Monday. Really, it was just a precaution because the blood tests seemed to preclude “anything sinister” by which they mean cancer. I know this because I asked, “Do you mean cancer,” and they said, “Well, yes”. This was good because I had been worried about cancer.

I had to drink a load of water beforehand which I dutifully did. Then I was concerned about parking because I can never remember whether it’s pay-and-display, and you need change, or whether they have those machines inside where you can maybe use a card, but in fact, there was no charge for parking at all. I put that down to COVID but was probably just because the pay-and-display machines were broken, having said that not getting them fixed was probably down to COVID so…

I went in with my face-mask around my neck (a stretchy cloth affair) and saw a few people who didn’t say, “Wear your facemask!” but then after waiting in a very well spaced waiting room the scanning-person took one look at me and said, “Oh, you haven’t got a face-mask,” and handed me a disposable one. She mentioned that there’s a little metal bit at the top that you can shape around your nose to stop your glasses steaming up on your out-breath. She said it didn’t really work. She was right.

We went to a room where she slathered my belly in gel. I wasn’t expecting it to be so hot and it struck me that my wife had never mentioned the temperature when it had been her, but that I had always imagined it to be cold. I wondered whether they warm it especially, so it’s more comfortable for people, and then whether this one had possibly been warmed for too long (it was very hot), or whether it wasn’t heated at all but the heat was down to it reacting to contact with my skin. This worried me for a second until she distracted me by beginning the scan.

Basically, she didn’t find anything “sinister”. I thought for a moment of jovially mentioning my recurring day-dream of internal alien inhabitants (who had obviously entered me via the seas of Menorca) slithering around my insides in anticipation of a John-Hurt-style exit, and how that was the first thing that sprang to mind when she said “sinister”. But I didn’t do that. She mentioned kidney stones but wasn’t certain, and she mentioned that some other part of me was hidden behind my bowel so beyond even ultrasound visibility. If it’s kidney stones it didn’t sound like there was much to be done, and given how mild the pain has been recently I was happy with that.

We’ll see what the GP says.

An image of jellyfish which is not related to the text of this article.

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