Ultrasounds have always looked gross to me. The goopy blue gel… the special wand that moves around the goopy blue gel… the giant tummy that endures the special wand moving around the goopy blue gel… Gross. But despite the overall ‘yuck’ of an ultrasound, the outcome of the ultrasound is, hopefully for most, one of the most exciting, emotional, and memorable times of a girl’s life. And then after the first ultrasound, there are many more to come – all to be recorded as joyous experiences.
My ultrasound was nothing like that.
First, there was no romance to it. No ‘Oh you’re going to have an ultrasound? How beautiful!’. Second, Will wasn’t there to hold my hand and tell me what he saw on the screen. Third, the ultrasound was on my shoulder.
I had no idea up until a few weeks ago that ultrasound machines can be used for conditions other than pregnancy. That’s probably extremely naive of me to assume, but truly, I had no clue.
So you can imagine the look on my face when my Physical Therapist came into the room and announced that I needed to put on a gown for my first ultrasound. I wore a look of wild confusion, complete with a scrunched up nose (I remembered the blue gel).
I put on the gown and waited to be told what to do next while I quickly tried to figure out what on earth my PT wanted to scan my stomach for when all the pain is located in my right shoulder/neck/arm. Does she think I’m pregnant? Do I look pregnant? Maybe my stomach looked a little round in my ruffle dress… Wait, do I really look round in my ruffle dress? Has Will noticed? Am I round?!
Clearly, I was panic-stricken.
My PT finally rolled in the ultrasound machine, which for those of you who have never seen one before looks very similar to this:
She told me to have a seat in the chair (my first clue something was amiss). I did so, then immediately felt a icky gooey warmth along my neck and shoulder. Then, the special wand came out (which is incredibly cold, by the way). She placed it in the goop, pressed a button, then I jumped as a surge of ‘the-machine-is-fully-on-and-working-now’ zoomed through the wand and stung my skin.
My first thought was ‘Phew. I must not be round-looking’, followed by, ‘Ewwhewhew this really feels just as gross as it looks’.
Nine appointments later, I’m very much used to the warm blue goop and the painful jolt I feel when she turns on the special, frigid wand. Apparently, ultrasounds are used to bring the blood to the surface (not literally) in order to relax the muscles that are tight, stiff, and causing pain.
Also nine appointments later, I learned (today) that because of the tightness and stiffness and significant pain that I’ve been feeling in the areas mentioned above for four years now, has caused tendinitis in my right arm. Perfecto. Solution? My PT said I have two appointments left, and then… we don’t know after that. I am to visit my regular doctor and see what he thinks about my progress; my progress being, I definitely feel a difference in my shoulder/neck/back, but am still having what my PT refers to as “fits”. Translated: My progress is slow, but occurring, which is better than no progress at all. I’m not sure what my regular doctor will say about all of this. He may just give me some medicine and send me on my way. My solution is to become ambidextrous, which will not only improve my Ultimate Frisbee skills, but will hopefully aide in the healing of my entire right side.