Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My first case of Pseudocyesis (1st of 2 Parts)

Pseudocyesis - pseu·do·cy·e·sis [soo-doh-sahy-ee-sis] -  the medical term for false pregnancy; also called hysterical pregnancy.  It is a term coined by John Mason Good  in 1923 from the Greek words pseudes (false) and kyesis (pregnancy).  It is a condition in which the patient firmly believes herself to be pregnant and develops objective signs of pregnancy such as missed periods, an enlarging abdomen, breast enlargement and milk production, labor pains and sensation of fetal movements.  It has all the signs of pregnancy except one: the presence of a baby.

The clock just struck midnight when the phone rang again.  "Arggh!"  I screamed inside my head.  I just got into bed and I haven't even unfolded my blanket yet.  I thought, "When will this fucking phone ever stop ringing?"  Its ring is worse than tinnitus, but yet, maybe even tolerable than Kris' Aquino's singing voice.

I picked up the receiver.  The nurse on the other line was looking for me.  Shit. I cursed - again inside my head.  The possibility of another sleepless night dawned on me.

It was a call from the Labor Room.  "Doc naa ta'y admission.  Buntis.  (Doc, we have an admission, a pregnant patient),"  the nurse on the other line told me.

"Okey Ma'am," I replied.  "Kapila man na niya? (How many times has she been pregnant?),I asked.  A woman who is pregnant for the first time will undergo the process of labor for a longer time compared to those who have been pregnant for the second and third time.  A shorter  course of labor would mean more sleeping time for everyone who's on duty while you know what a longer one would mean.

"Una pa daw nya ni Doc.  Pero murag gulang na man sya  Doc, dayon kinagamayan ang tiyan.  (This is her first pregnancy Doc.  But she seems old and her tummy is flat.)"  Kinagamayan - that's a Boholano slang, the superlative equivalent of very small, or for a patient whom you would expect to be pregnant, it could pass for very flat.  Boholanos use the prefix "kina-" and attach it to any adjective to give it an extreme effect.  Kinakapoyan (Most or very tiring), kinalamian (most or very delicious), and in this case kina (very) + gamayan (derived from the word gamay which means small), would then mean very small. 

"Okey, Ma'am," I answered.  "I'll be there in a few minutes," I added then replaced the receiver.  "Let's get this over and done with," I thought to myself.  I  immediately got up from my bed and went straight to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face to wash off all hints of sleepiness which was written all over it. I fixed myself a bit and took a very quick glance on the mirror as I passed by it on my way to the door.  

The Doctors' Quarters is just adjacent to the Labor Room and just when I got out of it, three persons were on the hallway.  The patient's accompanying, I thought. I walked past them.

It is a standard operating procedure by the way, in Obstetric Departments of hospitals all over the world that  the first thing doctors do in admitting a pregnant patient is the Admitting Internal Examination (IE).  Yes, that is the part where the doctor sticks the second and third finger into the patient's vaginal canal and feel for the dilatation of the cervix, the mouth of the uterus.  The progression of the cervical dilatation and the increase of frequency and intensity of uterine contractions are the two main factors that govern labor.  Once the contractions are strong enough to cause full dilatation of the cervix which is at ten centimeters, the baby is ready to go out of the mother's womb.  

It is for the purpose of the IE that the nurses made our new admission - yes, I mean the patient - - lie on the IE table.  It is not just some table.  It is actually a bed which, I don't know how, but along the way, evolved into being called a table.  It is shorter yet more elevated than the usual bed and uhmm, yes, the usual table, and it is equipped with stirrups on which the patient positions her feet while the physician is doing the IE.  The IE Table is found in another room called the IE Room (Yeah, what else should we call it? Hahahaha!) to ensure the patient's privacy.  In the case of our IE Room, the IE table is specially surrounded by curtains, creating a small room within a room to reinforce the patient's privacy.

As I walked into the IE Room, I headed towards the IE table and got hold of the curtains, and  swept it a bit to one side, creating a breach through the sheets, just enough for me to enter.  And when I stepped into the room within a room, I could not believe what I saw.


  1. Haha good break in the story doc shing... Now I can't wait for the next installment.

  2. good writing.

    1. thank you jocelyn :-) I'm glad you found your way to my blog :-) drop by again when you can :-) will check out your blog too ;-) All the best!


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