This time last week I was recovering in hospital from surgery to the rather delicate lady part areas.
It's a road I've been down before, and I'm sure every woman reading this will wince as they are reading it.
I love my children. They are a blessing and I would never go back in time and not have them.
But I am one of those women that pregnancy never agreed with.
I did not glow.
I got hideously sick. I put on far too much weight. My pelvis moved too much. I suffered terrible hormonal migraines. I bled. My ankles, feet and fingers swelled. My blood pressure got dangerously high. My yet-to-be diagnosed arthritis flared up. I suffered from a condition called symphasis pubis dysfunction, which is incredibly painful. I was exhausted. Towards the end of my pregnancies, I resembled a bowling ball on legs.
Childbirth and pregnancy took a fair toll on my body, and down the track I'm still suffering the consequences.
I've had several surgeries since, and I guess the latest won't be the last.
Late last year, I started experiencing some painful and embarrassing symptoms, and although I've been complaining regularly to my GP ever since - to the extent of actually asking for a referral to see my gynaecologist - she fobbed me off, telling me it's to be expected at my age (I'm 47, thanks for asking).
This is despite my history, the fact that I have a mirena (so shouldn't be experiencing any abnormal bleeding at all - one of my symptoms), that my blood tests show I'm not menopausal (ditto), and that women generally know their own bodies. Plus, if I want to see my gynaecologist, I probably should have the right to see him, don't you think? Particularly as I pay for the pleasure, and it's not exactly a fun day out.
My gynae, Dr Philip Hall, inserted this, so he was part of the consultation. As I went to leave, I mentioned I'd been asking to come back to see him, and he immediately asked what had been going on. I was extremely lucky that he was concerned enough to fit me in and take a look immediately.
Without going into the gory details, there was something that was going on that shouldn't have been. He scheduled me for surgery a few days later.
And here's the thing: I was able to have this surgery done in my own home town.
If you follow MIA, you'll know I made the tree change to Kingaroy, a rural community in the South Burnett, just on two years ago now.
We're starved for good medical care here. In fact, it took me months to just get into a decent medical centre which was taking new patients.
Dr Hall is one of the great specialists who visits regularly to bring his expertise to patients in the area. For now, he's still able to operate at the South Burnett Private Hospital. (I couldn't have had my procedure done at the local public hospital, because it's not available there. Neither is an appointment with a visiting gynaecologist currently).
But our local private hospital is in danger of closing at the end of the month.
A lot of residents don't care, because they think only 'rich' patients, with private health cover can afford to go there.
But they forget about the old people, the disabled, the vulnerable. Those who can't drive to Brisbane, Toowoomba or the Sunshine Coast for their surgeries or their consultations with specialists.
There is one bus to Brisbane from Kingaroy that goes as far as Caboolture. It runs once daily, from Monday to Friday. You then have to take a train to the city and get to the nearest hospital or doctor's surgery as best you can. It's not cheap, and it's not practical for most old and frail folk.
Those who need drivers depend on people having to take time off work, often from their own businesses, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Factor in overnight accommodation - sometimes longer - and you're screwed.
It's a false economy.
There is a Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme, but the forms are difficult to fill out, and even some specialists (and their staff) have difficulty doing so. Sometimes medical staff lose them and there is no backdating. Sometimes the authorities will not approve accommodation even if the doctor has requested that it is required. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get funding approved, and it's just a splash in the ocean towards the cost of travelling to the city for medical care anyway.
The people who will suffer the most are the old folk who now will have to travel to get their cataracts done, the blokes with incontinence issues, the women who will have to wait to get their prolapses fixed. But no one seems to care about them.
Currently, the private hospital's services includes (apart from gynaecology and incontinence): general surgeon, orthopaedic surgeon, urologist, ophthalmologist, maxillofacial surgeon, dentist, cardiologist, paediatrician, hearing specialist, resting echo cardiograms, stress testing plus medical admissions.
What's going to happen to all those patients if these specialists stop coming to our area? Where are these specialists going to operate if the hospital closes?
I wrote about my stay here;
Do you live in a rural area? How do you cope when it comes to getting good quality medical care?
And have your instincts ever been right when it comes to your own health?
My room at the South Burnett Private Hospital. Not quite as posh as a city hospital, but it was a private room (shared bathroom), and the whole surgical procedure was far more comfortable and more personalised than the one-size-fits-all affairs I normally experience in the city.
Waiting for my surgery in a private room. It was comfortable compared to what I'm used to at busy city hospitals, where you have no privacy and little dignity at all. I even had a nurse who helped me get dressed and into those unappealing white socks - and who helped me get changed later.
The after-surgery snack was pretty unappetising
But after all that fasting, that night's dinner - chicken soup, vol-u-vent, salad and a cup of tea - was lovely.
The worst shock to the system was that this is what passed for coffee the next morning - but I've experienced that in the city too. And seriously, that's when you know it's time to go home.