Monday, March 11, 2013

Surviving gastroscopy

I was feeling fairly miserable this morning.  No water, no coffee, very little sleep and wondering what I had forgotten to tell Angel about getting the kids to school as I left for the hospital in cold light of early morning.  But most of all I was worried about what would happen in the hospital.  But not the procedure you understand.  The fasting. The waiting.  The lack of information.  Worrying that you'd be the one they forgot.  Wondering when the procedures started.  Yes I should have asked.  Wondering if the secretary I spoke to really had the power to put me first on the list if I said no to sedation....

In the waiting room there was talk about the procedure and several people expressed shock that I was going to skip sedation.  Words like 'brave' and 'mad' were mentioned.  And I have been known to wish for mild sedation when life gets difficult at home.  But hospital sedation?  I've been there.  Sure it means I don't remember anything about whatever the horrible thing is that they did to me.  But I'm not allowed to go home on my own.  I tried to persuade the nurses one time that a random taxi driver was there to pick me up but they were having none of it and I had to put in an emergency call to a friend:  the joys of being single!  And then you're doollally for the rest of the day.  Not ideal when minding two kids with special needs and trying to work as well.  My GP reckoned I'd cope without sedation, so I thought I'd give it a go.  How hard could it be?  I wasn't too worried about the results, as it was a routine check of my tummy because I've been on this medication for five years.

At the hospital I was the second to arrive and the third to be called in to the ward.  But there were plenty of people behind me.  I just got more and more anxious, made worse by dehydration and hospital heat.  Then an hour after I arrived a nurse finally told me that I was first on the list.  I could have kissed her.  It just shows you that knowing what is going to happen is far more important to me than how bad the thing is.  Well within reason obviously.

Things got better after that.  It turned out that the nurse who was looking after me in the operating room used to look after Smiley in the children's hospital 16 years ago!  So she came back to the ward with me afterwards to look at photos, and made sure that I was well looked after.

Do you want to know what a gastroscopy is like?  Without sedation?  Well you get this spray on your throat that burns and tastes of old bananas.  Then a mouth guard is put in, you concentrate on your breathing and hold the nurse's hand.  They put the camera down your throat, you retch a bit, burp a bit, cry a bit - well I did - but within a few minutes it's all over.  I may have felt like I was choking, but I didn't feel like I was dying.  So not as bad a childbirth then, and over much more quickly.    The other benefit is that the consultant was able to tell me unofficially that all looked fine.

Then it was back to the ward for the spray to wear off, tea and toast and home, all before ten o'clock.

And the only after effect?  A blinding headache due to lack of coffee.....




26 comments:

  1. I don't care for being put under either-although I still think that you are brave for doing that without any! I too like to know EXACTLY what to expect. I think that meeting the nurse (who took care of your girl) so many years later-is really great-especially the part where you got to share pictures. Glad that all turned out well-and I hope that you were able to get rid of your headache by drinking a gallon or so of strong coffee ..:)

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  2. You poor thing and all before 10 o'clock. I hope you feel better soon. Xxxx

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    1. I do now thank you, and it's good to hear from you xxx

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  3. This is something I hadn't thought of before, the situation when the hospital won't let someone go home under their own steam because they've been sedated. I get why they do that but it seems like it's an area that needs to serious attention. Hope you feel well. Regardless of the fact that you see refusing the sedation as necessary (and I get your reasons 100%) I do still think you are brave.

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    1. It was like an experiment. That went right, thank goodness! I'm feeling fine and very relieved this evening :)

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  4. So glad it went ok. I had a hysteroscopy once - similar but up the other end to check my womb and tubes. Anticipating it and other's stories of the pain was far far worse than the actual precedure which also took a couple of minutes tops. I also held the nurse's hand and yelped a bit. And it's great when you get the all clear.

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  5. I had a colonoscopy a few weeks ago, and I also had the conscious sedation. In my case, I didn't have to fast as such, but I had to eat a clear diet up to 24 hours before the procedure (i.e. mostly clear liquids), and a low-fibre diet between 24 and 48 hours before. I also had to take "bowel prep" tablets and powder which, in effect, gave me diarrhoea, so I had to stay right next to the loo (where I spent several hours). I had been meant to have it a week earlier, but I didn't get the bowel prep info and so did it wrong (although a friend, who's experienced in these things, told me there really was no need to cancel).

    The procedure itself, though, wasn't too difficult - I was seen almost immediately, had to take my clothes off and change into a gown and some shorts with an opening in the back side. I can't remember what the sedation drug was called, but they also gave me fentanyl (a very strong opiate, although a very low dose of it) and that was quite worrying, because I thought that was for really bad pain. I remember being in quite a bit of discomfort during the procedure, and groaning, and then it all goes blank and I woke up in the ward. I felt really relaxed and was not emotionally affected at all by what had been happening or the pain I'd been in. The nurse who briefly looked after me was lovely.

    I also had to go home accompanied - my mother came and picked me up. I spent the rest of the day slumped on the sofa, mostly on my computer talking to friends and sometimes sleeping. I had to make my dinner later, but that was just fairly simple convenience food. I had a headache as that day wore on; I'm not sure if that was the drugs or the dehydration caused by the bowel prep. But the sedation made the procedure a breeze and I'm much more at ease about anything similar in the future. I recall one woman saying about operations "I get to go to sleep". The sleep I had that morning was the best sleep I've had in ages.

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    1. Yes I had a colonoscopy as well a few years ago. With sedation. And when I have sedation I don't remember a thing. Not sure whether I'd ever go for it if it involved actually remembering the procedure!

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  6. An experiment?! How brave is that! Really impressed. But I'm trying to work out how you knew what "old bananas" tasted like. Is this a delicacy down your way?

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    1. Oh you know bananas that have been in the bowl a bit too long...

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  7. ugh...you really deserved a big nice cup of coffee after this ...hope you got one :)

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  8. You are brave, although I understand why you didn't go the sedation route. Well done. Glad to hear that you are okay. x

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    1. I really enjoyed reading this C, well done.
      I've had the procedure twice, once without
      sedation and the other with!

      Good to hear all is well with your tummy.

      Situations like this one, do highlight a disadvantage to being single alright!

      Much love x

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    2. Glad to know I'm not the only non-sedated one and thanks for reading x

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  9. Hubby had a gastroscopy 2 years ago and refused sedation, since he wanted to drive to work afterwards (!) I don't like sedation either, mostly because I am not too keen on needles. Great they didn't find anything down there!

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  10. Yikes! I think you're very brave indeed!!! Having said that I'm typing this through a haze of painkiller with unrelated dizziness (can't wait to pick up my daughter later :/) so I totally understand why.

    How lovely that you got a nurse who had looked after Smiley - that must have made you feel tonnes better. Beadzoid xx

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    1. I just love the fact she remembered her 16 years later, that's just so fab :D

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  11. I'm so so sorry I missed all this C but glad to know that everything looks fine. I feel bad as my mind has been occupied totally with other things. I hope you got that coffee! xx

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    1. Goodness you have enough going on yourself, hope TC is better this morning xx

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  12. you are so brave
    I had no idea that you were single and I am just on the other side of the pond giving you a standing ovation

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    1. I suppose 'separated' is the correct description, but thank you x

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