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.....