Endoscopy Rundown Or Stomach of Darkness (The Horror! The Horror!)

I read until late, so I didn't sleep long because I had to be there early, but I slept straight through from when I fell asleep until I woke up to my alarm.

The drive was fine - we're always a little nervous having to do what we call "Escape from Barrhaven". Matt dropped me off at the main entrance and went to park. I asked at the information desk where to go and it was easy to find.

I checked in at the desk and got a bracelet. Matt found me a few minutes later, and then a woman came and asked the woman at the desk if she was in the right place for a colonoscopy and when the woman said yes she said "that's too bad", which reminded me of Swistle's endoscopy post. The other two guys in the waiting room for an older and younger guy, and the older guy was keeping busy by recounting every medical disaster that had happened to everyone he ever knew, even peripherally. Guy with an enlarged prostate - they set the laser too high and his intestines went septic and he ALMOST DIED. Laser eye surgery - ALMOST BLIND. Botched appendectomy - ALMOST DIED. For some reason I assumed he was the patient, but then the nurse came and called the younger guy back, which means he was the ride, which is even worse - how do you drive someone to the hospital for a procedure, no matter how benign, and pull that shit while they're waiting to go in?

A nurse came and took me back and gave me a robe to change into. I was there in January doing the same thing, and I swear I was trying to listen when she told me what to do, and I still couldn't figure out how to get it on properly, and I'm pretty sure I went through the whole thing with it on wrong. She asked me a bunch of questions and I was answering while trying not to blurt out my own questions about sedation. Swistle was unconscious for the procedure, while I had read that usually it is done under conscious sedation - I made sure to ask about this before hand for my myomectomy because of my weird phobia about general anesthetic, but for some reason I had decided to just go with the flow this time, and I was now sick with anxiety. My nurse left to answer the phone and I heard another nurse describing the procedure to the younger guy who was probably wondering if he was going to ALMOST DIE, and she said he would be awake but woozy, and I nearly burst into tears of relief.

My nurse came back and described the procedure and confirmed that it would be conscious sedation. She started an IV and then I was wheeled into another room. The doctor was a lovely, petite woman with a gray bob. She said I could actually try the procedure with no sedation and just try to concentrate on my breathing, so I said I would do that. That was a horrible mistake.

They sprayed some nasty stuff in the back of my throat to numb it. They put a sort of mouth guard thingy in to protect my teeth and the scope and then started feeding the tube through it. There is something desperately wrong about something being pushed down your throat that way. She had said I should concentrate on my breathing and could breathe through my nose, so I thought I would do that, but I hadn't realized how difficult it is to breathe through your nose when your mouth is still open. I tried to breathe deeply but my body was fighting it and I made a couple of horrible noises which the doctor seemed to find normal. I coughed a couple of times and she asked if I wanted some sedation and I made some sort of gesture that I hoped denoted HELL YES so the nurse injected something into my IV.

I actually didn't feel much better, but I started just trying to breathe as little as possible and the procedure is so short that I counted seconds and just hoped like hell that I could keep myself from flailing or screaming. And I could, and the tube being removed was one of the best feelings ever.

The doctor said I have a small hiatal hernia that explains the acid reflex. She had been looking for ulcers in my esophageal lining because I have low iron so often, and she said she found evidence of some, but they were healed. She took a biopsy for Barrett's esophagus but she said she would be surprised if it came back positive.

I went back to the recovery room for about twenty minutes, got dressed and we were headed back home less than an hour after my actual procedure time. I slept most of the afternoon and I feel tired and like I tried to deep throat an angry porcupine, but mostly deeply relieved that it's over.


Allison said…
Oh my you are so brave to do this without sedation. Glad it is over and hope you get some satisfying results.
Ernie said…
Holy crap! I never ever heard of someone doing an endoscopy while AWAKE!!! Insanity. I cannot even begin to wrap my brain around this. I have had endoscopies and colonoscopies. I have celiac disease. Turns out they looked at the wrong angle FOREVER. (colon) I was diagnosed after an endoscopy about 4.5 years ago. Being sedated is the best part of the entire deal for me. Knock me out and tell me what you find later, people! I could go on and on about my experiences, but I think I am going to post about my recent colonscopy soon and how the worst part was getting a ride there with my mom. Sigh. But, I wonder why on earth did someone not clobber that guy in the waiting room? Who does that? I am glad it is over. This reminds me of growing up requesting no Novocaine for fillings because my mom insisted that made it worse. finally in high school a dentist was like, your mom is not helping you here (this after I practically kicked him across the room during a filling). Now I am an Novocaine-lover.
StephLove said…
When I was pregnant with Noah, my mother-in-law would go on and on about the terrible pain of childbirth, and while she wasn't wrong, it wasn't what I needed to hear. At least she never told me how through much of history people ALMOST DIED and ACTUALLY DIED from it regularly.
Nicole said…
I'm so glad you didn't almost die!
Lynn said…
I believe you meant this post to be informational and reassuring but basically it makes me never want to go to a hospital ever. My heart goes out to you!

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