Hospital Trip #2

by , under personal

Or, What it’s like to have a colonoscopy.

To catch everyone up, over the last year or so I’ve felt pains in my abdomen that come and go, usually after eating. I’ve had mysterious fevers that come and go. The most important issue was my weight loss. I lost some weight, and on my slight frame (I’m only 5’2″), that meant a lot. Then, I was hospitalized in December with severe anemia.

In the latest part of my journey to figure out what the heck is wrong with me, I had a colonoscopy (and endoscopy) on Tuesday. Which basically involves putting cameras inside me through either end of my digestive tract to look for certain kind of damage that comes from certain disorders/diseases. And no, you aren’t conscious for any of it.

Since more people are likely to have a colonoscopy (they’re recommended for anyone over 50) than the endoscopy, this is what to expect. You’ll be put on a clear liquid diet (broth, clear juices like apple or grape, non-red Jello, popcicles that aren’t red, purple or green) for the entire day before. Then, the night before, you’ll have to drink a “prep liquid” which clears out your bowels. Honestly, sitting on the toilet for the bulk of the night wasn’t the problem. It was the hour in which I had to drink 32 oz of a salty liquid that tasted a little orange and metallic.

The next morning, I woke up and had to drink another 32 oz of the liquid. Followed by 16 oz of water, and then nothing for hours before my appointment. At my hospital I went to fill out paperwork and was ushered off to a waiting area where I stripped into a hospital gown and waited on a gurney. And waited. And waited. And waited.

Then, I was finally taken into the procedure room where they positioned my body and started to inject the sedative. It’s done while you’re in a twilight stage so that they can talk to you and do things like ask you to relax. But you don’t remember any of it. The only thing I vaguely remember was the start of the endoscopy- and that was just because they were putting something down my throat, and I only remembered a second of it. Afterwards, I was taken to the recovery room where they waited for me to wake up and gave me juice (this is an assumption of mine based on what I saw happen with other patients). Then they called TheBoy (my ride home) to say I was ready to be picked up, and had me get dressed and wait for him.

The kicker is that they probably explained the pictures taken during my procedure. But I don’t remember a thing. I remember an orderly (who TheBoy confirmed as the orderly who’d been telling me about his brother living with ulcerative colitis) wheeling me outside towards the car, and TheBoy standing there in his Pac Man shirt, looking as adorable as ever. I remember a moment in the car ride home where TheBoy told me that the Oldest Kidlet had gotten in trouble at school for pushing a boy. Then the next thing I remember, I woke up in my bed probably about 3 hours later. My day was a bit fuzzy around the edges. I can’t really explain it, but it’s not that my vision was literally fuzzy. It’s that my brain function was a little hazy. I could almost put together complex thoughts. There was a lot of me standing around trying to remember what I was doing.

But I wasn’t in any pain from the colonoscopy- in fact, the only pain I had was the endoscopy. My poor tender esophagus.

I’m fine now, and in a week I’ll be talking to my doctor about the results. Here’s to hoping that I finally get some answers.

  • Carey Jensen

    I feel your pain, I went through that a couple years ago.  I was very close to spewing that salty liquid all over the place.  Colonoscopy prep is 10 times worse than the actual procedure.  At least with the endoscopy all you have to do is stop eating at midnight.

  • Carey Jensen

    Oh and for the colonoscopy the twilight drugs weren’t strong enough, so I remembered everything.  Not fun.  Luckily I was able to tell him to up the dose for the endoscopy.

  • http://www.whitneydrake.com Whitney Drake

    I have no idea why they can’t make it a little more palatable.  Modern science, right?  That last glass of each dose was so hard to get down- it’s reassuring to know I wasn’t the only one who had issues with that.

    The girl in the bed next to me (she was probably in her early 20s) didn’t get enough sedative either.  The nurses reassured her that was unusual, and when they realized I heard it, kept telling me that it was unusual too.

  • http://erinkelley.net/journal/ Erin

    I hope you get some answers. I know for me I always prefer to know what’s going on. Glad you went through the procedure mostly un-bothered. (The salty liquid sounds awful.)