Tuesday, October 23, 2012

That time I got a "double dip"

WARNING:::  I'm not going to get VERY graphic in this post, but if you're at all squeamish about  medical stuff you  may want to skip this one!

I'm not lying, this is exactly what my doctor said to me as I wheeled towards him on a gurney.
"You're here for the double dip?"

Dear lord.  Yes, I suppose I am.

Refresher:  I went in on Friday for a colonoscopy and endoscopy, to rule out Celiac Disease and Colitis.  I had long assumed I had Celiac disease because I had the wide array of symptoms.  But then I read somewhere that you can still be damaging your intestines (leading to eventual intestinal deterioration and cancer) even if you don't have symptoms.  So, even though I had been on a gluten-free diet for a year or so, I was forced to return to typical eating habits so they could get a look at what kind of damage was being done.

1.  The prep.  This was by far the worst part. Starting at Midnight two days before the procedure, you have to stop eating.  For someone who works nights and is often up until 3 in the morning, this is difficult, but I managed.  The hardest thing was chugging down FOUR LITERS of nasty, salty, artificially sweetened "prep" (usually GoLytely, HalfLytely, or something like that.)  I don't drink artificial sweeteners, and I haven't since I gave up Diet Coke/soda in general roughly 3 years ago. OH MY GOD.  This stuff was nasty. I could only choke down just over two liters, just a little more than you see in that photo ------->

 I was afraid it wasn't going to be enough (I also drank water and chicken broth to cut the taste) but it seemed to be okay.

2.  The process:  I was taken in to a hospital room and told to change into a johnny.  It was confusing as hell, because in addition to the ties in the back, this one had snaps all up and down the arms.  Needless to say, my mom had to help me snap my arms up.  They took all my vitals, gave me an IV (Dextrose and Saline.  The nurse was very nice and taped it up so I didn't have to look at it--yuck! I've never had an IV before.)  and eventually wheeled me off into the operating room.  I don't know if it's technically an "operating" room, as this is more of a procedure than an operation...but who knows.

3.  The procedure:  The Doctor introduced himself to me, asked me about my symptoms, and told me "People your age are hard to sedate."  "Oh, great."  I said, immediately thinking he was warning me that sedation was dangerous (something I had already been nervous about)--when actually he was telling me that I might be awake for the procedure.  He told me that the scope they were putting down my throat might cause me to gag, but asked me to please not pull on it, or him.  I laughed and asked if they could strap my arms down, just to be on the safe side.

I was told to gargle and swallow some nasty gel (I'm assuming it was vicious Lidocaine) and then they quizzed me.  I think it was to see how well the gel was numbing my tongue, but I answered their questions just fine.  They injected some drugs into my IV (something to knock me out, and something else to give me amnesia) and told me that they worked fast.  There were lots of people in the operating room.  One woman was behind my head and she was fastening some kind of white strap.  I remember her joking about it being "something to bite down on".  They had me lay on my side, so I assumed they were going to do the colonoscopy first, the endoscopy second...

The next thing I know, I'm "coming to" (although, who knows if I was really out in the first place?  This might have just been the amnesia drugs wearing off) in the middle of the colonoscopy.

I know, I know.  I WOKE UP DURING SURGERY!  It sounds really dramatic and horrifying, right?

Well, this might be the calming drugs talking, but...it wasn't.  It didn't hurt at all, and I was turned to the side facing a big computer monitor so I could watch what was going on.  They were, as you would expect, burrowing through my intestines.  Every once in a while the doctor would instruct someone to stop the probe and take a sample (a biopsy, for testing) and I could see a little metal grabber come out, bite a little piece of intestine, and take it away.  There was a small amount of blood, but I couldn't feel anything.

I remember people kept telling me what a great job I was doing.  I thought it was funny because I wasn't really doing anything.

It was over really quickly, and they wheeled me back out to see my mom.  My mom said as she saw me coming down the hall she thought I looked really mad.  I was just confused because I didn't (and still don't) have any memory of the endoscopy.  I thought they had forgotten to do it!

A nurse made a comment that people usually aren't as alert as I was.   (I still think this is pretty funny.  I sleep through EVERYTHING.  Honestly.  I've slept through three alarms, earthquakes, car accidents happening outside, Shaun having a sneezing fit, people stacking DVDs on me...EVERYTHING.  Except I WAKE UP during surgery.  Of course I do.)

As many people will tell you, the worst part of this WHOLE ordeal was the awful prep I had to drink the day before, and the nausea that accompanied it.  The procedure wasn't bad at all, and the only part I was scared of to begin with was the anesthesia, which turned out fine.

(The best part was tasting food again for the first time in about 48 hours.)

The Results:  I was told that everything looked perfectly normal.  Great news!  No Celiac Disease or Colitis here!  I have to wait 14 days for the results of the biopsies though, but the Doctor seemed confident they're normal as well.

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