Sunday, 26 April 2015

Effing Endoscopy!

So, yesterday I had the lovely experience of an Endoscopy procedure down my throat. Now, prior to my information leaflet from the NHS, I was a tad apprehensive about having a 50cm tube rammed down my throat to have a good old poke around. The leaflet reassured me that it wouldn't be rammed down my throat. I would, in fact, be sedated. Not totally out of it, but enough out of it to not know much of what was going on. In fact, someone who had had the procedure, told me she couldn't remember a thing about it and was much nicer than having a tube up the other end.

By the way, my doctor also said and I quote "I'd rather take something down my throat than up the other end" I nearly choked on fresh air hearing that and had to resist every urge of my being to scream MATRON! Anyhow, back to my endoscopy which I was actually looking forward to. I was looking forward to hanging around for a few hours in the waiting room. I could read a book or write my packing list to Marseille next week.  I was looking forward to a bit of tea and sympathy the former being literally and I was so looking forward to being sedated. An afternoon nap on a Saturday. What is this delightful experience you talk of? Alas it didn't quite pan out like that.

Firstly, I had to get the kids organised for a party they had at the same time of my procedure. Buddy wanted to go as a Pirate seeing as it was a pirate theme and all. I couldn't find his pirate hat so left that important task to Mr 1960s.

My husband dropped me to the hospital with the kids partied up in the back a good 30 minutes prior the procedure.  When I sat down in the nice comfy sofas and the ambiance of the newly decorated NHS endoscopy unit I checked my phone. I had a message from the unit to say come in for 1pm and not 1.30pm. Good job I was there then. Clearly the chap wanted to knock off early on a Saturday. I have had about 3/4 hospital appointments recently and every time I've been seen early. 

Anyhow, the nurse came out and said this way and hurried me into a room.  He said get changed and handed me a bag and a gown. I thought crikey do I have to strip off in front of this chap right here? Something tells me this isn't policy. Aren't there meant to be two people present for potential assault claims? Although see previous post on being post 40 and less likely for this sort of thing.

Luckily it was just my coat and cardigan and he quickly did my blood pressure, sign an its okay if I die form and follow me. This was all of 3 minutes.  Next I'm in the ward part and he plonked my stuff on the bed. He gave me the gown and said put that on. Jesus, I thought, can I not close the curtains? No time for that - I was to put the gown on over my clothes and walk straight into the procedure room.

About 5 minutes had elapsed by this time and I'm already on the table ready to go.  I mean there's quick and there's hang on a minute can I just express a few fears here. Anyhow, the Endoscopy guy who was in a hurry for his BBQ said "are you having sedation?" its very quick. Roughly translated as are you a frigging wimp or what I've got marinated chicken breasts to get home to.  I said "yes?" whilst another chap was trying to find a vein. They can never find a vein.  I was already on my side with this mouth guard thing in my mouth when he allegedly gave me the sedation. No time to see if it worked - they ploughed straight into the procedure. I wanted to say hang on a minute aren't you meant to wait but this was somewhat difficult with a 50 cm tube down my throat.

Now, it didn't hurt as such. They'd given me a numbing pain. The NHS sheet had said it would take 15 minutes. I was gagging so much with tears rolling down my eyes that I thought I'm going to choke to death if its for 15 minutes.  Anyhow, thankfully it was less than 5 minutes but I did feel somewhat violated and shell shocked. A bit like your birthing plan - none of it had gone to my well rehersed schedule. I mean where's my tea and toast and my 2 hour nap?! 

Next think I'm wheeled out and the nurse (who I've seen less than 10 minutes ago) is taking my blood whilst I'm feeling slightly pissed.  I said to the lady opposite "well that sedation didn't do anything". Maybe I shouldn't have said it but I thought it was best to give her a bit of a heads up. Then I was out into the waiting area to be collected by my husband. He had barely got home and it was time to pick me up.

Whilst waiting, still in a state of bewilderment, the Endoscopy chap got himself some water muttered something about Barrets, inflammation and.. wait for it.. a biopsy and off he went!! So I've got cancer of the stomach and you're off out for you marinated chicken? You fucker come back here! But I was too pissed to chase after him.  Even then I was mildly pissed not even paralytic. I asked the nurse who popped by did the sedation always work? He was like oh yes you don't have to wait for it most people say they can't remember a thing. Yeah thanks for that. He finally added that it doesn't work for alcoholics. Say what?! I can't even drink any alcohol, tea or coffee without getting raging heartburn but I have the immune system of an alcoholic so much so I can't get knocked out during sedation. Well pass me the vodka.

Later on, I had a very nice burst blood vessel look all over my face. I'd failed to notice this when I picked up the kids from the party and was chatting to the mum's about my procedure.  

So the results are as follows, having googled the sheet I was given rather than a chat with Dr BBQ.  I have moderate inflammation of my oesophagus, excess bile and awaiting test from my biopsy. I will get the results via the 'virtual clinic'. I don't have an ulcer but I do have no life. I can't drink tea and coffee that's for sure or have a drink. Oh, I also have a hiatus hernia. For more information on all this jazz here's a link to Barrett's Oesophagus. It can also be hereditary- my Grandad suffered terribly and couldn't eat pastry as does my Auntie.

I am fairly confident that if I cut out the main offenders in my diet that cause my symptoms - tea, coffee, alchohol (which I only drunk sparingly anyhow), banana's and anything else that makes life pleasant then it does go away. I would also like to say that drinking diet lemonade (again I haven't drunk fizzy drinks in a long time on a regular basis) certainly does not help.  It does so much damage and, of course, being overweight puts more pressure on your stomach. See entire blog on this one!

So, there you have it my Effing Endoscopy. I'm off to have a pork pie, lashings of lemonade and rose wine.

See you next time...


  1. Fellow Barretts sufferer here.

    Are you on anything? I'm on Pantaloc daily and have to go back and see my GI doc next month. I need more meds. I'm sure another scoping is in my future as he likes to keep on top of it.

    New procedures are being used to treat it and it's very effective.

    I don't remember any of mine. Managed to luck out and get two colonoscopies and gastroscopies within three months. My gasman is very generous. Absolutely no recollection of anything. But my hospital never feeds you after procedures. If you are lucky you might get an icewater!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I have some tablets in the cupboard but don't tend to take them as if I cut out tea/coffee etc I don't get heart burn. It does seem that endoscopy's are more frequent and this condition has increased rapidly by all accounts. I think that's probably to do with our diet getting worse over the decades. High fat and sugar foods. I am so jealous you didn't remember yours! I'm cross now that they just didn't bother. I hope your symptoms are manageable. Are there any foods/drink you have to avoid? x

    2. The Panteloc pretty much neutralizes all the stomach acid, so foods aren't really the problem.

      It's waking up in the middle of the night feeling the acid at the back of your throat that is the worst. It's been happing more often hence the trip in to the GI next month.

      He only found the Barrett's by sheer fluke. I'd had an averse reaction to some Toradol after surgery resulting in a GI bleed. Which resulted in an emergency scopes. It had caused two huge ulcers in my esophagus and several scratch like areas. So the follow up was just meant to be a colonoscopy but (I kid you not) due to a guy cancelling his procedure to a blizzard that day, the dr. had extra time. So, he decided to do the gastroscope as well. That's when he was able to confirm his diagnosis of Barretts. I had 3cm of stomach lining in my esophagus. Lucky or what. Negative biopsy results.

    3. wow that sounds awful - so sorry to hear this. Fantastic news re your biopsy result. I hope it all gets better for you x

  2. Crikey that sounds pretty horrendous. I'm glad that all of that pain was worth it to know what you are dealing with. I have never heard of that condition but it seems like a lot of the things to avoid are pretty good things to live without from a health point of view.

    1. It was a tad!!! Yes agree re the food you certainly can't get away with what you used to eat the older you get. I don't even like diet fizzy drinks now! x