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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spilling my guts

If you've "liked" the 4th Frog page on Facebook (and why wouldn't you? We have a lot of fun over there!), you likely know that I had an endoscopy yesterday. A doctor I had never met stuck a camera down my throat, took a bunch of pictures and stole some of my tissue.

Why would I let him do that, you might ask? (Let's pretend that you did ask, otherwise there's not really a point to this post).

It all started about two weeks ago. I went to my local blood center to donate platelets because a.) they needed them and called to ask if I would and b.) the day I went was free movie ticket day. Sad, but true.

Knowing that my iron is sometimes low, I ate lots of red meat and broccoli in the days before my appointment. At the designated time, I went to the blood center, filled in 50 or so bubbles to answer questions about my travel and sexual habits (neither of which are remotely exciting or sordid) and proffered my index finger for the hemoglobin stick. That's where they test to see if your blood has enough iron in it to donate.

For women, normal hemoglobin is somewhere between 12 and 15. Mine was 8.4. Lower than its ever been, which explains a lot about why I've been needing 2 naps a day). So I left with a pack of Nutter Butters and the movie tickets (I did offer that they didn't have to give them to me) and a directive to call my family doctor.

Which is how I wound up at the family doctor's office with a physician assistant the next day. A physician assistant who I think might have been born after I graduated high school. She sent me down to the lab, where they were only too happy to take four vials of my blood and send me on my way with no cookies, no movie tickets and not even a Hello Kitty band-aid.

The next day, the obviously-looks-younger-than-she-could-possibly-be physician assistant called to tell me that not only was my hemoglobin low, but so were all 7 of the other things they measure when they do an "iron panel."

Which is how I ended up at the endoscopy center yesterday. I arrived about 12:30pm, having had nothing to eat since 11pm the night before. I signed in, showed my insurance card and my driver's license (which reveals a weight that may or may not be anywhere close to the truth) and took a seat in the waiting room. A few minutes later, I was disrobing from the waist up and slipping into a highly fashionable hospital gown. No sooner did I put my belongings in the locker the nurse had shown me than the power went out.

And it stayed out. Five minutes went by. Then 10. Then 20. The nurses came by assured me that someone from the power company was working on it. As my stomach grumbled, I began thinking that at least I'd only fasted and didn't do a whole colon prep. And at least it didn't go out while the scope was down my throat. The Korean lady in the curtained area across from mine began demanding that she wasn't going to have this procedure done today (at least that's what the interpreter was saying).

Just about the time I was ready to call my sister who was coming to wait during my endoscopy and then drive me home, the power was back on and all systems were go.

By the time the nurse came to wheel me back, I was just looking forward to being knocked out. The doctor and I talked about our college alma maters, they asked if I was allergic to Versed or Demerol (the anesthetics), I said no and then I don't remember anything...until I woke up before the procedure was finished.

Which is how I gagged on the scope, threw up (you're welcome) the nothingness that was in my stomach along with the scope and they had to do it all over again. That must have involved some more buzz juice, because then I really don't remember anything until I was back in the little curtained area. I could hear the doctor talking, but would not be a reliable witness in a court of law.

From what I remember and what my sister told me, my GERD is bad (duh), they took 4 biopsies from my esophagus (standard procedure), and oh yeah, I need a colonoscopy. Lucky me. I also got some souvenir pictures of my esophagus to take home, which I will not share here. Lucky you.

Everyone keeps telling me that the colonoscopy prep is worse than the procedure. Maybe, but one thing's for sure. I'm going to make sure they knock me out really good for that one. I certainly don't want to be waking up before that one is over.

(If you're just dying to see the inside of my esophagus, click on over to the 4th Frog FB page. If nothing else, it will freak my daughter out.)


CWMartin said...

Whether the colonoscopy is better than the prep depends on if you like your torture fast or slow. Unless of course they knock you out. Please be well.

Ellen aka Ellie said...

I did wake up during my colonoscopy as they were cutting out a polyp. They knocked me back out but quick, though I do remember my doctor's angry voice--probably saying, "Knock her out, quick!"

The prep is not painful. I just got a bunch of trashy magazines and hung out upstairs for a number of hours...

Unknown said...

This is gross but I was editing videos during the prep procedure. I have one of those rolling adjustable bedside tables that also adjusts to perfect potty heights. All was going as anticipated until I unwittingly and accidentally answered a Skype call. Just a little tip from me to you. And the drugs made me partly cloudy for a couple of days.

Amy said...

CW -- Quick, thank you.

Ellie -- Trashy magazines. That's looking on the bright side.

Unknown -- Thanks for the laugh! Was the person on the other end of Skype laughing?