Nope, no spelling mistakes or metaphors or exaggerations in that title. I literally just had a tiny camera stuck up my ass and pushed around my colon. One of the joys of having an Inflammatory Bowel Disease is that I get to experience this every couple of years. On the upside it means that if I do get bowel cancer or something else like that doctors should be able to find it early.
Diary of a colonoscopy
3 December 2008
I show up to my pre-assessment clinic with a gastroenterology nurse with the assumption that my appointment for the actual colonoscopy would be done the following Monday, the 8th of December. It wasn’t just an assumption actually, I had rung the Wellington Hospital when my pre-assessment appointment letter was sent to me to ask if a time had been booked for my colonoscopy and I was told it had been booked in for the 8th of December at 12pm at Kenepuru Hospital with my usual specialist. So when I was told that I was booked for the 22nd of December I was a bit annoyed and pushed for the nurse to get it sorted, no way was I going to spend the last weekend before Christmas drinking laxatives. I managed to push someone off the list (:S I feel bad to whoever it was) and got an appointment at 1pm. I left with a diet instruction sheet and three sachets of Glycoprep-C, a laxative.
6 December 2008
Today is the first day of the special diet I have to follow in the lead up to the colonoscopy in order to cleanse my bowel (so clinical :P). It’s a low fibre/low residue diet so I’m allowed most white foods, things like white bread, white pasta, white rice, salt, margarine, vegemite, mashed potatoes without milk I can also have lollies today, yum. I’m allowed as much clear liquid as I like as long as I avoid red or green coloured ones.
This was easy enough to handle, I love carbs, was jealous when my friend bought a chocolate chip and banana crepe!
7 December 2008
The day immediately prior to the colonoscopy is hardest. It’s a liquid only day. I can have as much clear liquid as I like so I’ve stocked up on apple juice, ginger ale, powder soup mixes and jelly. Just the thought of not being able to eat anything makes me hungry. By midday I’m starving and I’m dreading having to drink 2 litres of laxatives in the evening.
The instructions tell me to mix one packet of Glycoprep-C with one litre of water, this needs to be drunk within one hour. Until I started trying to drink it I hadn’t really thought about how how much 1 litre of water is to drink in one hour!
This isn’t my first colonoscopy, I had one about 5 years ago, so I knew the laxative was going to be disgusting. Add to that the fact anything with a medicinal “pleasant lemon flavouring” makes we want to spew just by smelling it, and you get me desperately trying to chug this down, taking sips of apple juice in between the gulps of laxative and trying not to choke. I failed a couple of times and spewed. It ended up taking almost 2 hours to get the first litre down.
The laxative started working in about an hour.
Next step on the instruction sheet is to take another litre of the disgusting laxative drink. I tried mixing it with less water so there’d be less to drink but it just made the taste stronger.
After half of the mix has been drunk I am moaning at the boy constantly about how I can’t drink any more. I’m starving and irritable and come to the conclusion that the doctors torture the patients with Glycoprep-C so that the colonoscopy will seem like nothing in comparison.
I remember hearing that someone mixed their gross drink with ginger ale, and I’m ready to try anything. The instructions explicitly say to mix with water but it’s no good if I can’t stomach it.
The ginger ale works a treat and I manage to drink it all by about 11pm. 2 hours past the due time :S
8 December 2008
The day of the colonoscopy. Today I have to drink another litre Glycoprep-C. I mix it with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of ginger ale and drink it quickly. I make sure to drink another 750mls of plain water to make up for what was lacking from the mix.
I’m not allowed to drink anything 4 hours to the colonoscopy so I have to have my last drink at 9am.
My appointment is at 1pm so I check in at the desk and tick the boxes on the form. I was warned at my nurses pre-assessment that the hospital would probably be running late so I knew there would be a wait. I didn’t realise that it would be 2 and a half hours late though.
I was finally taken to a cubicle with a bed at 3.30, told to strip and put on a gown and wait on the bed with the blanket. I am so glad the boy came through with me because it was another half an hour before I was seen again. I was thankful to be lying on a bed though, the waiting room was uncomfortable, all I wanted to do was lie down in there. I almost fell asleep.
Eventually a couple of nurses came to see me and confirm my details. The male nurse needed to put a line in so sedative could be administered but lack or food or drink had made my veins all but disappear. He tried putting one in my right wrist which hurt like fuck and didn’t work. My left hand was a lot easier.
Next I’m wheeled into the theatre room, given an oxygen line, sedation is administered and the camera is stuck up my but. It doesn’t hurt at first but there is a sharp bend in my colon which resists the camera and every time I squeal and flinch the camera gets pushed back. Eventually the doctor times it just right and gets it around the bend. The female nurse is fantastic, she held my hand through the tears, it helped ALOT. Biopsies were taken and then it was all over. The whole procedure takes about 30 minutes
I slept through my first colonoscopy so this was a whole new experience. One of the sedatives they give is Hypnovel (aka Midazolam) which should cause me to forget the procedure. Details are quite fuzzy already so it may end up seeming like I was asleep anyway.
I’m wheeled to recovery where I get changed and am given a lunch bag with a scone, apple, yoghurt and juice box. The boy is bought in to meet me. My blood pressure is taken, my line is taken out, and I’m free to go.