Announcement: I am awake! And I am woozy! I just coughed and hallucinated a Lucky Charms commercial. This might be a fun read. At least, I hope so, because if not I’ll be very disappointed in my drugged self, and so will you.
Today was my endoscopy, for fun. For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me until yesterday evening that I might not be able to work today. I asked at the desk: “Yeah, no, you can’t drive today.” So I called my boss, who was displeased.
Get over it, pal. I’m high. You want me there high? You want me to plow into a school bus full of nuns holding babies on my way there because my reflexes are compromised? Do you?
Oh, and thanks for asking if everything’s okay. Ass-hat.
It took about 30 minutes to sign my life away (literally, in some cases) and fork over the 10% co-pay for the outpatient procedure. By the way, in case you wonder: an endoscopy costs roughly $1,110. I’m betting most of that is the drugs.
With Jack in the waiting room, I was led back to a restroom and told to provide a urine sample. Um… well… I haven’t had anything to eat or drink in 11 hours and I’ve already, you know, gone today. So…
“Well,” the nurse replied, “we have to have it.”
“Well,” I countered, “I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Well,” she said in a slightly warning tone, “if you can’t, we can start you on an IV to get you fluids, but it will delay your procedure.”
I think I heard a whistling noise and a rattlesnake.
Lady, did you just sort of threaten me? I can’t, you know, pee on demand. Why don’t you warn patients that they’ll have to pee on demand so they know not to do it voluntarily before they show up?
I managed to pee. Upshot: I’m not pregnant. Duh. But they never take your word for it. I once had a doctor ask me three times if I was sure. He’s lucky I didn’t tell him exactly why I was so damned sure.
Then they asked me a bunch of questions to confirm that I was probably not going to die on the table with a tube down my throat and delay their lunch breaks, and I lay on a very uncomfortable gurney for about 30 minutes trying not to stare at the cute little old lady directly across from me who clearly had left her dentures at home (which I think is actually advised). I also read the paperwork on advanced directives that they’d given me. Interesting timing. “You’re about to be sedated and scoped. Please take a moment to consider what you’d like us to do if we somehow make you a vegetable. No pressure.” I didn’t have to fill it out right then; it was just a “while we’ve got you, think about this” thing. But coming so soon on the heels of my grandfather’s directive-related death, it was a bit of a kick, and I wondered: If they do make me a vegetable and I haven’t filled this out, what happens then? Because I don’t have time to talk to my health agent. I don’t even know who to pick. Not Sister 1. She’s too emotional. Maybe Sister 2. She’s more like me and will have a better idea of what I’d want in the event of gray area. Of course, Sister 1 would be put out that I chose Sister 2…
But I’m not brain dead (shut up), and the nurses were very nice. I love nurses. It’s always the nurses who make you feel calmer and less worried. If you’re a nurse reading this: thank you for what you do.
With a pulse monitor on my finger and an IV in my arm and a blood pressure cuff on the other arm, they wheeled me down a few halls to the procedure room, which I couldn’t see very well because I hadn’t worn my contacts and my glasses were off, but which I sensed was reasonably medical and clean. The anesthesiologist (everybody’s favorite medical team member) and I had already established a rapport by commiserating over bad discs in necks. He’s had surgery, which didn’t help and nicked a nerve, paralyzing a vocal cord. I asked where.
“Here,” he muttered out of the corner of his mouth. Then he told me the name of the doctor. “Don’t go see him.”
I like you, Doctor Feelgood.
He hooked me up to all the wires and stuff in the procedure room, while a nurse put a bite block in my mouth and fastened it. Feelgood started the IV sedation. I remembered the achy, burning sensation from when I had my wisdom teeth gouged out of my head 16 years ago. “Is it bad?” he asked.
“Nnnneeehhh, sss ammsss gahh. Jsss cuuh,” I replied around the bite block.
Dr. Feelgood was fidgeting with the leads on my chest. “I can’t get her telemetry,” he said to the gastroenterologist.
Hmmm, I thought. I’m drugged already. That might be an issue.
“Well, uh…” said the gastroenterologist, helpfully.
Dr. Feelgood pushed down on the leads, because, obviously, when something isn’t working, the best thing to do is to push on it. “Still not working,” he mused. “Alright, sometimes these things are dry…” Rrrip. Rrrip. Two leads came off and were replaced. “There we go,” he said to the monitor afterward. “Alright, you’re going to start getting sleepy now.”
“Uh-huh,” I replied, blinking. I wonder how long this will take?
That was exactly how long it took.
Next thing I knew, I was waking up and the gastroenterologist was talking to me. I was a little concerned I might not remember what he was saying, but I listened and responded. Basically (here’s the payoff), everything looks normal, my bloodwork was perfect, he doesn’t have the ultrasound results yet, but the insides are clean. He removed a small polyp from my stomach and it will be biopsied, but he says those are common. He also took a few random biopsies from the duodenum (the beginning section of the intestine after passing through the stomach) to test for various bacterial issues or celiac disease. But everything appeared fine.
Fifteen minutes later (which felt like an hour), I asked the nurse: “I know it was 15 minutes ago, but it feels like it’s been an hour… did he say…” and repeated the above information.
She smiled. “That’s normal. Yep, that’s what he said. And it’s all written down here for you.” She pointed to the papers in her hand, which she gave me.
I read the paperwork, asked her about my apparently questionable villous flattening. Then I got to the pictures. Pictures! Woohoo! I wish I could scan them so I could show you. I find this stuff fascinating, and now I know what my distal esophagus, GE junction, cardia/fundus, gastric body, antrum and duodenum look like.
No, I don’t really know exactly what they are. Some of them I do. And I think “gastric body” = stomach. The rest I’m guessing based on my knowledge of Latin derivatives.
Then I re-read the report.
- Medication was administered per anesthesiologist
Holy crap. I’m Michael Jackson.
Now I get what all those experts said after he died. Propofol-induced unconsciousness is not restful. It’s just… blankness.
Hey, where’s that advanced directive again?