Mr. G and I arrived at the hospital just before 7 AM and signed in. Horror of horrors, they took my picture for their records. I should tell you that although I had not been told to remove my dentures for the procedure, I decided not to wear them because there was a chance they would get lost or damaged if I was asked to remove them at some later time. So there I sat, toothless, as they aimed the little camera at me. I did NOT smile and say “cheese”!
We were then told to go to the GI/Endoscopy Lab Department down the hall and around the corner. Once there, Mr. G and I were called to go through the door to the department admitting area. He was asked to sign a paper saying he would be driving me home and would not allow me to drive myself. I signed all sorts of papers, including one that gave permission for the doctor to review the procedure findings with Mr. G, since I would be under the effects of anesthesia and wouldn’t remember much anyway. Then they took me back to a large area with curtained cubicles, pulled the curtain and told me to take off my clothes except for my shirt and socks (hooray- no cold feet!) and climb up on the table.
A nurse then came around to ask me a zillion questions, as she input info into the computer she wheeled into the cubicle. She hooked me up to a blood pressure cuff, stuck about five little sticky patches with electrodes on my chest and upper abdomen, and inserted a port for an IV. Thank goodness she was good at what she did and was able to get what she needed on the first attempt so I didn’t feel like a pincushion that’d been stuck once too often. Then an anesthesiologist came around, all smiling and asked how I was. Stupid question and I laughingly told him so! He assured me they would take good care of me and after a little more banter; I was pretty much relaxed, by the time a nurse came to wheel me to the procedure room.
The GI doctor who would be doing the procedure came in and asked me a few questions and told me what would be happening, a nurse hooked some wires and tubes to me and put an oxygen tube in my nose and told me to slide towards her a little, and an anesthesiologist was cracking jokes with me and saying what a tiny person I was and how they would give me anesthesia through the IV. That’s all I remember. I never even got a chance to watch the tube traveling through my colon. Which, come to think of it, may not have been such a bad thing since I had already researched the whole thing and even watched a few videos of colonoscopies, including one of Katie Couric saying that she had a “pretty little colon.”
The next thing I remember is waking up back in the little now uncurtained cubicle, with the worst gas pains I have ever felt! They told me they would pump some air into my colon during the procedure but nobody told me they would blow me up like a giant balloon! The nurse told me that once I passed some gas I’d feel better and to that end she put me in a wheelchair, pushed me to the bathroom and had me walk a little before getting me settled on the toilet. Nothing! No gas would pass and I began to feel that I would either throw up, pass out or explode, maybe all three simultaneously. She wheeled me back to the cubicle, got me a nice warm blanket because by that time I was shivering quite a bit, and we tried again later. Meanwhile, there must have been a whole symphony of gas toots going on all around me because I saw other people who had come in much later than I had being wheeled out fully clothed, ready to be discharged. I developed a bad case of fart envy as I lay there! Meanwhile poor Mr. Grace was being told the results of the colonoscopy. I had written out a list of questions for him to ask, but in typical fashion, he forgot to do that and told me later I could ask them myself on Friday. Seems they found two polyps and removed them, found some mild diverticulosis in the sigmoid colon and a “huge” tumor in the rectum. Four biopsies were taken and the GI doctor told Mr. G we would need to see a colorectal surgeon, who was actually there in the hospital and had seen the results. The surgeon said he would have the biopsy results back by Friday so we made an appointment to meet with him at his office early Friday morning. The nurse had shown me the same pics and the doctor came around to talk to me. I was still groggy, but could see that the pics of my colon did not show that I had a “pretty little colon.” It was actually quite gross looking, to tell the truth.
Meanwhile, the gas was still there and they became concerned enough to wheel me down for an x-ray to make sure there were no perforations. The trip to x-ray department, getting on and off various slabs, etc. seemed to help dislodge the gas because next time I was taken to the loo, you could hear the explosion for miles! The gas was released from bondage at last! The nurse and I almost did a happy dance! Although the gas wasn’t all gone I felt good enough to get dressed and go home finally and they wheeled me out to Mr. G who had been patiently waiting in the car to pick me up. He said they had sent him out earlier, and then told him to come back in when they sent me for x-rays. Fortunately, he only had to pay once to exit the parking lot!
Once home, I lay down with a heating pad on my abdomen and all was right with the world once more. I was even able to eat some grilled fish, baked potato and green beans for dinner and some delicious strawberry cheesecake for dessert. I felt pretty good all day Thursday and figured this colonoscopy thing wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. One odd thing, though, I began to itch and discovered that I was still wearing the five little electrode patches. I wondered just how they showed up on the x-ray if they did show up!
I know that folks tend to run when someone says, “I had surgery, let me show you my scar,” but for those of you who are turned on by gross stuff here are some pics. Be warned, though, they are pretty gross.
The middle row, pics 4-6, show the two polyps they removed. Pics 7,8 and 9 are the pics of the tumor. In 8 and 9 it reminds me of some kind of evil ninja turtle.
There were 16 pics in all but I thought I’d spare you any more trauma. Stay tuned for part 3.