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Last Friday I had a combined colonoscopy and endoscopy of the oesophogus, duodenum and stomach done at the same time. Leading up to the procedure I was absolutely terrified and spent hours looking for information from people who'd had it done so I thought I would share it for others who may have to have both or either of these investigations.
I am a 45 year old female. I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia about a month ago and because of that my GP wanted me to go for a colonoscopy. Not until my appointment came through did I realise I was also having the upper endoscopy done at the same time. Both of these procedures were terrifying to me and it was hard to work out which I was most nervous about; something going down my throat or something where the sun don't shine!
I was sent some industrial strength laxatives with instructions on how to use them. Two days before I had to eat a low residue diet. In fact all I ate was white bread toasted. On the morning of the day before I was allowed some breakfast then only clear fluids (juice, water, black coffee/tea) from then onwards. At 2pm I had to take 10 senokot tablets. Nothing happened. At 4pm I had to mix one sachet of a powder (can't remember the name) with 8oz of hot water and wait half an hour before drinking it. Tasted very citrusy and ok at first but after a few mouthfulls it didn't taste too good but not as bad as some people describe. Nothing happened until about an hour or so later when I got quite severe stomach cramps and 'runs' to the loo! That was it from then; regular need to visit the loo with very little warning other than rumblings in the lower abdomen. I had to take a further sachet at 7pm. Apart from the first bout of severe cramps I had no pain; just exhausting regular visits to the loo until about midnight and a couple when I got up early in the morning of the day of the procedure.
The day of my appointment I cried all the way to the hospital (my partner came with me). I cried the whole time I was in the waiting room and when they were booking me in (check bp etc). I hadn't signed the consent form (which they'd sent with the appointment information) because I wanted to make sure that the Dr knew how terrified I was. He came to see me before I was taken to the procedure room (which was a sort of operating theatre) and promised me he would make sure I was well sedated (asleep!) before he started.
The nurse had put a canula for IV meds into the back of my hand. I walked into the procedure room ( still crying :roll: ). Before the sedation was given and because I was having the upper endoscopy aswell, the Dr sprayed my throat with a local anaesthetic (tastes like vodka mixed with banana), they had to give me this mouth piece which is there to protect your teeth from the scope; they also put a little sponge attached to a tube in your nostril which gives you oxygen while you're sedated. The Dr started putting in the IV sedation which was midazolam and a narcotic pain relief called fentanyl. I told him it wasn't working and he assured me it was; he was right as I have no memory or knowledge of the upper endoscopy; I have a very vague recollection of waking up during the colonoscopy; I was aware it was very uncomfortable but felt disasociated from the pain and more interested in the image on the television screen from the camera! They must've given me more meds because the next thing I know I was waking up in recovery feeling euphoric with relief because they were telling me it was all over :P
I was then allowed to sleep for an hour when they woke me up offering tea and biscuits. They asked me to try walking to the loo and back to make sure I wasn't going to keel over then took me (with my partner) in to a private room to give me the test results. They like you to have someone with you for this part because the midazolam makes you forget things. For about 2 days afterwards I was very very tired and forgetful but am fine now (3 days later) and have been to work today no problems.
I'm sorry this is such a long posting, but it's so hard to find detailed descriptions of these things and for most people these sort of investigations are very fearful prospects and I wanted to share a relatively postive experience in the hope it might help someone else feel less anxious leading up to their appointment.
I hope never to have it done again; but if I do I will not be anywhere near as scared or worried as I was before this first one. I swear I was so scared I was awake most nights leading up to it worrying and googling it (you'll find plenty of horror stories which is why I thought I'd attempt to redress the balance with a positive one).
If you are scare and/or, like me, you have a low pain threshold, then don't be affraid to tell the staff and ask them to make sure you are well sedated.
The staff in the endoscopy unit were lovely and very very compassionate and supportive.
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