Colonoscopy without support

Posted , 10 users are following.

I have been referred for a colonscopy to investigate several weeks of diarrhea and rectal bleeding. I have been reading the posts in this thread:

https://patient.info/forums/discuss/painful-colonoscopy-397954

about the pain that people have experienced during this procedure. Even before that, my GP had urged me to ask for sedation. However the hospital are insisting that I have someone stay with me for 24 hours after the procedure. I live alone and have no family. I have friends but no-one I feel that I could ask to give up what would effeectively be 26+ hours including the time immediately before and during the procedure. I do not feel that I can ask people to give up a day’s paid work or not be able to take care of their children or grandchildren in order to watch over me.

I have had a gastroscopy of the upper GI tract and a CT scan of the lower GI tract in the past with the necessary sedation and have felt fine 30 minutes after the procedures and for the rest of the day. The hospital is nearby and I walked home from both.

While I can see this might be necessary for older, frailer patients, 24 hours seems overkill for someone who is otherwise fit and healthy. I have been told that if I cannot decalre that I have someone stay with me for 24 hours than they will not do the procedure with sedation. After contacting the hospital patient liasion service I have now been told that they will have to arrange for an overnight bed for me so long as my GP will confirm that I have no-one. This seems a terrible waste of a hospital bed not to mention my GP’s time but my only option if I am going to have the tests done without a lot of pain. I suppose I could always discharge myself after a few hours. I’d rather go home and rest in the quiet of my own home rather than be among the noise of a busy hospital ward.

I thought I would post this here as I am sure I am not the only person who has no-one. According to an ageUK survey done in December 2014, 2.9 million older people (65+) in Great Britain feel they have no one to turn to for help and support and it bothers me that a lot of those people might be being forced into having painful medical procedures without sedation just because they happen to be alone.

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  • Posted

    Each time I have gone out for a meal so I was technically watched over! I suppose there are some people who really need this but I think it is daft personally. I think it is all done to cover their bottoms (so to speak) with their insurers. In my view, if they have actual worries that you need that kind of supervision for more than a few hours, they should not discharge you. What would a friend too during the night? Stay awake at your bedside monitoring you? I just sign and make my own decisions...
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    • Posted

      Yes, etheremail, exactly. I had the same argument when I was trying to arrange the gastroscopy about five years ago when the friend I had nominated asked if she would be able to sleep in the spare room or was she supposed to watch over me all night? In the end I arranged to have the procedure carried out in a private hospital under the NHS choose and book scheme. They did it at 8.30am (with sedation), I was having breakfast by 9.00, dressed and left at 10.00 and no-one said a thing. Sadly, I need the colonoscopy done more urgently than can be done under choose and book where I would have to go through the rigmarole of seeing a consultant first. When I called the same hospital I used before they said it would take several weeks to get the consultation and procedures arranged and I don't think I can wait that long. I wish I could sign a disclaimer taking responsibiity for my own welfare afterwards. I asked the NHS hospital but it's not an option.
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    • Posted

      And I found the sedation stronger on the gastroscopy than the colonoscopy to be honest, but I was fine in a couple of hours on both. They're just covering their backs for the small minority who react oddly to it which you know already that you don't.
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  • Posted

    To be honest my experience 3 times of sedation once I came round I was absolutely fine and could have coped without any one. I think you have to have someone take you home though. That's their procedure, once you are out of the hospital you are out of their hands 
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    • Posted

      Thanks Babs. I think I might do that. Ask someone who can spare an hour or two to come get me and then let them go. The procedure is scheduled for 8.30am. There is no way I am going to take up a bed for a whole day and night when odds are I will feel perfectly fine.
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    • Posted

      Don't. It's crazy! If you have had sedation before you generally know how it affects you and we do have phones (something hospitals curiously forget). Most of my friends (love them as I do) would be completely useless anyway. Just smile sweetly, sign the form, have someone to accompany you home and use your own common sense to take things from there.
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  • Posted

    They will recommend the precautions due to the type of sedation that is used.   It can affect memory and thinking let alone driving long after the sedating affects are over.  People have done things after they have "recovered" from their sedation that they vaguely remember the next day.  

    I had a Colonoscopy in the states done without sedation or pain meds, which is highly unusual.  In the states about 1% of colonoscopies are done drug free.  I experienced something discomfort and a some pain at times.  I was expecting for the doctor to use more air, which usually causes more pain.   Once the scope was completely it was amazingly comfortable in spite of the doctor's twisting and moving the scope in and out to clear the debris around the Ileum due to the extentive prep not doing its job completely.

    Unfortunately each person's tolerance of the Colonoscopy procedure is dependant on the operator's skill and the pain tolerance of the person to the air inflation and stretching of the colon.   I am used to a lot of bloating and stretching of the colon so the Colonoscopy was just more of the same, but shorter duration. Your experience may greatly vary.

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  • Posted

    Yes I am due to have a colonscopy and have no one to come with me either so not sure what I will do, which area do you live in I am in London if its not too far I would come with you
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  • Posted

    I've always managed colonoscopies on my own, all done without sedation. I've had 3 of them, and it was not a terrible experience unlike some of the reports one reads here. The only drug they gave me was Buscopan where a phial of it with a needle is inserted into the back of my hand and it relaxes your colon. Having taken the bus to the hospital, within an hour after the procedure I was back on the bus on my way home. No discomfort and no side-effects afterwards. So I'd suggest maybe that's the way to go.
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    • Posted

      Thank you PaulBen. I must admit, I have allowed myself to be influenced by some of the negative experiences others have reported in the forum so it's good to hear from someone who says it's not so bad.
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    • Posted

      Everyone's experience is different. Depends a lot on twists etc in your colon. My Mother in Law in her Late 70's had the same experience as Paul. No sedation no discomfort. I was knocked out to almost unconsciousness and a shot of pethadine yet still found it unbearable
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    • Posted

      Babs is right. It also depends on if you have any condition that might make it more painful. I have had sedation 3 times. Twice it did nothing for me and once I cant remember much. No pain on each occasion, but a bit of pressure when they move from the sigmoid bit to the lateral bit. That went once we were round the corner so to speak. In my view it depends on (a) your physiology, (b) the skill of the operator and (c) not drawing yourself in during the procedure but slightly pushing as if you were going to the loo. If you draw in the muscles contract. I think sedation helps me a bit but it's the other factors that really count. Good luck!
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  • Posted

    I am in the same situation.

    I am alone also, and next Friday on Augst 18th, I have to go for a colonoscopy. Since my divorce 4 years ago, I have been on my own, doing everything myself. I also have no friends, because it is very hard to find a good friend. So when I go for this test, once its finished, I will stay and wait a little bit until I am ready to leave, then I will take my time going home. I have no choice . I cant count on anyone. I rather be home resting in my home instead of a hospital. I understand what you have gone through, but we are strong woman

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    • Posted

      Hello Koalablue

      I was wondering if you could help me.  I have to go for a Colonoscopy and Endoscopy very soon and , like you I have no close  family or friends to accompany me, or stay with me afterwards, so I can't ask for sedation.  Did you get sedation and pretend that someone was with you?  Or did you have no sedation and, if so, how was it?   I am very frightened and don't feel I should be penalized because I am alone.

      Thank you

      Nada678

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