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I just wanted to tell you all about my experience. I had a gastroscopy on the 6th of February 2018 at 11:15am. I would just like to tell you all to begin with that I have extreme health anxiety. I am also 17 years of age. Although you may think.. young, fit and healthy girl.... My health anxiety has been caused by actual and REAL health issues that I have and suffer from. So any ache, pain, discomfort and new sensations and symptoms that I feel... I go into melt down. My mum, however, is a nurse and judges whether or not these symptoms are anxiety or if it deserves a trip to the GP or A&E. Anyway, keeping it brief, I have gotten symptoms varying from bloody stools, heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, chest pain, abdominal pain (especially upper abdomen), rib pain and yellow bloody mucus in my stool for a few months. Because of this, I got referred for an gastroscopy!
I was fine.... up until the unit receptionist rang me to organise the appointment. I had to wait 4 weeks for my appointment.
The night before I was a wreck. Crying for my boyfriend to come round for comfort, head up my bottom with irrational thoughts!!!
So. I woke up at half past 7. 4 hours sleep. Could not go back to sleep due to fear. I decided to drink 5 cups of water from this time to 9am. You have to not drink anything up to two-three hours before your endoscopy. I tell you now my breath stank from dehydration as I cried a lot. I was a nervous wreck after reading peoples experiences and watching online videos! Was it gonna cause more damage than now? What happens if I have my chest / abdominal pain symptoms during the procedure? Would I feel like I couldn't breathe during my procedure with numbing spray? Will I feel out of control and vulnerable with sedation? I even cried when my dumb brother accidentally slipped up about Joan rivers suffering a cardiac arrest during her endoscopy. I was utterly petrified.
I got there at 11. At 11:15 I got called into a consultation room. She did my blood pressure and asked me a few questions about other health conditions, my medication... I had to sign a consent form. Before she took me back to the waiting room to then wait for the endoscopy, I explained my concerns. The being unable to breathe or feel like that I was choking.... the feeling out of control with sedation and the impact it may have on me.... my chest pain during the endoscopy... We decided that I would have a signal. A signal for them to stop the procedure. This was a thumbs down. I tell you what I was very lucky to have a lovely nurse like this woman. She even said she would come into the room with me when asked!
Off I trotted back to the waiting area. I sat with my boyfriend and granddad. I waited half an hour and got called in. It was the lovely nurse again. As much as I was reassured to see her, I instantly panicked. I got into the room and sat on the bed. The doctor and his team introduced themselves and I also introduced myself. He could tell I was nervous when explaining the procedure. He also, may I add, asked what symptoms I was suffering that had meant for me to get an endoscopy. He believed sedation would be better for how anxious I was. I was shaking on the bed as he spoke to me with fear and had pins and needles in my hands and arms. My sharp upper abdominal pain was present and this made me nervous to sit still and calm with this happening. Regardless, I opted for the throat spray. With how my health anxiety is, I knew the throat spray would cause less side effects and thought that when I was at home and vulnerable, I would feel much safer.Some of you may think "what the...." after reading horror stories on the internet or suffering bad experiences yourself! I explained my concern about feeling like I couldn't breathe and the nurse beforehand who I had spoken to had already expressed these concerns and they had a nose cannula prepared so that I was able to breathe perfectly fine... I put it on and tried it and hated it! it was just air! And I panicked with THAT!! Can you believe it? I opened my mouth slightly and he sprayed a few times to see how it would feel for me. It wasn't very nice. I didn't want no more. He said he wouldn't be able to do the procedure if I didn't have any more spray. So I opened my mouth, reluctantly... and let him proceed with the throat numbing spray. It tingled my throat. Like pins and needles as it took affect. My throat was numb, but I could still feel myself swallow. I could still feel myself BREATHE. It made my tongue feel very tight but I believe this was just the numbing spray that took affect as he said that was good that it did this!
I was laid down on my left side, a little pulse reader on my thing and ready to go. They gave me my mouth guard. The endoscope came into my throat and it was very noticeable. You could most definitely feel it but it wasn't painful. More uncomfortable. An inconvenience... Perhaps, very bearable? I was surprised myself! I didn't gag ONCE as it went down as I kept swallowing and swallowing and swallowing as much as I could. I do understand people react differently to things and may be gagging horrifically, but just keep swallowing. Easier said than done depending on who you are but its my number one advice on this procedure. I could feel it in my chest. It felt like indigestion. Possibly no more worse than the chest pain/abdominal pain you are getting that inevitably led to this procedure. As it went to my stomach, like he stated ( I asked him to tell me everything what was happening as he did them - this was comforting. Not sure if this can happen with you but its worth an ask ) the pain was a bit more "uncomfortable." but nothing more! I believe air was pumped in because it led to me belching, twice. Again. Nothing too dramatic and for me, it wasn't anything that I haven't experienced before.. It felt like when you are puking but nothing left is coming up. The wretch.
For me, on a personal level, the discomfort was a 2-3/10 when going down my oesophagus and into my stomach but it probably shifted to a 4 as it went into duodenum as it was tight and I felt a lot of pressure here. Again, I was telling myself that this was probably from the air just pumped into me AND you have to remind yourself that its ALIEN to have a "pipe" down your oesophagus and into your stomach! You are bound to feel something! This comforted me in a weird way.
No longer than 5 minutes, the pipe was soon out of there and this is where I found I gagged quite a few times. Nothing major. Again, obviously depends with how you deal with it! But to compare on a personal level, it felt like when you're sick and bringing nothing up!
My experience with the throat numbing spray was so pleasant considering the stories I have read online. I was petrified out of my skin! I obviously, like stated, could feel the "pipe" slightly as it was sitting in my throat and moving down. But it was bearable. Just a tad uncomfortable!
I decided to go to recovery for 10-15 minutes as my heart was palpitating quite a bit through adrenaline and the previous panic. I think I needed to just CHILL. I had done it ... Hooray! I tried to high five the doctor who did it but he went to shake my hand instead. The nurse was so helpful and I must say I was extremely lucky in this aspect. She stroked my hair and spoke to me.
For me it just felt like I was laid in bed on my left side with my mouth open due to a cold ( no blocked nose feeling, but I breathe through my mouth when it is) and that I had a bit of indigestion ( the pipe feeling )
Obviously, I can't say this is how it would be for you. It affects everybody else differently. But I hope I have given some insight on how much of an anxious person I am in regards to health, and that I GOT THROUGH IT! I hope it is a bit of a motivator for you to read this experience.
It's been a 32+ hours now and I can't lie I have terrible pain from trapped wind, my stomach is making whale noises, I have a tad of discomfort when I swallow ( feels like its going down the wrong hole when I swallow or eat anything ) and discomfort on my right, at the back and right quadrant and side that just feels uncomfortable and feels worse when burping... and reoccurring left side cramp feeling or sharp pain that lasts no more than a second or two then goes. But again, I think this is just anxiety as I have had this for hours so probably isn't my heart. Remember, I have terrible anxiety and very susceptible to pain. It probably won't be like this for you. My throat was aching but not anymore!
This is all my personal experience and I hope it, like stated before, motivates you to go for it and get it done! I hope you get the answers you want or need.
Time for more tests to see why I get chest pain, heart burn and indigestion and why my poo looks horrendous and mucusy! Lovely.
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