first colonoscopy is first hospital experience

Posted , 3 users are following.

I am 50 years old and due a colonoscopy, it is not only my first but it is also my first experience of being in a hospital since the age of 30 when I had a vasectomy.

My problem is I am worried of course about the procedure, but I am feeling so down about the whole thing, and I think angry as well.

I feel really bothered by the fact that this is probably the most undignified process I can imagine, I do not want anyone to know about it, I would be mortified if I thought anyone knew what I was doing and can not speak about it with anyone.

no one in my immediate family knows that I have to have this, I am not at risk as such, I had a general routine appointment at the Doctors that turned into the typical 50 plus interview, I told the Doc that my Father had died 25 years earlier with Colon Cancer and he suggested I go for a simple precautionary check, and this is where I am up to.

Do I feel odd about this? or is this a common reaction? I need to hear something from someone regarding this and speaking to the Doctor or the nurses I've seen this far leaves me cold, they appear so mater of f acte and impersonal I find it difficult.

I know deep down this is irrational, I am not ill, feel very good and should appreciate the preventive measures, but basically I dont know how to feel.

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Well to start with a colonoscopy is a very common procedure.

    I have Ulcerative Colitis and have to have a scope every 2 years, shortly it will be yearly. I can promise you the staff at the hospital do hundreds of them, of course all hospitals are different but they will no doubt look after you very well and do their utmost to make you feel comfortable with all that goes on.

    If you are not happy about telling anyone then don't, I don't feel the need to let others know apart from my immediate family.

    Of course you will have to tell someone as you will need picking up from the hospital and you must have someone with you for 24 hours afterwards due to the sedation you will be given and you will need a couple of days off work, one before and one after.

    The worst part of the whole thing is the strong laxatives you will have to take the day before, not pleasant. The scope will be done in Day Theatre and takes a max of 30 mins, it's uncomfortable and can be painful but with pain relief and sedation you should be ok. You are left for an hour or so afterwards to rest then after a cuppa and something to eat you can be taken home.

    As you have family history then it is a good thing to be monitored, take the opportunity while it's there and ok although it's undignified the staff have seen it all a hundred times before and I'm sure your family would rather know now than find out later that you had kept it from them and they weren't there to support you.

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  • Posted

    Thank you for responding it's good to hear from someone who has been there.

    I do want to go through with it, and I will do for the sake of myself and family, but I can't get out of my head the anger and frustration at being put through the most embarassing and undignified experience I can possibly imagine.

    I guess it's just a case of close the eyes and mind, take in my Ipod and hope it's over fast, previous experience of hospital procedure was a vasectomy where the anaesthetic didn't work (I have been prone to this and told them so) it was administered too late and I felt everything, despite complaining the Doctor just carried on saying it will be over in a minute, not the most responsive or sympathetic.

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  • Posted

    One other question, why do I need picking up from hospital, I would think after an hour of recovery I would be Ok to drive myself and I would prefer this.
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  • Posted

    Why are you angry ? nobody is forcing you to have it done, it is your choice whether you accecpt the advice of your GP or not.

    It's not embarassing or undignified really, as I said it's nothing to the staff, they do them all the time and at no time should you be left with any of your private bits on show, you will be covered with a sheet and the room will be dark during the scope.

    The reason you need picking up is because of the sedation, you are not allowed to drive or operate any machinery for 24 hours afterwards, the hospital won't do the procedure if you don't have someone to collect you and you are not allowed from the department without that person coming in to sign you out, that's how it works in most hospitals anyway. You can of course decide to go without sedation but I wouldn't advise it.

    The hospital will send out instructions with your laxative. Good luck with it.

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  • Posted

    I appreciate you taking the time to reassure, thank you.

    Why angry? I suppose it's simply fear and the loss of control, you're right I have a say, but in the end there is no choice.

    It is either to pull out and take pot luck or continue with a wait of over 5 weeks with zero sleep and the unexpected at the end of it.

    My one previous experience with the same hospital was abismal, which doesn't help, I will discuss this with them at the time and make my view clear.

    But again, thanks for your comments

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  • Posted

    When you are shown to a cubicle you will have the chance to talk to your nurse and tell him/her that you are worried by past experiences. You will also be able to talk to the Dr who is doing the scope, make it clear that if for any reason you are not coping well you would like more sedation/pain relief.

    You should be able to watch the procedure on the screen which takes your mind off it and before you know it you will be back in recovery gasping for a cuppa.

    Believe me the prep the day before is way more unpleasent than the few hours in hospital for the scope , be prepared for many many loo trips, vasaline and wet wipes is all I'm saying !! Oh and drink lot's on that day as you will get dehydrated and feel ghastly if you don't.

    Any more questions just ask, been there, done that and got the tee shirts many times.

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  • Posted

    I will make sure I do that, I might even ask them beforehand if there is another local hospital I could choose instead.

    It's a pity really that to get any common sense and put things into perspective that I have to find it on a web site, when I spoke to the Doctors and Nurses I got the usual brush off, I find they speak like I'm 11 years old.

    Still not sleeping and 5 weeks to go, how do people manage this?

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  • Posted

    Why don't you talk to your GP about your worries as 5 weeks of not sleeping is not going to help. Also if you are really worked up on the day your BP will be high and they may not do the scope which is awful after going through the prep. Happened to me once, my BP was high due to some medication I was on so they wouldn't do the scope, I was not happy.

    The other thing is phone the unit you are booked into, talk to the sister in charge, and see if you can visit beforehand for a look round and chat with them, It would probably help if you knew where you were going and had met some of the staff.

    I have had many different procedures done at my Day Theatre, last one being a liver biopsy, and because I know the place and staff and how it all works it doesn't bother me that much but everyone is going to get some degree of nerves and anxiety, it's not a pleasent experience but better done than not and I'm all for having any tests that are offered, nice to get the all clear for another year or 2.

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  • Posted

    I have spoken to the GP, to be honest he seems to think his job is done by showing concern and getting me the appointment, which I appreciate and I don't want to come across as pushy.

    I rarely see a Doctor, this has come about after something and nothing (and passing 50) so I'm not up on the etiquette of complaining etc.

    Besides other than prescribing something to sleep I don't see he can help, and I am dead against pills for anything.

    Do others worry, is it normal, and how do people manage this, I'm handling it by doing more of what I already do, which is running, it's just I'm wearing my legs out trying to tire myself out

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  • Posted

    I don't imagine anyone enjoys the experience ( that would be too weird ! ) it's normal to be anxious, some more than others.

    The problem for you I imagine might be that you are not familiar with medical things in general, being the healthy soul that you are, having to pop off for tests all the time and the need to take pills for life is totally alien and worrying, so it all seems a bit overwhelming.

    On the other hand for people like me it's a way of life, in my 50's with several long term conditions and when the next medical hiccup comes along it's hey ho off we go again.

    Five weeks is along time to be worrying, not sure what you can do about it other than try to take your mind off it. Have you read up on it, there are some videos on You Tube might help if you see what goes on during the scope.

    You could be going through a few pairs of trainers in coming weeks !

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  • Posted

    Thank you for the response, and yes I can see that unfamiliarity is having an effect on me, a bad one too.

    It's such a constant worry I don't think I've gone two minutes without it looming up on me.

    I just think the whole 5 weeks wait is obscene.

    Trainers will be at the ready at all times and I guess I will be doing more miles than usual.

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  • Posted

    I am so glad someone else feels like this!!!!!! I have been booked in for one on tuesday after cancelling several and I wouldn't tell immediate family for the world, I am really struggling with my other half knowing and my friend who is picking me up. It has been booked for just over a week so far and I haven't had more than an hours sleep a night because I am laid in cold sweats thinking about it. More the fact that people know about it and the prep, I won't go to the toilet while partner is in the house as I couldn't live with them knowing I had done a number two while they were in the house and god forbid it smelled bad. So I am really struggling because I have basically told my other half that if he won't go out while I take the prep then we are over because I can't live with the shame of knowing and I don't think I would ever let him near me again cos all i would think about is that he knows what I did and must be disgusted, he of course doesnt care and thinks I am being pathetic but I am deadly serious. It is getting to the point, lack of sleep prob not helping, where everytime i think about the whole thing I start shaking and crying and i cant breathe properly.

    This is an oldish did you manage in the end?

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  • Posted


    I really should have posted an outcome. I went for mine it went very easily, no problems, embarrassment or issues, it was something I didn't even feel, I remembered parts of it but due to the medication it was hazy. No after effects whatsoever and I for one would not hesitate to do this again.

    The worry beforehand is understandable but there really is no concern.

    Good luck with it, it is quite routine and you'll wonder why you worried.

    St Hguy

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