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I have just had both today and after spending so much time researching forums beforehand I told my consultant I was a nervous wreck. He told me I would be absolutely fine and to make sure I post back to say so and reassure others.
With a suspected hiatal hernia and family history of polyps in the colon I thought it might be a good idea to get both endoscopy and colonoscopy done and out of the way before I emigrate next month. I've been putting it off for years as I heard horror stories about both.
I'm pleased to say my experience was nowhere near as bad as what I heard so I am here to share my experience for those about to go through it.
2 days before procedure
Started my low fibre diet consisting of rice krispies for breakfast and dinner, jacket potato with tuna and cheese for lunch (left the skin off the jacket begrudgingly!)
1 day before procedure
Rice krispies for breakfast, jacket potato with tuna and cheese for lunch (left the skin off the jacket again). A couple of after eight chocolate mints in the afternoon and lots of water.
Left work early at 2pm so I could start my Picolax bowel prep in comfort. Took my first sachet at 3pm. Took a few stirs to dissolve fully in half a cup of water. It went down easy in a few gulps and tasted a bit like fizzy lemsip. I braced myself for the volcanic eruption that was due any minute, but it didn't come. Drank a litre of water and a robinsons fruit drink. 1 hour later nothing. 2 hours later nothing. I really wanted something to happen before my 2nd sachet which I wa prescribed to take at 5pm. 3 hours later a few growls in my left side, but nothing uncomfortable.
Then at 7pm I decided to just send myself to the toilet for a wee. I decided to strain a little and with that the first gush came out. It was quite civilised and not too messy. I can only describe it as a rush of thick carrot soup. Wet wipes and vaseline at the ready with every movement!
As I had drank so much water, I needed to urinate often so with each trip to the loo I'd strain a little and repeat the above. Probably 5 times on the hour until I went to sleep at midnight. I woke up at 1am, repeat then slept straight through until 7am.
Day of procedure
I woke up actually feeling quite excited that I was finally getting over it. With every routine thing I did (ie. shower, make up, leave the flat) I kept saying to myself "next time i do ..... it will have been over." I wore leggings and a loose tshirt as I was warned of bloating afterwards.
I didnt drink anything in the morning and was mostly looking forward to a tea and toast after the procedure as i'd been fasting since 2pm the day before.
I arrived at the hospital (Lister Hospital in Chelsea) and within a few minutes the nurse came to give me my wrist band, ask routine questions, and get me to sign the consent form.
I then got undressed and changed into a backless gown and 'modesty' shorts. She then checked my blood pressure and sugar levels (I think) a clip on the tip of my finger. She then tried to insert the canula into my right arm but she was coming up against resistance, so she tried my left and it was the same. I've been told before my blood is quite thick so she said she would leave it for the consultant to inject.
The Procedure (Endoscopy first - followed by colonoscopy)
I was wheeled into the room where it would all happen. My consultant quickly found a vein in my left arm and then inserted the canula with ease. It didnt hurt, he just did it with such speed and confidence I was more surprised than in pain. He then left the room and I had 2 nurses getting me ready for the procedures. The first administered the throat spray, which for me was the worst part of the entire process. It tastes like banana so it didnt make me gag. But I didnt read enough about it on the forums so I had no expectations of the sensation. She asked me to open wide and breath in, the she sprayed three times. I swallowed and then repeated it again. She then told me to just concentrate on breathing and try not to over swallow. Meanwhile, nurse 2 was placing the oxygen mask over my nose. Not the big mask that covers the whole nose, just one with two small tubes that are placed under your nose.
I started panicking as all I wanted to do was keep swallowing and i had a major phobia of gagging, but i was losing the sensation in my throat, it felt tight and dry, and there was no saliva to swallow anyway. I grabbed one of the nurses' hand for comfort and at that point they must have administered the sedatives as I dont remember the consultant coming back in or any of the endoscopy.
I was given a perfect cocktail of Fentanyl 75 ug and Midazolam 4mg. They are part of the valium family.
I must have napped for half an hour as the procedure started 11am and finished by 11:45. I didnt feel/recall anything, and was totally unconscious for the endoscopy and the first entry of the colonoscopy. I woke up at 11:30 and my bed had been turned around for the colonoscopy. I remember feeling great and thinking ooo I'm up so now I can watch a bit of my colon on the screen. I was aware of the camera in my colon but it was not uncomfortable at all, even when they pulled it out.
After the procedure
I was wheeled back in to the recovery room at 11:45 and by then the throat spray had worn off. I felt absolutely fine and ready for my tea and toast. No side effects or nausea. My friend picked me up and I took her out for lunch to say thank you. I then made my own way home on the underground at about 2pm did a bit of work from home and here I am, writing away.
Just remember you are more likely to hear about the horror stories on forums. It's actually not that bad. The worst parts were the fasting, bowel prep and throat spray.
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