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I would really like to share my thoroughly positive experience of Gastrscopy as I would love my words to help someone who was as terrified as I was.
First off, I'm 35 and (with the exception of one 5 minute walk in X-Ray) I had never been to hospital before so I was terrified.
I've waited 6 weeks for this procedure so that's 6 weeks of working myself up into a right state over it.
During those 6 weeks I did the one STUPID thing you should never do with any medical procedure... I googled it (IDIOT!!).
Please understand that anyone who is satisfied with something will go away happy and that's that.
Anyone disatisfied with something will SHOUT IT ACROSS THE INTERNET.
So I got to the hospital yesterday and, when asked to confirm my details I couldn't remember my own phone number.
Yup... Thankfully my mum came with me and filled in the blanks.
So we sat down to wait and I thought I was a bit out of breath and feeling nervous. A minute or so later it became clear that I was having a panic attack - tears, unable the get a breath, the lot.
Help came in the form of a nurse named Emma who was, in my opinion, made of magic!
She took me (and Mum) to a quiet room and had me calmed down in minutes - she was so lovely.
I explained that I was scared as it was my first time in hospital and I can't even swallow tablets let alone a flexi-cable with a camera on it. I was convinced they wouldn't be able to do it and I'd be kicked out.
Emma was so lovely and reassured me that the procedure (checking if I am Coeliac) is actually less that 5 minutes! I was like "Wot???" as I had been led to believe it could be between 10 and 30 minutes.
Suddenly 5 minutes didn't seem so bad.
It was agreed that I would have sedation as I had Mum to drive me home afterwards.
After going through a quick bit of paperwork I was off to the room to have it done feeling obviously still nervous but having been calmed right down by these wonderful nurses.
I was asked to lie on the bed on my left side and the team of 3 nurses introduced themselves and said it should probably take 3 - 5 minutes... WOW, even better!
The senior nurse Janet, ever so lovely, and clearly very experienced happily chatted to me about what I did for a living while she gently put the needle in my arm for the sedation. I am terrified of needles but I barely noticed it because I was so distracted by our small talk.
The throat spray (I can't recall if this was before or after the needle) was easy. It made my throat feel ever so 'puffy', a bit like when you have a bad cold, but I was still 100% in control of swallowing (which was something I had been scared of not being in control of).
A small tube about the same size as an iPhone charger cable was inserted just inside my nostril (it's not invasive, it rests only just inside) to give a bit of oxygen.
The mouth guard was then put in and again this was something which had worried me as I thought it would make me gag. Nope!!
Literally about 3 maybe 4 seconds after the guard went in I was asked if it was comfy, I muffled "Yeah" and the sedative then flowed immediately.
The sedative... Wow!
That was, well, hard to describe but I'd LOVE some more please!?
I went from fully alert to some other realm entirely in about 3 seconds.
Another thing I had been worried about was the description that the sedative wouldn't put you entirely out and that you would still be aware...
Whilst I'll assume that people don't all react the same, here is my experience under sedation...
As I said I started alert, then the sedative hit me seconds after the mouth guard went in, my consciousness went from 100% aware to I would say about 2% aware, I felt absolutely nothing, most importantly I never felt or saw the the endoscope/camera go into my mouth/throat/body... I recall sounds, very muffled and completely indistinguishable sounds that sounded like they were literally miles away, and that was it!
The blur then cleared and it was all over!
My senses came back, the Endoscope was nowhere to be seen, the mouth guard was gone, the little tube resting in my nose had gone, it was all over and I was being told that I would now be wheeled to the recovery room.
It had taken THREE MINUTES.
THREE MINUTES! (That's less that a TV ad break!!)
The sedation really was as if I had been switched off for a couple of minutes then switched back on again - all as if by magic.
In the recovery room I was in the care of another cheerful nurse who asked if I had any pain (nope) and would I like a cup of tea in a few minutes? (yes!)
The IV thingy was then taken out of my arm (I'd forgotten it was there) and after half an hour of chillaxing I went home wondering what on Earth I had made such a fuss about.
So please, please, please, if you're reading this and you are scared if it, it REALLY is this simple.
Being scared is absolutely fine.
Just make sure you TELL THEM that you're scared and these wonderful people will do all they can to calm you.
Please remember you're in safe hands and you should come out of it, like me, going "Is that it????".
God bless! X
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