Honest, frank advice which I wish I'd been given

Posted , 6 users are following.

I've posted about this elsewhere on the site, but then realised it was just a reply to someone else's discussion.

I had a colonoscopy without sedation two days ago, and can honestly say I was taken aback by how awful it was. That said, I do know someone who had it done, also without sedation, and found it a breeze.

If you're reading this because you're about to go through it, I'm not trying to make you anxious or afraid, but I wish I'd had more of an idea about what it was like so I could have made more effort to arrange 24 hour company, and therefore had sedation.

The warnings I was given about feeling "mild wind pain" were far from the truth. I found it excruciating and it got worse and worse as the examination went deeper. The natural thing you'd be worried about would be the probe itself, but you can't feel that. It's the air that makes it unconfortable.

Let's not forget you're going through all of this after already having suffered the previous evening's preparation, which is an ordeal in itself (in fact I thought after that, how much worse can the procedure be... the answer is MUCH worse).

I sucked long and hard on the gas/air mouthpiece, which I would advise against, as I ended up vomiting (I told them I was going to vomit and was ignored repeatedly until eventually someone shoved a paper tray under my mouth when I'd already thrown up), and I think it was the nitrous oxide. The gas and air doesn't stop you from feeling anything or aleviate it, I think in a way it makes it worse as it lends a "trippy", dreamlike feel which obviously makes it 100 times more traumatic.

I think my experience was doubly bad due to a particularly callous, young Dr who, in retrospect, perhaps hadn't come across many people not having sedation, or maybe I was just more of a baby than most people about it, but either way he didn't mask his frustration or annoyance, and made it worse by telling me off and telling me such things as "I'm not even in your small intestine yet so you need to calm down", which when you're in the situation translates as "the next bit is going to be worse".

He also asked if I wanted him to stop, I said yes, then he didn't. In fact I asked eight times for him to stop and was ignored (in retrospect that's probably a good thing as I would only have been prolonging the agony or worse still doing it again on a different day).

When I mentioned that his manner made the experience worse, he shrugged and said "you signed a disclaimer".

One nurse in the room was supportive and said the small, simple things which you would imagine someone would ("Don't worry, I know it's not nice", etc) which make all the difference. Unfortunately there was the aforementioned Dr and the other nurse, who when I said "could you just talk to me or something to distract me", barked, "what do you want me to say?".

The room is dark and silent except for the sounds you'd rather not hear, and I would strongly advice anyone who works in the field who might be reading this to consider something, ANYTHING for the patient to focus on to keep their mind of proceedings.

Positive: although it feels like forever, it isn't, it's actually very quick, and without sedation, half an hour later you'll feel totally fine again (after MUCH wind from both ends).

I'm still debating whether or not to pursue the cold, inhumane attitude of the Dr, or whether to let it go. As with most things in life, shortly afterwards, when you've calmed down, you start to wonder whether you're making too much of a fuss. However I've repeatedly found myself wincing when I remember certain moments of what happened, and most of that has to do with the things the Dr was saying. I'm sure he did his best, but even when I think he was trying to confort me he was making it worse by barking frustratedly and adding humiliation to the pain.

 

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    OMG! Not only is it a horrendous procedure, you had a horrible Doctor..Seriously Thomas you need to put in a complaint. Just send this to the complaints dept. I was so sedated I didn't tell them to stop, they just did because I was so distressed. I then had a CT scan.. Not nice but a million times better than the Colonoscopy so there is an alternative (Just more expensive) .
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    • Posted

      Hi babs, thanks for your reply. It's good to hear that it wasn't pleasant even with sedation (although I'm sorry to hear you had a bad time of it too) as it makes me feel less wimpy smile

      I didn't want to decide about complaining or not until I'd left it a couple of days, as obviously responding immediately after something like that can sometimes result in a bit of regret or saying something in the wrong way.

      I phoned the hospital and made an informal complaint/feedback, stressing that I didn't want to get anyone into trouble but that it's pretty horrific anyway, without the added trauma of somebody treating you like that.

      I guess really, for the Dr in question it was stressful to deal with someone responding as I did, not that that's an excuse.

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    • Posted

      What a harrowing exerience! I also think you should complain, if only to spare future patients this torture. I was also sedated during the procedure and it hurt like hell but I wasn't able to ask them to stop and they didn't. I complained so hopefully they will behave differently towards others in future.

      I'm sure the doctor could have behaved better. I asked for a follow up with a different doctor and that one was horrified when he heard about my ordeal and how the nurses and the endoscopist behaved. This shows that you don't have to suffer.

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    • Posted

      I don't think for one minute he isn't used to people responding as you have. Most people I have spoken to have said how painful it is.. If you ever need another insist on a CT scan. Some people have more twists in their colons or slight irritable sections.. Hope you don't need another though. I have to go back every 5 years but will insist on the scan
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  • Posted

    Remember he is doing an intricate procedure and is concentrating on that and does not need distractions. The reassurance should come from other staff there and he has probably had four other anxious patients already that morning and a row with his wife before coming to work.
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    • Posted

      If that doctor is THAT stressed, I would strongly suggest that a patient do a colonoscopy on the doctor first to get his mind at ease.  Just tell him, "just a little further to go" which seems to be a common phrase the doctors use.
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  • Posted

    I used to be a nurse and the patient always came first. I'm so sorry that you have experienced this, I've also just experienced very similar myself, but I didn't get any pain relief, the pain was unbearable.  I would definately make a complaint, you have a right to a standard if care and kindness and you didn't get any.
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  • Posted

    I see you also unfortunately also met Dr. Callous.  :- (
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