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After waiting several weeks after my GP referral, I finally got an appointment to see a consultant who arranged a colonscopy scheduled some weeks later. I wasn't given any information at the initial appointment which really surprised me. I did my own research in an effort to deal with my anxiety and my surgery gave me a leaflet which made things worse for me as did much of what I read on the internet. My GP urged me to go ahead even though he knew that I had become very stressed, so before the appointment I contacted the hospital who were very supportive and gave me another leaflet. I tried so hard to overcome my concerns but the information that I was given seemed only to focus on the medical side and not the personal side which for such an invasive procedure was very important to me. The idea of appearing virtually naked in front of strangers, being partially sedated and not in control plus having such a potentailly humiliating experience really got to me even though the hospital staff tried hard to calm me.
I appreciate that the patient information has to include possible worst case complications but when possible risks listed included heart attack, stroke (with any serious condition), bleeding, allergic reaction, breathing difficulties or infection I just couldn't face going through with it.
My point is that medical staff need to better empathise with patients, guide them through the protocol of the very personal aspects of the procedure as well as the medical issues. As has been said before, the doctors/nurses may carry out the colonoscopy regularly but to individual patients it can be one of the most undignified and worrying things to face and rightly or wrongly I had to cancel.
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