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This time 3 days ago, I visited this site for reassurance ahead of a colonoscopy so I'd go in with no particular expectations, everyone's experience is different so for what it's worth, he's an overview of mine. For information, I'm 34, female, no children, small build. Never spent a night in hospital but procedures have included ultrasound, xray, barium, colposcopy, upper GI, cystoscopy...
Prep took place on Tuesday, restricted diet with a 9 Senokot tablet chaser! Never having suffered with food poisoning or stomach bugs, I half expected my innards to burst out straight away - they didn't thankfully. 2 hours later and I was on the loo, not a surprise but I wasn't there any longer than usual. I continued to eat and drink that day and had a decent nights sleep. Wednesday was the no food day - hands down the worst part - I was narky, headachy and a general pain and that was before the afternoon's Citramag. Even that wasn't too bad though, slightly lemonadey. It worked about 90 minutes later and my motions were then watery with no substance. Having to drink 6 pints of water on an empty stomach is a struggle and I probably only managed 5 throughout that day. The night before the procedure was spent drifting in and out of delirious sleep, on the loo (but again, for no time at all) and being miserable again. I didn't need to use the special wipes or Vaseline - there was no burning for me.
Up and out at 7.30am the next day, into the unit for 8.00am where I was escorted straight through for a chat. Chat over, got changed, had a cannula fitted, BP and pulse checked and most importantly, told where the loo was! 9.00am, called through to the dreaded room - not bad time wise. Here I was laid on a bed, pulse monitor fixed, laid on my side and discussed the pros and cons of no sedation. I like to have a clear head, I don't really like being tipsy - a control freak I suppose but I'm not particularly brave and I had no point to prove. In my hospital, around 1% of people go drug free, less for women. I was told quite honestly that it would be painful, that my build wouldn't help, and asked why I felt I didn't need it - stuck to my guns but with the cannula inserted anyway, I could change my mind during the procedure.
So, the business end. I was reassured throughout, told I could break wind whenever I felt, that I'd feel pushing and that I may feel as if I was going to release something unpleasant and that that wouldn't happen! The doctor stuck a swift finger up my bum to check for obstructions and within a minute, the camera was in. They key is to relax, easy to say but just do it, everything will be so much more pleasant! I felt the camera being fed through and each time we came to a bend, they told me and I held my breath. It felt very much as you'd expect, like a snake working its way through your innards but please be assured, that one the camera is in, the embarrassment dissipates, they don't stare at your bum :-). Yep, there were some uncomfortable bits but a bit of breath holding, change of position and getting a nurse to rub your belly, it's manageable. Once all the way in, I was happier, I knew it was going to be plain sailing from there and I started to think about what I'd have for lunch (shamefully, it was McDonald's!). I was free to look at the monitor throughout but I didn't really do that much and I have a lovely set of prints to take to my GP anyway!
Once done, I sat up, spoke to the doctor, was wheeled to the recovery area and offered a drink (but no biscuits, misers...). Blood pressure and pulse were taken and the unnecessary cannula removed. I chilled for 10 minutes and got dressed in my own time. No hanging around required for me and after a quick chat with a staff member and some paperwork, I was free to leave, drive and operate heavy machinery. The procedure took about 35-40 minutes and I was away just after 10am.
I came home, drank tea, ate salty food and stodge, slept in the afternoon and all has been well since. They found nothing so I'm still a medical mystery :-). I could have gone home alone but not having eaten, it was a good thing hubby was there.
Today I have spent as normal. I've not gone to work but am pottering about as usual, eating and drinking as usual and so far, nothing untoward has happened.
Sorry the post is so long but I wanted to give a positive story of a colonoscopy. I spent most of Tuesday online getting myself worried for nothing. I appreciate that everyone is different but you won't necessarily be the person who has an awful time of it. Yes, it's embarrassing but think of the potential alternative. Yes the prep is grim, but it won't always be horrific. You could break wind in front of strangers but they won't care (I didn't, but I had the hiccups all afternoon strangely!). Yes, you could experience pain, but it won't always be awful. You're in control, it's your body, you don't have to agree to anything, you don't have to carry on if you can't bear it but please, don't not go especially because of something you've read online. Your health is important, not only to you but to those who love you dearly. Wishing you all well x
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