Torture at it's finest

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I thought they outlawed the old style metal sigmoidoscopes. I had never been through the procedure however recently turning 40 my doctor recommended a sigmoidoscopy and barium enema. Both on the same day. She assured me they would be no big deal. Sure!

Since I had to attend the hospital I expected she would be using a flexible scope from all my findings on the internet. That was bad enough, I never expected the old metal monster which I had heard many horror stories about. And they were all true!

First I was given a large cleansing enema by a rather rude and obnoxious nurse. I objected that it was too hot which caused me severe cramping but she was oblivious to that, basically ordering me to hold it for five minutes until she said I could finally go to the toilet.

Then for the worst part - the actual examination. I was taken into the torture chamber on a wheelchair. My initial shock of seeing the odd table which was designed for rectal work was overcome by the realization that there would be no way to move away, as bad as having your feet strapped into the gyn stirrups. But that was nothing compared to the shock of discovering it was designed to hold you nearly standing on your head when they invert you. The doctor first started with a rectal exam using her finger. Then came the scope. At first it hurt when she put it inside and started pumping an air bellows, then it became excrutiating. As soon as she made a hard twist I felt a cramp inside my pelvis so bad I couldn't help but cry out. Before I could catch my breath to really scream the doctor had inserted the entire bloody thing right to the limit. Then she began an exceedingly slow and painful examination which lasted at least ten minutes. I have never been that scared or in that much pain in my life. For good or bad, the doctor took a very good look at things and she didn't miss anything for all the twisting and turning she did. Dam that hurt! I cried the whole time and for ten minutes afterwards. I won't ever have it done again, at least not the metal type. It will be a flexible scope and I will be completely sedated or else it won't be happening.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    OMG! I am speechless - I know what I will never be having in the future! :yikes:

    Do hope you have recovered from your trauma by now .......

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  • Posted

    I didnt realise those things still exist :shock: :?
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  • Posted

    Thanks for your support, and no Katie I haven't recovered from the trauma. Whoever invented these tests must have been a mad doctor with no sense of what a patient goes through.

    The article attached to this states \"a sigmoidoscope is a small tube about the thickness of your finger. A doctor or nurse inserts the sigmoidoscope into the anus and pushes it slowly into the rectum and sigmoid colon.\" First I can tell you that it is NOT a small tube about the thickness of your finger - the doctor started with her finger and the scope was at least twice the diameter of her finger. \"Slowly\" push it inside? It seemed the objective is to insert it as quickly as possible before you realise what is happening. They do withdraw it slowly however, extremely slowly. The nurse who assisted told me after that the doctor had used a 35cm scope and that she had examined the full distance. I discover a \"standard\" sigmoidoscope is 25cm so where they found that thing I'll never guess. The article also said you lay on your side, I had the pleasure of a specialist table aka torture rack instead. While standing on your head with your bottom up in the air you are powerless to resist as they do whatever they wish with you. The article also inaccurately said they \"gently\" inflate the air. It is anything but gentle! It feels like a shotgun blast each time they do it. And they pump LOTS of air in, that almost hurt more than the scope itself. The air contast barium enema was torturous as well due to the air but at least there wasn't a metal pipe rammed inside at the same time. They don't consider it as an invasive procedure although they should since it's extremely invasive from a patient's pont of view.

    Never again, that's all I can say. Both tests were barbaric and seemed to be designed to test one's threshold for pain tolerance. The barium enema was not as painful as the scope and had they not put all the air in as well it would have been tolerable. I was so drained by the ordeal that I went home and slept for six hours afterwards. I will be looking for alternatives in the future.

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  • Posted

    Gosh, you haven't half made my eyes water :shock:

    As Dr Spock said, I didn't think those things existed any more - I think they must have raided a medical museum to get that one. Poor you!

    My experience as a nurse goes back 35 years when sidmoidoscopies were regularly performed on the ward. The instruments were certainly made of metal in those days, and I can remember feeling great sympathy for the patient involved, but no more so than for a patient who had to endure the old enema saponis (long tube, funnel, soapy water in a HUGE jug and a rather embarrassed junior nurse). The patients position for a sigmoidoscopy was always left lateral (on their side) with a nurse holding their hands, whilst the Consultant GENTLY inserted the instrument, pumped in a little air, and Bob's your uncle! I was astonished to read your description of your experience and not surprised that you were so traumatised!

    Hopefully having gone through all that torture, no problems were found.

    I do know that the 'medics' are at last working on other methods of bowel investigations, including the use of a virtual camera - whereby the patient can swallow a tiny instrument to view the intestinal tract - I just hope they hurry up their research and produce something quickly before you (or me!!) ever require another investigation. :yikes:

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  • Posted

    Yes, eye watering stuff....think Iam about to be sick. Thats a bit interfering..is it not???? You should have tied the nurses and docs up afterwards and \"my shot\".......did they think you a guinea pig? What an experience........aint trying that one unless totally our of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  • Posted

    Actually, that is god dam awful, if I were you Donna I would complain. There was no need for that traumatic experience whatsoever!!!!!!Were they bored??? Sorry but I buried my grandad to Bowel and stomach cancer and i know he never went throw that, more like on his side, examination excetra. I dont know , none of it sounds right....definately write a letter, it may make you feel less traumatised, also help in knowing that you will prevent other partinets experience an bnightmare. Ill prbably have a nightmare about it tonight, as been having god awful nightmares since taking Mirtazipine (or whatec=ver it is called)
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  • Posted

    Thanks for all of your support and sympathy, I do sincerely appreciate it.

    I should state that I don't blame my doctor, she is excellent and I have seen her for the past twenty years. She has a very gentle touch and this was the first time she did anything even mildly painful. She is very much into preventive medicine so that is the reason she suggested a complete head-to-toe physical which not only included these tests but a mammogram, ultrasound, etc. Only once every five years she has assured me thankfully.

    As far as using the term \"gentle, that is a relative term IMO. My insides have lots of twists and bends, and that cold steel scope did not. Inserting something like that \"gently\" is a bit akin to saying they do a spinal tap gently. There isn't a lot of gentle involved when they push something straight into a place that isn't, particularly when they inflate you like a balloon ready to pop.

    Locally we have a shortage of resources so the Regional hospital doesn't seem to have flexible sigmoidoscopy available. So I will blame the system, and not my doctor for resorting to this antiquated method. She is still Number One in my books, I just won't submit to this test again in the future. And I won't ever be climbing onto one of those diabolical exam tables either!

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  • Posted

    I'm all for preventative treatments but to put you through a sigmodoscopy and barium enema seems very extreme to me. If you had presented with symptoms, ie. change in bowel habits, or bleeding - fair enough - then it would be sensible.

    There is absolutly no way I would agree to such invasive investigations without due cause.

    I find it really worrying that so many folk are having such traumatic bowel investigations these days - and it must deter so many who really do need to have checks. What on earth is going on?

    I worked as a nurse in an endoscopy department twenty five plus years ago and patients were always properly sedated and unaware of what went on - yes, they needed to recover for half and hour or so afterwards, but once they had had a cup of tea and a biscuit they were ready for off (accompanied of course).

    I suppose its all down to the old cost-cutting again. Well, I think these investigations today are totally barbaric and something needs to be done very rapidly. :evil:

    Preferably before I need to have anything done in that area!! :yikes:

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  • Posted

    [quote:fcf00ca74c=\"DonnaK\"]I thought they outlawed the old style metal sigmoidoscopes. I had never been through the procedure however recently turning 40 my doctor recommended a sigmoidoscopy and barium enema. Both on the same day. She assured me they would be no big deal. Sure!

    Since I had to attend the hospital I expected she would be using a flexible scope from all my findings on the internet. That was bad enough, I never expected the old metal monster which I had heard many horror stories about. And they were all true!

    First I was given a large cleansing enema by a rather rude and obnoxious nurse. I objected that it was too hot which caused me severe cramping but she was oblivious to that, basically ordering me to hold it for five minutes until she said I could finally go to the toilet.

    Then for the worst part - the actual examination. I was taken into the torture chamber on a wheelchair. My initial shock of seeing the odd table which was designed for rectal work was overcome by the realization that there would be no way to move away, as bad as having your feet strapped into the gyn stirrups. But that was nothing compared to the shock of discovering it was designed to hold you nearly standing on your head when they invert you. The doctor first started with a rectal exam using her finger. Then came the scope. At first it hurt when she put it inside and started pumping an air bellows, then it became excrutiating. As soon as she made a hard twist I felt a cramp inside my pelvis so bad I couldn't help but cry out. Before I could catch my breath to really scream the doctor had inserted the entire bloody thing right to the limit. Then she began an exceedingly slow and painful examination which lasted at least ten minutes. I have never been that scared or in that much pain in my life. For good or bad, the doctor took a very good look at things and she didn't miss anything for all the twisting and turning she did. Dam that hurt! I cried the whole time and for ten minutes afterwards. I won't ever have it done again, at least not the metal type. It will be a flexible scope and I will be completely sedated or else it won't be happening.[/quote:fcf00ca74c] :cry: :cry: i dont know whay to say im shocked.I am due to have both these procedures and now have my doughts. i am so worried over it all,and what you went through sounds horrific. I truly am speechless,and scared.

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  • Posted

    Surely nobody believes this obviously fictitious account by DonnaK.
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  • Posted

    I have just had a flexible signoidoscope and a few times during the precedure I was in quite a bit of pain (I was told it was when they went around corners). 2 years ago I had one that was horrendous. I have recently heard they are shortly going to be offering these as routine examinations. I can tell you I definately would not have one without having some worrying symptoms. It certainly isnt like going for a routine dental checkup or blood test. I know these tests are sometimes necessary, I have had several but please bring back the sedated colonoscope. A much more humane way of doing this scan.
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