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Posts Tagged ‘hospital procedure’

You can safely ignore this post if you’re not at all interested, but there are some who might be.  I was certainly googling a lot to find out what exactly to expect.

I had had a colonoscopy in NZ about 10 years ago but it was a vastly different experience.  Back then I was given a laxative the night before (and no-one had warned me about leakage overnight) and then it was a fairly straightforward procedure with me being aware (I must have had a local anaesthetic).  I’m pretty sure I took myself home and that was that.  I wasn’t told about any findings so presumably all was good.

I tried to get another colonoscopy about five or six years later due to differing bowel habits.  The doctors at the time looked at me blankly but duly sent off a request – a request which was denied despite there being a history of bowel cancer in the family.  Bizarre.

In October I went to the GP here in Australia and she sent a referral off for a colonoscopy just like that, without me even requesting one.  She warned it could be six months or more.  Less than a month later I got a letter and headed off for an appointment on my return from my trip, to be told the procedure was the following week.  I was given a script for three sachets of powder to take at different intervals the night before and the morning of the procedure.  I was told categorically that someone had to pick me up afterwards and stay with me overnight.

Two days before the procedure I was told to stop iron supplements and stop eating seeds and grains.

The day before I was to have a light breakfast and lunch of only certain foods.  I had egg and potato.  After 1pm no food.  At 6pm I was to drink the first sachet of Picoprep (made up with warm water then chilled).

The Picoprep was revolting.  The instructions said to drink slowly.  I couldn’t have sculled it anyway.  It was horrible – an artificial lemony taste but sour, so I cringed at every mouthful.  I read that the effects could start from about half an hour afterwards.  My wait was four hours.  There wasn’t an urgent need but I went to the toilet maybe three times before waiting an extra three-quarters of an hour before going to bed.  The advice was to drink lots of fluids, so I had to get up twice during the night just to empty my bladder.

I got up about 6.30am to make up the Glycoprep – a litre of the stuff, to drink over two hours from 7am – again made with warm water and chilled.  One litre is about four glasses and it certainly took a while to drink.  I thought Picoprep was revolting.  Glycoprep was more so.  I could only have a mouthful at a time.  I found that having a sip of tea between each helped a little.  The black tea tasted very sweet in comparison.

I congratulated myself on getting halfway through then prepared the next Picoprep (why so many?, I moaned to myself).  After the third glass of Glyco I was feeling nauseous and after the last (hallelujah!) I was feeling positively ill – bloated, nauseous and slightly headachey.  I drank copious amounts of water and teas but nothing could get the ghastly lemony taste out of my mouth.  And then it was time for the last Picoprep at 9am.  At least it was only one glass.  My god, I felt horrible.  It was a mistake to buy lemon-flavoured iced tea as a drink – the smell was too much like the preparations.

The effects were interesting.  From brownish splat to a waterfall.  It was a weird experience.  I heard the sound of gushing water but had no sensation of it passing from my body.  But no-one had warned me about the smell!  Holy fuck!  It wasn’t the normal pooey-smell from a normal evacuation, oh no.  It was much, much worse.

Anyway, relief that the prep was all over, I continued with drinking fluids up until 11am, finishing my last mouthful of herbal tea at 10.55.  There was a little more to empty but it all seemed to have quietened down by 11.30 when I walked to the hospital for the 12pm appointment.  I had feared having an accident on the way, but it was fine.  No such feeling (what a relief!).

Are you still with me?  Well done.  The prep over with, I waited at reception, after “checking in”, for three quarters of an hour before a nurse saw me.  Lots of questions and forms (which she had to fill in) and stickers galore.  Two wrist bands of my details then led through to change into the gown and a robe, then more waiting.  I felt dehydrated but had another hour or more (one-and-a-half-hours in total) before my name was called.  Seven others were in the waiting room with me and their names seemed to be called before mine.  I was about to ask how much longer, in desperation, feeling awful and headachey, thinking they had forgotten me, when I was finally taken to a room to lie down.  Another nurse and anaesthetist prepped me and then it was a “15 minute” wait.  Half an hour later I was finally wheeled into the procedure room.  I had waited three-and-a-quarter hours from my arrival.  Why?  Why ask people to be there for three hours, dehydrated and starving?

I woke up from a pleasant doze, thinking I was on an aeroplane.  It had all gone well, and the ‘doc’ said I was as clean on the inside as the outside.  No polyps but mention of diverticular disease and haemorrhoids.  I knew about the haemorrhoids.  I was given some sandwiches and a cup of tea and water while a drip continued to rehydrate me.  Then I got dressed and waited for C to pick me up.  To make it easier for her to get to work the next day, I stayed overnight at her place, but had neglected to bring my Myki card so had to wait for her to get back from work the next day to take me home.

What I hadn’t expected – the constant gurgling from the innards from the day before to the day after, the smell, and the waiting.  I was told to expect gas (as they insert gas to expand the ol’ tubes) and possibly abdominal pain from that pressure, but I didn’t get that.  Gurgling and a couple of urges to pass more brown splattiness the morning after.

I’m so glad to have that over with!  I’ll know what to expect in about five years’ time.  And note to self: take a book to read!

Thanks for reading.  I found one such post very helpful on my search for what to expect.  I hope you have found this so.

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