Well if my morning at Saratoga Hospital wasn’t just the most pleasant day excursion I’d had in months and months… it was right up there with having a crown put onto one of my molars not too long ago. And I, dear readers, am FAR from being sarcastic. Yes, I do love medical care. As I said probably one time too many to the very kind and caring staff today – in my opinion, hospitals, doctors’ and dentists’ offices seem to offer an experience something akin to what I might guess a spa provides. After all, it’s about everyone being in service to you, your needs, your comfort. Everyone is all so very kind, everyone’s ready to assist in any way, ready to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible … they all have the patient’s best interests at heart and they’d do just about any little thing I might ask of them. Bless em all – down to the gal I heard coming in as patients left, so that she could re-make and re-fresh the bed for the next patient to arrive. Not a crabby word was heard as I lay there…. and lay there…. and lay there… But that, is another story, and one entirely of my own fault.
As I was moving my stuff into my little corner of the room, beginning to take off shoes and assess the gown situation, I pulled out my bottle of Saratoga water and took a swig. The nurse stopped me and asked, very concerned, just how much of that had I already drunk today? Now, in just about any other situation I mighta just shaved a bit off the truth, but I was trying to play clean here, and truly I did not take the “NO FLUIDS OF ANY KIND” warning on the prep info sheet to heart as I should – so I copped to some 12 ounces of water over the past 2 hours. This was, apparently a game changer. But I wasn’t ready yet to surrender this long-awaited appointment (made nearly 9 months ago) and so continued to prepare as if nothing had happened. I undressed, got comfy, had my IV put in, enjoyed another gorgeously warm layer of blankets laid gently over my body before the doc came in to tell me the news: I’d screwed up. They just can’t take the chance that I’ll spit it up – something to do with aspirating and messing up my breathing while under. Ok. Kinda get it. Get it enough to realize I’m glad I brought a book. Cuz he kindly offered to try and get me in after a couple of hours – the time it would take for the dangerous twelve ounces of water to work their way out of my system I guess. He cautioned that he was busy – and that I might not make it in today. I fairly begged him. I cited my calendar, single momhood – and my readers. !! Readers whom I “simply had to keep informed…” Right. Any way, I apologized for being such a dufus, and kept my hopes high that I’d make it in. All I could do was wait.
Glad I brought a book, and while I enjoyed a good bit of reading, I had other entertainments as well. During the 2 hours of laying there (very comfortably) in my curtained off ‘room’, I was privy to the conversations of many patients. It was interesting. Lots of folks do live with Afib, it seems (my mom’s new heart issue), and lots of folks have bad reflux. And hiatal hernias. (My ex mother in law spent the better part of 22 years telling us all about it, but doing next to nothing about it.) I began to feel pretty lucky. I can eat a horse (you heard right – eat a horse, not ‘like’ a horse) and drink a barrel of whiskey with little fall out. Ok, maybe half a horse and just half a barrel, but you get the point. (At least I could as things stood pre-procedure.) I’ve always been pretty cocky about my intestinal fortitude.
After two hours I was surprised that I really had to pee. Could twelve little ounces make me feel like this? That was weird. Then I realized: I was being hydrated! No wonder my nasty dry mouth disappeared and I had to pee… Holding my blanket about me and carrying my iv bag, I shuffled off to the common bathroom. It wasn’t too terribly much longer after I returned than a kind woman named Cheryl came and wheeled me into a small room just across the hall where the colonoscopy was to take place. I was interested to see the gear involved. They’ve gotta blow you up again now that your colon’s been emptied and it’s collapsed… I marveled over the detailed images the camera was able to see… the whole thing seems almost like magic to me. While I’d asked the doc earlier if I might leave here with an image of my colon – you know, for ‘the readers’ (hee hee), he wasn’t terribly committal about helping me out. Thankfully, the gals getting me prepped seemed on board, and sure enough, afterward I was handed a color copy of three little images. Ok. So it’s not the entire landscape in profile – hell, I could probably have cut and pasted any old image of an intestine here and you’d be none the wiser, but fear not. I’ve got the real stuff.
So, on to the procedure itself. To me, it’s always a very vulnerable feeling to know you’ve got this port into which someone can put just about anything… not that it’ll ever happen – this is a super-routine procedure – but there’s still a strange sci-fi element to this moment when she tells you you’re going to begin to feel something. My heart always races in the beginning – nerves, I think. Then, there’s that warmth. OOOOOHHHHhhhhhh. Yeeeeeaaahhhhh. II Reemmemmmber tthtiiisss feeeelliingg… Yes, this girl loves her some pharmaceuticals. It was so short – the time in which I was aware enough to enjoy the sensation… but the falling off was divine. I enhanced it by repeating a happy mantra, all is so well, everyone is being so kind……… and then OWWW! What the hell?? I’d thought I’d be UNDER under! I mean I know I told y’all to scrape away if you found something, but woah! I awoke in some nasty pain – sharp, sharp pains that had me doubling into myself… even in the midst of the pain, I was aware that I really didn’t want to mess up doc’s work, so I begged the gals to hit me please with some more of that stuff! Versed me out of here, please! I heard them tell me to calm down, and after a few minutes I disappeared again. Thankfully. Yeah, “You won’t remember a thing” they all say. Right.
What I do remember was how kind everyone was, not just to me, but to all the folks who came and went as I sat and waited. And something I’ll have to make a note to remember in the future is that I usually need a bit more meds to stay under. Hadn’t thought that was a point worth mentioning, but my mother thought so. Hm. I do know that my son took three times the usual amount of anesthesia as a toddler when he had his MRI; the apple doesn’t seem to have fallen far from the tree. And I myself have woken up during a couple of surgeries before. But I thought this was common. ? Doctor friends, sound in on this if you would. Don’t really matter in the long run, I guess if ya make enough noise they dial up the drip…
So, the upshot? The found a couple of little thingees – they liken them to skin tags. I can live with that. I know about skin tags. And of course, they’ll take the biopsies and have em looked at properly. (I too know this side well; I was a medical courier for years in Chicago and carried many a polyp in a cooler riding shotgun in my car on its way to the lab…)
Not to worry. I’m not. I’ll hear back sometime next week. I do not expect bad news. And if it is – well, we go from there. Til then I won’t fret.
But hey – this is a rare chance to learn a little bit about what things look like on the inside of a body! For those of us non-medical folks, this is an opportunity that we will seldom get in a lifetime. So, here goes…
So there are three locations marked on my large intestine here. Following are those same three points and their names – only now you’ll see actual photos of these locations inside my body. Wow! Kinda cool and gross at the same time. And interesting, of course.
Apparently, “this” (whatever that means) was a polyp that was removed. ?
And apparently, this is my appendix. Or at least it’s somewhere close by, dangling off the intestine. The appendix is what it’s name implies; it’s just this tiny afterthought of a little fleshy thingee that sorta sticks out. ? Still don’t know what part of this pic is the appendix, if it actually is visible here. ?
Well, now, we all know what this is about, huh? Still, no up, no down, I have no idea the frame of reference other than it’s somewhere inside and near the exit. !
The slimy pictures are kinda hard for me to look at, but THIS is just weird, right? No text precedes this strange sentence fragment… yeeps. ‘With a jumbo cold forceps’. They’ve been so kind up til now – why must the forceps be specified cold? Bad enough they’re jumbo….
Maybe that’s why the thank-you card as you leave. So you’ll forget all about waking up with a sharp pain during your procedure and having seen the words ‘jumbo cold forceps’ on your report…
Like I said, everyone I dealt with today was very kind and accommodating. Not a one of them made me feel rushed or unimportant – nor did they treat anyone else any differently. All in all, I was quite happy with my day at the spa. Er, I mean, at the hospital.