The Sky Is Falling In

April 29, 2009

I’ve been run over by a lorry. Well, perhaps not but it sure feels like it. I was dropped off at the hospital at some unearthly hour on Monday morning and my parting words were that I’d probably be ready for collection by elevenses. Having had many colonoscopies over the years, I knew what to expect, or so I thought. I should have known better. With a medical history like mine, nothing can be taken for granted. I live and learn.

On admission to the day ward,  I was shown to a curtained cubicle and asked to change into a theatre gown. I was duly weighed and labelled and then an overly cheerful vampire arrived to take my blood for a multitude of tests. Shortly afterwards, a nurse began the task of wading through my medical history. It was all fairly routine until we got to the “any previous surgery” question and then it was my turn to wear the pants! When we reached the “MRSA” part, the mood changed again. Despite my protests that all recent swabs have been clear, I was quickly moved to another part of the day unit while the nurse went off to phone infection control at the hospital where I’d been treated in isolation. On her return, I was granted clearance but not before two swabs had been taken for analysis. I was also informed that I would be moved to end of the theatre list as a precautionary measure.  It seems that no matter how hard you try, you can never be rid of the stigma of MRSA.

The scoping itself was no bother. I was told that I needed a gastroscopy as well as a colonoscopy as biopsies were required from both the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract. I was sedated shortly after arrival in theatre and knew no more until I woke up back in the day ward. I was told I was due to have a CT scan later in the day. Shortly after regaining consciousness, I developed severe pain in one side of my abdomen. My doctor explained that the pain was most likely caused by the gas used to inflate the intestines during the procedure and would resolve in time. I was given peppermint water to drink. Despite numerous trips to the bathroom, the pain continued unabated. I soon had to drink half a gallon of contrast solution in preparation for the scan. Once the scan was over, the nurses began to make noises about getting the house-doctor to review my pain. I knew I was at high risk of being admitted overnight so I declined further help and instead took two strong painkillers of my own. An hour or so later, I felt well enough to summon a lift home and a nurse accompanied me to the door of the hospital. The car journey was a nightmare. The pain got so bad at one stage, we had to stop the car so I could put my head between my legs to stop passing out. I lay across the back seat and groaned all the way home.

I had a really uncomfortable night with intense abdominal pain and as I was running a temperature by morning, I gingerly contacted the hospital for advice. The nurse in charge remembered me (how could anyone forget) from the previous day and handled the situation very competently. I was afraid I’d be told to come straight in to the hospital but no, she was happy to contact my specialist and then phoned me back to let me know the plan. The specialist contacted me directly having reviewed the scan, to confirm that there was no evidence of a bowel perforation following the scope. It appears that I’ve had an inflammatory reaction to the procedure and have been prescribed medication to ease the symptoms. So far, the results are encouraging  in that no structural abnormality has been identified but I have to wait another two weeks before the biopsy results and blood tests come back, to find out what’s caused the colitis over the last six weeks. It’s still thought to be antibiotic-associated.

Today I still feel totally buggered (in all senses) and the frequent dash to the loo continues but the sky is no longer falling in. I’m back at my blog (albeit in bed) and that is always a good sign. Comments and emails have been a great boost (thank you) and I apologise that my replies have not done them justice. The saga continues.