Thursday 6 December 2018

Recovery always takes some time

Laughing at the gas
Since I last wrote on my blog, there have been experiences and victories, none to great celebratory aplomb, but all to be grateful for.
The colonoscopy procedure is as uncomfortable as it gets, though nowhere near other health or therapeutic challenges I might have faced before. To say I was not apprehensive would be to deny my reality as it lay before me.
All procedures come with risks and some can be quite serious, ending in fatalities, for that is just a possibility. It is one of the reasons why I was not keen on sedation, that itself would have required having someone with me for 24 hours to ensure any turn was immediately addressed.
Rather, I opted for Entonox, a medical combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen, commonly known as laughing gas. I did at one time in the midst of the discomfort begin to laugh too.
A mile of tubing
Arriving at the hospital a fortnight ago, fully evacuated for internal examination, I noticed that MoviPrep had in just under 16 hours had me shed 5 kilograms. That is nominally the weight of stuff moving through your digestive system, depending on your kind of appetite.
I changed into a hospital tunic, and we were advised to bring a dressing gown and slippers, we did the formalities of questions, waivers and gagging orders, exculpating the hospital from loss of many things including life and then the rather affable doctor came round to see me, assure me of the ease of the procedure, what would be done and that I did not need to worry.
The room in which I was invaded by instrument and curiosity barely held the bed, the equipment and three seats for the staff attending to me, I got comfortable and was offered the breathing apparatus that was left for me to regulate how much I wanted to inhale to attain the delirium to banish the discomfort.
After a digital insertion, the procedure began, a probe with a camera and lights travelled the whole length of my large intestine, it was like they had travelling a mile, from whence a total of 21 biopsies were excised by pincers that looked like pliers in a mechanic’s workshop. The discomfort mainly came from the air that was passed into my entrails to help increase visibility and navigation through my system. I felt like a balloon at one stage.
All well and good
All they viewed was on a monitor that I had one of the best views of, it was interesting to learn that the appendix was not as close to the end of the colon as I thought it was, it was at the other end, at where the colon first descends. The vivid red colour of my innards was a view of something I would never have contemplated seeing in a lifetime or without a career in medicine.
On the way out, which took much longer than the insertion process, a polyp was excised for laboratory analysis an in just about 50 minutes we were done.
For all my discomfort, I was considered a good patient and was soon wheeled out to the recovery room where other patients, some of whom I had chatted to before the procedure were recovering too. One of them had had 7 colonoscopies before the one he was going to have on that day, a veteran of sorts with just enough comforting words for a first timer.
In recovery, I was offered some tea and a sandwich as I had been nil-by-mouth for over 24 hours. The effects of Entonox are supposed to leave the body in under 10 minutes. However, from the bloating and the biopsies, there is quite a great risk of internal bleeding and infection, so care must be taken after that procedure.
Just over an hour after the procedure, I was ready to leave the hospital, I called a taxi cab and returned home to recuperate fully for the rest of the day. After this, the advice is not to fly for at least a week, or better still 2 weeks.
I think I am feeling a lot better after that encounter to the tunnels of life, the somewhat short recovery time is, in reality, longer from the experience, not necessarily the trauma.

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