Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Endoscopy: Went Well


Today I had an endoscopy. I've been taking Omeprazole (generic Prilosec) for a gastro issue I've been experiencing over the last ten years. Specifically, whenever I engage in some kind of cardiovascular exercise, I have pain & pressure in my chest. No worries it is not a heart problem. In June of 2009, I had a cardio-stress test and a heart catheterization. I'm fine.

So I take Omeprazole and long-term use requires an endoscopy to determine if the source of the problem and also because Omeprazole will mask certain symptoms of stomach cancer. So, I had an endoscopy...

Patients are generally sedated for an endoscopy, but if you've read much of my blog since 2009, you know I'm totally uninterested in being sedated unless absolutely necessary. Well, now I'm clear why people are sedated for endoscopies. The throat is numbed with a spray that tastes has a horrifically unpleasant taste and left me struggling to keep my eyes open due to the stinging sensation. Once the mouth piece and the saliva vacuum were in place, the scope, about a half inch in diameter, was inserted into my throat.

As you can imagine, the gag reflex was in full force. The staff continually reminded me that I was actually able to breath, although there were a few moments where I felt the need to check. Once the instrument was well down my throat and entering my stomach, I was not only gagging, but I was also dry heaving non-stop. But don't worry it gets better.

In order to have maximum visibility, the doctor pumped air into my esophogus, stomach & eventually small intestine. And when air goes in, air must go out. So in addition to the constant gagging & non-stop dry heaving, I began to belch. No, I did not burp. A burp is the passing of air through the esophogus and out the mouth (or nose if you prefer). That was not the case. I was belching with a force I had never experienced in my life. Enormously loud, throat stretching belches that left me feeling like an out of control wild boar in the midst of a full blown panic attack and perhaps giving birth as well. It's quite a an experience and I'm sure quite a sight.

Gagging, dry heaving & belching, each in and of themselves, absolutely uncontrollable and non-stop. Take a moment and close your eyes and try to imagine doing all three at once... I'm surprised I didn't implode.

Two minutes after the scope was inserted, it was out and the procedure was over. Pathology results will be in by the end of the week. And the doc says he saw no signs of cancer. Thumbs up.

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