[Which reads: Dear Saara aka ‘Brave Girl, About that endoscopy, you had some guts you Saara (no pun intended) In fact, I would have chickened out, they would have still been shovelling out chicken s**t and feathers now! You obviously were given a ‘suggestion’ of anaesthetic, that’s why after only 2o mins instead of 2 hours you staggered out of recovery (and into a wall), NHS cuts and all that! Maybe you could pass on some ‘guts’ to Smokey, then we wont need to rinse out his basket at the vets. Love you Saara. FYI: Smokey is our cat, which loves to just ruin his carry case every time we take him to the vets! ]
So what is a gastroscopy? A gastroscopy is another one of the procedures used to determine whether somebody has Coeliac Disease. Even though you’ve already had your blood test, they also want to take a small biopsy from your small intestine and see it in great detail. They do this by inserting a small, thin, flexible tube into your body which has a camera and light attached to it which are called endoscopes. Through these endoscopes, other tools can be passed through allowing them to take biopsies, which does sound a little scary but I can assure you, it isn’t!
I’d been told the date of my gastroscopy and treated the whole situation as though I was off to the firing range to be shot! Bear in mind people, that I am the worlds biggest wimp when it comes to hospitals and hospital procedures, so for days on end, I sweated, tossed and turned about having to have this camera down my throat! Even though at the end of the all, I realised this was such a silly thing to do as it’s nothing to be scared of and if I had to have it done again, I wouldn’t be this scared!
Now I’ve talked about this before, of the importance of registering with a doctor near your University, but as always, I very rarely listen to my own advice and didn’t register with a doctor in Manchester for a long time! So this meant when I needed to have my blood tests and have my gastroscopy, I’d have to travel all the way back to Yorkshire – yep, silly I know.
So I’d decided to pop home the day before my endoscopy appointment so I wasn’t rushing around on the day like a headless chicken, trying to catch a train to get to my appointment in time. But as soon as I jumped on the bus to get to the train station my friend Lottie rang to tell me to come back and leave for home tomorrow as it was important. Firstly I thought what on earth could be happening tonight for me to want to stay and secondly I thought, if I ring up my mum now to tell her I’m not coming home till tomorrow, she would personally come to Manchester herself and throttle me. But when I found out there was a new play in town called Thriller Live and the tickets were cheap, I knew I had to go to it.
The thing is, me and Lottie are huge Michael Jackson fans and when we found out about this new play in town called Thriller Live [a tribute to Jackson] we had to go! Now this was before his death and he wasn’t as well liked as he is now, which meant the tickets were so cheap. So when I told my mum I wasn’t coming back till the morning because I wanted to go she thankfully understood [she’d have done the same if it was Depeche Mode tribute play!].
Waking up at the crack of dawn the next day was hard. I’m not a morning person and could quite happily stay in bed till the sun went down, but I somehow dragged myself out of bed, got dressed, ran to the bus and then on to the train and thankfully managed to get to my appointment on time!
I ended up dragging my mum to the appointment for moral support and to hold my hand, which she was a little reluctant to do at first and I don’t blame her. You see, I don’t have the best track record when it comes to going to the hospital. It wasn’t that long ago from this endoscopy appointment when I crawled into A&E in my pyjamas because I needed an injection to stop me being sick and let’s not forget to mention the times I screamed so loud that people in Australia could hear me, when I went for a simple thing as a blood test! So you could just about understand why my mum was a bit fearful when I had to have this camera down my throat.
I remember sitting in the waiting room, knees weak and hands sweaty for my endoscopy. My mum kept reassuring me that all will be fine and that it was nothing to be worried about and happily pointed out the little kids [who were aged around 5 to 10] who were also there having the same treatment, but it did nothing for my nerves. So just before going in, I ended up begging… OK, crying for them to sedate me. The doctor and the other nurses kept telling me all would be fine and I wouldn’t feel any pain but I was having none of it. I wanted to be sedated or even better, put under general anaesthetic. “But Miss Aziz, it’s such a simple procedure, you’re not going to feel anything, we promise!” And while I’m stood at the desk crying, this little 10 year old girl came out of the endoscopy room, skipping going “I told you I was brave daddy!” which did wonders for my self esteem… but I still demanded sedation and I think in a bid to shut me up, they reluctantly agreed to give me some sedation.
So off I went into the endoscopy room which, from what I can remember, is a huge room with a bed, monitor screens etc [which will obviously be different with other hospitals]. I can’t remember much detail from the room because as soon as I walked in, I was placed on the bed, got injected with sedation and the rest… I just can’t remember to save my life! Although, I do slightly remember them spraying something in my mouth and asking my to put this ‘thing’ in my mouth to stop me biting down on the tube.
But I do remember waking up in an unfamiliar room with my mum sat next to me laughing, asking me “what the flipping’ heck are you talking about Saara!?”. Apparently, I kept talking about absolute nonsense, much to my mums amusements. My throat and stomach did feel a little sore at the time [and I stress, a little] then again, that’s because they’d pumped my stomach full of air and I had a tube down my throat. But after a short while recovering, I was allowed to go home. So a nurse and my mum helped me out of the bed and guided me down the hospital corridor to the exit, where my dad was waiting. But if anyone could see me walking they’d have assumed I was drunk, as I walked straight into the hospital corridor wall!
Like I’ve said before, I am terrified of any hospital procedures, even if it’s having a simple blood test or to have a bandage put on my foot. I treat them all as though I’m off to the gallows! But what I’m trying to say is that although an endoscopy does feel really daunting and if you’re worried, please don’t feel ashamed for asking [or crying in my case!] for sedation. However afterwards you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about, as I certainly did. Not everyone will have the same experience as me as everyone’s gastroscopy will be different!