Yesterday was endoscopy day. Those of you reading this as kindred spirits, blessed with eosinophilic or other GI issues, probably have a pretty good idea of what that means.
Surprisingly, it’s been nearly two years since the last scope, which took place following the spectacularly ineffective massively allergen-free diet.
Same old drill, but it struck me that I’ve finally (finally!) learned a few things about coping as a grown-up with the upper GI endoscopy experience. To wit:
Take the next day off – For each scope over the last few years, I’ve pushed myself to return to work the next day because that’s what the instructions say to expect. And each of those times, I’ve sat starting at my computer, willing myself to swallow and just wanting to be home. This time, I arranged an additional sick day ahead of time. Even though the discomfort has been quite mild, the 2-hour early afternoon nap was confirmation for me of the right decision.
(The corollary here was going to be: Don’t fear the pain meds. I’ve always been reluctant to take the prescribed painkillers, and was actually all set to slug some down today. Turns out that today’s pain has just not been that bad. So, the point is valid, I think, but not one that I can speak to from experience.)
Clear a path to the bed – At this point, I know that all I’m going to want to do when I get home is crawl into bed, and that I’m going to be pretty foggy when I reach it. Before heading off to the clinic, I turned back the cover and laid out my pj’s for easy access. I don’t remember much about getting into bed, but I was under the covers and in my jammies when I awoke. Success.
Stock up on soft goodness – What do you eat when swallowing hurts? Stock the fridge before the scope so you won’t have to send spouse or some other kind soul on an emergency run for pudding (THIS), applesauce, ginger ale (to rehydrate after that long NPO order), or whatever else brings you comfort.
Dread the gargle – I’ve pretty much stopped stressing about the scope procedure, but the anesthetic gargle ahead of time is the pits. It’s what made me almost want to call the whole thing off. It’s the last vivid memory you get before they knock you out and it makes me gag every time. If anyone out there is into biomedical invention: Please, please, please make a better gargle. Please.
We’re infinitely interesting – EOE is getting to be a lot more common; other EGIDS are relatively rare. Either way, we still generate a lot of interest. During just this single scope, I got to take part in two different research projects with, as far as I can tell, multiple parts for each. It meant consenting to some additional biopsy samples, giving some extra blood, and filling out a couple of questionnaires. At one point, what with the research assistants, the nurses, my gastroenterologist, and the anesthesiologist, there was a line of people outside the prep cubicle. No kidding. But, really, if you’re asked to do so, there’s so much we need to know about these diseases. If I’m stuck with it, I’m sure going to help.
And how did everything look? Pretty much as I would have predicted based on symptoms: a little narrowing, a little irritation, but nothing too alarming. Biopsy results due back in a week or so. Good times!