Starting to feel a bit better I was feeling more up for visitors, I hadn’t told many people I was in hospital or just how serious things were, just my nearest and dearest really. Holly had been to visit me the day before with magazines and slipper socks for when I was eventually feeling up for walking further than the dash to the toilet. And Hannah came to visit me on the 15th, it was exhausting having visitors but at the same time it was nice to see friends and try and reassure them I was okay – however I’m not sure how well I did that! In all honesty, I couldn’t tell you if I was successful at that or not because I don’t really remember much from then, I’m just going by what my parents have told me what happened and how it fits in with my patchy memory. I do however remember Hannah bringing me a pink unicorn called Violet!!
I remember I’d been told earlier in the day I needed to have an endoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy to be more precise. During this procedure the final third of your colon is examined (anywhere up to 80cm – see picture) and in my case biopsies were taken, although I was never told why. Perhaps to see if anything inside was cancerous, who knows. At this point in time I still didn’t have a diagnosis other than Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Since being home from hospital and talking to friends I’ve found out you can actually ask to see the pictures of your biopsies and keep copies of the pictures so that’s something I’m definitely going to ask Dr Tutton (my consultant & surgeon) next time I see him! It all sounds so disgusting, and I’ve googled what ulcerated colons look like and it’s not pretty, but for some reason I’m strangely intrigued by everything!
It was another first and I was terrified. I’d had an endoscopy before, but of my throat and I just remember it feeling like I was choking. A tube went up my nose, and down the back of my throat to look at my vocal chords, I was crying and my gag reflex was kicking in, meanwhile I had the doctor telling me to “breathe normally…” Bit hard when you’ve got a tube down your throat and it feels like you’re being choked but simultaneously feel the need to be sick! I knew this was a different endoscopy and this camera would be going up my bum but it still didn’t make me any less anxious.
A nurse came in late afternoon whilst Hannah and my Mum were there and told me I needed an enema. I had no idea what that was but I could instantly tell from the look on Mum and Hannah’s faces it wasn’t going to be pleasant. I’ve since found out there’s different types of enemas and the one I needed was a laxative to help flush my bowels out before the procedure. At this point, Hannah decided to go home. I don’t blame her to be honest because all I did after that was cry (this part I do genuinely remember!), all the way down to theatre!
The enema was horrible. It induced the exact feeling I hated and had been trying to avoid at all costs. I was told to wait at least three minutes before I went to the loo but I couldn’t, I literally just jumped out of my bed, grabbed my drip stand and dashed, thankfully I made it, but only just.
After that it was just a waiting game to go down to Elmstead Day Unit where they perform minor day surgeries. The blue cannula in my hand had fallen out earlier and they hadn’t replaced it, so they were back to using the pink one and my arm was getting puffier by the hour, I also had a lovely lumpy, red rash forming as well, but they still wouldn’t take it out because they knew I was hard to cannulate and couldn’t find anyone with enough experience of confidence to even attempt it.
I cried all the way down to Elmstead, and then cried the whole time waiting to go in. Dr Ralphs came over and tried to calm me down and it temporarily worked, he told me he was the one who was going to be performing the procedure and I was introduced to a nurse who then didn’t leave my side until I was moved back to the ward later on. Then just before I was due to go in, a different doctor came over and started talking to me about the procedure, I can’t remember his name but all I could think was that his finger nails were disgusting, they were bright yellow and just didn’t look nice. He was nice, but very factual, Dr Ralphs seemed more understanding, but before I knew it I was taken to surgery. Mum was waiting outside and because I’d already been in a separate room for 20 minutes she thought I’d had the procedure done, but I hadn’t.
I don’t remember much more, just being really tense and crying an awful lot. They gave me a sedative (apparently) to help me relax although I don’t think it made much difference, but I’m not a medical professional and they supposedly know what they’re doing!
Afterwards I went back to the first room I was in to recover and then eventually moved back to Mersea. I think it was then that I started to feel sleepy and the tears eventually stopped.