Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm just not a candidate for amnesia

Yeah, I can stop dreading my colonoscopy! Its over with and everything looked good! I can't express what a relief it is to have it done with and I can't express how happy I am to eat again. Yesterday I thought I had it so hard because I could only have clear liquids but today I wasn't allowed even water and I was so dehydrated and thirsty. All thoughts of food left me and all I could think about was having a nice drink of cool water. The waiting room at the hospital featured a big gushing fountain. I know I was probably the only one there that felt like they were dying of thirst, but it seemed cruel and taunting. I was so glad to have a drink after the procedure.

So the colonoscopy itself was interesting. I have talked to a number of people in the past few days who have had one done and everyone said that they were totally knocked out for it and didn't remember a thing. Most people describe the experience saying that one minute you are lying on the table and the next minute you are waking up afterwards. Only one person (my mom) said that they were awake for it and it hurt. My mom is kind of a wimp when it comes to pain though and her colonoscopy was done in an emergency when she got appendicitis, so I figured that her experience was probably odd.

I brought up the issue of being put under with the doctor last week when I scheduled this thing and he assured me that he would make sure I was totally knocked out and the whole thing would be painless. That eased my fears but I was still anxious. I hate pain. I know that's probably a stupid statement to make because by definition it is undesireable, but I really really really hate pain.

I did a bunch of reading on the Internet about colonoscopies and everything I read said that they don't really put you unconscious because they need you to be in a semi conscious state, but they give you a drug that makes you forget the whole thing. This brings up a very interesting philosophical question: If you feel pain but don't remember it does it count? What is suffering if there is no memory of it? Its a fascinating concept to me.

I digress... the whole issue of being awake or asleep for the ordeal had me the most nervous. When I got checked in at the hospital I kept checking with the nurses and then again with the doctor if they were in fact going to put me to sleep. They all assured me that I would be knocked out and I wouldn't remember a thing. In fact, they told me that I probably wouldn't even remember getting dressed and being driven home. Now that I look back on it I realize that they all skillfully avoided answering me directly but just gave soothing reassuring responses.

After they hooked up the IV and got me ready they wheeled me into the room for the procedure and the doctor came in. We talked for a minute or two and then they put the drug into my IV. I got a little woozy and was waiting for it to kick in and to fall asleep but I never did. They just started with the colonoscopy. I was saying "Aren't I supposed to be asleep? Hey guys, I'm wide awake. What are you doing?" They all kind of ignored me and kept telling me that I wouldn't remember anything and just went on with it. Let me tell you, I remember it. All of it. Every single detail. Its not even a little fuzzy. I felt tired and a little dizzy but not even close to unconscious. The drug obviously calmed me down enough that I didn't run screaming out of the room but the whole concept of being on the table one minute and waking up the next is total bull crap. And by the way, it hurt. Enough to scream out in pain at one point near the end. The pain only lasted about 10 seconds but it hurt bad. I kept thinking, "When do I forget all of this?" The answer is never. It wasn't horrible and if I ever have to do another one in my life I will do it but next time I will be aware that the entire staff is in on this big deception and that they don't really put you out, they just hope you don't remember.

The screen was right in front of me so I watched the whole thing. I was fascinated by it so I asked a million questions about what I saw. Whats that? Is that normal? etc etc. I could totally tell that they just wanted me to shut up and were answering my questions to just placate me. After all, why do their responses matter if I'm just going to forget the whole thing? I could tell that they were all annoyed by my going on and on about still being conscious. They were exchanging looks between them that said "we got a feisty one, here."

Afterwards the doctor told me that everything looked great. There was nothing out of the ordinary and everything looked healthy. I was very happy to hear that. They took tissue samples for biopsy and those results would be back in a week or two but there was nothing abnormal so he just took the biopsies from random places. He felt very sure that all the results would be clear which was a huge relief. He said that someone from his office would call me to go over the results because I wouldn't probably even remember this conversation. He vastly underestimated my memory.

So a clean colonoscopy doesn't explain my symptoms but I'm really happy to rule out a lot of bad things. I am feeling like my health is on the upswing and this will all be over soon. Thanks so much to everyone who has been supportive and understanding through all of this. I have been so touched by everyone's concern and prayers for me. I have amazing friends and family.


Maryann said...

Wow, I am never having a colonoscopy! I am glad that test is over for you. I hope your doctors can solve the mystery soon.

Stephanie said...

I think that you should tell the doctor when you see him next that you remember EVERYTHING! I'm glad that it's all over and that they think everything looks good. But what's wrong with you? Seriously we need to figure this out! I was talking to my friend Carolyn about your situation. Remember Carolyn? She's the one who went to your same doctor in Columbia. Anyways she has been calling me asking about you and your condition. She is worried that it has something to do with the procedure you guys had done. I told her that I doubt it does but she's still worried anyways. Hopefully you can get this thing figured out and treated soon. Nobody should have to go through such torture!

Anyhow, have you seen The Proposal? Such a good movie! If you haven't seen it, go TODAY! It will cheer you up about anything going on in life. Totally funny! You do watch the office right? Too funny! You are going to love it it you haven't already gone to see it.

I love you! Love, Stephanie

Sami said...

Well I didn't want to have a colonoscopy before, and now I really don't!!!! I am very glad that everything looked great, and that you got it over with. :)

Dani said...

You are so funny! I am so sorry you had to do that...and how awful that they lied to you! But I am so relieved to hear that things looked good and that you can rule out some of those major things. It's always nice to be able to do that! Good luck supressing those memories!!!

Chelsey Howard said...

that's aweful:( But at least its over and done with. Luckily its not a super long procedure:)

Jaime and Brent said...

Stacy, you kill me. I love reading your blog. Your vast, creative, and colorful vocabulary is comparable to none. Glad your health results are positive, but I'm sorry that you will forever have the vivid image of rectal torture tormenting your dreams. Having had a number of doctor visits and unsuccessful treatments and surgeries myself, I've come to "not" believe any of their promises. Fortunately, I've yet to get bent over by one of them, but my day is probably coming. My Grandfather passed away from colon cancer. All I can do is cross my fingers (or my legs for that matter).


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