The three weeks on glutenous diet were at an end. And on a chilly January day it was finally time for the gastroscopy procedure. I was nervous to say the least. Mum and my boyfriend had both been called in for emotional support. Now, hopefully, for the last time at Lovisenberg hospital. It was nearing 08:30 and I had been going 12 hours without food or drink. Memories of the MR flashed before me. Lack of food, fluids and sleep made me both feel sick to my stomach and sweating cold. Dread for the procedure was combined with desire to have it over and done with. It had already been half a year since the doctor first told me that I would have to get a gastroscopy. All this time, and yet I was really insecure whether I was ready or absolutely not. My throat was dry and sore, my hands humid. I repeatedly changed between wrapping myself in my clothes and taring them off, receiving hugs from mum or Edwin, or longingly stare at the water dispenser opposite of me in the hallway.
A horrific procedure
The door opened. “Bradley?” If visiting doctors frequently enough the response of hearing your name becomes awfully automatic. Get up, follow the voice, and sit down where asked to. There is no thought behind these actions, they just happen. Thoughts are there, but occupied with the questions of: “This should be alright.” “Help!” “Just follow the doctor’s orders.” “What now?” The voices in my head were having a difference of opinion to say it mildly. From lack of any conclusion there, I simply did as instructed like a robot. Doctor Røseth had a nurse. My eyes desperately tried to avoid all the medical instruments in the room, and to evade thoughts of their various applications. The doctor’s explanation of the procedure I was about to endure was anything but soothing. You know when a doctor says something along the lines of “This is one of the more uncomfortable procedures.” You know it equates painful in the common tongue. A long hose through the mouth(!) and down my intestines… followed by several minor hoses which would use the first as a canal to take biopsies. Biopsy is a little cell sample from the small intestine. As if this wasn’t bad enough, it was to be done without any sedative or even a soothing medication. Just some hideous spray in the mouth. I had to lie sideways, and was told to not swallow despite of large risk of vomit and tons of saliva. Yep, it was just that elegant. Alas, I recalled the question I had spent the past 24 hours trying to imprint on my mind: “Can I have the child size hose?” A big thank you to Christian who had shared his experience and knowledge of there being two hose sizes. Then the procedure should be a bit less horrible, perhaps even ok, I thought to myself.
Then the good doctor Røseth brought fourth the “little” hose. Inside me every voice was now unison: “That’s the LITTLE child size???” But, there was no turning back. Time to put on the good girl mask and let it happen. It was a most awful experience I sorely wish I could forget. Laying down, mouth wide-open, and to feel that icky thick hose be moved down to places were nothing solid is ever meant to move. It was painful. And the constant urge to vomit combined with the ban on swallowing hardly made things better. And then the biopsies. 3 times something which appeared and felt like long thin vaiers of steel thread was pushed down the through hose already inside of me. All the way down, to make a tiny sample from my insides, and all the way up again. Once, twice, all the way down, two or three samples, and then up again. “One morel?” The nurse asked the doctor. My hopes of a simple no were quickly crushed. “Help!” “Be done with it!” My voices were still in complete agreement, but I could not utter them from my position.
I was all shakes and shivers by the time the hose was finally extracted from my body. While the doctor explained how long waiting time there would be to receive the test results I wiped saliva and gall off my face. Incredibly disgusting stuff. First stop there after was the water dispenser in the hall way, if only to have a longing glance at it. Due to the sedative spray I still had to wait some time before drinking. With good support from the family I staggered to the car and home to mum for food. Feelings were mixed, I sat quietly staring out of the car window the entire trip. My throat was so sore, talking was relatively undesirable.. I was happy it was over, but inside it felt like it was still going on. It was like an imprint of the hose could still be felt the entire path down where it had been. Most of all, I was exited to finally get an answer:. Did I have celiac disease in addition, or not?
For those who wish to learn more about Gastroscopy look here.
Credits: First image is from the movie “The Devil Inside” by Insurge Pictures.