Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm Developing an Inner Awareness

My self-dilations have not been as successful as I'd hoped. I have certainly become more used to thrusting this wobbly tube down my throat each day and have largely overcome the gag reflex. However, each time I do it I reach the point of restriction in my throat and I have always been a bit tentative at that point as to how hard to push. I've got this vision of pushing too hard and suddenly separating my stomach from its new home in my chest and have it scuttle on down to my belly where it really feels at home. So while I've kept the swallowing difficulties at bay for longer than usual, they reached a point at which I needed to do something about it.

I've been emailing my ologist at intervals, so I asked if I could come in for a professional dilation, only this time I'd like to stay awake for the procedure so I could get a feel for how hard I should push. "Sure", he responded. I'm not sure if emails can have a sort if incredulous tone of voice, but this one certainly seemed to.

In I went on Wednesday to have it done. The anesthesiologist was also rather amazed at the whole awake thing - I don't think they have many awake patients - but she was rather excited by the prospect of standing ready to put me out if I felt uncomfortable at any time. "Just put your hand up and I'll send you to sleep immediately" she said. So from that point on, I felt like the guy at the auction who makes the slightest movement with his hand and ends up owning a Canaletto and owing three million dollars to Donald Trump.

She gave me a shot of something that made me feel really high, but lucid - I'd love to get some more actually - and they wheeled me into the OR. There are TV screens all around and they make sure to line one up so I can see it. In walks the king, he grabs an endoscope and promptly whacks it down my throat. Fascinating. So that's what I look like from the inside top end. Actually pretty similar to the inside lower end. Except for the entrance.

He peered around all over the place, explaining what I could see as he went. "There's the esophagus, there's the anastomosis, now we're in the stomach. There's the pylorus, and the intestine. There's a... What's that doing in here? That's not right."

He then withdraws the endoscope and picks up a bougie. "This is the same size as yours" he says. Funny, it looks at least twice the size of the one I have. He proceeds to then thrust it down my throat and when he reaches the stricture gently but firmly pushes through it. It's that easy. Now he picks up another one. "This one is a bit larger" he says. A bit! I'll be able to write advice columns to the "Overcoming gag reflex" forum after this one. But, sure enough, it goes down, pushes through the stricture, he holds it there for a few seconds as punishment for being able to see how easy it is for him to charge $10000 for a few minutes work, then pulls it out.

I won't say it was the most pleasant of experiences, but certainly the whole thing was fascinating. I now have a new inner awareness. Who says men can't be sensitive?


At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roger, How different the UK service! In England you are awake because they chuck you in a taxi after an hour as they need the beds!! Anaesthetic is never an option!! Having said that - home dilation kits weren't either. I'm with you...there's NO WAY I would be able to push a tube down my throat. Keep well, mate. Love, Monica xx


Post a Comment

<< Home