Enough already!
On With the Story
Adam Prestin
I woke up 30 seconds later, and they were still drawing my blood. I, however, was more interested in trying to figure out the interesting patterns on the wall and generally feeling very weird. I was certainly happy to be finished with that test, though. After a week of waiting, the results were negative, so I was referred to another doctor, this time someone specializing in gastroenterology. I was to receive a barium X-ray on a cool November day, but first I was told that I needed a rectal exam! Oh the joy! Once all the preparation was over, I was brought into a dark room and told to drink a cup of liquid chalk with a powder on it that was supposed to but really didn't really smell like cherry. I watched "Days of Our Lives" when I wasn't in the darkened room, because it took almost 2 hours to finish the series. These were certainly some memorable days of MY life. It was amazing, though, for me to see my equipment at work, as I could with the barium x-ray. Once it was done, an older doctor came in and gave me an ultrasound to see what was going on--on the inside. That lubricant was certainly COLD!

I was brought into the procedure room and the specialist came in, a doctor who I had not yet met. She gave me the diagnosis. Inflammatory Bowel Disease. She looked at my butt while several med students looked on. That is my only problem with large hospitals, that on a given day, an average of 5.5 people will look at your anus. Though I wasn't on any medication yet, I was on the schedule for more blood to be drawn, and I was scheduled for an endoscopy the following week.

An endoscopy is pretty bad, although you are usually asleep during it. Two days before, you have to drink a saline purgative. You mix it in with water or kool-aid and it makes it taste like Saltwater, only worse. It's laxative times 4. When I was done I was going to go to the mall with my mother, but we had to wait about an hour for my bowels to calm down. The worst part of it was knowing that I'd have to do it AGAIN! And with fasting for 24 hours. Aggh! Before the procedure, you have to give yourself an enema of saline, and you basically defecate water and what else is left in your entire GI tract. I was surprised I didn't have to drink a pint of Mr. Clean. I arrived at the hospital, and was dressed in my gown. I was given a choice of either gas sedative or needle in the hand. I chose gas. Before the anesthesia was applied, I tried my best on the john again, to no avail. I walked into the OR, and hopped onto the table. They have some CUTE nurses there, and I was allowed to hold one of their hands as I was connected to sensors, a heart monitor, and finally the gas mask. 

I now know what it feels like to die. The slow oxygen loss, the smell of the gas, the whiteout. It was pleasant drifting off into that rest. 

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated:  November 14, 2004