it’s always like this

May 9, 2009

one way

Filed under: growing pains, just shoot me, wonder years — notsojenny @ 10:33 am

** this is really gross but i had to post it… i’ve never heard about alot of this stuff so i figured i’d share in case anyone else ever has to encounter it – i apologize for the disgusting and unladylike topic **

not sure if i’ve ever mentioned this before but i’ve had a serious acid reflux problem for a few years now.  it all started during the most stressful week of my life, when i lost my father and my job and still had to catch a flight to T&C.  i spent the last 2 days of our trip curled up in a ball in the hotel room.  i didn’t leave, i didn’t eat, i could barely sleep.  sometimes i felt like i was going to throw up, but i never did.  the pain in my stomach was so unbearable that it would wake me up every time i tried to close my eyes.  even lying completely still didn’t feel good.  it was absolutely dreadful and i was convinced i had an ulcer.  i had no clue what was wrong but once we returned home and the pain had only slightly subsided a minimal amount i went to the doctor.  it took weeks of misdiagnosis for him to tell me that the pain i was feeling, the nausea, the heart palpitations, and the burning in my throat was acid reflux.  with a pill prescrption for proton pump inhibitors the problem was solved.  in time i stopped taking my pills, i thought i was passed it.

then in the past 9 months it slowly made it’s way back.  the burning in the throat, the taste in my mouth like i had just been throwing up for hours, i knew what it was so i went to start on my pills again.  but this time i had to go in to the Dr to get a refill, i figured it was standard procedure but at the end of our appointment he told me he wanted me to see a specialist.  acid reflux, as common as it is, can still be the precursor to something more serious and since i was getting it so high in my throat this often he wanted me to get it checked out.  so i scheduled an appt. next door with a GI specialist.

the morning of my appointment my stomach was upset.  i was afraid of them finding something serious, i’m always afraid of this.  on one hand i’d rather them find something now and treat it, on the other hand if i can live without knowing i’d rather not know.  so while hesitant i headed to the specialist and sat my butt down in a chair all alone in the waiting room.  then a girl came out from her appointment, and i wish i’d taken a picture because the look on her face was one of fear, maybe even disturbed, but definitely shaken.  this did not make me feel well about heading in next.  but sure enough they called my name and led me into a room where i was to put a paper gown on and wait.  i’d never met this Dr before so i was slightly unnerved.  i’m a big fan of docs who come in to greet you before asking you to get undressed… i mean i don’t expect dinner and a drink but just a quick hello would be nice. 

while i sat on the paper covered table in my paper gown i surveyed the entire room and stopped when i saw it.  i could have kicked myself for not having a camera… it was a giant Price Club size tube of jelly, with just a bit oozing out of the opening.  it was entirely frightening.  but as i shifted my gaze between that and the giant poster of a colonoscopy i reassured myself that the jelly wasn’t for me.  i was there for throat stuff.  then the doctor came in.

he performed his tasks, asking me to breathe as he stethoscopes me in various places, asking me if it hurts as he thumps my organs, etc.  then came the bad news, “i’ll need to check for any traces of blood… rectally”
“oh, um, yah, um, oh, okay…… how?”
this is when he folded down four of his thick latex gloved fingers to leave a solemn pointer up in the air.
i glanced from him to the nurse, back to him, back to the nurse… i can only imagine the look of sheer panic and fear that they saw in my face… “do i… do i have to??”

you see i have a very strict rule about my butt – nothing goes in.  call me prude, call me whatever you want but it’s my rule and i stick to it.  even if i were to break the rule, would it be fair to allow this guy i just met 12 minutes ago do things i wouldn’t let my fiance do?  i’m not in my early 20’s anymore, so me thinks no.  so then doc told me there was an at home kit, i could only IMAGINE what that consisted of but i was sure it would be preferable to what he was offering.  they passed me the at home kit as i stood at the counter to pay up… along with a sheet of paperwork to get bloodwork done and a list of dates to schedule my EGD for.  i’ll go into the tears streaming down my face as they told me about these in another post.

this was when i completely understood the look on that girl’s face earlier.

so the at home kit.  i ripped it open in the car and started reading, not at ALL what i was expecting.  i got about as far as “using the stick take a sample and smear into the box marked A”… oh man, what did i get myself into?

for the next 2 days i didn’t, hmm how do i avoid being crass with this… i didn’t have a b.m.  basically i was afraid to.  i knew i had to take samples and quite honestly for me it’s like peeing in a cup, it makes me unreasonably nervous and my anxiety kicks in and keeps me from going to the bathroom for as long as i can hold out.  so a couple of days later i’m sitting there, still trying to hold it in, but i knew i was going to lose the battle unless i wanted some more serious problems.  i opened the at home kit and began reading again; step 1: fill in your personal information on the slide.
so i filled all 3 in (oh yes, you have to do 3 samples!) then i folded them on the perforations and separated them.  i continued reading; step 2: don’t separate the slides.  oops!  oh well, too late now.   i went on to read the entire instructions before proceeding any further.  basically you put this large piece of tissue paper in the toilet and you poo on it, then you stick a popsicle stick in it and wipe some of it onto this slide, then you mail an envelope full of skidmarks to your doctor.

so this gets even worse when i put the tissue paper into the toilet, and your not supposed to let your poo get wet before you take a sample.  so (and i can’t believe i’m about to provide this much info to the world, but whatever) i don’t know how it’s supposed to work but mine went right through the wet tissue paper.  so i sat there staring into the toilet for about 3 minutes, what am i supposed to do now??  i decided i had to get this over with so i looked around and saw a box of tissues.  i stacked them in my hand and hoped for the best as i held it out behind me.  luckily my aim was on and it didn’t get messy.  as i stuck the stick in i realized “hey, i’m doing better at this than i thought”.  that’s when the gagging started.  i almost didn’t get through it, but i knew i had to.

it’s still a pretty nasty thing to have to do, and i don’t recommend the home kit for anyone really.  it also seems pretty unhealthy to keep slides of poo smears around until you’re finished with all 3 and ready to mail.  but then again, given a second chance i still don’t think i’d be able to say “okay” to the alternative.

the next issue will be giving blood… and i can’t even think about the EGD right now…



~ today i learned… that maybe i’ll just schedule my post overloads for weekends… try to even things out a bit even though i know hardly anyone reads them on weekends, they’re definitely what you do at work ~


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