Tag Archives: scary medical procedures

Technology and the Indignities of Aging

digestive system

It Only Hurts When I Laugh

I’ve always considered myself as a generally healthy person. I watch what I eat, usually, but not always. I’m not overweight; I drink alcohol sparingly, almost never at home – usually only on vacation. I try to get adequate sleep and exercise. My main vice is smoking cigarettes with my morning coffee and few in the evening after dinner. I don’t sit around chain-smoking all day.

But now that I’m in the latter half of my 50s it seems that either my body is failing me or Doctors have new toys that they want to try out on a willing victim…er, I mean the patient.

A few weeks ago I had that whole fever, vomiting, excruciating abdominal pain, wishing I was dead episode. I blogged about it some, but finally decided to shut up about it because I didn’t want to bore everyone to death.

In the meantime I went on living my life, but although the problem relented somewhat, it didn’t go completely away. As a result I found myself sitting in the office of a gastroenterologist on Monday. Try saying that 5 times fast. What a tongue twister. He poked and prodded and asked me a myriad of questions. I went there with the expectation that he was going to pat me on the head, allude to me being a hypochondriac and send me home with instructions to take antacids, chill out and stop being a big cry baby wussy.

Well I was way wrong, he said he wanted me to get an upper GI endoscopy immediately if not sooner and his assistant set me up with an appointment to do it the very next day. With my recent experience of the wheels of medical care grinding even slower than a political bureaucracy, the swiftness of this scared the living hell out of me.

So you want me to say “ah” run a tube down from my mouth all the way to China? Um, no, I really don’t want to this. But I decided that I probably needed to bite the bullet, or in this case the tube, so I relented and agreed to the procedure. There’s not enough Xanax in the world to pull me down from the ceiling on this issue.

It turned out to be really scary thinking about it, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The beauty of it is that they knock your happy ass out cold, well before poking your orifices with creepy alien tentacle like gadgets. They keep all the hardware out of your line of sight. I had to twist my head around hard to see the gadget they were going to use and then squeezed my eyes shut. EEEEE, I wished I hadn’t seen that thing. It looked like something they lifted from Area 51.

The last thing I remember is the nurse patting me on the arm, poking a syringe in my IV and saying “this will help you relax, honey.” The next thing I knew, a different nurse was gently shaking my shoulder and telling me that it was all over and was time to wake up. I didn’t want to, being all warm, comfy, and sleepy. But I did just to humor her and to not scare Hubman, who was there at my side.

The Doc told Mr. Husband that he didn’t seen anything major to freak out about like cancer or an ulcer, but that I did have scarring in my duodenum, indicating that I had ulcers in the past. Hmm maybe that explains some of the major stomach episodes in my life. No one thought to check on this before, or I didn’t follow up, whatever. My suspicion was that I didn’t fit the profile for a person with ulcers; middle-aged, fat, stressed out male, so they didn’t test me for them in the past.

So I have a semi-clean bill of health regarding my digestive system, but I’m supposed to avoid alcohol, spicy and smoked foods, and have a follow-up visit with the Doc in a few weeks. Well damn, where’s the fun in that? Next thing you know, I’ll only be allowed to eat soggy rice and baby food. Oh, the indignity of it all!

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