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Posts Tagged ‘Calprotectin’

UC Diary: The Ulcerative Colitis Kid Get’s a Sigmoidoscopy!

Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on March 31, 2019

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Listen to this guy, he knows what he’s talking about!

When you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease it’s routine to have a colonoscopy or Sigmoidoscopy, which are procedures where a camera is inserted in to your bowels to confirm the extent of your illness, or as a routine check-up to monitor progress and symptoms – to see if they’ve become worse lately.

In my case it was the latter. I’ve been having unsettled symptoms for some time, and yet the blood and Calprotectin tests – that look for signs of inflammation – have come back with only minor signs of inflammation. That basically means my Ulcerative Colitis was not considered active. The last few times when I had these tests done I didn’t see my regular IBD nurse (because of lack of staff during the ‘Winter Crisis’ we have each year), who would take me more seriously if I said I had symptoms, as she’s known me nearly 10 years and been a IBD nurse even longer.

So, long story short I saw her back in January of this year and explained my symptoms are more unsettled than usual, my UC has never fully gone into remission, so I’ve nearly always had symptoms to some degree. So she suggested I have a sigmoidoscopy, which is the investigation of the rectum, sigmoid colon and the descending colon (basically the bottom and left-hand side of the large colon). I was reluctant as preparing for the procedure can be annoying and the procedure itself can be uncomfortable. However, I wanted to see the true extent as the specialists had been saying I could have a case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which people with Ulcerative Colitis are prone to develop as the large colon will always be sensitive, regardless of remission.

It seemed plausible, the tests had showed very little inflammation and the symptoms could be explained by IBS which I had a predisposition to. So I accepted and was booked for the procedure a few weeks later.

Now, for those who are reading this that may be getting the procedure done, please don’t worry, read to the end.

Two days before you have the procedure done you have to take the bowel prep, which – I’m not gonna lie – tastes horrible! There is no need to go into details here as it does what it’s supposed to do, clears you out, apparently! The hardest thing about the bowel prep is not eating properly the day before, the way it sends you to the toilet are just like normal Ulcerative Colitis anyway. There’s nothing special to report about this part.

The fun started the morning of the sigmoidoscopy. I woke up early as I was due for the procedure at 10am. It’s a good that I did as I had a missed call from my sister who lives in the same building. Figuring it was for me to help her with my niece I rang her and found out the electricity had gone off to our whole block, the surrounding estate and even affected the traffic lights.  I’d just woken up and already traffic was worse than usual and I can’t even have a shower or a wash as everything in the block was recently moved to electricity, even the pump that moves water up to the taps. I thought, “It would have to happen today, wouldn’t it?”

My sister was planning to take my niece to day care but couldn’t as she lives on the top floor, and her boyfriend had already gone out to University. In light of the lifts being off she was going take a day off and look after her. So I said we don’t know how long things were going to be off for anyway, then told her to sort her stuff out and that’d I’d help her down the stairs then get to her car and she could take us to our Mother’s house. There was a bit of risk with that as physical stress can set the UC off at the best of times, having taken a powerful laxative and carrying a trolly and a bag full of assorted baby things down stairs had bad written all over it.

I got off the phone and ended up going to the toilet, as the laxative was still doing its job. After washing my hands in what felt like half a bottle of anti-bacterial gel – as there was no running water – I grabbed my toothbrush; spare pair of everything; toilet roll; wet wipes; medication, change for taxi and a few other bits, still feeling like I’d forgotten several things. As I went out the door I remember noting to myself that if there’s ever a long-term blackout again, or… god forbid… a zombie apocalypse, then sod all would work in my block.

Aaaanyway! After getting my sister and niece out the flat we walked down the staircase, passing other residents on the way, some going down and some coming up. On the way down I wondered if the carpark gate was open, so my sister said she’d check with security. Once we got to the bottom my sister joined a huddle of tenants and staff who were talking in the foyer to check if the gate was open. I thought she’d be there a moment, but as I turned back she was fully immersed in the huddle as I looked back from the end of the corridor. As I did that I ended up getting ambushed by neighbours and staff who wanted a chat, but my insides were turning over and I couldn’t muster much in way of conversation. So after a short chat I shouted to my sister “Time is the of essence!” And with that we were off to the carpark for the car, obviously my little niece didn’t want to go in back and played up – bless her cotton socks. She was put in the back anyway with me to keep her happy and calm and we were on our way.

With my insides still turning over, feeling like I may fill my kecks, we run into traffic before we even got out on to the main road. I thought “Fuck you Universe!” The roads around my block are jammed weekday mornings as it is, but with the traffic lights it was backed up so badly! The irony was our Mother’s house was a short 5 minute walk away; it took us 15 mins or more to get there, with bibbing horns and one car driving up on the walk way to get around!

After getting to our Mother’s my sister took my little niece to day care and I went in the house and checked if it was ok to have a shower. My Mam said yes, but she was about to get one first, I sighed, because I know my Mam can take ages in the bathroom! I noticed at this point my abdominal cramps and urgency pain had gone, so I sat down to watch a bit of TV. Cramps then came back without notice, as always, luckily for me (and my Mam!) she has a downstairs toilet!

After what felt like half an hour (though it was probably less) my Mam had finished and I got myself a shower and brushed my teeth. “Fuck yeah! I’m clean!” For those who don’t know, I like to be clean in general, but especially so as I have an IBD and taken a litre of powerful laxative.

So I went to get dried, took clothes and toiletries out and pulled my medication out by accident too – for the first time! “Fuck off Universe – just as I was feeling better!” Luckily I found them all, got dressed, sorted and went down stairs to see if my Mam was all ready to go (My Mam insists on coming with me to most IBD appointments for reasons I can’t go into here), which I sort of already knew the answer too. Got down and she wasn’t set to go! Using my inside voice I said “For the love of Satan’s balls!” I wouldn’t mind, but she does it every time.

During this time my sister had come back from day care and was waiting for the traffic to ease. While doing so she insisted on eating food in front me that she’d looted from ole Mother Hubbard’s cupboard! Pure. Evil. Doesn’t she know I’m starving?! I suspect she did. While she was relaxed and walling in her own crapulence I asked if she could take us to the hospital on her way into work. Apparently she goes a different way than the Hospital, which is same general direction as her work. If I could’ve slapped the Universe in the chops at that point I would’ve done.

Anyway, evil sister left and me and ole Mother Hubbard got in a taxi and headed for the hospital. As always, there was a problem… horrendous traffic – and I was already 5 minutes late. Then I started feeling ill and that nagging doubt I’d left something behind in the flat earlier returned. “Did I remember my bank card?” (For a snack afterwards!) So I started going through my backpack looking for my card, it was at this point I accidentally pulled out my medication for the second time! I spilled some of them on to the foot space… Lost forever! However, I managed to salvage the others! I then checked all my pockets but couldn’t find my bank card…  I was wound up, feeling ill and now sweating, which sometimes happens with UC. After checking my pockets several times I found my card in one of them, I can only assume that particular pocket is a TARDIS! When we got to the hospital I gave my Mam the money to pay for the cab, turns out there wasn’t enough there. I DID forget something, the other 50p! I’d have paid by card but Taxi firms seem to like living in the 1970s as far as payment is concerned.

As my Mam looked for some change from her purse I rushed into the hospital to book in and instantly went to the wrong floor! If I could’ve done I would have kicked the Universe in the bollocks at this point. I come here often enough, but the IBD investigations are not the same place IBD check-ups are done. In the end I found the right place and booked in, I could sit and relax! Nope!  I had to go to the toilet again. So I rushed to the door to where the toilet is… it’s got a code on it! The nurse tells me the number. Didn’t work! Tried it again… didn’t work! On the 3rd attempt it worked! Got in and in a rush to get my pants off, some more of my medication, which is now in my pocket – flung on the floor for the third time! Have you ever facepalmed on the toilet?

After being in the toilet for ages I came out and waited for another 15 mins and I was called in. They asked me questions they really should’ve known the answers to, but I answered. I was then given a gown and a pair of disposable boxer shorts with a flap at the back, for when the procedure’s done. I was waiting for a while in the recovery ward to be called in, during that time several people came out after having the procedures done and started farting in the beds next to me! It was at this point I realised there really is no God.

While I waited, listening to the sounds of the trumpets, I became thirsty, so I asked one of the 10 nurses busy rushing around for a glass of water; she said she’d get me one. I waited for another 15 minutes, and during that time she looked straight at me 3 or 4 times… I never got that drink of water, but she got an enemy for life that day!

Eventually I was called in and had the Sigmoidoscopy, without a pre-med, as I didn’t want to sit in the recovery ward and breathe in the unspeakable evil that was being emitted from my fellow patients. The procedure itself was the easiest part of the day, albeit uncomfortable, I liked chatting to the Doctor doing it and nurses who were joking with me. As it turns out my UC is active and more extensive than I thought – I assumed it was just going to be Proctitis at the least – but I have left-sided Colitis, which was no big surprise really. However, I felt vindicated after the specialist said I had IBS, I knew I was still ill, though that doesn’t explain why the tests they did didn’t come back positive for inflammation. I think someone done goofed in the lab.

The next step in my story got messy! As the probe looks at the colon wall it uses a little jet of water to wash bowel prep and waste away for a better picture. He must’ve used a lot because when he pulled the probe out the water and mess came with it! That’s never happened before! “I’m wet! Why am I wet?!” I said. The nurse replied “It’s ok, lie on your back”, No, I’m gonna roll in it” I said. I then asked if I could clean myself in the toilet next to the examination room as I wouldn’t have to walk past anyone. She was having none of it, she has to follow procedure. So I reluctantly tried to lie on my back as far away from the big wet patch as possible and get wheeled back to recovery and then rush to the toilet. I thought most of the nurses would be too busy to notice me going to the toilet, how fucking shocked was I when every nurse besides the one pushing me was stood right by the desk next to the toilet, right in front of my bed!

After I was parked up I thought I may as well get me losing my dignity out of the way, after all… I ain’t lying in that mess! So, with my left hand holding my gown on, which had come un-tied somehow, and holding my disposable boxer flap up right hand, I hobbled to the toilet with a mess running down my legs! I took a long time in that toilet cleaning myself, using wet wipes, anti-bacterial soap and toilet paper to clean myself – followed by a lot of anti-bacterial hand wash.

You. Have. No. Idea. The things, man… the things I’ve gone through in life! The indignity!

If you’re going to have one these procedures done, don’t worry… it’s not as bad as you think. The above was one of my worse days, the procedure itself wasn’t an issue, it was everything else going on that made it difficult. I’ve had this done before and it was very straight forward, with no issues or mess. I just wanted to write this to say there’s nothing to fear from having it done, after all… you couldn’t have a worse day than I did! If you have, leave a comment and let me know.

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