Archive for March 29th, 2006

who knew at tube in the nose could be such an unpleasant experience?

Posted on March 29, 2006. Filed under: The Dyingness |

Well, as fun as the small bowel enema was, I really don’t recommend it to anyone. Honestly. The Catscan and the Colonoscopy were a piece of cake compared to this.

My mom had to go to a funeral yesterday morning so my dad dropped me off at the hospital (mom came a while later and I found her so she could come sit with me while I waited for the few minutes before they came to take me in — and they actually took me in pretty much right away). The doctor and team of 5 radiologists explained that they would be passing a tube through my nose and down into my stomach, then the hard part came when they would try to find the small intestine.

Good enough. I figured I could do this. I mean after not eating for so long and getting all “prepped” there was no way in hell I was backing out. So, after the little bit of freezing (that wore off after 30 seconds) in goes the tube.

It doesn’t feel that bad on its way into the stomach. In fact I could only really feel the pain in my nose and I actually got used to the pain after a while. It’s when they try to find the entrance into the small intestine.


They are directing this tube that is now tangled in your body by moving it around through my nose. I was in tears for most of the time.

“It’s okay sweetie. Hold my hand. Squeeze”. The technicians kept telling me.

They were all very sweet.

Then after the 6th or 7th time of the doctor not being able to get the tube to go where he wanted it to he was about to give up.

Now, I was thinking in my head, there’s no way I got this far and have gone through this much pain for you to give up.

I honestly closed my eyes and envisioned what I thought the process looked like. I pictured the tube going through the stomach and smoothly entering the intestine. Sheer will and determination guided that tube into the right place because I swear at that instant he said “we’ve got it”.

Suddenly I flash back to swimming lessons two summers in a row and I’m 6 or 7 or 8 and I’m going to fail unless I do a back float, which I do on the last day and the instructor has to change the report card and dig out a badge to attach. I always get things done in the nick of time.

Now comes the 12 syringes full of barium that slide cooly down the throat and directly into the intestine. This is definitely the easy part.

Once he’s flipped me a hundred times and I’m feeling radioactive from the 40 some odd shots he must have taken, he slips the tube back out and the girls in the room tell me that I’ve done a good job.

He then holds up the tube that was just running unnaturally throughout my body to say “do we keep these?”

I think: “um, no”.

Thankfully the nurses said “no”.

“Oh, we used to keep them and reuse them” he replies.

Which makes me wonder how long it has been since he’s performed one of these procedures.

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