An Upper GI Endoscopy – what is this you may ask? I wasn’t going to publish this post but when I received my invite for the above procedure I didn’t have a clue what it entailed. Of course I googled the crap out of it and mostly found explanations not real life experiences, and when I did find the odd story on Mumsnet they weren’t good.
So, I thought it might be helpful to put my 2 pence worth in and give an honest account of an Upper GI Endoscopy. An Upper GI Endoscopy is a procedure performed by a Consultant Surgeon who uses an endoscope (long flexible tube with a camera on the end) to examine the lining of your upper GI tract. This is performed by a professional either with numbing spray or by sedation. I’m not going into why I needed this procedure as I am undergoing further tests etc and it isn’t something I want to share at the moment. However, I can relay my story and hope if you are in this situation I can shed some (positive) light on it.
The day of my appointment happened to be when Mr K was flying off to Scotland on business so I had to take the children out of school for the afternoon and bring them along with me. I’m not going to lie I was very nervous of taking the children to hospital as I didn’t want them to worry. We are quite open and as honest as you can be with Amelie and Charlie about people being poorly, going to heaven and needing special treatment to make people better. I had talked to the kiddies about why mummy needed to visit the hospital – not going into anything too worrying for them – and they asked questions etc.
I packed a ton of snacks, books and other activities to keep them occupied. Upon arriving I was checked in and it was a waiting game. When I was finally called, we went into a little room for the nurse to ask the purpose of my visit and to take some medical history and observations. I don’t know if your children have seen Operation Ouch! on CBBC but my two absolutely love it and thought it was very exciting to see the machines used to take blood pressure and monitor the heart rate.
We spent the next two hours just waiting, Charlie made a lovely friend. He was an elderly man waiting for his wife, he told me he had lots of great grandchildren and thought Charlie was brilliant. They sat for ages drawing pictures and chatting. By 5pm we were all getting a bit antsy, I was starting to get shaky as I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since 7.45am the children were amazing though.
Finally I was called in, unfortunately the children weren’t allowed in the room with me but the staff at the hospital took excellent care of them, giving them cakes, biscuits, juice and playing games. As I had the children and was solo parenting I couldn’t have a sedative so I had no option but to have the Lignocaine spray – a numbing spray. I sat on the bed, the nurse explained she would squirt the spray into my mouth twice and I would then have to swallow. I had read that the spray was vile and to be honest it wasn’t that bad. It made my throat sting a lot and when it kicked in it felt like I couldn’t breathe or swallow, it was a very suffocating sensation. Obviously I was fine but it felt like I had no throat – strange!
Next I lay on my left hand side and a plastic mouth guard was placed between my teeth. Then the bit I had been dreading, the camera was going to be inserted into my mouth and down my throat. I had visions of the tube being very thin and sleek, however it wasn’t. It was a thick (ish) black tube that was really long, I found it to be quite an awful sensation when it started to go back my throat, you are told to swallow the tube which is a little difficult but all I kept thinking was ‘this needs to be done, calm down and just breathe’. That mantra was what got me through the tube going right down into my tummy. I could feel everything and it was really uncomfortable, it didn’t hurt it was just horrible feeling the tube moving around. The only real discomfort I found was when air was blown into my tummy that felt a little on the sore side. They said I tolerated it very well and I was the only person out of all the men in that day who wasn’t sedated – go me!!
The test lasted for around 10 minutes in total. I had to have 4 biopsies taken and again this was probably the worst part. A tiny red wire with a claw on the end was passed through the camera tube into the pit of my stomach and intestine, once there I felt a scratching and pulling sensation from the wire taking a little chunk of my insides. I don’t know how I remained so calm to be honest as I was terrified.
Once this was done it was time for the tube to come out, I sat up and started shaking I felt like I was going to burst into tears but couldn’t as I had to be strong for the two little people waiting outside for me. It would have been so nice to have had that extra support of an adult waiting for me but we made do.
I was told not to drink any hot drinks for an hour but could have water and food when my throat came back to life. I think having the children there to distract me helped lots afterwards as I didn’t really have time to process how I felt. It wasn’t until we got home that I felt odd. It felt like the tube was still in my tummy and throat, I ate some Weetabix and a small bowl of granola as I was ravenous. This went down well but the following day I had a very sore stomach, bloat and lots of wind (burps) but I feel okay. My throat is a little sore and I have a cough however just having the spray was probably the best thing I did. I was able to go about my day as usual, I went for a 5k run the next day and felt fine, a little exhausted but not poorly.
The staff at the hospital have so much empathy and are amazing, I nearly burst into tears when the nurse said that my children were so well behaved, polite and ‘You’ve done a great job raising them’ to me – what a proud mummy I am. I hope this account of an Upper GI Endoscopy has reassured anyone in the process of needing one. It wasn’t the nicest experience but if you remain calm and think of why you need it doing then that will get you through. It is all over very quickly, health is so important especially when you have a family and small children. If something doesn’t feel right within you go to your GP and persist for tests, examinations – whatever it takes.