Warning: this is ugly.
Do all hospitals leave the heart monitor hook-ups on a patient after a procedure? I discovered these when I was getting ready for bed. Good grief!
Yesterday, I had a routine colonoscopy. For those of us of a certain age, these preventative measures become just another nuisance of growing older. This was my third time in this rodeo. I get one every ten years, whether I want to or not. But it may be my last because I walked away with a bad case of PTSD.
To recap: the prep is nothing short of disgusting–an evening of rushing to the toilet followed by a fitful sleep, then getting up at 3 AM to drink my final two liters of cold, yucky liquid to finish tidying up my bowels so I’d be prepared for my 11 AM procedure.
Thursday morning: the nurses were all very nice. I wasn’t worried going into this because I’d never had problems in the past. I thought I knew what to expect. But, for some reason, the anesthesia wore off too soon, and I awoke to the sound my own moans, groans and cries as someone skewered me with a dull blade of some sort. I remember hearing voices discussing the fact the doctor was having trouble finding passage through my troublesome colon, mostly I only remember the sound of my agony.
They must have given me more drugs because the next thing I knew I was alone in recovery, groggy and shaky. None of the nurses were present, but the person who took my initial intake info helped me up and handed me my bag of clothes. I got dressed and returned to be handed a tablet where I was supposed to grade my experience. At that moment, everything was a softly shaded blur. Since I remembered the nursing staff prior to the procedure quite clearly, I gave them high marks. (When I called the hospital to complain today, I told them they might want to re-think the legitimacy of any review given by a person under the influence of drugs. )
I was wheeled to my husband’s truck and that was that. Until he asked how it went and I remembered that moment of terror and pain and confusion when I awoke in the O.R. Call it a flashback. My hand is shaking while I write this. My stomach clenches and my heart races every time I think about it.
Normally, I’m not one to complain. But I needed someone to know this happened so, hopefully, it won’t happen again. The hospital seemed to take my complaint seriously. I singled out the specialist who did the procedure…at least, I assume it was him and not a janitor they invited to have a go at me…for reprimand, in part, because he never spoke to me–not before or after. He didn’t wait around to see if I was okay–even though he might have guessed that I wasn’t…unless it was the janitor wielding the scope. As they wheeled my gurney into the operating room, I heard the doctor ask if this was patient number XXX. He didn’t say my name. He dehumanized me. Then he hurt me. But it was probably easier for him since I was just a number, not a person.
So, am I going to live? I hope so. Every twinge has me running for the thermometer, and I’m anxiously awaiting my first bowel movement to check for blood. (Never thought I’d ever write those words in a blog.) I am praying that my poor body has withstood this abuse and won’t hold a bad decision on my part against me. I thought twice about using a local doctor in my little one-horse town, but my primary physician, who I like very much, set up this referral. Next time, I will do my homework. (I did try to research the specialist’s name online, but nothing came up. I assumed that was a good thing.)
I’m diving back into to my deadline book. Wish me luck. And any advice on dealing with PTSD would be helpful.
On the bright side, nothing goes to waste for a writer, so you can probably look for something like to happen to some unsuspecting character in some future book. Guess who the bad guy will be?