Thursday, March 9, 2017

Esophageal Manometry...UGH!

You're thinking this is pretty, aren't you?

That the test to reveal these gorgeous colors 

couldn't have been all that bad.  

Well, it was awful.  

If people say that this is an easy procedure, 
they are LYING, have NEVER had it actually done,
 or they somehow enjoy having a garden hose showed into their nose, 
down their throat, and literally into their stomach.  

Good grief.  Never again, I pray.  UGH.  

Surgery date is Monday, March 27, 2017.  
More about that later.  

I was thankful to see that the weather over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge matched my mood.  A little creepy to not be able to see the city nor the Golden Gate Bridge...

 Much better....the bridge that goes to the heavens.  Sheesh.  
Couldn't be back on land soon enough. 

 It's a lovely view from the Hospital, even if they are about to shove a large hose down my throat to measure my swallows.  There's a LITTLE bit of blue sky peeking through...

It helped to know that there were people praying for me when the kind nurse began explaining the procedure.  She informed me that I would be given saline to swallow in small amounts (saline has a positive charge, thus it can interact with the copper in the giant aqueduct she was able to insert into my nose).  I was to swallow the liquid, and then breathe. Riiiiiight.   

No more swallowing allowed after each dose was given.  I thought I could handle this, no problem.  WRONG.  When you have something lodged in your sinus cavity that continues down the back of your throat, trust me, you are going to swallow.  No choice.  

Aside from the obvious pain of having a fire hose showed into your delicate nose (honestly, the nose has to be one of the wimpiest most tender parts of our body), you can FEEEEEEL the tube heading down, down, down.  I was thrilled when I thought she was done....only to find out she was only half-way there.  There is NOTHING like the trapped feeling of knowing a very long, very painful tube is lodged in your body.  You have to decide right then and there to either endure or freak out.  Somehow, I endured.  Prayers, people.  Prayers.  

I spent the next 42 minutes drooling and crying (it hurt!) as she'd give me each saline dose.  In order NOT to swallow, I let the saliva accumulating in my mouth leak out onto the towel I held up to my mouth.  My nose was dripping, my mouth was leaking....this HAD to be one of my more glamorous moments in life.

If I accidentally swallowed (which happened, no matter what willpower I brought to the table), I had to have another dose and try it again.  JOY.  Dose after dose after dose...  Watching the clock to make the magic 20 seconds of no swallowing mark was of no help - I swear the clock in the room was stuck in slow-motion.  

I stared at the metal coat hook on the back of the door of the surgical suite.  Stared THROUGH that hook as I breathed in and out, setting my jaw so I wouldn't gag or accidentally swallow and have to start that blasted 20 seconds over again.  I focused, I pleaded, I BESEECHED my mind to go to a pleasant place - I would picture floating on the tubes at Elkhart Lake, as Brad and I would do as kids.  I pictured resting with Susan in the Rocky Mountains.  ANYTHING to keep my mind off of trying not to choke to death during this procedure.  

For once, my favorite color (purple)
is working against me.  :(  

The TOP of the picture, where the burst of red is located denotes my initial swallow.  The purple at the very BOTTOM of the screen is my stomach and all of its glorious acid.  In the very MIDDLE of the picture is a deep, blue line running horizontally across the screen.  Any purple that seeps UP from the bottom of the picture is BAD news, which as you can see, happened with every, flipping swallow.  Stupid stomach acid, STAY where you BELONG. :(  

I was delighted to find a labyrinth located ON the campus of the Medical Complex.  Right there, just outside of admitting.  Nice.  Mind you, I walked this AFTER my test, so I may not have been in the best of moods.  And I may or may not have told the loudly, yapping lady on her cell phone to get off of the prayer circle as she was impeding my religious practice.  Clearly, not my best moment of ministry.  

 I have to give it to this Complex - they really do try and make things rather zen.  Of course ZEN in the middle of San Francisco -- accompanied by taxis constantly dropping off passengers, construction workers filing down the sidewalks with screaming, steel machines, and pedestrians and bicyclists everywhere -- is not exactly ZEN.  No labyrinth or charming little water fixture is going to take away the pain and discomfort of having a fuel hose shoved into your already sore and hurting stomach.  

Oh, this just gets better.  The Parking Garage attendants solution for Valet Parking is to park the valets cars IN FRONT OF ALREADY PARKED CARS.  I was in a perfectly allowable zone for parking, two floors up from the designated Valet area, so this solution was BEYOND lame-brained.   

As I held my hands over my ears from the HORRIBLE construction worker sounds below, I literally stepped in front of the next valet driver that drove past me.  I told him my car was parked-IN, and that it needed to be moved ASAP.  

Thinking this was going to take forever, I prepared myself to endure the screech steel-cutting from below.  Instead, the driver goes over the vehicle, opens the door, and drives the vehicle away!  The keys for these valet vehicles are left IN THE IGNITION!  Well, heck, I could have done that myself!  (And note to self about hospital valet parking!)  

After slooooowly making my back BACK through San Francisco (still a ton of traffic, even in the middle of the day, so ONE car gets through each red light), I pulled over to sit at the Marina for a moment.  
Hungry.  Sad.  Relieved.  Exhausted.  Pained.  Grateful.  All of it spilled out at the water.  

Something told me I wasn't going to be making my Christian History class this afternoon (my apologies, dear Kirsi...17th century reformists were far from my mind) - my voice was so ragged and my stomach so disturbed.  

My official surgery date is Monday, March 27th, 2017.  It was the first Monday my surgeon has available, and lines up with my Spring Break.  Nothing says vacation like a gastro-intestinal surgery!  

MANY thanks for all the prayers today
 and all the other painful days. 

I am SO looking forward to repairing this

 and happily going about my life again!  

1 comment:

Eric said...

Oh, Brenda. I am so glad that is over! You are such a gifted writer. Praying you have some relief the next 2 weeks. Love you much! Carrie