Friday, January 09, 2009

It's done, and all is well

Actually, "it" was done early this morning. The "it" in question is, of course, the colonoscopy I posted about yesterday.

We got to the hospital at 6:30 this morning. The folks there were lovely, and I was made very comfortable. Things got rolling pretty much on time. It was scheduled for 7:30, and I got moved to the "procedure room" at 7:30-something. The nurses and the anesthesiologist were there. As I was moved into position and made comfy, the anesthesiologist prepared the meds to inject into my IV (that was started in the room where I got changed and waited) and explained what was going to happen.

Now this is where it got interesting--or, rather, this is the part that remains most interesting to me. Once my doctor came in to get ready to do the colonoscopy, the anesthesiologist told me I'd feel a little burning as the medications went into my veins. Okay. So I focused on a piece of equipment as I decided I wanted to see how fast I faded out. I expected it to take just a few seconds, and I was looking to satisfy my curiosity, figuring I'd have some mental comparison to falling asleep or being drowsy from drinking alcohol. So I focused on a piece of equipment near me as I felt a slight--and really not uncomfortable--burning sensation, as he had mentioned. A couple of seconds passed and I sensed I might be getting very slightly drowsy. Then... "okay, we're all done."

Huh? What the...? How did that happen? I mean, I know how it happened, but that was scary in the way the world was there and then it was gone. Like a light being switched off. *snap* and it was over. In a way, it was a pleasant experience. Still, it was a bit disturbing.

In thinking about it all day (yes, I can mentally pick away at a little thing like this for great lengths of time), I have decided that one of two things happened: either 1) it really is that sudden--that there is some threshold point at which consciousness just snaps off when the brain is hit with these chemicals; or, 2) the drugs caused some kind of minimal amnesia for those minutes. I'm not using the word "amnesia" in a dramatic way. I just mean that I lost some memories.

Number 2 may be right. For one thing, I understand that this kind of anesthesia leaves some people in a condition that they can respond to things they're told without having any memory of it. For another, I only remember some of what the doctor told me when I woke up. More importantly, I realized shortly after it that I was remembering some of it inaccurately. Marc told me what my doctor had said of the results. I told Marc that I remembered hearing that, "but I thought that was yesterday." I immediately realized that couldn't be right and said as much. This was information from the colonoscopy, so I couldn't have heard it yesterday. I was confused.

So was I really suddenly out cold? Who knows? I suppose it really doesn't matter. Honestly, having been nervous about my first time being rendered unconscious by medications, I was very happy to wake up and find that it was so sudden and then over.

More importantly, I was very happy to hear that the doctor found no sign of polyps or cancer. All is well, and I am a happy camper. As Joey7777 correctly commented in the prior post and I also knew would be the case going in, I am very happy that I got this done.

With the cancer history in my family--and considering how effective this exam can be in heading off the potential for colon cancer--I am very pleased that I have gotten this done!


Joey7777 said...


Canuck Nurse said...

That, my friend, is the wonder of conscious sedation. :) A staple around the ICU, it provides wonderful benefits including short-term amnesia - no need to remember something snaking through your large intesting - analgesia, and restfullness. I'm guessing from your description and having been through more of them than I can count, it was probably a combination of Versed and Fentanyl they gave you. A cocktail of the gods. It's my first choice for my own patients when I'm requesting orders from the docs...

Jess said...

Thanks for the smile, Joey.

Matt, I think it was Diprivan (or at least that was the main medication). Is that similar?

Canuck Nurse said...

Oh!!! Propofol! Excellent! Yes, great stuff. Amnesiatic and very fast recovery. No sooner do you stop it than the patient starts to wake up in minutes. Also used a lot for our head injury patients - keeps them completely snowed save for when we want to wake them once an our to check their neurological status. Then it's right back to sleep. Good stuff! Glad everything turned out well!

Patrick said...

VERY glad to hear all went well. Getting older kind of blows sometimes doesn't it, but I guess it's better than the alternative, right?

Pua; Bakin' and Tendin' Bar said...

So glad all went well. Quick colonoscopy story in our world...Charlie discovered that his doctor was an avid golfer. When he went in for his colonoscopy, he put a put a post-it note on his butt labeled "19th Hole". I could hear the laughter in the procedure room all the way out to the waiting room. When they let me in to see him in recovery, his doctor handed me a $20 bill and said.."Best laugh I've had in a long time. Drinks are one me!"

Jess said...

Patrick: It sure is, and I hope tests like this will help maintain quality into those later years!

Pua: That's very funny, and it fits with something I suggested to Marc before I went in for this. We both work in healthcare, so we're aware of marking surgical sites (and, when there's any risk of a "wrong side" error, like when it's a knee operation, marking the one they shouldn't touch--like "not this knee" on a right knee when a left knee is to be worked on). So I told Marc we should take a marker and write "Colonoscopy here" on my butt with an arrow pointing the way. Alas, we didn't do it. Perhaps next time! :)

Lee said...

Glad to hear it turned out well!