Thursday, January 21, 2016

Endoscopic Revelations

Yesterday, I had a camera shoved down my throat.

What did you do?

Had my second endoscopy. The first one was ten years ago and that was a double duty doozer.

On that day I had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. A twofer.

My fondest memory of that day is the gentle high I enjoyed upon regaining consciousness, and for the next few hours.

It wasn't really a high, it was more a sense of altered consciousness, a mildness, a calmness.

I hoped for the same today and was not disappointed. It is truly a delicious feeling.

If I could recapture this feeling every day of my life I would rule the world. I don't know what the hell drug they use, which is good, because if I did I'd find a way to obtain it and I would hoard it until I had a three lifetime supply.

It destroys anxiety and introduces an artificial peace of mind, which in the absence of the real thing, is quite comforting.

Anyway, I have been having throat problems for four months now. I have progressed from a general practitioner, to an ear, nose and throat guy, all the way up to the big leagues - The Earl of Endoscopy.

Needless to say I have been concerned. A sore throat that lasts for four months tends to unnerve a person.

Bottom line: All is cool. The exact quote on the piece of paper they gave me is: "Normal exam today, everything looks great."

So that's good. Except for the fact I still have a sore throat.

The general attitude I have experienced from the medical community as I squirmed through this four month process is one of perplexity and little else. "Hmmm, a perpetual sore throat."

No alarm bells, no panic, no push for a solid diagnosis.

I am not going to get into that today. I want to talk about yesterday.

Carol and I arrived at the Endoscopy Emporium at 10:15; fifteen minutes early. I was finally wheeled in for the procedure at 11:50.

The waiting, What the hell is up with the waiting?

Phase one: I progressed from the reception area to a cubicle at 11:15. This is where I took off my shirts and put on that purposefully ridiculous backwards, paper thin pretend bathrobe thing.

They jabbed an IV into the back of my right hand and asked me 376 questions exploring everything from my mental health to my relationship with street drugs.

Then I waited. Fifteen or twenty minutes more.

The only good thing about phase one was that they draped a heated bed sheet over me. Heated.


I want Carol to do this for me every night between September and June for the rest of my natural life.

As I lay behind the curtain it struck me how odd it is to be lying there in anxiety as the people on the other side of the curtain walk back and forth, chattering, just doing their jobs. A little joking, some conversation (one woman was getting ready to take off for Florida on vacation), typical co-worker to co-worker interaction.


Phase Two: The Trip.

They wheeled me to the room where the endoscopy would be performed.

Odd feeling. Rolling through the halls in a bed, past clusters of hospital employees talking, who throw a casual glance my way just to see what is up.

Phase Three: The procedure.

Dr. Feelgood walks in and says to me: "So why are we doing this again today?"

What? Are you fucking kidding me? Are you incapable of reading your own file?

This is the same guy I saw back in November, a guy I talked to for about fifteen minutes, a guy who appeared to be taking notes, a guy who performed a rudimentary exam on that day, a guy who agreed to an endoscopy and told me he'd be performing it.

I repeat: I do not trust the medical community in this country.

Phase Four: Post procedure fun.

Carol and I grabbed a bunch of Kentucky Fried Chicken (neither of us had eaten anything yet), went home and binge watched NYPD Blue. For SEVEN hours.

The only thing better than binging on NYPD Blue, is binging on NYPD Blue in an artificial state of eunphoria.

Highlight of the hospital visit: The singing employee.

As I was lying in the waiting room under a heated blanket behind a curtain, alone with my thoughts during Phase 1, the song "Sugaree" by the Grateful Dead was playing on some magical musical device.

A woman right outside the curtain was singing along.

I don't know who it was, but she made me smile.

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