Blog Posts · Health · Lifestyle

A Day In The Life – Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Happy hump-day one and all.  Apologies for the radio silence but after getting out of hospital and resting and then a big appointment on Monday I have been focusing on my health a little.

Firstly, if you follow me on social media you will have seen that just under two weeks ago I had another incident with my knee locking.  This happens due to the degeneration in the joint and unfortunately ended up in a late night visit to A and E (thanks lovely Dad) and three nights under the care of Ward 205 in the Royal Derby hospital (thanks fab staff).  Knee was once again straightened in theatre and I am being followed up with my fantastic orthopaedic doctor to see what we can do next.

On Monday I was scheduled for a flexible sigmoidoscopy camera test to check out my rectum and remaining large bowel as I have been having some pain, trouble passing the mucous which is normal from the remaining bowel as it is still working and some infrequent, but heavy bleeding from my bottom.  I decided to take you through what happens during one of these tests in another day in the life style as I did for my first Stelara appointment, as I think knowing what happens can be reassuring to those facing similar tests.

Monday 19th February

7.30am Wake up a little later than planned so have to start getting ready straight away.  Ste laughs as I put on make-up – he says you are going to have a camera up your bum, they won’t be looking at your face!  Charming, but he makes me laugh which I am pleased about as I am feeling a little sick and it must be nerves.  I just out the basics on as I am not going to go overboard for the hospital and know I won’t be feeling up to much later.  Today I am having a flexible sigmoidoscopy.

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7.50am Complete nightmare as Ste gets his wire caught on something as he is getting up and rips the needle out of his port.  Run downstairs to grab all the sterile stuff he needs so he can sort himself out.  Need to keep an extra eye on his temperature etc now today, looking for any signs of infection.  Very scary but he is ok apart from being a little sore.

8am Just checked the letter and realise I have to be there for 9.30am not 9am as I first thought so have a little more time than we thought.  Try to eat some breakfast cereal but only manage a couple of mouthfuls due to my nausea.  Take some extra anti sickness.  Because my large bowel is no longer connected to the rest of my digestive system  I have no prior prep for the test to do at home.

9.05am The taxi collects us to take us to hospital.  As I am being sedated I am not allowed to drive home.

9.25am Sign in at the endoscopy unit and we sit and wait.

9.45am  I am called through by a nurse to got through all the paperwork.  He is absolutely lovely and talks about his wife, who also has an ileostomy due to Hirschsprung’s disease.  I then say goodbye to Ste and he goes off for a wander while I am led through to get changed.

10.05am  I get changed into the gorgeous blue shorts (one size, hole in bum area for easy access) and gown, then go through to a little room with a bed and a bathroom attached.

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10.15am Enema time.  To clear the normally occurring mucous out of my rectum and large bowel, I am given an enema.  It is quite painful, which normally isn’t the case.  Within five minutes I am running to the bathroom.  Sitting on the toilet I start to feel very hot and faint.  This is so unpleasant and reminds me of the torturous trips to the bathroom I had prior to my ileostomy.  When I finally get up I see the toilet bowl is full of blood, clots and a couple of large, hard clumps of mucous. I go and lay down for ten minutes and am feeling slightly less faint.  I return to the toilet and check that there is nothing more to come out, get myself decent and call the nurse back.

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I feel terrible!

10.50  I am taken into the scope room by the doctor after he has gone through the consent forms.  These can be pretty scary, with talk of perforating the bowel and infection as possible risks from this type of test.  The risks are very low though, but they have to make you aware of them.  The doctor pops a cannula in the back of my hand (a children’s one as they are small veins) and I lay on my left hand side.  There are three nurses in the room with us and they all introduce themselves.  They use a children’s scope as from previous MRI’s my doctor knows I have strictures, so wants to lessen the risk of pain and the probe getting stuck behind them.  The sedation is put through my cannula and the procedure starts.  It is intensely painful and even with my high pain threshold and the sedation, I struggle to keep my cool.  The doctor is very good and explains that from what he can see, he knows it is sore and is going to go no further.  He asks if he can take some biopsies as if not, I will possibly need to be brought back to do them anyway and I agree and hang on for another couple of minutes.

11.45  I am taken through to recovery and my BP and heart rate is monitored.  I am then given a cup of tea and some biscuits.  Once I have had those I am able to go out to meet back up with Ste and wait for the results.  I just want to reassure anyone having this test that it normally does not hurt, I actually had my last one with no sedation and it was uncomfortable but fine.  The pain I experienced today was due to the problems I am having in that area.

11.55  I go back into the room with the first nurse I saw who confirms I have haemorrhaging proctitis (inflammation of the rectum which is bleeding).  Above this there is normal bowel mucous and when washed away the doctor couldn’t see visible signs of inflammation but it was ‘oozing blood’.  The biopsies were taken to check for microscopic inflammation as well as being taken from the rectum.  The report will be passed to my gastro doctor and once the biopsy results are returned to her, we will see what can be done to sort this.

12.30  A taxi home and I go straight to bed.  I feel completely washed out from the enema, pain and the sedation.

5pm Ste wakes me up and gets me to have something to eat and a drink.  He has been trying to wake me for an hour but I was out for the count!

7pm I go upstairs, have a quick shower and bag change and get back into bed.  Once Ste has showered, he joins me and we both read until we go to sleep.  Cuddling up to him in bed after a long and tough day always make me feel better and I am so grateful for him being there for me today.

Check out this post from Rocking2Stomas about her experience of a flexible sigmoidoscopy ‘Lights, Camera…Oh No Not Again?’

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