On Monday 3 October I had yet another camera-in-mouth hospital visit. This time it was to check and see if I have any oesophageal varices. These are just like the varicose veins that your grandparents may have but inside my throat.
They can have the nasty habit of opening up and filling your stomach with blood. If you ignore the warning signs (pain in the throat, vomiting blood) then you can very easily die from this. But then, if I had those symptoms, I think I would be on my way to A&E very quickly.
They develop in people with liver diseases because of a build up of pressure in various veins. When the liver becomes upset it is harder to push blood through it. This results in an increased pressure in the portal vein – this isn’t so bad in itself. Where it gets worrying is this pressure follows the circulartory system backwards until it finds a weak point. The first one it comes across is the oesophageal veins.
The treatment, if the veins are bleeding, or close to popping is to band them.
So, I had a camera down my throat to looks for this. But good news for me. While the doctor could see that there was increased pressure in my veins, I only had one small varicose vein (in fact, the doctor almost missed it). It didn’t need any intervention and I was sent on my way. Woo! Go me.
I think that is the end of my camera swallowing antics for the moment.
On to the next big hospital visit. Part one of my transplant assessment on 31 October.