Posts Tagged ‘colonoscopy’

I’m going to do one of those annoying looking back at the year posts, so you have been warned.

The year started with nagging. A lot of nagging. I had yet to book my yearly colonoscopy and I also hadn’t organised or sent out any invitation cards for the  civil partnership.

Calling in some favours from friends got the latter sorted and a call to the docs sorted the former. Soon enough people had been invited and I had a camera shoved up my bum – Note: The people were invited to the civil partnership, not the colonoscopy. There are already too many people involved with that if you ask me.

Everything got sorted for the civil partnership and it all went well. We both had a great day and words can’t describe how happy I was with the whole thing. I know that the phrase ‘happiest day of my life’ is cliched, but it is true. I was with the person I love more than anything (even pizza) in front of family and friends. Couldn’t ask for more.

But health issues were starting to crop up. In the couple of weeks running up to the big day I had started getting really tired. Also, when I breathed deep I was getting this shooting pain across my stomach. This, coupled with some yellow tingeing in my eyes was slightly worrying. I popped along to my GPs and had they took some blood to be tested.

They warned me that I could need to go into hospital but there was no chance I was missing our big day. On the Monday after the main event I got a call from the doctors saying that my bloods were much higher than expected and that I needed another blood test to see if that was just an error or random peek.

In the following week I had the new test – it was even higher – got more tired and left work early for the first time in my life. I was also starting to feel very sick all the time. I passed the blood results on to my specilists at the JR in Oxford. That night they phoned me and ordered me into the hospital straight away. They wanted me in that night.

I went, reluctantly, the following lunchtime as I had some work that I needed to do.

Form this point, things went down hill. I started to get yellow, got more ill and started losing weight rapidly. I also started itching, although this wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

In the first 6 weeks of my married life I spent half of the time in hospital.

I had many, many, many tests in the following months, eventually being told that I needed a transplant and the process for assessment was started. Unfortunatly, by the time I got to the assessment my health had improved and I have not been placed on the list.

But, and this is a big but, that paragraph above really doesn’t describe what it was like. I went from feeling fine at the beginning of May through five months of feeling very, very, very ill. Looking back, it feels like half of this year has been stolen from me.

But, since then, my health has improved. I am not perfect, I still get very tired and have pain, but I am heading back to work.

I have carried on with my ‘fun’ work. I am working on a second series of Supermarket Matters and we even managed to write and record two holiday specials Grab’n’Go-Ho-Ho and Ayld Lang Syne. Check them out on:

I also managed to get a chance to get on stage and do some stand up. It was an awesome experience and I have another gig coming up to try and take what I have and actually make it funny.

Now, you may be thinking that I have had rather a crap year. But no. Honestly. That one day – the day where I got civilised (it’s not ‘marriage’ as, y’know, the Government don’t like gays that much) – makes up for and far surpasses all the bad. I can honestly say, that even though a fair amount of bad stuff has happened this year, this is still the best year of my life because of that one day.

It may sound soppy. But it’s true.


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So, I didn’t manage to get around to post yesterday. Sorry. But I was recovering.

The big day.

It was with mild anticipation and a huge sense of dread that I set off towards the John Radcliffe hospital (JR) for my colonoscopy. Having had the procedure before (or proceege for those who have read Lie back and think of England), I knew what was coming. And what was coming was a nine foot camera right up the jaxie.

I didn’t go into the JR as my appointment was one of the specially selected few that had the privilege of taking place in the Mobile Unit.Picture of the mobile endoscopy unit at the John Radcliffe hospital

Yes, that’s right: A whole colonoscopy unit that can be packed up and moved around the country on a truck. Now, from what I can ponder, there are two major advantages to this:

  1. If they left it on the truck all the time, they could deliver patients home while they were having the proceege.
  2. If they combined this with the local mobile library, we could see a huge reduction in bowel cancer in the over 60s. ‘Free colonoscopy while you wait’.

I have to admit, I was scared. I mean, look at it. It looks like a deluxe portaloo. I walked in and the first thing they get you to do is sign all the scary forms which essentially say:

There is a chance, when we take biopsies, that we will perforate your bowel. If this happens you will be rushed into surgery and you will be cut open.

Nothing to worry about there then.

I was then changed into a lovely hospital gown. I believe this was from the Arse hanging out season of 2009; I believe it debuted in Paris as modeled by that scary bulimic girl whose eyes are too far apart.

And then I waited. And waited.

And waited.

Eventually, I was taken through and laid down on the table. One of those little tap things was put into my hand and I was asked to roll over and present my rear-end.

I did get some good drugs, which was a bonus:

  • 20mg Buscopan
  • 3mg Midazolam
  • 25mg Pethidine

This cocktail essentially gets you happy, makes you not care about the nine foot snake and makes you forget most things.

But as I was starting to enjoy the high, it began. And, oh boy did it hurt. Actually, no, it didn’t. Not really.

It was uncomfortable; of course it was. But it wasn’t really painful. By the time I had started to get interested in what they were doing it was all over. I am sure this was helped by the lovely nurse who talked to me constantly, keeping my mind off it.

But all in all, the worst part was the prep. In all honestly, as I must have these every year, if I had the choice, I would be booking that team up in advance.

So, now it is just the recovery. For the rest of that day I had amazing gut pain. This is due to the gas they pump into your bum to allow them to maneuver around the bends. These pains followed me though into today but they do get much better with every fart.

So the plan is to head into work tomorrow afternoon. My body still wants to sleep a lot, I guess that is normal after a fairly invasive proceege.

Oh, and for those of you interested: They didn’t see any obvious signs of cancer, which is good. They have taken some biopsies to take a closer look, but initial thoughts are positive.

I shall let you all know the results of the biopsies when I get them.

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Just about to take my second mug of Citramag. This post is likely to be brief as I am still experiencing the effects from the first mug.

There is a possibility that I may poo myself away completely.

After this, though, there is no more prep; I will then be in the realms of the actual colonoscopy.

Oh, best go…

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So, I’ve just downed my first mug of Citramag which the packet describes as:

Bowel evacuant for oral administration.

Now this isn’t a normal, over the counter laxative. No, this is the Daddy of all laxatives. This will flush you out so clean they could shine a camera up your arse and take pictures — which, incidentally, is what they plan to do.

Symptoms so far: Slightly odd feeling in my tummy.

The booklet I have does say that it can take anywhere between half an hour and 3 hours.

So, I guess I play the waiting game.

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So, I had my last meal this morning. Guess what it was. No, go on, guess.

Yep, it was a toasted cheese sandwich.

Since then I have been in work desperately trying to fit the rest of the week’s work into the morning.

I had planned to leave at about 1pm, but that didn’t happen. I eventually left at 2pm.Senna tablets

This has put me behind on my prep for the colonoscopy. At 2 I was meant to have taken my senna tablets. So, it looks like I am on a hour delay.

The senna tablets taste horrible and get stuck in the mouth, forcing you to taste every last one of them. Ten of them I have to take. Ten!

And they come with the strangest warning I have ever seen on any medication:

This medicine may colour the urine red.

  1. ‘The urine’? What does that mean? My urine? Any urine? The urine that I keep in a jar, just in case?
  2. Red? Red pee? How cool is that. I mean, if they could find out what it is that does only that and bottle it, think of all the people who would buy it.

So, this is it. The beginning of the Afternoon of Poo. Stay tuned.

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So, it’s t-minus 2 days until my colonoscopy which means it is time to start the prep.

As of this morning, I have only be able to eat low fibre food.

The handy little booklet the John Radcliffe hospital gave me says:

Eat a low fibre diet, consisting of white fish, chicken white bread, eggs, cheese, or potato without skins. High fibre foods such as red meat, fruit, vegetables, cereals, nuts, salad, wholemeal foods must be avoided.

Have plenty of fluids to drink.

So, today I have eaten a toasted cheese baguette for breakfast…


A toasted cheese baguette for lunch.

For tea, I think I will be rocking the boat and having some tomato soup.

Now you may be asking how I can have tomato soup when I have been told to avoid vegetables (and fruit, as that is what a tomato really is), but, ha, I say.  As this is a soup with no bits it must be okay… mustn’t it?

Tune in tomorrow for my last meal for a day and a half… oh, and the start of the bowel prep.

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One of the many bonuses of having primary sclerosing cholangitis is the fact that I am at a much higher risk of many types of cancer. </scarcasm>

Some of these, such as cholangiocarcinoma, are very scary. Cholangiocarcinoma is considered to be an incurable and rapidly lethal. It is also very hard to spot. So, that’s good! One of the less scary forms of cancer that I am more likely to get (never thought I’d ever write a sentence like that) is bowel cancer.

Now, this, if caught early enough, is easily fixed. In fact, as long as it hasn’t spread, in the worse case they can just chop out the bowel and let you poo into a bag. To ensure that I don’t get this, I now have to go for annual colonoscopies.

Think of this like Christmas, just without the present giving, food or any of the fun. Instead, think of it like a 9 foot camera being rammed up your… well, I’ll be crass… your bum. Now, I’ve had one of these before and I’ve had its baby brother: a sigmoidoscopy. At just 4 feet long, it’s the younger brother with a small man complex.

The time I went for the sigmoidoscopy I was ‘prepped’ in the hospital by a lovely Polish lady.

*Flashback wiggly lines* I nervously walked into the room. In this order, I see: an overweight polish lady, a bed covered in that blue paper they always have at hospitals, a sink with what looks like two baby bottles warming in it, and a chair with a hole cut out of the seat with a cardboard container below it.
‘Don’t worry. For people who don’t make toilet’ she said.
‘MMhhhhnnnnnnn.’ I replied. Not taking my eyes off that seat.
‘You are here for proceege?’ I take a wild stab that ‘proceege’ is her way of saying ‘procedure’.
‘Ummm, yeah.’
‘Lie down, face wall, knees on chest.’ As this is a hospital, I was, of course, wearing one of those lovely hospital gowns with no back. So, the lovely Polish lady had a perfect view of my bum.
Not just a perfect view it seems; also a perfect approach.
Quicker than a flash I had not one but two baby bottle teats shoved up my bum and the contents squeezed into me. (Not at the same time. Gah, sometimes I think my readership is ruder than me.) *Back to the present wiggly lines*

That was my first enema. And, I have to tell you, I can see why people get this done for fun. No, wait. The opposite of that. I can’t begin to reason why.

After this — and the inevitable evacuation — I was sent to another room where the doctor and three nurses explained what they would do and asked if I wanted any anesthetic.

Now, you have to understand, they don’t give you much. Just enough to make you groggy. So either way I would still be conscious, the only difference being that I wouldn’t be normal again for hours afterwards if I took them up on their offer. I said I would prefer painkillers. Perfectly reasonable, I thought. But no. It was anesthetic or nothing.

So, thinking back to my colonoscopy and how easy it was, I said no. They started. And, my dear Darwin did it hurt. It felt like… Well, it felt like a 4 foot camera being shoved up my bum.

Followed by the camera man.

Then the sound man.

Then that big furry mic thing they have on the long pole.

It was then it hit me: The reason my colonoscopy was a breeze was because I was off my tits on drugs. Remember kids, always say yes to drugs when someone is buggering you with a camera. So this time — which is only 2 and a bit weeks away — I will be taking the drugs.

Oh, and if you wanted to know why they have three nurses on hand: two are to hold you down and the other is to patronise you by just telling you to breathe.

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