Friday, November 11, 2016

Claustrophobia Is Sneaky

I'm over fifty, and you know what that means: colonoscopy!!!!  Yes, you don't just get an AARP flyer in the mail when you hit the big 5-0.  You also get a referral from your doctor to head over to a outpatient surgical center and "get scoped", as the kids say.  I head over to meet the gastroenterologist, and he seems nice enough.  He reads the list of all my recent maladies, we talk. Well, he talks.  I listen.  He decides to do an endoscopy as well, just to be sure I didn't mess up something during chemo, and everything is scheduled. 

Now, I could discuss the fun time I had "cleansing" prior to my procedures.   That's been done to death in the blogosphere.  My biggest problem with all that was the liquid diet I had to follow the day before.  There are only so many tubs of orange jello that one can eat in a day, and I ate all of them.  And an entire carton of chicken broth.  I don't do fasting well. 

This morning Larry took me to the surgical center, where they had me sign 475 consents.  I may have purchased a house; I'm not sure.  I changed into my gown du jour, and the anesthesiologist showed up to talk shop. 

"Wait a minute," I stopped her.  "Isn't that the drug that killed Michael Jackson?"

She got a little huffy at that, but not many people get my humor, so I shut up after that, except when she asked if I had any reactions to anesthesia. I explained that I tended to freak completely out, and she nodded, and we moved on. They wheeled me into the room and put the oxygen cannula in my nose.  I was fine with that, but then they wanted to put some sort of contraption in my mouth so I wouldn't bite the camera as it went down my throat.

And that's when I did, indeed, freak completely out. 

I felt as thought I could not breathe at all, even though I knew that I was breathing.  I pushed away the contraption, pulled out the cannula from my nose, and tried to get up.  As far as I was concerned, I was done.  The three other people in the room were having none of that; the room was already paid for.  They were trying to push me down, reinsert the cannula, and put that damned pink contraption into my mouth.  My claustrophobia/PTSD hit the big red panic button in my head.

It was a fight to the death as far as I was concerned.  I did have a brief moment of cognitive clarity, in which I said very clearly that they should probably just knock me out right the eff NOW, before putting all those things over my face.  And somebody heard me, because the lights went out right after that. 

I woke up comfortable, with thankfully nothing on my face.  The nurse came to help me sit up and drink some apple juice.  The doctor said that everything looked normal.  I apologized profusely to every single person I saw,  and they were gracious about it, insisting that they'd seen worse. 

I did not see any bruises or black eyes, so I'm going to believe them. 


  1. Hopefully you'll get a ten year pass before the next one. That was a good suggestion. I think being in a haze, I could probably be their worst.

  2. Hooray for the all clear...and you did try to warn them, so you deserved gracious!


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