No Gain Without Pain
I initially went to my GP after a series of bouts of rectal bleeding. After a short inspection with the inevitable glove clad finger she announced that I should really have this inspected properly. The NHS is much maligned but, possibly because I'm Type 2 diabetic the doc got me an appointment within a couple of days of the initial visit; in fact it came through so quickly that I was in the Hemel Hempstead endoscopy department at 10.15 this morning, before the paperwork landed on the doormat at home. As I hadn't then found this site I arrived with no idea of what I was letting myself in for; I do however have a fairly comprehensive idea of what the symptoms might or might not be caused by and I was pretty keen to know which of them was this weeks winner.
The people in the department were fine though the lack of paperwork seemed to faze my assigned nurse who presented me with a consent form and told me to read it, which seemed a bit pointless as I had no idea what I was expected to consent to. However she quickly got back on track and gave me a card listing the things that could go wrong, which was reassuring - not.
We then quickly moved on to the enema; having a stranger shoving a rubber nozzle into your anus and squeeze fluid into your lower bowels isn't one of life's great pleasurable experiences - not for me anyway - but like the rest of the procedure it helps if you focus on the reasons why it is being done. I was then told to 'hold onto it' for ten minutes and then 'go when you feel like it'. About fifteen minutes later I was still waiting to 'feel like it' but decided to go and give 'it' a try. The nearest previous equivalent (in my experience) to what followed relied on some dodgy seafood doing what it does the best.
Shortly afterwards I was wheeled in for the main event. Albeit the scope was flexible there was quite a lot of discomfort; nearest thing to it that I've experienced before was kidney stones. Maybe I'm particularly sensitive - dunno - but I don't think the nurses will have been commenting an what a brave little soldier I was. Relaxation is the key, apparently but it's easier said than done.
By far the best bit was when the consultant told me to look at the video display and pointed out that the bleeding had been cause by a simple haemorrhoid. If treated with respect, dietary roughage and glycerine suppositories, it need not cause me too much of a problem going forward - I hope.
Was I relieved? Yes I bloody well was. My aunt died of colonic cancer; a friend of a friend died leaving a wife and two kids, and one of my best mates had to begin underfunded early retirement due to the same disease.
Would I have it done again, knowing what I know now? Yup, 100 per cent 'cos the discomfort associated with the procedure is short lived and it might, just might, detect something really nasty early enough to make the difference between life and death.