I go in for my endoscopy tomorrow.  Wake up at 6:45 a.m., catch a 7:20 a.m. uber, arrive at the clinic for 8:00 a.m., then head in for the procedure at 8:15 a.m.  Approximately 90 minutes later I should be good(ish) to go.  But no alcohol, no greasy or spicy foods, and no piloting any commercial airplanes.

The sedation protocol isn’t exactly clear.  The email states “If you will be sedated…” but doesn’t mention IF I will be sedated.  According to the research Akemi has done, I may have the choice of either topical numbing spray that will allow me to be awake for the 20 minute procedure or a general anesthetic (I heard fentanyl, but that can’t be right) administered via I.V. that will briefly knock me out.  Akemi showed me a video of an endoscopy from a clinic in the U.K.  The tube is the size of a garden hose!  She then showed me a video of a woman undergoing the procedure with a topical anesthetic at a Japanese clinic.  At first, they tried putting it through her nose – and it did NOT go well.  Then, they went in through her mouth and it did NOT go well.  So, I guess fentanyl (?) it is.

Of course, my concern is two-fold.  First, there’s the anxiety that comes with having two feet of tubing stuffed down your throat.  The incidents of complications are extremely low, but you can’t help but wonder: Will they damage anything on the way down?  Could I have a bad reaction to the anesthetic?  And then, there’s the results of the endoscopy.  What will they find?  Will they let me know right away or will I have to wait to talk to my doctor?

The possibilities:

GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease): Everyone seems to be operating under this initial assumption and the meds I am taking are used to threat this very condition.  And they are working, for the most part.  I’ no longer suffer indigestion so bad that I can’t sleep through the night and I am no longer waking up drenched in sweat.  That said, I can’t help but feel the nausea and indigestion aren’t so much being resolved as they are suppressed.  My sister apparently suffers from GERD as well so that suggests a genetic predisposition, but I don’t eat late (not after 6:00 p.m.) and my dinners are rarely heavy (usually a protein shake with fruit).  

H-pylori: This one is a bacteria that is very common in Japan (and often identified through gastroscopies that are actually equally common in Japan).  The symptoms match, but the prescription I’ve been taking for a couple of weeks now would have cleared it up.  And, like I said, I’m not feeling in the clear.

Giardia (or any other type of infection): Someone on the blog mentioned they had the exact same symptoms for the exact same length of time and it turned out they had giardia, a parasite they picked up from their dog.  Of anything it could be, I’m kind of hoping it’s this as it would be instantly treatable instead of something I would have to manage.  Could Suji be the culprit?

Celiac disease: This one has been suggested by several followers and while I certainly entertain the possibility, gluten intolerance feels a little…how shall I put it…bullshitty?  I don’t know.

Salmonella: Akemi’s theory is that I made myself sick by eating improperly cooked flour.  If this were the case, it’s been over a month and a half since the day in question.  You’d think I’d be fully recovered by now.

Pregnancy: I think we can scratch this one off the list.

Food allergy: Do NOT like the prospect of developing a sudden allergy to, say, cheese or chocolate.  At Akemi’s insistence, I’ve been keeping a food journal and, from what I can tell, specific foods don’t seem to trigger a response.

Gallbladder: It’s possible, but I’m not experiencing any pain, which is a symptom of an issue with my gallbladder.

Heart issue: The indigestion and night sweats might point to this.  And a recurring abnormality in my annual EKG sent me in for a EKG ultrasound last year – that turned up nothing.  Also, I do have an unusually low heart rate.  But my annual physical (bloodwork, stress test, etc.) back in October didn’t flag anything.

Something more insidious: Can’t help but think of a relative who complained of trouble swallowing, went to the hospital to get it check out, and never returned.  This is, of course, the last likely scenario – but, of course, the one that takes up the most space in my brain.  That would definitely throw a wrench into my 2023 plans.

Or…it’s something else: Something I haven’t thought of like alien spores.

Not looking forward to finding out!

Today’s Yes/No…

14 thoughts on “January 3, 2022: So what’s it gonna be?

  1. Joe – Of all the medical tests a person can have, an endoscopy is the easiest. Take the sedation and the hour nap that comes with it and wait for the results. It is really not a big deal at all!

  2. My last nose scoping was done during my exam which I didn’t expect so I didn’t have time to think about it and instead just kept still as they stuck a tube up my nose and down, it was interesting to watching the video monitor, the sensation wasn’t pleasant but I think they numbed me topically.

    I don’t like sedation I think I’d rather watch the monitor and hear the doctors reactions to what they see in real time, but I don’t know how I’d handle a tube in my throat, the nose bothered me less. I feel I had the throat done in office as well but it was too long ago to remember.

  3. Joseph.
    Calm down.
    Have the test.
    Get the results.
    Go from there.
    You’ll be fine.

  4. Hi Joe, quite a few people I know have had a similar procedure. I think they were all sedated, not under a general anaesthetic, but had no recollection of what happened.
    You will be fine, looking forward to hearing about how things went.

  5. You didn’t mention lactose intolerance, but I think that would have been picked up by your food intake diary. You definitely want to get it treated if it’s H. pylori – that’s directly implicated in stomach ulcers and possibly worse.

    If it was me, I’d definitely be getting knocked out for that procedure – I’d be in panic mode seeing it anywhere near my face.

    Regardless, good luck tomorrow and try not to worry (too much).

  6. They’ll probably give you a fast acting sedative like this one: Propofol. You’ll wake up almost immediately, with very little after effects. They used Propofol during my colonoscopy/endoscopy and my lithotripsy. I walked out of the hospital an hour later completely awake.


  7. I had an endoscopy last year (Although, at the other end! Hooray for getting old!) and they knocked me out for it. It was a light sedative (I don’t know what drug they used). I wouldn’t call it an anaesthetic, though. I was out for around 30 minutes. It’s more like a deep sleep. I was a little groggy when I woke up and was feeling fine after 15 minutes but had to wait the full 30 before I could leave. I wasn’t allowed to drive for a few hours afterwards but I felt perfectly normal for the rest of the day.

    The endoscopist came and talked to me while I was in recovery. He explained what he found (For me it was all clear. Woo hoo!) and that any biopsies he took would be sent to the lab and the results sent to my doctor.

    All in all it was a pretty painless and simple experience. Remember that the endoscopist is probably doing at least 10 of these every day.

    As for potential diagnoses: I’d prefer to know than not. At least then it can be dealt with! My Mum had her gall bladder removed last year. I can’t remember what her symptoms were, though.

  8. Long time occasional reader, first time commenter.

    This past fall a loved one of mine had two endoscopies, as part of two different hospitalizations. Both times the procedure was quick and without complications. I was more scared than loved one for the first endoscopy, but the doctors and technicians know what they are doing, trust their expertise. It’s a commonly done procedure with low risks.

    Second, I wouldn’t rule out H. Pylori just yet. If you’re only taking a PPI used to treat GERD, it could be managing the symptoms but won’t cure the infection, antibiotics would be needed.

    (Not an expert, but remembering bits of the 80% of a nutrition degree I never got around to finishing because of aforementioned loved one’s poor health.)

  9. I was having awful acid reflux (pain, couldn’t sleep, nausea, etc). Turns out my main culprit was dairy. My mother developed an issue around my age (40) and now so have I. I’ve had to cut dairy, most alcohol, spicy (picante) foods, and heavier foods. I was able to stop taking the meds I was taking for it and now I just keep some as needed if I accidentally eat something that I shouldn’t have. I’m still getting used to looking at the labels for dairy.

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