January 20, 2007

What's in my Stomach?

About 2 weeks ago, I embarrassed myself by vomiting on the bus on my way to work. I had felt like wanting to vomit but I couldn't alight the bus in time and I sprouted like a merlion... That was a result of overeating. The night before, I had light dinner with my family before I brought W in search of roti john at Serangoon Gardens. That very night, I felt bloated (which wasn't too unusual because sometimes I get that when I overeat a little) but still went to bed. Was awaken at 3am feeling nauseous but nothing came out. In the end, vomited on the bus the next morning...

Just on Thursday night after a simple dinner at home, I felt something similar again - feeling of wanting to vomit. Each time I burp, I was careful that it was not vomit but just burping. After some medication and much burping (due to too much gases) I didn't feel much better the next day. I was prompted to go see a Gastroenterologist for a proper diagnosis of what's happening to me. The GE doctor sent me to do gastroscopy this morning.

The fact that I had to undergo a day surgery procedure really scares me. Doesn't help when I am already rather affected by some people who tries to be nasty to me at work. Had to arrive at hospital's Endoscopy Centre at 7.30am (alone by myself :( ) where they register me, do all the medical parameters check (blood pressure, etc), ask me about my medical history (which I had no story to tell). Then I was put to lie on the bed, awaiting the doctor to come. Lying on the bed for that probably 30 mins or so, many thoughts came through my head... what if it hurts like crazy? What if I was not properly sedated and I could feel the probe? What if I die from the procedure because I cannot wake up from the sedation? At one point, I decided that I shall just trust God and pray...

I really thank God for my Endoscopy Centre colleague who came and talk to me and assure me when I felt so alone... The Centre was one where I had went in to do an audit on its safe practices there in May last year and now I had to be patient under their care. From my colleague (she was the most senior nurse of the Centre), I learnt that undergoing sedation won't be such a scary thing. She also assured me that the GE doctor who's performing the procedure is a very good doctor and many of my colleagues also go to him. She also chatted with me and personally did the cannulation (insertion of a cannula which allows doctor to gives me sedation drugs intravenously) for me. When it was time for me to be wheeled into the procedure room, I could not think of anything... my mind was a blank. My doctor asked me if I was better last night, I said yes. I saw one nurse preparing the scope, putting the tube into the machine where it was hooked up to a display screen where the doctor is supposed to be able to see whats in my stomach later. Another nurse asked me to turn and lie on my left, set up a blood pressure monitor on my right arm and a pulse oximeter on my index finger on my left hand. He also put in an adapter-like plastic thing into my mouth. That was to keep my mouth open to insert the scope into my stomach through my mouth. I was told to close my eyes. And next, I felt a rush of liquids (cocktail of sedative drugs) flowing into my veins where the cannula was on my right hand. This was not painful at all. The next thing I knew, I slowly awakened at the recovery area. I lay there a while to regain my full consciousness before I was wheeled to the xray department to have my abdominal ultrasound done. This was to ensure that I don't have stones in my gall bladder. If I have stones in my gall bladder, it could stop the enzymes from going into my stomach to digest what I eat. And I would have to remove the stones via surgery.

At the end of the entire morning of ordeal, the GE doctor told me that there was nothing very wrong, except that the digestion of food in my stomach was retarded. My stomach muscles could not 'push' the food down into the intestines and so the food fermented and produced gases that made me burped and have the feeling of bloatedness. In fact, my mee sua dinner from last night was still in my stomach. It was more than 12 hours from my dinner and the time of the procedure. In fact I only could finish half my mee sua! This should not be the case. One polyp was also found in my stomach which supposedly had nothing to do with my condition. Doctor gave me 5 types of medicine (!!) for one week and required me to see him again in a week's time.

Inside my stomach - the little polyp (top right), doctor removing it (bottom left)
and the white spot left behind where polyp used to be (bottom right).
The polyp was sent to the lab for further tests.

See the white foamy stuff? Those bits are my undigested dinner from last night (more than 12 hours)!
The same foamy stuff was also seen on the above photo, top left.

My array of 5 medicine - 3 before food, 1 during food and 1 after food

The saying goes that health is very important. I got to realise that as I lay on the bed awaiting for the gastroscopy. Prior to this, I never had any procedures done on me. The closest was blood donation to donate my blood. Which also means that my hand had to be cannulised for the first time. I was assured that that was the most painful part (and that was true!). Thanks to the skills of my doctor, I didn't feel any less after the procedure. I regained my consciousness pretty well too - no dizzy spells, weakness, etc. Thank God that there was no stones and nothing very wrong with me... except that I have to watch the digestion of the food I eat ;)

4 other thoughts:

Serene Yip said...

Hi! Hope u r over the ordeal now. I went through an endoscopy procedure as well. It's some years back now. It was to scan for ulcers due to my frequent gastritis attacks. I was a little less fortunate as you as I was half awake when they were probing me so it was quite an unpleasent experience. They gave me the all cleared though so it ended well. =)

island said...

yup am over. in fact, it didn't feel like i did the scope. doctor used a cocktail of sedative drugs which he skillfully used on me. i don't even remember a thing about the procedure when it was done on me!

just got all my test results back. doctor says its ok. no bacteria. to cut out the long medical terms, my condition is some reflux thing... food cannot go down but stay in stomach or go up. medication has helped... let's see how it goes... :)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I just had went thru the very same procedure and when you were telling us about your symptoms , I swear you were talking about me ! I get full, even if i eat very little, am constantly burping. And I vomitt at least twice a week from this condition. I would love to know what medications you took so i can consult my gastro doc. THANKS... estillofino@yahoo.com -- Mario

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