Yesterday Michael, and I trekked to UCLA so I could have an upper endoscopy done. It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be, although I'm sure it was fairly boring for him.
We got there extra early because we were afraid of the traffic on the 405 (a freeway I try to avoid 95% of the time, even though I live right next to it). After the initial scare that we wouldn't be able to find parking in the crowded parking lot, we parked and headed up to the third floor of the 100 UCLA Medical Plaza and popped into the Medical Procedures Unit. I signed what felt like 8 billion pieces of paper, and then waited for over an hour and a half. Finally, all the pieces came together, and they called me in.
The best part? They didn't put me on a scale to find out what my weight was. They just asked what I weighed. Yes!! Also in the good news category, my blood pressure was initially 140/84, which is WAY lower than it is when I check in at my other doctor. Pat put an one id bracelet on my left wrist and another bracelet that said, "Falling Risk" and http://www.posey.com/.
The check-in nurse, Pat, then left me alone for a bit with the curtains closed, so I could take my shirt and shoes off and put on the attractive patient's robe. I snuck out to use the bathroom, and when I came back, a very peppy young gentleman by the name of Clarence came in and observed that I wasn't ready to be transported yet. My IV hadn't been started. 5 minutes later Pat and another nurse came in while Clarence hovered. A flurry of activity occurred all at the same time. An IV was started, blood pressure was taken, an oxygen tube was stuck into my nose, and questions were asked. Many, many questions. "What are you having done?" (Ummm, don't you know?), "Are you allergic to any medications?" (for the fourth time, just penicillin) "Do you have Hep C?" (Ummm, that's why I'm here) "Are you on a transplant list?" (What?? Why should I be on a transplant list, my liver's not that far gone, should I be on a transplant list?) They quickly assured me that it was okay, that they were doing this so I wouldn't have to be on a transplant list. (Whew!!)
Before I knew quite what was happening, everything was set up, and all the tubes connected, and Clarence was wheeling me into another room where Dr. D said hello in that very charming italian accent of his, and shook my hand. A student doctor named Maya from the University of Massachusetts was introduced, and I was told she would be observing the procedure. The nurse whose name I don't remember, (I'll call her Winny, just because) must have asked me three times why I was there and what they were going to do. I think this was more to make sure I understood what was going on, and that they were indeed doing the right test.
Winny then positioned me on my left side and put some support under my right side, and turned the oxygen on. I actually felt very comfortable. Then she said that she was going to give me some medication via my IV. I said okay. A couple of seconds later, I felt a little dizzy, but fine. Then she said she was going to give me some more, and I don't remember anything until another nurse woke me up back in the original curtained area by asking me if I would like some apple juice or ginger ail. Whoa! I thought I would be semi-conscious, but I could have been sleeping in my own bed at home, I was so out of it.
After a while, I finished my apple juice (which is good, considering I hadn't eaten or drank anything in almost 20 hours), and I was sufficiently alert so that I could get dressed and ready to go. Pat thought the doctor was going to come in and see me, but it would take some time since he was in a procedure. I ended up waiting for him by the patient lockers. She finally said that since my paperwork said the test was normal, she said I could go, and that I was to call him if there were any questions. She handed me a couple of instructions papers, one of which was a series of pictures of my esophagus, stomach and upper colon and the words "Normal Test" on it. I have never actually seen that part of my body from that angle, so found the whole thing quite interesting. It was really brightly lit though. I'm thinking about framing it.
I ambled out to the lobby, where Michael had fallen asleep, and then went to the parking lot where I paid for the parking ($11.00!!!). Next on our agenda was FOOD!! and to get his cat from the vet.
Except for a splittling headache about 10:00 p.m., it all went fabulously, and I'm very happy to know that I don't have to worry about any bleeding nodes as I start this whole medication treatment!