Damn, I suck at updating. Yeah, well, deal.
I saw the (decidedly non-batshit crazy and very good) gastroenterologist. It’s really funny when specialists seem young to me. When he did the endoscopy (more on that) he actually hadn’t shaved (maybe for the whole week since I’d seen him) so he had a five o’clock shadow. It made him seem less like a middle school student and more like he was now able to drive himself around, so long as it was during daylight hours. Y’know what? It occurs to me that this is just going to happen to me more often. Damn.
So the deal was that while nothing looked all stretched out and weird on my barium swallows, I was definitely slow in the whole esophagus region. It didn’t seem like there were any obstructions, but he had to do an endoscopy on the upper GI tract just to be sure. He also wanted to biopsy for signs of an allergic reaction in my esophagus. If the endoscopy came back clear (which, after speaking with me, he was pretty sure it would), he’d order a manometry study. That had to be done in Boston though.
Went and had the endoscopy. I don’t have any allergic type reactions in my esophagus, and while (surprise!) there was a little stomach polyp, it was a single one that was just sitting there looking innocent enough (didn’t stop them from snipping it off and displaying under a glass slide for all the lab to see though.) I guess those are pretty unusual, but they’re also asymptomatic and usually not really worrisome. So next up comes the manometry.
Well, came and went. I am glad that’s over. This was my first time dealing with Boston Medical Center. Yeah. I really, really liked the nurse who did the procedure. She was awesome. She was really good, patient, confidence inspiring, and friendly. Plus, she obviously totally realized the administrative part of the office is staffed with people who would really rather have been born independently wealthy so they could be the boss of everyone.
When she called to tell me about the procedure, she asked if they’d registered me yet. They had not. She gave me the main registration number because, as she put it, “I’m not sure what the hold up is, but there’s just going to be drama you don’t want prior to any testing if you come to them and you’re not registered.”
I called the number and registered. And hour later, the GI office called to register me. Again. I told them I had done it. The woman insisted I hadn’t. I said I gave the nice gentleman at the main number all sorts of information about my insurance and whatnot. The woman said I needed to register because they needed my demographics.
Yeah, like whether I was born in Massachusetts, or served in the military, or how long I attended school? Like my race, religious preferences and languages spoken? Like what my favorite color was, and whether I like the sound of corduroy pant legs rubbing together? Like that?I finally convinced the lady I was registered. She finally got her head out of her ass and actually looked up the record.
The next day, when I went in for the test, I knew what the original hold up had been. This lady apparently derails over any number of unexpected things that happen during the workday and implodes, leaving the poor woman next to her to handle most of the in person and phone traffic. She was imploding when I walked in that morning.
The nice nurse saved me and did the actually pretty horrible procedure known as an esophageal manometry study. It wasn’t the worst test ever, but it is probably in my top three. Yeah.
My nose numbed up fine enough (the nurse shoved a q-tip with novocaine up one nostril and I sat there with a big long stick hanging from my nose. I am glad Mr. Shoe was out listening to the lady implode in the waiting area. He would have taken photos. Then he would have barfed at the next part.) The nurse did not numb the back of my throat. I guess they do sometimes, but I get the impression it might be better not to. Anyway. I wish they had… I think it might have helped.
Then the nurse hands me a glass of water… SO. PARCHED. But I can only drink it to help the long sensor catheter thing go down. I couldn’t take pills or anything that morning. I am glad I didn’t. Yeah, I mean, taking them late screwed up the whole day, but I shudder to think… Anyway, I was thirsty.
Then she takes out the catheter thingee with the sensors. It is the size of a goddamn garden hose. Okay, not really, because it has to fit up your nose, so I imagine it had to be the width almost of my pinkie finger. I know, because I can almost get my pinkie all the way up there (heh heh). She says it will go up nose, down into my stomach, and then she’ll pull it up a little bit so it is just above my lower esophageal sphincter (heh heh) and then I’ll get to swallow controlled amounts of saline and then some jello crap. She said they’d run the tube in while I was sitting upright, and then I’d get to lie back and get the saline and jello via a syringe, like the type they use to feed baby birds (she didn’t say that, but it was).
Anyway, I heard tell that placing this tube should take about a minute. Yeah. I am sure the nice nurse lied to me when she said I was doing great. I think she just didn’t want me to retch all over her shoes. It triggered a gag reflex at really weird times. I think it had to be hitting the back of my throat when the length being fed in got out of balance with the stuff going down. And sipping water while feeding it in? Yeah, I think it would have been better if she just shoved it in all at once, once she knew it was past my trachea.
I think it took about ten or fifteen minutes to place, but once it was in it was easier. It still sucked, but not so bad. The saline was kind of gross because it was warm and, um, salt water. Also, about mid way through the second syringe I started to feel like it wasn’t draining into my stomach. I have no clue if this was the case really… Maybe it just felt like there was a giant sensor laden tube in my throat and salt water tastes nasty, and that made me feel like there was water stuck. I could still feel it a little by the time we were about done with the second syringe of jello like stuff (which wasn’t too gross. It had no flavor).
At the very least, she said that the study was solid in terms of having good data to work with. Whether that’ll clue them in to where the problem originates, I don’t know, but I guess it’ll help them figure out the best way to deal with it.
They tend to order that test after a lot of others and only if there’s a good strong reason to suspect motor dysfunction. I mean, I can see why.
I asked if anyone ever just left… She said they had it happen the week before. I didn’t ask whether it happened the week before that and the week before that, too.I gather it doesn’t happen as often as front office implosions do though… And that’s just pathetic.