I had an upper endoscopy at Mayo Clinic on Wednesday. As far as I know, it went well. I should hear the results of the biopsy in about a week. I am scheduled to meet with my doctor there on May 13th to discuss my case. As I shared with a friend of mine, the fact that the physician who did the procedure did not call for an urgent meeting gives me some confidence that he did not see any cancerous growths.
I am so thankful that my wonderful wife was able to accompany me to Mayo. This was possible only because of the graciousness of Debbie Stewart and Kim Hetrick, who watched our children in shifts.
I went in for bloodwork at 7:30 a.m. and was called back for prepping for my procedure at a little before 10:00. After a few questions at a cubicle I was guided back to an area that reminded me of a athletic locker room in a YMCA, the first half was for women, the back half for men. Directly ahead of me was a dozen or so lockers, to the right was a row of changing rooms, and to the left was a small waiting room (maybe 8′ x 10′). I was instructed to go into the changing room, strip from the waist up, put on the provided gown, place clothes and personal items in one of the lockers, keep the key, and have a seat in the little waiting room.
I joined a couple of other gentlemen in the waiting room and we struck up a congenial conversation. Over the course of the next several minutes, a couple more men joined us. We compared notes and health history and shared some much needed laughs. A few of these guys were only in a gown with socks and shoes. They informed me that I had the more enviable procedure ahead. I will have my day, I reminded them.
I don’t know if this little waiting room is partially designed to put men together for mutual encouragement, but the conversation and camaraderie certainly helped ease my nerves.
One by one we were called back. One of my greatest fears going into the procedure was being drugged. A colleague of mine back in seminary days lost his wife during wrist surgery. They were simply unable to bring her back out of the anesthesia. I had never been in any surgery before and I could not help but think that the statistics of someone dying from anesthesia may only be 1 out of every million (I don’t really know that the stats are), but someone has to be that 1! Why not me? Dark thoughts indeed.
Versed is the drug they used to put me into the “twilight” state. My Mom, a pro at experiencing various surgeries, told me it was a miracle drug. She loved it. It certainly worked for me. One second I was talking to the nurse about Missouri (where she was from) and the next second they were waking me up in recovery.
Apparently, everything in the procedure went as planned. Not so in recovery. They asked me to get off the gurney and walk over to a recliner. I could not stand. They said I was green. So they put me back on the gurney and gave me another hour to “sleep it off” (my terminology). This time I was able to make the 12 foot journey. I do not know how long I sat in the recliner, but eventually they put me in a wheel chair and took me back to the “locker room” where Lacey met me, helped me dress, and wheeled me to the elevator and then out to the curbside.
We then went to Panera for lunch. I had a chicken salad sandwich on the softest bread they had, along with an apple, and a cup of fruit punch. It was not until later that night that I read that my first meal was supposed to be totally liquid. Oops. Maybe that’s what helped account for my sore throat today.
We went on home, Lacey driving, of course. Sidebar, I was probably asked a half a dozen times, or more, if I had a driver. I was also asked numerous times when I was born. They must really be big into birthday parties there. Bad joke. Anyway, we got home, I expressed thanks to Kim for helping with the kids and went straight to bed, where I slept hard for a couple of hours before being roused for a delicious supper.
Here is the funny thing. I do not remember much about anything that happened between the moment I was dozing off in the room prior to the procedure and the moment Lacey woke me up for supper at 5:00. I have faint memories of trying to stand up the first time they woke me up. I couldn’t. I have a faint memory of sitting in a recliner. I don’t remember walking to it. I have a faint memory of seeing Lacey in the “locker room.” I don’t remember being wheeled there from the recovery room. I have a faint memory of putting my shirt back on. I don’t remember refusing help from Lacey: “I can do it myself.” I have no memory at all of her wheeling me from there to the curbside of the hospital. I have a faint memory of waiting for Lacey to get the van while I sat in the wheelchair on the curbside. I don’t remember sending a status update through my phone to Twitter (and thus to Facebook): “Sitting out front in wheel chair. Waitin for Lacey to pick me up.” I faintly remember seeing her pull up. I don’t remember getting in the van. I faintly remember looking for a place to eat. I don’t remember how we decided on Panera. I faintly remember pulling up in front of Panera and wanting to see what they had for choices of soup at the nearby Quiznos. I faintly remember standing at the counter at Panera deciding what to get. I don’t remember getting the food. I faintly remember eating the food, but I don’t remember leaving Panera and driving home. I faintly remember walking into the kitchen and telling Kim thanks for watching the kids and then going to bed.
The part I find really humorous is having the state of mind to think of posting an status update through my phone. I also find it humorous remembering that when I saw Lacey pulling up with the van to get me, I waved really big, “Here I am!” Like she wasn’t the one who left me there in the first place!
You might be wondering, “Why has Brett gone into so much detail?” Simple. I did more for me than for you. If God chooses not to heal me of this affliction I will probably face this procedure several more times in my lifetime, just to keep a check on things down there. By documenting the details of the event and remembering God’s faithfulness to me at this point in my journey, I hope to instill a Godly confidence in me for future procedures. Also, if the details of this post can encourage anyone else facing this procedure or someone battling GERD, then that is even better.