Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Back To The Mundane

Perhaps I should put a warning up at the start of this post, to let the squeamish amongst you hide your eyes and read no further. Let me assure you though, this would only be because of subject matter, not anything I write about it! The underlying subject is colonoscopy. If the mere word freaks you out, then now is the time to leave reading your screen and go and do something more constructive elsewhere.

If, on the other hand, I have grabbed your attention despite everything, here goes. In this part of the world, the NHS has set up an extremely sensible Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, which initially asked for volunteers. Guess who held her hand up? Correct. Me.

Last year, I had to put my money where my mouth is - um... bad metaphor there, but I expect you'll get the gist of my meaning - and report for the procedure in question at my local hospital. There I was treated to a unique television show, in which three little polyps met their demise and I was asked back this year for an encore.

The worst part of the whole thing, is that you have to be 'collected' like a parcel at the end of it, and 'babysat' at home for the following night. That is fine, if you have faithful lackeys or nearby family, but is a (different) pain in the butt when your poor daughter has to drive all the way from Sutton to comply with the directive. However, nothing phased, she organised her busy life as teacher and Mum, and scooped me up soon after five yesterday teatime.

But that is getting ahead of myself. You are not getting away without a long winded, jinksy eye view of the earlier part of the day. My appointment was for 2pm, but I got a 'phone call in the morning, asking if I could make that 1.30pm, instead. No problemo. Lovely Taxi firm caters to my every whim, and car rolls up to my front door betimes.

As I am no stranger to this particular firm, I have a fair working knowledge of their drivers, who range from the highly intelligent, vociferous sort, to the slightly monosyllabic automaton. Yesterday it was automaton man.

This meant the journey allowed me plenty of time to study the scenery, uninterrupted. Driving along the top of Portsdown hill, the city spread below us in the glorious sunshine, some rooftops glinting silver despite a slight smoky haze, as the angle of their rooves made horizontal dashes on the otherwise muted-color map. The hump if the Isle of Wight swam like a giant whale on the horizon, across the pale waters of the Solent, the recently built Spinnaker Tower an easily discernible shape on the city outskirts.
On a scale of one to ten the view would rate little, compared to the seven wonders of the world, but to me it is home. Be that as it may.

The Queen Alexandra hospital has been undergoing a multi-million pound face lift and rebuilding onslaught. Its main entrance is now extremely imposing, with five stories of floors and windows towering above two huge, revolving, circular airlock doors on the sloping hillside. As the Taxi drew up, and I handed over the £8 fare, the sunshine lit the drivers face, and his eyelashes were temporarily transformed into translucent topaz. You never know where beauty may strike next...

The imposing vestibule is more like a multiplex cinema foyer than a reception area, and there are large billboards showing which department is on which level, rather than any forthcoming attractions of the cinematic kind.

Up to level D, first right then left and there's the Endoscopy reception and waiting area. Waiting being the operative word. A half a dozen or so people, mostly old wrinklies, are parked in elegant, pale blue chairs ranged against the most delicate of lavender-coloured walls. Flooring is warm cream or calming blue; everywhere pastel colors delight the senses. Only two of the patients are talking, the rest sit glumly.

A sprightly little white haired lady sits one chair away from me, and waves off her daughter until later. She has the most delightfully elfin face and delicate little nose. Despite wrinkles, which are allowable at her tender age of 84, Audrey, as I learned later, was as lively as a cricket, and an ideal companion to chat with and stave off boredom. I shifted one chair closer as we struck up more than a nodding acquaintance, and learned about her web cam exploits as she kept in touch with Oz relations each weekend.

Her name was called before mine, and off she puttered along the corridor with attendant nurse in tow. Then it was my turn. Get ushered into cell like room, and told to disrobe, then return to yet another waiting area - to meet Audrey, again. Get ushered along corridor to room full of three nurses, two doctors and enormous amounts of Dr Who looking equipment ranged around the trolley/bed contraption onto which I'm ooshed. This is pumped up to desirable horizontal elevation for execution, and I am locked in with black padded side rails.
Blue needle contraption gets inserted in left hand, and we're off. I don't mean 'off' unconscious, merely that the fun begins and the multicolour show lights up the screen.

Doctors' highly technical conversation waxes and wanes enthusiastically above my head, and eventually sounds of almost glee are heard as they find three tiny polyps, and send in the dragon to bit their heads off. I did say it was like Dr Who, didn't I? Quantities of bright blue liquid splosh around in the subterranean tunnels on screen, and eventually the show is over, with no credits scrolling.

Get trundled at what feels like lightening speed through pastel corridors, to large room with more empty cubicles than anything else, and get ranged alongside - Audrey! Again. She is still fully clothed in her own gear, but wired up to some kind of bleeping monitor. A nurse does a quick blood pressure check on me, has a word with Audrey, and wanders off into the wide blue yonder.

Bleeping machine misses a bleep. I hope bleeps are not counting breathing or heartbeats, as I fear for Audrey's welfare. Bleeps resume. I relax. Bleeps judder. I peer around the room wondering if I should start yelling on her behalf. Eventually machine starts rapid bleeping, like di-dit-di-dit, di-dit-di-dit and I feel like bleeping myself to get attention. However, all was well, for pretty soon nurse wanders up, removes Audrey's oxygen mask and leads her out to the waiting area for parcel collection by her daughter. I've obviously watched too many Casualty episodes on TV.


  1. This one ended way too soon. More information please. How about a brief follow-up on Audrey?

  2. Anything with 'oscopy on the end always sound scary to me so I'm very glad you're okay. I do hope Audrey is too.

    CJ xx

  3. Jinksy, this narrative is so sweet and charming and full of characters with sudden beauty that I do not want it to stop. But, not once did you mention pain or discomfort. Did I miss it?

    I love some of the expressions not used in my neck of the woods; too many of them for me to repeat; however, they were simply delightful and so charming that I'd want to just pop in more often and listen in.

    How do you do it? Entertaining us about colonoscopy?

  4. An example of good writing, and leaving me the reader wanting more.

  5. Sounds like colonoscopy procedures are somewhat the same no matter where they occur. My last one followed about the same routine, except they use something that puts you in la la land but is not general anesthesia. I don't remember anything.

    However, my husband had same procedure with the same medication and was wide awake during the whole procedure.

    I'd just as soon sleep!!!

    I too wonder about Audrey, but guess she is OK if you have not seen an obit .

  6. Very interesting read,
    Jinksy. The last line made me giggle and I needed that.
    You were born to be up on a stage; do you realize this?
    Oh, let's not discuss colonscopies...bad dream scene.

  7. eeeeck, just here to tell you that i didn't read on after THE WORD. hubby went through it about 3 weeks ago, and enough is enough...

  8. Yo, Jinksy!! "No problemo". Your humor slip was showing throughout your narrative. Glad to hear the three polyps' heads were chopped off and you are good as new!!

  9. Hello Jinksy,

    I know something of what you speak! Didn't you get soup and a buttered roll at the end? The pastel colours sound very calming. Hope you and your new pal are both feeling the benefit.

  10. Glad to hear that all went well and you are passed fit for blogging duties.

  11. I'm baffled if this was a voluntary action... and the t.v. thing-- hilarious!

  12. Goodness gravy! Love it-drew me in immediately...

  13. colonoscopy was nothing like that in the olden days!
    Bed and TV for free, plus nice company; so, have you booked yourself in for the holidays?

  14. ah jinsky I am having my colonoscopy next month and the worse thing about it is finding someone to be with me....I hate bothering people and with no family close by it is embarassing.......oh well I know it must be done.....yuk
    Have a great day sweetie......:-) Hugs

  15. Some can write about anything and charm us!

  16. Some great imagery along with the ride to hospital. And your description of it and the equipment, heh...

    And you voluteered for this, wot?

  17. Never had one as I don't seem to be considered at risk. But they do expect samples every so often. Here if you're interested.

  18. I should have Lorne read this...he's scheduled for his first 'oscopy end of month and I think he's scared stiff. As an athlete, he's always been so fit but now the old bod is starting to fall apart. Poor soul..

  19. Ah, that sounds so unpleasant! It's funny how the anticipation of medical tests and procedures seems to heighten our awareness of our surroundings. Your narrative reminded me of my own journey to the hospital and my experiences in there before my wisdom teeth extraction.

    It's so like you to be concerned for Audrey.

    I'm sorry about your polyps, but I'm glad they were removed! How are you feeling now?

  20. Been there...done that. Wish I would have had an "Audrey" beside me.
    I'm glad that your colonscopy is 'behind' you..and I'm so glad that you got yours done.
    Everyone should have a colonoscopy. They save lives.

  21. I see you left out the best part which is the night before as you "prep" for the colonoscopy. It's horrendous....but for the actual procedure here, you're put to sleep! Thanks goodness, I'll find my own movies thank you!

    Glad it went o.k. for you!


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