Monday, January 9, 2023

It’s not easy being green (on the inside, I mean)

Here it is, Monday morning as I write this and I am nursing a cup of coffee and waiting for the spin cycle to finish on my weekly laundry so I can enjoy some breakfast.

I’m hoping for some toast, I’ve been doing a lot of slurping on lime & lemon jello since last week.  First for my colonoscopy on Thursday, after that for my TMJD which returned a couple days ago.  Saturday morning (2 days after my colonoscopy) I awoke at 4am with the roof of my mouth on fire.  By noon, my right jaw was clamped down hard and my right eye scrunched up. 

I’m not kidding, stick a corncob pipe in the corner of my mouth and I look like Popeye. 

I’m not in the least bit surprised, just hoping it doesn’t last longer than a week or so.

I’m guessing it has something to do with my recent medical procedure.  When I came to, one of the nurses asked if my neck was okay.  She explained she had to reposition my head when I was sedated, as I tried to lie it flat and not on the side.  (When I sleep on my side, it puts a lot of pressure on my jaw so I try not to do that.)  I’m sure it will improve soon.

I’m still a little surprised at everything that went down with that colonoscopy, before, during & after.  I’m so green when it comes to medical procedures, when it was recommended I get one I thought they ran a tube down your throat into your stomach.  (They do—for an endoscopy.)  It never occurred to me there was two types of “scopy”.

I was also surprised how professional but kind the nursing staff was.  When I first arrived to the GI Dept at the hospital Thursday morning, I had a team of nurses who was helping me get into my hospital gown, explaining who would be doing what, covering me with heated blankets, taking my blood pressure, inserting an IV.. seemingly all at the same time, yet I never felt rushed. 

After the procedure, when I awoke (back in the main area behind privacy curtain No.6) a nurse was sitting in a chair at the foot of my bed holding a pack of cookies, a container of juice and a small can of ginger ale.  I said “Wait… didn’t I just go in there a minute ago?”  She said it had been 75 minutes and showed me her watch.  Amazing.

She said “You should know the doctor didn’t find anything, other than some internal hemorrhoids pretty deep in.  But he’ll discuss it all with you if you like.  Just relax and enjoy your snack.  The doctor wants to thank you personally for your excellent colon prep.”

I said “Wow—well, I’m sure he says that to all his patients.”  She laughed and said “Oh no he doesn’t!  He says 50% are good, 25% are poor, and only 10% are excellent.”  When I told her that only added up to 85%, she said he rejected 2-3 a day.  I didn’t ask her why.

When Dr. Chopray came out and shook my hand (his hands were very large and very soft) he told me how much he appreciated me taking this seriously.  Er… doesn’t everybody?  When I expressed surprise that he didn’t find anything, and told him about an ER nurse telling me I had polyps on my colon after a CT scan for kidney stones a couple years ago, he said “Well, there is no way to diagnose polyps thru x-rays or scans, but I’m sure she saw some abnormalities and wanted to give you a heads up.  No harm done, right Douglas?”   

No, Doctor.  It helped get me in here, at least.

Finally when I was dressed, I asked Nicole (one of the 4 nurses on my team) how many of these colonoscopies they do everyday.  She said between the three teams that make up that department, anywhere between 20-25 and handed me another pack of cookies and a thank you card signed by her and the other nurses.  I swear to God, I think most nurses are called to the profession by a higher order.  Not once did I feel like I was just another number.

She also said it was okay my pee was green from all the lime jello I’ve been eating. Who me?

41 comments:

  1. Hope your TMJ improves. But other than that, it was a good experience with excellent results. I am so happy and relieved that it went so well.

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    1. Thank you Birthday Gigi, very nice of you. πŸ™‚

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  2. Except for the TMJ, all went extremely well. The nurses sound outstanding. Today, they are very busy and even under-staffed sometimes yet their skill and compassion for patients is exemplary. I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Thanks Susan, and this was nicely said. That's what I really wanted to write about here, those wonderful nurses. How they do what they do is beyond me.

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  3. Ah, I was wondering how your exploration went! Glad there was nothing worrisome. Like you I was very surprised to wake up with no sense of time having passed. Damn that villian, TMJ!!!

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    1. Thank you Florence, and thanks for the chuckle about my tmj! (I treat it with kid gloves, and this is the thanks I get...) Isn't that weird about that drug they put you under with, so quick & little side effects. Modern medicine amazes me.

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  4. So glad you posted, Dug. I thought about you the morning of your 'scope' and prayed that all would be well. Then when you didn't post for a few days - started to worry. Happy now that all went well and hopefully you won't need another for another 10 years. And great that you had such good care. As for your TMJ, are you sure that's what it is? Sounded a bit like DH's Bell's Palsy when you mentioned 'eye scrunched up'...

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    1. Rian, thanks so much for your nice words--you're very kind. I don't want to be a whiny baby, still dealing with some stomach issues but I DO feel really, really lucky about that clean colonoscopy. I was honest-to-God surprised. As for my TMJ, I have (regrettably) a lot of experience with it and it travels over my face during the day (moreso at night). But the first time I had it, I did wonder if it was Bell's Palsy. Good call on your part.

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  5. I was just going to say that you’ll never want lemon or lime jello again, lol! Hope it settles down! I have issues with three of my cranial ( facial nerves) and sometimes look like Popeye too. Luckily my painful one is controlled with medication. Take it easy. Joyce

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    1. Joyce, really--thank you for sharing that. May I ask what meds you use to manage the pain? I used to use Naproxen, but was taken off it because of high blood pressure. As for the lime and lemon jello, you made me laugh--I just told a friend this morning I'll never touch those 2 flavors again. :^)

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    2. I take gabapentin. Mine is nerve pain. I have trigeminal neuralgia and I went through months of pain ( I thought it was dental and went to several dentists) until I went to a t j specialist who diagnosed it. Joyce

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    3. Joyce I was taking that too (but it was ineffective as mine wasn't trigeminal neuralgia). Wow! I sure am sorry you've had to contend with that, I know it's a super sensitive condition.

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    4. I also have hemi facial spasms, which give me the scrunched mouth. The nerve is making all my facial muscles on that side ( including the eye) contract. I get medical Botox every three months to freeze the muscles and reduce the spasms. Have you ever discussed Botox? I know they use it for migraines also. Joyce


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    5. Joyce I am so sorry you've gone thru al that. Yes I DID discuss Botox at one time, until the TMJD 'traveled' and no longer was affecting various nerves. But for a couple months, they thought I had what you have.

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    6. I’m ok! We all have something. I guess I’m sharing because you have something similar and it’s hard for people to understand an invisible disease. My neurologist keeps talking about a surgery at the base of the brain and I’m not so sure I want to do that! Joyce

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  6. Awww, so glad that the procedure went well. The prep itself is no picnic! But at least you can sleep through the procedure itself.

    I'm a retired nurse. It was an amazing and rewarding career. Believe it or not, my biggest reward in nursing was the kindness that was returned 10 fold by all of my patients. Your best nurses will have a big heart, are good listeners and able to show how much they care. (Almost) anyone can learn the necessary clinical skills, but the other side of nursing doesn't always come easily. Looks like you had excellent nursing care!

    Hoping that your TMJ clears up pronto! It's got to be tough, waiting for it to resolve. Hang in there Doug!

    Carole

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    1. Carole thank you very much--not just for your wonderful comment here, but for your service (I really do mean that). Honestly, I have yet to meet a nurse that hasn't gone out of their way to be kind or compassionate, and the older I get, the less I want to take that for granted. :^)

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  7. So many of your online friends care about you, obviously. Count me in there, too. I didn't have as good a time with my colonoscopy, since I have what they call a "tortuous colon" and had to have lots of those drugs so I didn't feel what they were doing. And they found five polyps to boot, even though they were benign it didn't make me very happy. And I sure do hope that TMJ business clears up quickly!

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    1. DJan, thanks so much my friend... though you made my jaw drop here. In the days leading up to my own colonoscopy, I was reading a lot of personal accounts online and learned about a few who had tortuous colons like yourself (extra long) and the issues they encountered. I sure am sorry you were one of them. I'm just glad your own polyps were benign and hopefully you won't have to go thru that ever again. Isn't this a weird topic!

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  8. I've been checking constantly to see how you were doing, Doug. I'm so glad it turned out well. I want my next colonoscopy to be at your doctor's offcie.

    Wow! I'm looking at that photo of your mom and dad. They were gorgeous! I got distracted by their photo just now. I see your dad in you.

    Green pee? I had no idea that could happen. You must have had a lot of green Jello. LOL

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    1. Kay--you are making me laugh out loud!! But I think it's helping my tmj, so thank you! Anyway, very sweet what you wrote here and it's much appreciated. Also, so nice what you said about my parents photo, and seeing my dad in me. It means a lot. As for the green pee, haha--if you eat 3-4 boxes of lime jello, it'll happen! :^)

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  9. Hi Doug, sorry to read your TMJ came back. I hope this flare up doesn’t last long.
    What incredible care you had! A thank you card from the nurses?? My Mum was a nurse for 30+ years. I had people tell me how kind and compassionate my Mum was in their professional dealings with her. Yes, nurses are definitely special people.
    Take care Doug.❤️

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    1. Hi Robin, and thank you my friend! Yes--a flare up I am sure that's all it is. I've been doing TMJ execises courtesy of some wonderful vids on Youtube. As for the nursing care, I almost forgot your own mom was a nurse. I think you must take after her. Thanks again. :^)

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  10. As long as they don’t mix up which “scopy” they insert – I can see them now: “Which is it today, going down from above or up from below?”
    Anyway, you said they were really good at what they do, so they probably don’t get it wrong too often.

    I didn’t think anyone liked lime jello (or jelly, as it’s known here).

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    1. Peter, you are a character. πŸ™‚ As for the lime jello (or jelly), I'm officially swearing off the stuff for the remainder of the year! However, now that I'm allowed to eat other flavors I did buy orange, cherry, raspberry. πŸ˜‹

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  11. I'm surprised you indulged so many flavors. I would have been in the swear off camp.

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    1. Joanne I was only allowed to eat the lemon or lime before the colonoscopy, but I did discover I like jello more than I remembered, I thought this might help me kick some of my weekend ice cream habit. πŸ™‚

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  12. Oh, ouch on the TMJ--so sorry you're dealing with that again. :( But it sounds like the colonoscopy was generally a positive experience and with excellent results. Not everyone can say that! I drank a lot of white grape juice for my first one and now will never touch it again. I'm sure I would get nauseated if I tried!

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    1. Thank you Margaret, and I can't wait to show my neighbor this. Last Monday I bought two big bottles of white concord grape juice. About a third through the first bottle, I couldn't take anymore and give it to my next door neighbor who has two foster kids. I only bought the stuff because it was clear, but never again!

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  13. Have you ever tried a TENS unit for your TMJ? They are pretty simple to use.

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    1. Debby I have, I own a cheaper one and a very expensive one my oral surgeon directed me to buy. But they really didn't do any good, other than cause a distraction. You just have to let time and mother nature take its course.

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  14. It's good to hear you have the all clear on your colonoscopy, it must be a big relief. I hope your jaw settles soon so you can have solid foods again.

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    1. Thank you River, very much appreciated! πŸ™‚

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  15. Glad your colon didn't have a giant surprise in there. (Most xray techs shouldn't talk because they are not trained to read and interpret xrays, only docs.) I knew that eating beets could make stool red, but I didn't know green jello could come out green. Maybe you're part Star Trek alien. I use flexeril for my TMJ. Ask the doc for a Rx for it. Yes, you did a very nice job with your prep. Now you know your innards are okay around there. Propofol is a wonderful IV short-acting drug. My colonoscopy CRNA (certified nurse anesthetist) said it lasts about 10-15 minutes, then they give you more as needed during the procedure. It's the "Michael Jackson" med, unfortunately not monitored when he took too much. Linda in Kansas

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    1. Thanks Linda! I actually have a couple old bottles of prescribed Flexeril from my last TMJ bout in 2018, they never did much for me except make me drowsy. I sure am sorry you have to deal with this too. As for the green jello, I think it only affects the front, not the back if you know what I mean. But I still wouldn't mind being a Star Trek alien.. πŸ‘½♥️

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  16. Glad your colonoscopy was clean. Now you get in line for your next one ... five years from now? I tell ya, those five years go quickly. I'm scheduled to get another one (my fifth? my sixth? I've lost count) before the end of 2023. P.S. I agree with you about nurses; never had one that was less than caring and concerned; they are angels.

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    1. Thank you Tom and waitaminute--you've had 5? 6?? On the report they emailed me afterwards, it said I wouldn't need another one for 10 years. I wonder why they gave me so long?

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    2. Because you were so clean and had no polyps. I got the same ten year clearance.

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    3. River, we are lucky--my doctor says half of his patients have 1-2 polyps.

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  17. Whoa, I'm jealous! Our colonoscopy place quit giving snacks during the pandemic and hasn't resumed. I really missed my Lorna Doones and ginger ale last year! ;-( And we've never gotten a thank you note, though the care is top notch. So sorry about your TMJ, feel better soon!

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    1. Bobi you are too funny and too smart. I'm not kidding, Lorna Doones was the cookies they gave us--what the heck! Well, I do feel very lucky, thank you. And I can already feel my tmj improving. :^)

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