Another day, another dolla

One of the fabulous things about having Crohn's disease is that you are periodically treated to a variety of invasive examinations. Typically these tests involve nudity, starvation, and the consumption of massive amounts of laxatives. The test I'm being treated to on Monday morning is called a small bowel follow through. Wonderful.

If you are so inclined, I highly suggest you google this and read in more detail the objectives and preparation for this test. While it does involve me stripping down into a hospital gown, I will not be subject to exposing my butt or other embarassing body parts to a room full of doctors and nurses. And even though I will leave the hospital on Monday with more of my pride in tact than after a colonoscopy, this test does involve lots of the same fundamentals such as starvation, stool softeners, and gross liquids intended for ingestion.

I do kid about this because it's really the only way I can keep from losing my mind about it. I'll admit I am sensitive when it comes to these things. I can handle pain and being poked with IVs and needles like a champ. But when it comes to drinking barium or gallons of gatorade laced with Miralax, I'm a whimp. I can never drink it fast enough and I gag merely at the smell of the damn stuff. And if these people try to suggest to me that "it's just like a vanilla milkshake", I might start crying.

So you're probably wondering why I need this test in the first place? Well, after this last month of knowing my ostomy wasn't working correctly, I've been in a war of words with my surgeon. In his opinion, I am shit out of luck. However, I know the symptoms I'm experiencing are not normal and they are indicative of a mechanical problem with my stoma. My GI doctor agrees with this, thank goodness. He has been much more sympathetic and willing to listen to my complaints. Long story short, my stoma is only putting out half of what it should; while the rest continues to travel down my GI tract and into my colon. This is a problem because the whole point of surgery was to divert around my colon due to how diseased it was and the pain it caused. Thus, I am still experiencing horrible pain because essentially my colon is still doing the job it was doing before this surgery. Got it? Crazy, huh?

Okay. So the small bowel follow through will only essentially confirm this as the doctors take X-rays and see the barium continuing through my GI tract and into my colon. And I understand that doctors need tangible evidence in front of them but really my symptoms should speak for themselves. Once this test confirms what I already know, hopefully my doctors will agree that my stoma needs to be revised. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I am not looking forward to this test at ALL. The last time I had this done it took 8 hours. I am sure some of it had to do with the fact that I wasn't drinking fast enough. However, I do have a healthy small bowel which means a normal transit time and they make you take X-rays every 20 minutes until the barium reaches your large bowel. Hopefully I will be able to drink fast and walk around a bit to keep things moving. I really don't want to be stuck at the hospital all day.


JoAnna said...

Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you. I get sick at the sight of a bottle of mag sulfate. I can't ever finish the prep.

Ellen said...

Thanks JoAnna. I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates drinking this stuff. It never gets easier, does it? I almost think knowing what to expect is worse!

JoAnna said...

Yep it is worse. Last yearI had a colonoscopy and I ended up irrigating. I couldn't drink that suff. The doctor didn't say anything so I guess he could see well enough. I don't have to have another one for a couple of years thank goodness. I seriously feel for you. I hope you are getting enough nutrients. Take care of yourself.