Friday morning, a few minutes after 8 am, my aunt picked me up to head over to the endoscopy center. As far as I could tell, I was the youngest person in there by decades.
A nurse called me back and led me to a “room” with a stretcher that could be closed off with curtains. It reminded me a lot of the outpatient surgery center where Rowan had his ear tubes placed. She handed me a gown and happily told me I could keep my pants on. She said I could even leave my shoes on. I’m not sure about any of you, but I cannot imagine why I would want my shoes on during what was promised to be the “best nap ever.”
As she was opening the IV supplies she asked if I did ok with IVs. I laughed, explaining the three weeks in the hospital with severe preeclampsia. She said, “Oh, those are big needles, too!” I was reminded of the time a nurse in L&D referred to the needles they use as “drinking straws”… before she stuck me.
She explained how everything was going to go, as she hooked up EKG leads. They were going to give me a combo of Versed (a benzo) and Fentanyl (the opioid that kills all the celebrities) for conscious sedation.
She asked if I’d ever heard of Phenergan. I said, “anti-nausea?” and she said, “Good job!”
I was unaware there was going to be a pharmacology test as part of the procedure, and am sort of sad that at the age of 36 I could probably ace it.
The Phenergan made me super sleepy and it was difficult to process what the nurse was asking as far as medical history. I saw one nurse take an EKG strip over to another nurse, and have some sort of discussion. One nurse asked, “do you have any history of cardiac issues?”
“I have a history of tachycardia and had an ablation done when I was 20,” I said.
“Ok. We’re just seeing a little variance on the EKG. We will make sure the doctor sees it, but I don’t think he will be concerned.”
Well fuck. Now I was concerned, but also really sleepy and sort of didn’t care if they would just let me have this nap already.
They called some other nurse over who looked at the strips and declared it a normal variance. Way to give me a damn heart attack. Pun intended.
They rolled me to the procedure room and gave me the chill pills (IV solution, whatever). She put some sort of reverse ball gag looking thing next to my face and said they would use that to keep my mouth open once I had gotten a little more sleepy. I noted to myself that I didn’t feel particularly sleepy at all.
That’s the last thing I remember until I woke up back in the curtain room with my aunt sitting beside me. I was so pissed that they woke me up. Also, I think the key to the whole “best nap ever” thing must be Propofol, because I’d say I got a mediocre nap at best.
They asked my aunt if anyone would be with me for the rest of the afternoon, and she said no. They asked if she could possibly take me back to her house, instead. Talk about putting someone on the spot, what was she supposed to say?
The doctor gave her the rundown of what he had seen during the procedure. I’m super glad that she is a former nurse, because all I remember him saying is something about seeing “furries” in there. It wasn’t until later that I realized that would be a really strange thing for a doctor to say. I’m assuming he said “furrows.”
According to my aunt, there was some scar tissue, and that it is possible that I have the same esophageal issues that other people in my family have (though he seemed to think it doesn’t tend to run in families, which is the opposite of what I’ve read elsewhere). If I do, though, he said it’s probably a fairly mild case. We won’t know anything for sure until the pathology report comes back in about a week.
I was hoping the medical notes would be in my online chart by now because I’m really curious what all he saw in there (other than furries). But anyhow.
By this point, I was starving and asked my aunt to stop by a drive-through for me. I suggested one that was very close to my house, and she said, “but you’re going to my house, remember?”
I had cleaned my bedroom and changed my sheets that morning with the intention of getting to spend the rest of the day in bed, guilt-free. She agreed to take me back to my house as long as I promised to have someone come check on me later in the afternoon.
I spent the next 24 hours groggy and dozing on and off.
The whole conscious sedation thing is super weird to me. Was I awake during the procedure and just don’t remember it? Did me of 10:00 am experience something that me of 11:00 am did not? It creeps me out, honestly.
Last week was the kind of week that you just have to plow through in hopes of getting to the other side. Unfortunately, the other side was a brick wall standing solidly at that intersection of anxiety and depression. Yesterday was rough, is what I’m trying to say.
I wanted to escape. Everything. My skin. My life. I finally settled on going to a bar that has comfy seats and getting a dark stout. My intention was to get some writing done, but I couldn’t concentrate. Everything felt like I was both moving through pudding and electrified at high speed at the same time. Electrified high-speed pudding.
After I left the bar I planned to go straight home but I just… couldn’t. There are so many people there who want things and who talk and whine and just so much needing of me. I drove right by my house to the park, where I sat watching the fog roll in.
I was having thoughts that maybe, just maybe this was it, this is when I actually lose my mind. To feel like you can’t deal, but having no choice to but to deal, is probably one of the most hopeless, helpless, and trapped feelings I ever feel. And it was on overdrive.
Just. Fairly sure I was going to completely lose it.
It’s funny, because people always talk about “reaching out” like it solves things. Like it is the final destination of mental illness. If you just reach out things will get a little better.
But yet, I’ve sort of built my life around “reaching out” and all it gets me is a hefty dose of self-loathing.
It feels like I’ve been lied to.
I reach and reach in a million different ways but there is no fucking safety net. It fixes nothing.
Today has brought some reprieve. It’s 70 degrees and I opened the window in my bedroom this morning to hear the birds and breeze.
I jumped out of bed and declared that we were going out for donuts and biscuits and for anyone who wanted to go to be ready in ten minutes. After we grabbed our food we went to the park to eat breakfast.
Some random warm winter days are almost too nice — the bright blue sky and the perfect temperatures are too contrasted with the return to winter that I know is around the bend. But today it’s cloudy. Today it is raining a little.
The fear and depression and overwhelm are still lurking in those clouds, but at least I have some space to breathe, even if it is only for today. Today seems just about right.
And that’s me, trying to wrap everything up in a neat bow, as per the usual. Honestly? I’m at the end of my ribbon. I’m at that point where I’m fairly sure everything has always and will always feel this bad. Even my optimism is a nihilist. It’s ok right this second, but what’s the point in ok when it’s all going to suck later?