What's Up Doc- Part IV - Where is Sleeping Beauty?
Trip Start Oct 25, 2007
61Trip End May 15, 2008
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This morning I woke up thirsty, hungry and extremely crabby. In preparation for the bronchoscopy I was having today, I wasn't allowed to eat, drink, or smoke 12 hours prior to the procedure. Fortunately I had an early morning appointment which began at 8:30 a.m. otherwise I think I would have gone crazy.
When Steve and I got to the clinic, we had to sit in the waiting area for a few minutes before the nurse came in to get us. For me it wasn't that big of a deal because I was used to waiting in doctor's offices but for Steve, it was another story! Every time someone coughed, he looked at me and scowled. Sometimes two or three people would cough at once and then he would really glare. I suppose someone should have reminded him that we were in the waiting room of a "lung specialist"...apparently he didn't make the connection. Later on, he says to me, "That's how healthy people get sick you know...they walk by or sit next a room full of sick people." I laughed. When he told me he wasn't going to sit in there to wait for me, I told him he could sit wherever he wanted but more than likely his only other option would be to sit outside!
About the time Steve had glared at just about everyone in the waiting room, Iris came and got us for the procedure. The first thing they had me do was breathe through a vaporizer machine that numbed my throat and lungs. The mist that I inhaled tasted horrible and it made me feel like I was choking. I couldn't swallow and when I tried to talk, it took a lot of effort to make my tongue move.
After fifteen minutes of breathing through the vaporizer, Iris brought me over to the exam bed and told me to lie down. I was at first surprised that she didn't have me put on a hospital gown until I remembered that they didn't have any (or I wouldn't have run half-naked through the office the other day).
As we were waiting for the doctor to come in, I start getting really nervous. All kinds of thoughts started running through my head...what if they found something, what if something went wrong, what if I woke up? My anxiety was even further compounded by the last minute question Iris asked me as I was walking out the door on Monday, "Oh, I almost forgot to ask you, are you taking any medications that we should know about?" WHAT! Didn't she think that maybe she should have asked me this a WEEK ago when I had my chest x-ray? What made things even worse is when I gave her the list and she came back and said, "We don't know any of these medications so just don't take them on Thursday, OK?" Wonderful...
Steve sat next to me while Iris did most of prep for the procedure. The first thing she did was hook me up to an IV. Since I've had IV's before, I knew what to expect, but it was still quite painful. I was really surprised that they let Steve stay in the room with me (back home they would have made him wait in the waiting room). They said he would have to leave once they got started but for the time being it was OK for him to be there. I was relieved because I was really scared and just having him there to hold my hand made all the difference.
After the IV was in, Iris put an oxygen hose on my face with two tubes going inside my nose. Since I've had one of these before too, it wasn't that big of deal. The only problem was that my nostrils were so small and close together that the thing kept falling off of my face. Steve kept putting it back on, but it would only stay in one nostril and then fall off again. We got a pretty good laugh about that...me and my mini nostrils!
Once the oxygen was flowing (more around the room than actually into my nose!) Iris gave me a shot to relax. The doctor came in and told Steve he had to wait in the waiting room until after the procedure. He gave me a kiss and as soon as he left the room, that's when I really got scared.
The doctor came over to me and said, "We feel good, Ya?" Her English was terrible but I give her credit for trying. I said, "I'm a little nervous but I'm OK." She replied, "This will be quick test...ten minutes. You'll sleep. Wake Up. Go Home. Ya?" I nodded in agreement. She spoke something to Iris in German and then Iris translated to me. "She wants to know if you have any questions before we start." I said, "Yes, will I be asleep during the whole procedure, because I don't want to remember anything." She muttered something in German back to the doctor and the doctor looked at me and smiled. She took hold of my hand and said, "You sleep, you see." And she pointed and the computer monitor screen. WHAT! No...No...No...people aren't supposed "to see"...they don't watch these, they are supposed to be unconscious.
Then I thought, well maybe "You sleep, you see" meant "You sleep, you'll see" as in...I guarantee that you won't wake up. Still confused, I asked Iris and her response was much the same. "Don't worry, we make you sleepies." I said, "I don't want to be "sleepies", I want to be ASLEEP. Will you make sure you give me enough drugs so that I don't wake up and I don't remember anything?" Her response was, "No Worries, now we give you the good stuff. If we all take this, we have a good nap!"
I watched her inject the sedative into my IV and she only used half of what was in the needle. I thought to myself, "Wait a minute...why aren't you giving me the other half?"
She said something to the doctor and the doctor mumbled something back and she squirted a little bit more into the IV. I started to feel a little loopy and then I fogged out.
About halfway through the procedure, I woke up. I couldn't feel anything but I could see EVERYTHING. As I watched the monitor above the bed, I could see the scope probing around inside one of my lungs and I freaked out. The doctor turned the monitor away and the nurse gave me the rest of the sedative left in the needle until they finished the procedure.
Apparently in Germany, their idea of administering sedatives is based on this theory: If you get sleepy with a little bit, then they assume you don't need any more. If you wake up too soon, then they know they didn't give you enough. And if they gave you too much, then they figure you'll just sleep a little bit longer than they expected you too.
Aside from seeing the inside of my lung for a split second or two, I don't remember much. Steve filled me in on the details when I woke up. The bronchoscopy showed a blood clot in the bottom of my right lung which is what has been causing me to cough up so much blood. Since they were afraid it would bleed even more if they took samples, they chose instead to send me to the hospital for further testing.
Though I am not thrilled about the idea of having another bronchoscopy, I feel much better about having it done at a hospital instead of at a clinic where no one seems to know what's going on. How is it possible that doctor can get sedatives so wrong that a patient wakes up to see a scope inside their lung? Who knows...maybe people in Germany like to watch procedures like this, maybe they watch their own colonoscopies too. I don't know. What I do know is that the next time I go under for any type of "scopy", I will make certain that the doctor and I have a VERY clear understanding of just how asleep I need to be!