Friday, July 22, 2011

Jennie From the Block-age

There’s nothing like an impromptu scope to kick-start a weekend.

Did I just say that?

My GI, wanting to get a scope in before the summer’s end, conveniently found a cancellation for this afternoon for an ileoscopy. Granted that the test is quick and requires severely less prep than a colonoscopy, I shouldn’t be complaining. And I’m not complaining, more laughing at myself.

You see, today seems to be GI day in my household. My Mom is going for her first colonoscopy in the morning. She’s been a good sport and recruited the family expert - moi - to help her prep for the procedure. I only have memories of pain when it comes to the prep, especially those hated Fleet enemas, but I suppose if you don’t have an inflamed gut it’s not going to be as painful as it will be uncomfortable. Nonetheless, I think the take home message is ‘the family who get scoped together...’, well, you can finish that sentence!

When I was in the hospital a few days ago, I asked for a cup/urinal/something to empty my ostomy output into for them to measure, always a fun endeavor. I was handed an oversized metal measuring cup, which wasn’t overly handy but did the trick. The nurse labelled the cup “Jenny from the block” (notice my name was spelled wrong!), but I thought it was funny. My brother cleverly tweaked it to be “Jennie from the block-age”.

By February of this year, there were already Crohn’s ulcers bubbling in my reduced GI tract. I cried when they told me and called a good friend in a fit of pathetic exhaustion, momentarily unsure of why I had just endured a very painful summer, a massive and permanent surgery, if there was still disease. Clearly I was forgetting the ‘chronic’ part of Crohn’s, but it felt like a shot to the heart after such a triumphant - even if that was momentary - return to the world of the healthy. The only saving grace has been that the inflammation is too mild - I’ve never heard that before - to treat, and while I anxiously wait for the spark to grow into a massive fire of a flare-up, my GIs (in Halifax and Boston) have agreed to scope me regularly to check on the progress of the ulcers that dot my small bowel.

The GI said it takes five minutes and that I don’t need sedation. I sheepishly looked at her and said I’d prefer to be knocked out. For my money, the less pain the better. Knock me out and I’ll be happy as a clam... or at least as oblivious as one.

I often joke that the best part of having a permanent ileostomy is that I don’t have to do scope preps - and, in some ways, it’s totally true. You couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to go through that experience again, thank you. This will be my third ileoscopy, with a fourth rounding the corner in October. The last time I had one, the GI said he was nervous because he gave me so much sedation - the question becomes knock out a horse or sedate a girl who’s had way too many procedures.

My insides - and my Mom’s - will be nice and shiny and clean heading into the weekend, and let me tell you the one thing we both agree upon right now: we can’t wait to have some real food!

Jennie (+ Mom)


  1. I'll be darned. I've had an ileostomy since December 2007, and I didn't even know there *was* such a procedure as an ileoscopy. Is it something one needs only when ongoing issues arise, or is it something we're supposed to have regularly (like a colonoscopy)?

    P.S. I'm with you on being relieved never to have to do a full colonoscopy prep again.

  2. From my understanding, you only need one if you're having issues. This was my third ileoscopy, but I have more Crohn's in my small bowel. It's a very quick procedure and nothing in comparison to a colonoscopy!