I’m lying on my side staring into my stomach. I’m getting a nasal endoscopy – a video camera at the end of tube inserted via my nostrils – and I think I’ve been conned.
Before coming to the operating room, I had a chat with a nurse who checked my medical history and then gave me a spray to numb my nostrils and throat.
“We’ve just started carrying out these procedures at this hospital, but don’t worry, you’ve got Dr Sinclair and he carries out lots of them. There may be some other doctors though as they want to know what to do.”
Great, I thought. I’ve got good ol’ Steady Hands Sinclair. Nothing to worry about.
Except, I’m now on my side, a cable down my nose and throat and stomach and the doctor pushing the cable down my gullet is shouting “Whoa ahh! I always perform best under pressure!” like he’s Tom Cruise in Top Gun. This can’t be Steady Hands Sinclair?!?!
I’m not nervous, I don’t know enough about what’s going on to be nervous. I just trust that everyone knows what they’re doing. But now the Doctor is saying “I’m running out of scope!” and I’m not sure if I’ve got a surgeon or a submarine captain.
It’s a strange experience to see your insides on a screen in front of you. I don’t even know why they do so. Who thought: “I know what a patient wants to see when we carry out an endoscopy, they want to see it live on screen, so lets get a second telly so they can watch it themselves.”
So, I watch the camera approach my nostil, which I assume will be the easiest entry the Doctor will have all day as my nose is so big you could thread the Flying Scotsman down it. Then I watch it pass the back of the throat, through my vocal cords and then into a pink ribbed stomach and gut.
I stop watching.
“Are you okay,” asks a nurse.
I can still talk, the cable doesn’t block my mouth but it’s uncomfortable with my throat numb and the plastic snake sliding through my belly so I just nod. But what I want to say is “Switch the channel! I don’t want to watch this! Put on Homes Under the Hammer!”
While the Doctor is pushing the tube and saying “C’mon, c’mon” like he’s a ten pin bowler trying to direct a strike.
This only takes four minutes. It feels longer. Maybe it was longer, but it feels like it won’t end until it does and I’m handed some wipes for my face and the doctor says “everything looks normal.”
That’s good to know but I didn’t need to see it. I would have just believed him.