I have to tootle over to the local hospital this afternoon to have a gastroscopy. (That’s the one where you swallow the gadget, btw; not the other one…) I’ve had a hiatus hernia for years. It used to be intermittent, but apparently now it’s a permanent fixture. I normally just ignore it, but from time to time it causes acid reflux, which can be painful and irritating.
Anyway, when I was doing the Dales Way a couple of months ago I was listening to podcasts from the BBC, and one of them, Medicine Now (or something), was about a condition called Barrett’s Oesophagus. Apparently this is a condition in which oesophageal cells in close proximity to the stomach develop the characteristics of stomach cells, in an attempt to deal with acid they weren’t designed to be swimming around in. It’s a condition that people with acid reflux sometimes develop, and it can be a precursor to oesophageal cancer.
So, since I’ve had reflux acid for years, and my mother died of oesophageal cancer last year, it seemed like a good idea to consult the GP a couple of weeks ago and request a test. The BBC programme said a simple test which can be done in a GP’s surgery has been developed, but up here in the frozen climes of North West England it appears that clever new developments like that haven’t yet reached us. Therefore, I’m off to the hospital later today for the blasted gastroscopy.
(Incidentally, this means I’ve not had anything to eat this morning. Anyone who would like to send me restorative chocolate should address it to me and send it via Piglet Monster at The Sty. Heh…)
I had what felt like about a thousand gastroscopies about 10 years ago during the 2 years or so it took for my gallstones to be diagnosed. They were a nightmare, and over time I developed an almost Pavlovian response to the suggestion that I should ever have another. It’s possible to have some sort of sedation with them. I didn’t ever find that it helped much, but it’s better than nothing. It’s only possible to have that, though, if there’s somebody around to take one home. I’ve not got anyone here to collect me (Piglet hasn’t yet passed her driving test) so now I’m trying to decide whether to just lie to the nurse, and take a taxi back. That’s prolly what I’ll do.
So… I’m a bit nervous, now. Not about whether I may have some vile lurgy–that seems very unlikely–but about having yet another bloody gastroscopy. And I’m going to have to leave wee Piggly shut up in her little crate while I’m out, and she’ll get all upset and wonder whether I’m ever coming home. I’ll leave the radio on for her, and she’ll probably listen to Case Notes, or something, and demand an urgent consultation with the vet when I get back. Sigh…