I’ve been doing some medical checks lately and, as I mentioned in my previous post, I had to do a bronchoscopy on last Monday.
Since this is a very big jump out of my comfort zone, I’ll tell you about it.
At the same time the expat topic can be brought to attention as well, so I guess it’s double interesting!
Since I’ve never drunk, smoked or used any drugs at all I’ve always had a body and health of a happy 90 years old lady for some reason!
Because of that I had to be checked a couple of times with this test too. With this one included I’ve done it three times.
Before I go on I want to give you an overview of the first two experiences, just to let you understand the reason why it’s important to me write down my latest occurrence.
The very first bronchoscopy I had done was in Pisa, in Italy. It was an absolutely barbaric process. No sedation was given to me, just a local anesthesia in the attempt to numb the throat, and off they went. They put me down on a stretch and, since my nose it was too small, so they said, they decided to put the camera down the throat into the bronchi.
Useless to say that I was petrified with terror, I had my vocal chords touched and I couldn’t talk for a couple of days and worse of all, I had nightmares for one year solid.
Everybody would understand if I felt a bit panicking the next time I had to had this test done awake.
The doctor promised me I could have it done with total anesthesia as I didn’t see any other way of doing it.
When I was about to go in they decided to give me some Valium in order to calm me down, but it was useless. Once outside the room for bronchoscopy I started to sob so violently that my doctor was called. Apparently they tried to sedate me with two doses of sedation but it was so without effect that they had to call the anesthetist and knock me down completely.
You can imagine, then, what would be my reaction when they told me that I had to do a bronchoscopy a few days ago. A test I hate in a country that it’s not my origin one. Mostly how would I express anything medically related in another language?
My adrenaline went up to the sky and my fear along with it.
I’ve never tried any test so invasive here and, after changing the dentist, I thought that I was done with bravery in medical field in a place where I don’t know anybody and where my brother, who’s doctor, is very far away.
When they prospected the idea of doing it I told immediately to the doctor my previous experiences and I told her that, unless I was put to sleep, was impossible to perform this test.
She told me that it might not be necessary and that, in case, we would talk about it.
All good with that, but she called me on a Friday afternoon telling me that I should show up in endoscopy Monday morning.
I was in the street walking for errands. I stopped on the spot, petrified for the fright and unable to move a pace forward. I called my partner who told me he would get a day off in order to go with me as moral support.
I spent the following two days in panic and I couldn’t sleep the night before, I had the constant feeling I was about to vomit. The stomach was so much tight.
My partner was very good and once again stayed by my side.
So off we went in the morning, we brought Maya at the crèche. I had my hug from one of her sweetest teachers, E., who read my previous post and knew I was absolutely anxious.
Then we reached the hospital.
I asked at the main reception where endoscopy was and once there, I took a number for the check-in. My partner was desperately trying to make me feel better but he was past the point of any ability of distracting me. I couldn’t even say my name properly to the receptionist.
Then they called my name.
We both rose from the chairs and I have still no clue how I brought myself to the door where the nurse was waiting for me.
She had a very gentle face and very dark eyes, she kept repeating that everything was going to be OK and a part of me wanted badly to believe her.
She took my details and said the doctor would be with me shortly. I thought I’d see again the one I spoke with a few days before, during the visit.
Instead I met another respiratory clinic doctor, Anne Marie if I remember well her name. She’s very tall and thin with one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen.
By then, however, I resumed my rocking on the chair and barely speaking. I told her once more the story behind my fear. She said we could wait a week more or we could try and wait for the other tests to be done. I was almost crying and kept telling her “My brother said it’s useful” or “But my brother told me it’s the more reliable test we can do”
So after she assured me we won’t do it unless I was completely unconscious, I agreed to have the line inserted in my arm and be brought in.
On the way to the second room I gave my partner, who had to wait outside, a kiss and then headed for the surgery room.
They put some anesthetic in my throat, the oxygen support in my nose and the pressure monitor to my arm and finger.
Then the doctor started to give me the sedation.
“So, your brother, what does he do?”
“He’s an ophthalmic surgeon” I said and I started to feel a bit drowsy already.
“Oh nice!” she said “He’s an eye guy!”
When I opened my eyes again I was in another room dedicated to those who ask for the sedation and have to shake it off a bit before being discharged.
The test was done!
I couldn’t believe it!
Now, I have no clue whether in Italy didn’t use the sedation and pretended they did or here the medicine is stronger. What I know is that it worked.
First thing I wanted to do was to thank the doctor but she was gone.
When I was reasonably awake they let me in another room where they gave me breakfast.
Then I was discharged.
To be honest with you, this is the nicest experience of the test so far.
I hope against hope that it will be the last time I have to do it, but I’m not that sure.
I have this chronic writer thing…I just wish that one day I’ll be published as well.
Thanks a lot for bearing the reading until now.
How about you?
Do you have any phobia? Do you know how to deal with it?
Have you ever done a test like this in a different country? How did it go?
Would you do it in case you needed?
Let me know in the comments below.