Sunday, March 27, 2011

What to expect when you're...getting an endoscopy

Relax, Mom.  I'm not pregnant.  Note: My mother went to a psychic a few months back who told her someone close to her is going to get pregnant this year and I was her first thought.  Thanks, Mom!

I wish the the above titled book was as widely distributed as the played with title I referenced.  I initially went to a GI doctor in February after waiting 6 1/2 months for an appointment, as he was supposedly the best of the best.  His immediate recommendation after an exam was that I get an endoscopy, given that I still had some positive symptoms. Three weeks later, there I was, walking into New York Presbyterian, thinking I had a minor annoyance in front of me.  Then I got counseling on the endoscopy during intake, a consult with the anesthesiologist and my doctor, and I freaked.  F-r-e-a-k-e-d.  The idea of being half conscious while something was put down my throat that would make me feel like I'm choking for 30 seconds that I have no control over just did not sit well with me. I wish my doctor, who otherwise is great, had been a bit more up front about the procedure and what to anticipate, both during AND after. More than  few tears later, I opted for a deeper sedation that actually wore off faster than the typically used conscious sedation.  I cannot recommend this enough. I slept through the procedure and was pretty alert right afterwards.

Now comes the fun part. I was told that I couldn't eat for a few hours after the procedure.  No problem, I thought.  What they didn't explain was that I wouldn't WANT to eat a few hours later.  Or that I wouldn't be able to eat solid food for about 48 hours without wincing and getting tears in my eyes.  Now, I have a pretty high tolerance for pain.  I mean, I walked around pretty miserable with nausea, stomach upset, heartburn, migraines, body aches and fatigue for about the last 5 years and rarely complained. But I was miserable after this procedure.

As it turns out, my esophagus in particular was in horrible shape.  That getting rubbed may have made my pain worse than yours will be, given that its not the most common of the celiac stomach symptoms. But it was my most pronounced per the exam, and possibly because of that, I was so terribly unprepared for the days that followed.  Since celiacs tend to be extra sensitive, I suggest you prepare juuust to be on the safe side.

So, this in mind, here is my list of recommendations:
- Stock up on pain killers and throat numbing spray.
- Make sure you have thin soup and juice on hand for the first day.
- Fill your pantry and fridge with mushy stuff.  My suggestions: eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, goat cheese, gluten free farina (cream of buckwheat, cream of rice cereals), applesauce. I'll give you my favorite recipe with variations, at the end of this post, that I probably made 2x a day for the three days following until it didn't hurt to swallow anything firmer/crunchier.
- Take off from work both the day of your procedure and the day after if at all possible.  You may be well enough to go home but that doesn't mean you should push it.  I woke up the morning after my endoscopy rather drowsy and had to call out.

Post Endoscopy 5 Minute Protein Fix

2 eggs
1 oz goat cheese1/3 cup cream of rice or cream of buckwheat cereal
1 cup of lukewarm water
1 tsp seasoning of your choice (I used Adobo and Fresh Direct's Moroccan mix alternately to make this feel different even though I ate it four times in three days)
white vinegar
1 tsp butter, smart balance or earth balance spread

1. Boil two cups of water in a small sauce pot that has a tight fitting lid.  When the water is boiling, add one to two capfuls of white vinegar. This will help the poached eggs and their whites hold together.  Crack the eggs, dropping them slowly into the boiling water.  Let the water stay at a rolling boil for 15 - 30 seconds, shut off heat and close the lid tightly.  Leave for at least one minute or longer if you prefer your eggs cooked more firmly.  I like 'em runny.  Gently strain out water and put the eggs back in the small pot with the lid on.
2. In a larger saucepot (only to make the whisking easier), boil one cup of water.
3. As water heats, stir seasoning into cereal to evenly distribute.
4. When water boils, whisk cereal into water, pouring slowly.  Lower the heat to medium and continue to whisk until mixture reaches your desired thickness.  You can add more water for thinner and let it cook longer for thicker. 
5. Pour cereal into bowl. Stir in goat cheese and butter/spread.  Top with eggs.

I like to mash the eggs into the cereal as the yolks make everything tastier and creamier.

Seriously a clutch, easy recipe when I wanted something more substantial but didn't feel like swallowing what felt like broken glass.  You pretty much have to make this one serving at a time, as it doesn't keep well.

Happy biopsy-ing.