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9th February: Barium enema xray day
09 February 2012 @ 19:46

As I said in my previous post my sleep was broken a number of times last night. I was tired & felt shaky. We had set the alarm for 8am as we needed to leave home at 9.45am, we were travelling to Weston Super Mare General hospital which is the other side of town to us. I went to the bathroom a few more times, feeling washed out by then, & was dismayed to see I was still passing bits of faeces in water & I had the worst feeling it was going to affect the Xrays. I can't do this again, I'd heard it's the preparation that's the worse part.

I checked in at Xray & was told to go to room 6 &, in case I forgot, I was handed an A5 sized laminated red card with ROOM 6 written on!! Unfortunately, at reception, we were told to go to the end of the corridor, turn right & sit down which was where I'd been before recently for a pelvic ultrasound. No sign of room 6 so I stayed where I was & my husband went off to locate room 6. He returned saying we'd passed it! It was through a door with ROOM 6 written on but the door had been wedged back so you didn't see the ROOM 6 on it!! It had three people waiting in there but they seemed to be waiting for people undergoing a procedure. I'd not even sat down when I was called through into a private changing room right by the waiting room.

A really sweet young nurse called Cheryl of around 25 said she was going to look after me. She said Steve was the consultant radiologist who was going to do the xrays but she would be with me at all times. She saw I was nervous but was very reassuring & said it would take 10 mins if that & they'd stop if I wanted them to. She explained what Steve was going to do. I asked if nothing was found could they please let me know rather than me have to worry up to two weeks for my doctor to get the results especially as I'm meant to be flying to Spain on March 3rd. CheryI said Steve would certainly do that. I was given two cotton gowns, one to wear with the ties at the back, the other to wear like a dressing gown to preserve my modesty. Cheryl called me into a dimmed Xray room where I met Steve - looked maybe mid 30's - who also was very personable. He explained the procedure in greater detail & Cheryl had obviously had told him I was very nervous.

I sat on the edge of a narrow padded Xray table & then lay down with my head on a pillow, my feet against a metal footrest. Steve explained he would give me an injection of Buscopan into a vein to relax my bowel which makes it more comfortable for me & easier for him. He couldn't find my vein in my right elbow but my left one was fine & I felt nothing, needles don't bother me anyway. Then he asked me to roll onto my left side so he could insert a tube into my anus. He put gel on my anus & very slowly inserted the tube which I didn't see but I think it was probably only 1/2" in diameter, Steve said it only goes in about 2". I think his 2" differs to my 2" though. It seemed to be in further than that, it wasn't very pleasant but it was over in seconds. He said he was going to tape the tube to my BTM so it didn't come out as I'd be asked to move positions a lot. Then he said barium was flowing into my colon, I felt nothing at all till he added a bit of air when I felt like I wanted to go to the WC but the air was added very slowly. It didn't phase me & I didn't get cramps like I've read many others experience. The air expands the colon so the barium coats the colon easily. He added more air as the barium moved further into my colon.

I started off on my left side then moved onto my back then onto my right side then I was tilted so I was almost standing up then flat on my back again then into a position where my head was lower than my legs. Cheryl was constantly keeping me reassured. (I was worried I'd fall off the narrow table). Steve asked me if I'd like to watch on the monitor once I faced him & I watched with great interest. He explained that, if I watched a narrow part of the colon he was pointing out, it would expand as he puffed more air in. Fascinating. He said he'd done around 6,000 barium enema Xrays. It was over fast & extremely interesting & certainly not painful or with much discomfort. I'd worried about having the procedure since my Dr had said she was ordering one over two weeks ago. I'd suffered nightmares & anxiety attacks over it too, mainly the results should it indicate cancer, everyones concern. The barium bag was taken down & laid on the floor allowing the 300ml of barium back into the bag. This, I was told, means I won't have the cramping as bad as the air comes out too. I was shown to the WC where I was told to take as long as I liked to make myself comfortable & I was ok within a minute. I was expecting to feel bad & I didn't.

Steve assured me he had seen nothing of concern, no cancers & no polyps either though he explained he wouldn't see any polyps under 5mm. That was the news I wanted, the news I'd dared to hope for.

I said I had to return tomorrow to have an ultrasound of my stomach area having already had one of my pelvic area due to pain in my abdomen. I said I'd rung to ask if I could maybe have the ultrasound straight after the barium enema but was told the barium would affect the results but I could have the ultrasound the following day as already planned. Steve said the barium can stay in your system for a week so if I couldn't have the ultrasound that day I should not be having it tomorrow anyway but he said it would be ok to have it today & he'd try to find someone free to do it. I went to the WC & got dressed & he said a consultant was free so he would do it & within 15 mins I'd had the ultrasound & then drunk the coffee that Cheryl had made me too. I don't need to go out in the cold again & give the car park another £2 parking fee tomorrow.

As I'd bought Windsetlers I took two with some water once in the car & felt well enough, no wind, to go shopping in Aldi on the way home. They sell a great sliced loaf, a multigrain toast thickness one for only 89p & I want beans on toast later. I need to eat lots of fibre to get rid of any barium left in me. After eating white bread & low fibre foods for a few days I'm eager to have some tasty foods.

Back home our WC looks like I've cleaned it with Vim or Ajax powder as there's white in the bottom of it.

Well, that's it over with & no reason to worry any more. I hope this helps someone who's worried about this procedure.


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