Camera, Lights…… Action!!

Yesterday afternoon, as a followup to my gastric haemorrhage in April, I underwent a gastroscopy procedure. A medical examination involving the insertion of a camera into my mouth, allowing it a short aesthetically displeasing sojourn down my oesophagus, coming to rest at the top of my stomach.

Once the camera reached its destination, which Tripadvisor has rated as 3.5 stars out of 5***, a doctor was able to investigate how effectively medication was healing my once bleeding gastric ulcers. Not a particular scenic journey for the cameras cable, however of the two orifice options available I’d envisage it’s probably provides the least unpleasant route on offer. Not only from a scenery perspective, but also a patient comfort angle.

*** – Please note – Despite reasonable ratings on Tripadvisor, the camera’s destination was said to be cramped, possessed an erratic air conditioning system and was noisy at night.

As I visited the day patient clinic alone, I was unable to be sedated during the procedure.   The ‘booking in’ nurse gave me the option of rebooking, allowing me to return with a companion, which out of misguided stoicism I duly wavered. Some may say bravely, others foolishly, GJ Strachan opted to undergo this examination with just a numbing of throat and oesophagus.

Consequently exposing my gag reflex to a pretty traumatic few minutes. Experiencing a feeling like not only was a camera residing in my throat, but also the cameraman, lighting/sound engineers and affable floor manager Nichola. It was only a couple of hundred seconds, but it was a darn sight more distressing than the first time I underwent the procedure in hospital under sedation. Which is what you’d expect, I suppose.


One of the first notions crossing my mind after my gag reflex recovered its capacity to work as designed was relief I wasn’t a boa constrictor. Or indeed any snake who squeezes prey to death prior to swallowing them whole. Concluding evolution has been kinder to humans; giving them the wherewithal to get bite sized portions of already prepared prey from a chiller cabinet in Sainsburys.

I know constricting reptiles have evolved with the strength/jaw dislocation capabilities to hunt and ingest food that way. However, after this gastroscopy procedure I’d hate to think my survival depended on possessing the capacity to successfully swallow a wildebeest whole.

Although learning a lesson that perhaps sedation is a better option when undergoing a gastroscopy, the experience wasn’t all bad. For instance, unlike when in hospital, prior to undergoing the investigative procedure I didn’t have to adorn a gown you tie at the back. Attire which, if you don’t realise you can get disposable undies (like I didn’t when hospitalised), means your butt is on view to all and sundry.

This operating theatre fashion naivety meaning, during my earlier hospital stay, I spent part of it wandering around with my ass on view. A sight that I was later told made me look like a walking iPod docking station. A situation that could’ve only be made worse if I’d worn the unflattering open backed gown the wrong way around.

Anyhow, at the conclusion of yesterday’s gastric investigation I was heartened to be told the ulcers are healing satisfactorily, meaning I shouldn’t need another gastroscopy as part of any further followup meetings.

In reasonable spirits, while awaiting my taxi home from the clinic, I rang my wife to inform her how the procedure had gone. She seemed pleased my ulcers were fully healing and after a brief chat we ended the call.

With being ‘nil by mouth’ since 8am I was really hungry while climbing into my taxi home. As we headed towards east Leeds from Morley clinic, I texted to ask my missus what was for tea. Within seconds receiving the response ‘cod loin, salad and Jersey potatoes’.

After reading the text I caught sight of myself smiling contentedly in the taxi driver’s mirror. I concluded my broad grin was that of a man who’d ‘survived’ the distress of an unsedated gastroscopy. Joy contributed to with thoughts he wasn’t going home to a whole bloody wildebeest for tea!


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