The Anonymous Widower

The Diagnosis Of My Gallstones

I arrived at Homerton hospital as instructed today for the endoscopy.

Strangely, it was C’s birthday.

The procedure would involve passing an ultrasound probe down my throat and through my stomach to take an ultrasound image of the lump close to my liver.

I’d had two endoscopies before in the late 1990s at Addenbrookes to check for coeliac disease. One was a normal one, but in the second, I was also providing a sample of fluid for a research project at Cambridge University.

I seem to remember at Addenbrookes, I had been instructed to turn up in something like a tee-shirt and shorts, which is what I did. In this case, I took my shirt off and put a hospital gown over my cord trousers.

As I’d had the two endoscopies at Addenbrookes without a sedative, I suggested strongly, that they do the investigation without one this time as well.

The doctor, who was of an age to be very experienced, said he was up for it and we went for it without a sedative.

There was two big differences to the procedure at Addenbrookes.

  • There were more staff, than Addenbrooke’s doctor and a technician.
  • They were fully gowned up, as opposed to normal clothes.

But, then I got the expression at Addenbrooke’s they were aiming for speed and they were only confirming their earlier diagnosis of coeliac disease. that had been made by a genetic test.

Everything this time, went without a hitch.

  • I was laying on my left side.
  • I had oxygen tubes up my nose.
  • With my right hand I can feel the probe in my stomach.
  • To calm me down, a nurse was stroking my beard.

After not a long time, everything was done and I was walked back to recovery area.

Within half an hour, I was informed by the second doctor, that I had got gallstones and they would be taken out by endoscopy on September the 30th. Later they will take out my gall bladder by surgery.

I got the impression, it was the first time, that he’d seen this procedure without a sedative, as he described me as the Star-Of-The-Day. But then I’m a London Mongrel, with more survival genes than a garden full of Japanese knotweed.

I went home the way I came – On the bus!

After Effects

The only after effects were that the air in the theatre had dried me out and my left left arm hurt because I’d been lying on it.

So I vowed to drink a lot of fluids before the operation and do something to improve the strength of my damaged left arm.

August 26, 2021 - Posted by | Health | , ,


  1. I was interested in this article today for several reasons.
    1. The different approaches to the procedures.
    2. Your own experiences from them.
    3. How, in my experience, I’ve had similar procedures over the years but again, performed differently even within the same NHS trust.

    After my own experiences, these sorts of things are ripe for operational performance studies. That doesn’t necessarily mean the procedures should be pared to the bone (although I know some are), but consistency across the country would be a good move forward.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | October 6, 2021 | Reply

    • I agree that operational performance studies would be a good idea. You notice it at Addenbrookes, but I’ve not seen any evidence in London hospitals.

      The classic in Cambridge was my Dexascan. They have two machines and man one with a male and the other with a female radiologist.

      So when you go in they ask if you would prefer a male or female radiologist and whether you’d mind undressing in front of them to your underwear or you need a gown. This must increase the throughput, through expensive machines. They also need less gowns and changing rooms.

      Comment by AnonW | October 6, 2021 | Reply

  2. I too avoid sedation whenever possible, I don’t like the feeling as I am coming out of it.

    There is a pain management consultant at my local private hospital who has a spinal injection clinic with about 30+ patients, all done in theatre, and each patient is in the room around 6 or 7 minutes. I never had sedation when I went in.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | October 6, 2021 | Reply

    • I can self-hypnotise myself, as could my mother and I saw my middle son do it as a three-year old.

      I did it memorably, when the emergency dentists in the Royal London took an extremely different tooth out. The two senior students felt it would be bad, so they called in the Senior Tutor, who’d been looking for a victim to try the new tooth splitter out on.

      I fixed my eyes on those of a Hong Kong student and felt no pain at all. There was a lot of blood, but no pain.

      Iused to know a GP, who was also a registered hypnotist and she believed, it could be used for lots of purposes.

      Comment by AnonW | October 6, 2021 | Reply

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