I’m sure at some point in every ostomate’s life, he or she will have to undergo an ileoscopy. For me, that day was yesterday. And I’m sure there will be more in the future, but this was my first one since my surgery over two years ago. I was a little nervous simply because I didn’t really know what to expect. But I am happy to say that, especially compared to a colonoscopy, it was an easy procedure and there was nothing to worry about it. But here’s a little of what you can expect…
First of all, for anyone who does not know, an ileoscopy is simply a scope of the small intestine. It is the same thing as a colonoscopy… just without the colon. It’s a quick procedure, but they do put you under anesthesia. For a person with an ostomy, they take the camera through the stoma and take a quick look around the small intestine for any signs of inflammation.
So let me say that the best part of having an ostomy is that you no longer have to go through the horrible, awful bowel prep that usually precedes a colonoscopy. (At least in most cases you do not. I do know of someone who is still doing a prep before an ileoscopy.) For me, I was told to not eat anything after midnight the day before and to consume only clear liquids on the day of the procedure. This was a little difficult since my appointment was not until 3:30 in the afternoon, but it’s not so bad to just miss a couple of meals.
I had a cup of coffee in the morning and then drank a liter and a half of water during the day. It is very important to stay hydrated. I had to stop drinking three hours before the procedure, so I did my best to get as much down as I could before that time. I still felt a little dehydrated by the time I was going in for my ileoscopy and my veins were definitely not working with me that day. It took three pokes to finally get in a good IV. (Although that’s pretty typical.)
The pre-procedure part is very routine: You check in, change into a hospital gown, get an IV, get hooked up to a heart-rate monitor, meet with the anesthesiologist and your gastroenterologist. Then you do a lot of waiting. I was the last appointment of the day, which usually always means a bit of a delay. But they finally got me in and ready to go.
This is the first procedure where I was given propofol. I’m not sure what I was given in the past, but there have been times that I have woken up during a procedure and it usually makes you really loopy and exhausted for a while afterwards. The propofol is supposed to help with both the staying asleep and the waking up. It had a nice burn going in, but I didn’t wake up at all during the procedure and when I came out of it at the end I was almost immediately coherent. (I’m pretty sure I did ramble a little with the nurses, but oh well…) It’s probably the first time that I actually remember a conversation with my GI without my husband or my mom having to fill me in afterwards.
Beyond that, everything was fine after the procedure. My stoma is maybe a little bit sore, but only when I’m really thinking about it. My GI also gave me a shot in the bum where my wound hasn’t quite healed up, so that was tender, as well. I’m hoping what she gave me will help clear that area up! I did bring extra ostomy bags, since I wasn’t sure if they’d need to take it off, plus I use the stick-on two-pieces, so there’s also the chance it might not stick it back together, but it did. However, I would definitely recommend bringing back up bags, because you never know what’s going to happen. I did get a kick of how my bag had been replaced when I woke up… with a little extra tilt.
One funny side-effect is that there was a lot of gas releasing after I woke up. (Read: There was a lot of stoma farting.) And it was so loud! I couldn’t help but laugh as the doctor and nurses were talking to me and it kept making noises. So just a heads up that you might be in for a little symphony after you wake up. It only lasted about 15 minutes, though, and I didn’t have any bloated, gassy pains with it.
And I am happy to report that the scope looked great. No signs of inflammation or Crohn’s anywhere! That was a big relief, especially after I have had a few issues with my proctectomy wound and the eye inflammation and a little issue while I was in Italy (that I will tell you about later). If felt really good to be told that everything was how it should be, considering that I don’t believe I’ve ever been told that after a scope in my life. I’m so thankful.
But that was my experience with getting an ileoscopy. Let me know if you had any different experience. Also, if there are any questions I didn’t cover, leave them below and I will answer them the best that I can.