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Oesophageal pH Study

What could go wrong?  I mean I've had a larger tube down into my stomach just a couple of moments ago and by all accounts this was a thinner one.  Surely this should be easy?  Once again theory and practice don't always meet.


This pH study meant that the tube would have to be left in my stomach for 24 hours and it would be attached to a mini computer which I'd carry around with me - it's about the size of a Walkman.  The idea was that we'd - well not me - Louise - would just pop this tube down, rig me up and I'd be off.  Easy. Then out came another long tube from the drawer.  Louise was standing by.  One-armed Andrew was standing by and the Team plan was to use the very successful "thumb up - thumb down - hold my hand" strategy.


Well up the tube went up into the favoured left nostril. It didn't get very far as it kinked up.  Louise pulled it out - unkinked it and then Take 2.  No - that wasn't working either.  One-armed Andrew was still waiting for his moment.  By Take 6 and a kinked tube later Louise decided we'd have to change tactics.  We were going to have to go in via the other nostril. The least favoured nostril. With everyone up to speed with the change and standing by to do their bit and with Niagara Falls still very much in my mind it was - thumb up.  The tube was off and on it's way.  To be honest I think everything down my gullet was in shock.  The speed that it all happened and the element of surprise worked wonders.  It was almost in my stomach.  And one push later - the tube was in it's final resting place.  Job done.  Great Team work.


Louise then taped up the tube that was coming out of my nose to the side of my face and with the remaining tube attached it to the mini computer.  I have to say I could feel it in my throat - it wasn't painful - I just knew it was there.  As for blowing my nose - it's not easy and I blow my nose a great deal.  Another little challenge.


And then true to her word Louise said - "how about that cuppa now".  You'd think I'd just won the lottery - it was music to my ear.  I must of grinned from ear to ear.  Andrew went off to get it.  I think he was quite relieved to.  It gave his hand a chance in getting the blood circulation back!!  Not only did he return with that very welcomed tea but biscuits as well.  It was weird drinking and eating with this tube in but nothing was going to stop me.  It was going down.  


Louise then explained what all the buttons on the computer were for and when I was to press them. There was a cough button.  Understood that one and I knew that would be pressed often.  There was a heartburn button - I was hoping I wasn't going to be pressing that one too often.  And then a belch button!! I said to Louise that I didn't think I'd be using that one. To my horror of horrors - how wrong was I?  I have now discovered that I am a "silent belcher" and that button was pressed far more many times than I will reveal.


Not only did I have to press buttons but also record what and when I was eating.  It's amazing how food has an uncanny habit of sneaking up to the mouth area without you realising it and only with gentle reminders from Roy was everything recorded.  


Bedtime I knew was going to bring me new challenges as I have a particular routine before I fall asleep.  I start off on one side then just as I am about to nod off I do a 180 degree flip - the equivalent of a double salchow triple axel - to the other side and that's me away to the land of nod.  However, with the encumberance of tubes and a mini computer this was not going to be possible and the only way I could be was flat on my back with the computer to one side of me.  Did I get any sleep?  Precious little.  It was another one of those nights.


However, morning eventually came and now I only had to wait until 2.30 then I would be free again and to be honest I was looking forward to that moment. Breakfast and lunch passed by and then it was the drive back to Papworth.  We made our way to the Respiratory Department and soon after the lovely Louise appeared to call me in to the treatment room.


I sat down and she suggested that before she asked me any questions how about removing the tube.  Of course that was very agreeable and within a few seconds - it was all out - all 37cm of it!!  I was a free woman once more and it really did feel good - I surprised myself by feeling how good.  Louise just wanted to make sure that I hadn't had any problems and explained that the results recorded would be examined and the appropriate paperwork put on my file.


So that was it.  The last of the tests for a while.  Roy and I go back to Papworth early in December.  I so hope it is good news.  We need it to be good news.









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