Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Paparazzi are Out of Control

I can't believe I forgot to tell you the weirdest part of my whole deviated septum experience!

I got my first endoscopy. An endoscopy is a medical term for shoving a camera into an orifice and displaying the results to someone who doesn't want to see it. The word comes from the Latin endo ("viewing") and scopus ("where the sun don't shine").

The tools required for this are a gullible, trusting patient and an endoscope. An endoscope is a thankfully tiny camera with a light at the end of a disturbingly long fiber-optic cable. The doctor feeds the cable into the orifice of choice until he encounters resistance or lawsuits. Everyone in the room gets to watch the whole thing on a high-def LCD screen. The picture quality was stunning.

In my case, it went up my nose, but with that much cable he could have gone in anywhere. In college, I once sat across a cafeteria table from a guy who shoved a piece of spaghetti up his nose, snorted, and pulled one end out of his mouth. He moved it back and forth like he was flossing his sinuses. You can't beat a solid education at a top university.

The results of my personal endoscopy aren't available yet, but I expect you can pick them up on blu-ray by the fall. I did find an image online that looked fairly representative.

The callouts are of course added later, though having an internal pop-up video would be an interesting evolutionary trait.

So it goes up my nose and down the back of my mouth until I'm getting a look at my own vocal chords from an unusual top-down angle. Very sexy. The doctor would say things like "try not to swallow," which is tougher than it sounds when you're trying not to barf.

What I learned was:

  1. Once you get inside, the view from any of your body openings is pretty much the same: pink, pulpy flesh. It's when something else shows up (for example, a rivet) that you have to start worrying.

  2. There is an AMA requirement that all humiliating or disgusting procedures are carried out with an attractive young intern in the room. Mine was named Jenny, and she was very nice even if she wouldn't make eye contact after the endoscopy.

  3. Always blow your nose, clean your ears, floss, and whatever other orifice maintenance you can think of before going to any doctor, just in case they have a new endoscope they want to try.

  4. I didn't see them clean the endoscope either before or after my procedure. I'm sure they got to it before the next person with a nose came along.

And this wraps up another exciting installment of Oversharing Medically. Stay tuned tomorrow for the results from my thyroid checkup!


Artful Dodger said...

So those stories about you being a deviant are true?

Tom said...

Re #4: You *hope* that particular endoscope is restricted to nasal use only.

The Man Version said...

The doctor armed with the endoscope is an ENT, so I figure he's only qualified to also stick it down someone's throat or into their ear hole. (How awful would that be? "Yep, your eardrum bursts real easy. Let's go find your brain.")

Intern Jenny might be using it for all kinds of purposes. Hmmmm... I'm torn between not wanting to know and wanting to daydream about it.

This doctor also had a lot of autographed pictures of Jennifer Nettles. Think a certain Sugarland singer had a deviated septum?

And AD -- I'm *not* a deviant! You mistake one All-Girl School for the Blind as a QuikTrip restroom and you're branded for life.