I am not a nurse, so my knowledge is limited to my own experience with an EGD. I was given a reduced amount of sedation because of a 4 unit blood loss from a bad GI bleed. This amount of sedation did not affect me, so I remember the procedure clearly. Even though I promptly choked and had to swallow when told to gargle the Cetacaine solution, I had no problems with gagging, and the procedure was painless. I did start to cough at the end. Being the good little patient, I tried to suppress the cough, but was told to cough. I suspect the doctor was checking to see if I could protect my airway.
Have you ever had an NG tube? I found this to be painful when the tip was going through the nasal passage, and an unpleasant sensation as it was passed down the esophagus. However, the passage did not increase my nausea, and I quickly became completely used to the NG tube. From what I have been reading, my tolerance for such procedures may be above average.
My Harrison's 15th edition of Principles of Internal Medicine states that EGDs are routinely done without sedation in other countries. I do not think that you will be able to watch, because your head will be pointing at the ceiling, and your glasses would be in the way (if you need to wear glasses).
The hospital where I was admitted was definitely the place to be for a bad GI bleed. However, my experience was that you can not depend on getting any information unless you specifically ask for it. You need to:
1. Tell the doctor that you want to go over the Informed Consent with him in detail (My doctor never mentioned this, and the nurse only said to read and sign it).
2. Tell the doctor that you just want the Cetacaine throat spray, and no sedation. The consent form probably states that you were told about alternatives to sedation, so you have every right to ask.
3. Tell the doctor that you want a videotape, if possible, and color pictures. You can not depend on your doctor to even tell you that he took pictures, let alone ask if you want copies. When you request your medical records, the pictures you get will probably just be black and white photocopies, so you need to tell your doctor in advance that you want color copies.
4. There is a mindset in the healthcare environment that the more you know, the more stressful the experience. While this may be true for many people, it is not true for me. If you are like me, you will need to explain to the staff that you love to learn, and that the more information you have, the more comfortable you are. The irony of my hospital stay was that one of the nursing outcomes was a reduction in anxiety. However, their well-intentioned careplan of providing minimum information (I did not even have paper and pen to take notes) only resulted in increasing my anxiety. I will be assertive about obtaining detailed and comprehensive information in any future dealings with the healthcare system.
Michael E. Shultz
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."