Upper Endoscopy

I had an EGD test last week. It’s called an EGD because, who can pronounce esophagogastroduodenoscopy? The point is to insert a camera into the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine to look for anything amiss. My iron is low, so the doc wants to see if there’s an iron leak somewhere in my digestive system. My lower digestive system is okay. I had a routine colonoscopy two years ago, and the physician found no leaks or polyps. Polyps are colon weeds that are dangerous if you let them spread. So be sure you stay on top of your colon health.

I’ve already had four colonoscopies thanks to a family history of colon cancer. If you’ve had a colonoscopy, you know you’re not allowed to eat real food the day before the procedure. They do let you take in liquids and all manner of fake food (Jell-O, popsicles). The prep for an EGD is a piece of cake compared to a colonoscopy. Before an EGD, you can eat that piece of cake all the way up til midnight on the day before the procedure. You may eat Jell-O and broth until 6:30 a.m. the day of the EGD. This is why I was up at 5:45 last Wednesday. I wanted to eat my fake food because that’s all I could have until after my 10:30 appointment.

I slurped down my yummy yellow Jell-O and the salty chicken bouillon. I didn’t finish til 6:35 a.m., five minutes late, so I cheated a little. At 6:36, I unloaded the dishwasher and cut some apples for my daughter’s lunchbox.

By 7:20, my husband, daughter, the cat, and the squirrel outside the window were enjoying their breakfasts.  My husband ate a blueberry/banana/pineapple smoothie. My daughter ate Cheerios. The cat ate duck or chicken or whatever meat was baked into his kibble. The squirrel ate bird seed and stuck out her tongue at us because she knows the birdseed is for the birds. I usually sit with my daughter and read a morning devotional. I usually sip on the smoothie my husband has made for me. But of course, this morning, I couldn’t eat a smoothie, and the bullion and Jell-O had made their way through my system.

By 7:25, I was hungry again.

“More, please?” said my stomach. “That bullion and Jell-O at 6 a.m. were weird. Time for my smoothie and cereal.”

“I can’t give you a smoothie and cereal,” I told my stomach. “My esophagus and stomach have to be empty by 10:30.”

“Oh, believe me, we’re empty down here,” said my esophagus. “We were finished with that fake food an hour ago.”

“Too bad,” I said. “You’re not allowed to have any more til the doctor is finished with you.”

My stomach grumbled, “This is unacceptable.”

I was not looking forward to the next three hours of hunger when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but be sure you answer strange numbers on the day of a medical procedure. I say this because it was my doctor’s office calling with an offer I couldn’t refuse.

“We had a cancellation this morning, Wendy. Could you come in a little sooner?”

“What, and get this procedure over with sooner so I can eat real food sooner?” I asked. “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

Ninety minutes later, I was fully sedated, and the doctor was looking at my insides with a camera. My insides are pink. My esophagus, my stomach, my colon, my uterus – all pink. (Thanks to infertility treatments, I’ve seen the inside of my uterus. And I’m familiar with my fallopian tubes as well. The doctor said they were blocked with debris. No wonder I couldn’t get pregnant. My tubes were blocked with old tires and beer cans. A story for another day.)

The doc found no iron leaks. What he did see was a mild hiatal hernia and a Schatzki Ring, a band of tissue in the esophagus. The doc said he wasn’t concerned with the hernia or the ring. But he wants to find the source of my low iron, and he suggested we run another kind of test in a few weeks.

In the next test, we move down to the small intestines, and I swallow a camera in pill form. Not kidding. The camera takes pictures as it travels through my digestive system. I’ll wear a monitor that receives a transmission from the Wondrous Wandering Camera Pill. Eventually the camera pill leaves the body. We won’t discuss how it exits, but it reminds me of the visit I made to the gastroenterologist. A poster on the wall showed cartoon pictures of different kinds of poop. Enough said.

Only trouble with this swallow-the-camera test is the prep. It’s better AND worse than the prep for a colonoscopy. Better because you don’t have to drink as much MiraLAX. Worse because you can’t eat real food for 30 hours instead of 24.

“I can’t have real food for how long?” asked my stomach.

“Thirty hours,” I mumbled.

“And a pill with a camera in it will take pictures of me?” asked my small intestines.


“At least you will finally see and appreciate my beauty,” bragged the small intestines. “I’m pink.”

No surprise there. My dictionary says “in the pink” means “in very good health and spirits.” I’ll drink to good health. As long as it’s not MiraLAX we’re drinking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *