Ella was recently evaluated by a pediatric gastroenterologist and send to our Children’s hospital for an EGD. Just the thought of it was enough to scare the tar out of me. I mean, they would have to sedate her for the test and THAT was enough to conjure mental images of her infant apnea and ER visit. I was well on my way to talking myself out of letting them do the test. If she had not been in so much pain the week before her test I might have chickened out, and that would have been a mistake.
The day of the test we had to arrive at the hospital fairly early in the morning. Insurance paperwork was, of course, the first stop. Once we got into a room the nurses, anesthesiologist and GI all came to speak with me. They made sure all of Ella’s information was correct, asked a few questions and made sure I understood the procedure. Ella got a hospital ID bracelet and the nurses even made one for her stuffed animal “Brown Kitty” that she had brought along for the ride. She even got some cute pj’s and socks to wear
Thirty minutes before the procedure they gave Ella some “giggle juice”. She had to have it via a shot (because of the risk of aspiration with acid reflux disease) but after about five minutes she could have cared less that she had had a shot. In fact, when they took her back for the procedure she could have cared less where I was and was off with the nurse to see the “fish” that adorned the hospital walls. It was only after that that they placed her IV line.
The entire procedure took about 30 minutes. After which the doctor called me into a small room to talk with her about what she had found. (As most of you know, they found esophagitis). A medicine adjustment was discussed and then I was sent back to the waiting area to wait for Ella to wake up.
Ella was groggy but didn’t fuss or complain until they took out her IV. She slept most of the drive home and spent the rest crying about being thirsty. She drank some water and when we got home proceeded to throw up all of the water, along with some flecks of blood, all over me. She went to bed early that night, woke up groggy still and threw up again. After a bit more lounging around she started to act like her normal self and by noon was back to giggling and running around.
Was it fun to have her EGD done? No way. Was it needed? For Ella, absolutely!
I wanted to share this story with you to take the mystery away. Sometimes the scariest part of the test is not having a clear picture of what is going to happen. Everyone should weigh the risk versus the benefit before consenting to any testing. All tests come with risks and should not be entered into lightly. For us, the thought of the test was far worse than the procedure itself and it provided information we needed to change her treatment plan.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.