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Would you take the risk?

Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:08 am

Hi all, I'm due for my 5 yearly colonoscopy next month. I'm 18 years post cancer and have had Ulcerative Colitis for the past 5 years (diagnosed at last colonoscopy). I have nothing evident 'going on' - the UC seems well controlled, any 'pressure' is simply getting it done before my specialist retires in April.

A couple of weeks ago I dropped into the hospital for something else, and was surprised at the crowds and busyness. We are in a pandemic here! Though infection rates in our area are lowish, they have risen in recent weeks, and there is concern at the spread of what is referred to here as the 'English variant', which is expected to be the dominant form here in France within weeks.

Much as I love the idea of a colonoscopy (....!), I'm seriously considering whether it would be wiser to put it off until the summer when infection rates are lower and more people have been vaccinated. Other conditions mean COVID could be nasty for me. I am avoiding being among people anyway: I think twice before going in a shop at the moment, so spending 8 hours in a hospital (notorious for sick people in my experience) bothers me. Right now it just seems a higher risk than I need to take.

What would you do in my place? Go ahead with colonoscopy now? Or put it off until later in the year? I'd be interested to hear your views.

Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:22 am

Hi Chris i,m with you on that i dreaded going to the hospital to get my vaccines as there was a lot of people coming and going, i think if your not having any issues to maybe hold off like you say and have it done later.

Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:28 am

Hello Chris.

This is indeed a dilemma and not one which I can confidently give advice about. Having various conditions that make it much more likely that Covid syptoms would be serious for me I have decided that nothing but the most serious condition would get me anywhere near a doctor or hospital. I have even postponed my dental appointment until mid May. 

Having said that, my wife has recently posed the same question about going for a blood-test at our local hospital. Between us we felt that with her conditions the risks of not monitoring her bloods would probably be higher than the risk of catching Covid and having bad symptoms. Thus, what seems a good decision for her - would not be a good decision for me. 

My own feeling is that if you feel that there is no hurry to have a colonoscopy, then it probably would not hurt to postpone it for a few weeks/months. Another consideration would be if you have had the vaccination, as this would provide some immunity to the disease,  should you contract it while visiting the hospital.  I think I would find out exactly when your specialist intends retiring and time it for just before that date. 

There is no 'good' time to have these things done in the middle of a pandemic, we just have to make these decisions, take reasonable precautions and hope for the best 

Best wishes

Bill

Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:49 am

I wouldn't go anywhere near a hospital during this horrible pandemic unless it was absolutely necessary.  I too have postponed even dental cleaning appointments.  Because I know Covid would likely kill me, plus I worry about caring for my ostomy, it would have to be an absolute dire emergency to get me in a germ-laden atmosphere like any health care facility.

Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:27 am

Chris ..

 as long as your colitis is under control and the only reason you're having the procedure done is due to your Gastro dr retirement, I'd put it off most definitely until the covid starts to diminish and you are assigned a new Gastro dr . Let your new dr do the test when your covid comfortable and less stressed about it . Stress can trigger the onset of the colitis systems.

Ritz ...rare acute  colgenous microscopic colitis sufferer of 19 years survivor thanks to my ileostomy  ..... Good Luck Chris and stay safe 

Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:46 am

Hi Chris,

  Well.....I might go against the grain here (as usual), but I was sceduled my routine scoping way back last February.  Then COVID popped up and I kept postponing and postponing.  But I really wanted to know what (if anything) was going on in there, so I bit the bullet and said ok, let's do it.  I don't know what protocalls are in French hospitals, but here in the States I was pleasantly surprised by how well the hospital I recently went to were handling things.  During my visit (for an ileoscopy and flex sig (colonoscopy-ish) the first thing they did, the second you walk in the front door is take your temperature.  If you pass that you can proceed to the area of the hospital you need to be at.  Once there the waiting room, which normally holds about 30 people, had 2 people in it including myself.  And that wasn't just luck, they now schedule procedures that far apart.  After I checked in a nurse came to get me and walked me down an empty hall to her desk where she immediately swabbed my nose and sent the sample right across the hall to be tested for COVID.  After I answered her 50 questions we walked to the waiting area for procedure patients, which has 20 stations, each with a bed and curtain where they put your IV in and then the anesthesiologist grilles you to make sure they don't kill you by mistake. But no one touched me until my COVID results came back negative. Once they got the green light I was told to go in the closet and get undressed and then come back to my bed for the IV.  Oh, I was the only patient in the whole 20 bed area the whole time.  Of course everyone is masked and no one comes within 6 feet until you pass your COVID test.  Once back at the bed the IV was installed (after a good number of tries by the junior stickler) and they checked to make sure the procedure room was all ready for me. Then they wheeled me across the empty hallway to the procedure room, where 2 folks in full riot gear where waiting for me.  I assume they were women because their outfits were pink, but I couldn't see any part of their face with their moonsuits on.  Then it was zip, bip, count back from 100 and by 98 I was in La-La-Land.  I regained consciousness about 40 minutes later in the same station I got my IV, and the room was still completely empty except for me an 2 nurses that never came within 20 feet of me.  Then a male nurse came over and read my monitor to make sure I was still alive, and told me I did great and would start feeling fully awake in another minute or so.  At that point he asked me if I wanted some water or crackers or a filet mignon....and I said no (they didn't have my favorite steak sauce) and I was told to get dressed.  A few minutes later the Doc who stuck the scopes in my most intimate places came in and discusse the results and handed me a hard copy to frame on the wall when I got home.  They then called my ride, but he had to wait outside for them to bring me to him.  So I gathered my things and was escorted thru a mostly empty hospital out to his car.  They then wished me well and I was gone.

 The whole experience was the opposite of what I expected.  There were no coughing, wheezing COVID infected zombies stammering thru the hallways, and everyone was very professional and polite.  I guess it's in their best interest to not have the hospital infected with COVID if possible.  So short story long........I'd do it again in a heartbeat if I had to.  I'd say my odds of getting COVID in that hospital were way less than in the Walmart I visited later to get some stuff.  Again, I don't know what it's like over by you......but over here they seem to have a good handle on things.  That being said, if you're just not into going..........your Doc can have bloodwork done on you and they can check your C-Reactive Protein (CRP) which is a general indicator of increased protein in the blood, which is a marker for inflammation.  Not a definite indicator for bowel inflammation......it could be reading any inflammation you may be having, but it's a decent sanity check, and from what I'm told generally taken more seriously in Europe than here.  Not sure if any of that helps, but I guess you call your hospital and ask them what they've done to make sure you stay COVID free if you choose to visit them. I'm sure they have a pre-rehearsed answer just waiting to be told to you!  

  Regards,

  bob

Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:08 pm
w30bob wrote:

Hi Chris,

  Well.....I might go against the grain here (as usual), but I was sceduled my routine scoping way back last February.  Then COVID popped up and I kept postponing and postponing.  But I really wanted to know what (if anything) was going on in there, so I bit the bullet and said ok, let's do it.  I don't know what protocalls are in French hospitals, but here in the States I was pleasantly surprised by how well the hospital I recently went to were handling things.  During my visit (for an ileoscopy and flex sig (colonoscopy-ish) the first thing they did, the second you walk in the front door is take your temperature.  If you pass that you can proceed to the area of the hospital you need to be at.  Once there the waiting room, which normally holds about 30 people, had 2 people in it including myself.  And that wasn't just luck, they now schedule procedures that far apart.  After I checked in a nurse came to get me and walked me down an empty hall to her desk where she immediately swabbed my nose and sent the sample right across the hall to be tested for COVID.  After I answered her 50 questions we walked to the waiting area for procedure patients, which has 20 stations, each with a bed and curtain where they put your IV in and then the anesthesiologist grilles you to make sure they don't kill you by mistake. But no one touched me until my COVID results came back negative. Once they got the green light I was told to go in the closet and get undressed and then come back to my bed for the IV.  Oh, I was the only patient in the whole 20 bed area the whole time.  Of course everyone is masked and no one comes within 6 feet until you pass your COVID test.  Once back at the bed the IV was installed (after a good number of tries by the junior stickler) and they checked to make sure the procedure room was all ready for me. Then they wheeled me across the empty hallway to the procedure room, where 2 folks in full riot gear where waiting for me.  I assume they were women because their outfits were pink, but I couldn't see any part of their face with their moonsuits on.  Then it was zip, bip, count back from 100 and by 98 I was in La-La-Land.  I regained consciousness about 40 minutes later in the same station I got my IV, and the room was still completely empty except for me an 2 nurses that never came within 20 feet of me.  Then a male nurse came over and read my monitor to make sure I was still alive, and told me I did great and would start feeling fully awake in another minute or so.  At that point he asked me if I wanted some water or crackers or a filet mignon....and I said no (they didn't have my favorite steak sauce) and I was told to get dressed.  A few minutes later the Doc who stuck the scopes in my most intimate places came in and discusse the results and handed me a hard copy to frame on the wall when I got home.  They then called my ride, but he had to wait outside for them to bring me to him.  So I gathered my things and was escorted thru a mostly empty hospital out to his car.  They then wished me well and I was gone.

 The whole experience was the opposite of what I expected.  There were no coughing, wheezing COVID infected zombies stammering thru the hallways, and everyone was very professional and polite.  I guess it's in their best interest to not have the hospital infected with COVID if possible.  So short story long........I'd do it again in a heartbeat if I had to.  I'd say my odds of getting COVID in that hospital were way less than in the Walmart I visited later to get some stuff.  Again, I don't know what it's like over by you......but over here they seem to have a good handle on things.  That being said, if you're just not into going..........your Doc can have bloodwork done on you and they can check your C-Reactive Protein (CRP) which is a general indicator of increased protein in the blood, which is a marker for inflammation.  Not a definite indicator for bowel inflammation......it could be reading any inflammation you may be having, but it's a decent sanity check, and from what I'm told generally taken more seriously in Europe than here.  Not sure if any of that helps, but I guess you call your hospital and ask them what they've done to make sure you stay COVID free if you choose to visit them. I'm sure they have a pre-rehearsed answer just waiting to be told to you!  

  Regards,

  bob

Thank you for this balancing view, Bob. I note your comment on bloods - doctors do these routinely every 6 months or a year here. Because of my condition I get this free: it costs my wife $5 a time for a full blood workout. Being from the UK, paying was a shock until our insurance kicked in!

Things may be better behind the scenes, but what I saw in the front lobby of this hospital that afternoon made me feel I'd be safer at the supermarket! The other bigger hospital in town seems to be much 'tighter' - my wife was a patient there last autumn. I have stayed with this specialist, but now that he is retiring I might swop hospital as well.

Thank you all for your thoughts. I've cancelled for March, and will get my doctor to refer me again in the summer when the world is looking better. My new doctor is brilliant - I just wish we both spoke the same language (she is from Catalonia!): still, Google is my friend.....

Stay safe, y'all!

Chris

Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:26 pm

I too think I would go now. Rescheduling could put it off till who knows when. We can not pick and chose our date here. You miss your spot and you are at the back of the line. Colostomies have their day surgery space. You should not be near the ER area or a corona ward. I would feel safe.

Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:26 pm

I too think I would go now. Rescheduling could put it off till who knows when. We can not pick and chose our date here. You miss your spot and you are at the back of the line. Colostomies have their day surgery space. You should not be near the ER area or a corona ward. I would feel safe.

Sat Feb 13, 2021 1:11 pm
xnine wrote:

I too think I would go now. Rescheduling could put it off till who knows when. We can not pick and chose our date here. You miss your spot and you are at the back of the line. Colostomies have their day surgery space. You should not be near the ER area or a corona ward. I would feel safe.

OK, thank you. We get a fair choice over dates and times, so I'm not too worried apart from the specialist retiring (but he will be replaced). This is a smallish private hospital: the bigger public hospital in town seems better organised. (The bill is the same size whichever hospital, but I don't pay anyway).

 

Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:58 pm

Hi Chris

I am due an annual endsocopy but having spoken to my doctor his advice was to 'avoid' going ahead at the moment given Covid. I am checked for cancer so it doesn't sit easy with me but that was his advice. 

 

Good luck with whatever you decide. 

Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:35 pm
Trina3 wrote:

Hi Chris

I am due an annual endsocopy but having spoken to my doctor his advice was to 'avoid' going ahead at the moment given Covid. I am checked for cancer so it doesn't sit easy with me but that was his advice. 

 

Good luck with whatever you decide. 


Hi Trina,

Thank you. That must be a tough place to be emotionally: the sheer weight of the COVID situation in the UK, the pressures on the NHS, and being at that daunting stage where colonoscopies are an annual ordeal. I remember those days.

I'm not going ahead now, but will delay until the summer.

Good luck to you, too.

Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:12 pm

ChrisP,

I'd stay out of the hospital, unless it was absolutely necessary.  Yesterday my husband had quad bypass surgery. Even with him in an entirely seperate building, the doctor's advice was to be there as infrequently as possible.  My husband does NOT want me coming in.  I've had the vaccine first dose (got it the day of his surgery) and in four more weeks I'll get the second dose of Moderna.  Hoping for a quick turn around for him and home in five days.

STAY SAFE

PEACE

Dadnabbit

Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:19 am

The first thing I would do is ask your soon-to-be-retired surgeon "Who would YOU go to for a colonoscopy, if you could have it at any hospital you chose?" If he's retiring, he's older and already planning such things for himself. Then I would go on-line and research reviews (isn't it amazing what you can find on-line now?) of both the recommended doctor and the hospital where he/she practices. I would put a lot of weight to your current surgeon's recommendation, as he is in a position to know. And I would put off any hospitalization that's not urgent, because hospitals are NOTORIOUS for catching all sorts of resistant diseases, not just covid.

Having said that, my sister just had hip replacement surgery in Chicago, and her experience mirrored Bob's, except it started sooner - with a negative covid test followed by 3 days of total self-isolation BEFORE going to the hospital! She was out that afternoon, walking up stairs by the next day! And no sign later of picking up any disease, much less covid.

Whatever decision you make, good luck and stay safe!

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