I arrived early for the BE and checked in at the counter between the two “teller” ropes. “I am checking in for my test at 9:30 am. I requested a female tech since this test is so embarrassing.” “No problem” said the receptionist so I headed over to the large waiting room with the two large wood and glassine glass doors directly in front of me.
It turned out that they were running behind as I heard a conversation between another patient and the receptionist so I waited until about 9:50.
An attendant dressed in a white blouse and blue medical tech pants walked through the doors and into the waiting room. She called out my name so I got up and walked past her into the X ray staging area. A series of small changing cubicles wrapped the walls while another X ray room ran along the right side, forming a narrow hallway. I was escorted to a cubicle right at the back of the hallway. “Take everything off but your shoes, then put on the gown, it opens in the back.” She then slid the cloth screen in front of the cubicle.
It was hard to maneuver in the cube with a chair taking up half of the space. I unbuttoned my shirt and hung it up first, then stepped out of my shoes. I unbuckled my belt and unzipped my jeans, unbuckling them and dropping them to the floor. I hung them up on top of the shirt and then slipped my underpants down and stepped out of them, hanging them on top of the pants. I opened up the gown that was lying on the chair and looked for the cloth ties after I shook it out. I slipped the right shoulder over first and then the left, letting the cloth fall around me, just covering my bare behind at the edges. I searched for and found the upper ties and sort of looped them together, then reached around the lower part of the ties at the small of my back, tying them together. The lower ties were to one side so that when they were tied the opening fell to my left side. I stepped into my shoes and slid the heavy cloth screen to one side.
I decided I needed to use the restroom before we got started so I went to the first doorway but found that it was locked. I then ambled over to the bathroom near the swinging doors and went inside. I didn’t need to use it but I wanted to see how the gown was falling so I turned to one side and then the other, making sure that the fabric wasn’t too far separated so that as little of me was exposed as possible. I walked out of the bathroom and went back to the cubicle.
About 15 minutes passed as I somewhat nervously waited. I wasn’t sure if I was clear this time and was concerned about being able to have the test done. To the left of my cubicle was a door swinging into an X ray room where the “scout” film was done on me a couple of weeks before. The room had an X ray table and transmitter but I believed was only used for this first test to determine if the patient was clear for the actual barium enema.
A slightly heavy woman walked past my cubicle and gave me a somewhat casual look as she headed for her cubicle; maybe she was a prior patient for this test I thought. She had not been there during the time that I had arrived. A Hispanic woman who was obviously a tech due to the large black heavy apron that she was wearing walked past my cubicle and down the hallway before exiting into a control
room that I think was used to print out the X rays.
A few minutes pass then this same tech came back toward my cubicle. “Please come with me” she said so I got up off of the chair and followed her into the same scout x ray room that I had been in a couple of weeks before. The darkened room was pinkish in color and there was an IV stand at the foot of the table. I wasn’t sure why it was there because I expected that if I am clear that I would be taken to a separate x ray room for the test itself. “I want you to get up on the table and lie on your back for me” she said. I slipped off my shoes without socks and laid down on the table. “I have been having some real cramps with blood in my stool and pain in my rectum because of the prep” I said. But she kind of ignored my comment. She walked out of the room returning in just a few seconds with a metal plate that she shoved under the table beneath my hips. As she was again walking out of the room she said “I want you to hold your breath so ‘hold it, ok you can breath” I heard the familiar buzz as the x ray was taken. She then walked back into the room. “Stay right here, I need to go and check this.” “The last time I was here my system still wasn’t clear” I told her. “Did you follow the prep completely?” she asked. “Yes, I did” I commented. She then walked out of the room and back down the hallway.
A few minutes went by as I laid on the cold steel table. Then, she suddenly reappeared. “Your test came back fine so we are going to proceed. Now I am going to be giving you a test that your doctor described to you, which is a barium enema. I am going to insert a tube through your rectum and then fill your intestines with barium. The test takes about 20 minutes” she said. “This doesn’t sound too good” I said. “It is very unpleasant” she said. She reached around to a short cabinet at the foot of the table that contained a large plastic container that looked to hold the barium in a dried form. “I need to go prepare a bag for you” she said as she walked into a doorway to the right of the table almost closing the door behind her. I could still make out some movement inside of the room but couldn’t really hear anything.
It dawned on me that in fact the actual test was going to happen right where I laid. I sat up on the table to try and peer between the crack in the doorway but could only determine random motion inside of it. I must have waited for five or so minutes. The thought kept flashing through my mind about the IV stand and the fact that this was going to be the real thing. I finally decided to lie back down on the table and I reached around and loosened the ties on my neck and lower back just to make sure that I didn’t feel restrained as the soon to be invading fluid was poured into me.
The tech then walked back into the room with an enema bag and hose brimming with the white chalky fluid, hanging it on to the IV pole. I couldn’t believe the size of the nozzle and the hose, it was almost the diameter of a quarter. There is no way that can get in me I thought. It will hurt like hell. The door between the X ray room and the hall was still opened and I hoped that no one was in the waiting area watching what was about to happen. “I want you to roll on to your left side for me” she said so I very nervously did as I was told. “This is going to feel a little cold” as I felt her lift the fabric off of my right hip, exposing me, where she then applied some lubricant between my cheeks. “Move your right leg forward” she said. I then felt sudden pressure as the heavily lubricated plastic nozzle touched my anus, with the tube suddenly shoved into my rectum. Oh this hurts so bad I said, I can’t believe you got this inside of me I cried. The pain of this monster inside of my rectum was immense. ” I said. “Can you take that out for just a moment please” I asked. “Let me roll on to my stomach” “You realize that you are going to have to be on your left side for me don’t you” she declared. “Yes, but let me do this “I asked. She slid the nozzle back out and I rolled on to my stomach, putting my hands at my side. I felt her left hand separate my cheeks and the tube was slipped back in, this time a little more forcefully and a bit deeper. “I am going to expand a balloon inside of you” and I felt as if a hard rubber ball had been suddenly expanded inside of me, forcing the tube higher up. “Ow, ow, ow that really hurts” I said. “Now roll over on to your back please” she said. I slowly turned over, twisting the tube inside of me seemingly higher. I could see the bag and tube with the barium fluid cut off by a clip. For a moment the tech disappeared, and I reached underneath the gown and felt where the tube was coming out of my rectum. There was a lot of KY jelly all pushed into place between my cheeks, ensuring that the insertion of the nozzle was as painless as could be. I sat there for another minute or two and then the doctor walked in. I was still in distress from the cramping from the prep and the doctor was concerned about the origin of my pain. “Ok” he said, “lets get started’ and I heard a click and felt the rush of the barium fluid out of the elevated bag and into my colon as the process of taking the x rays began.