By Lawrence Mieczkowski, M.D.: Complete Post through this link…
Unfortunately, my experience is all too common. If you find yourself in a situation like I did, here’s what you should do.
y day had started early that Friday. My wife, Joanne, and I arrived at 7 a.m. for my 10-year follow up colonoscopy with Dr. Smith. Although I had referred a number of my patients to his group, I hadn’t worked much with him or even met him. As the nurse was going through her checklist of tasks, she casually mentioned that he was retiring that day and a party was scheduled that evening.
I was taken into the procedure room on time and 30 minutes later I woke up in the recovery room.
“Dr. Mieczkowski, everything went well,” Dr. Smith told me. “I removed one large polyp and a few smaller ones, but none of them concern me. My office will let you know the results in a few days.”
I thanked him and offered best wishes on his retirement, thinking that I would never see him again. I was relieved ― no signs of cancer.
Joanne and I went home to eat lunch. Since I felt well, we drove to the office to do some paperwork. Around 2:45 p.m., I had an urgent need to use the bathroom and passed streaks of blood. I knew this was common after a colonoscopy, so I didn’t tell Joanne or call the doctor’s office. Fifteen minutes later, I felt more urgency and made another hurried trip to the bathroom. There was more blood ― a lot more blood.
“Oh shit! Damn it,” I said out loud.
I told Joanne what was going on, and she asked, “Do you want me to call the EMTs? Are you feeling faint?” We decided to drive ourselves to a hospital only a few miles away. I called the physician’s office with an update while we were on our way.
Upon arrival, I was relieved to see that the waiting room was empty. I checked in at the desk and a few minutes later, a nurse opened the door. “Dr. Mieczkowski? Come on back,” she told me.
I made it. I’m going to be all right, I thought. I took a deep breath of relief as Joanne and I walked through the door and were led to my room. The nurse did the usual check-in tasks, connected me to the monitor tracking my heart rate and blood pressure, put an IV in my arm, and drew blood for testing.
“No running fluids?” I questioned. “That’ll be up to the doctor after he sees you,” she replied. As she finished, I felt an urgent need to move my bowels and requested a bedside commode. I quickly passed several pints of blood, which nearly filled the container. I had just lost nearly 20% of my blood volume. I was stunned and knew that I was in trouble.