I don't have anyone to escort me from the hospital after my endoscopy. What are my options?
October 27, 2010 1:57 AM   Subscribe

I don't have anyone to escort me from the hospital after my endoscopy. What are my options?

I'm in New York for a doctor's visit. I saw the doctor yesterday, and he decided to schedule me for an upper GI endoscopy today that requires conscious sedation. The problem is that I need to have someone accompanying me: the form says I can't have the procedure done unless someone can pick me up in the endoscopy unit after the procedure. Because of some unforeseen circumstances I don't have anyone nearby who can help. What can i do? I don't mind paying, but I don't know if there is a service that can help with this.

Additional info: I am staying 2 blocks from the hospital and am in good health.
posted by wireless to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Taxi & a 'baby'sitter? Good luck with your procedure.
posted by jsslz at 2:07 AM on October 27, 2010

Maybe the Visiting Nurse Service of NY can help you.
posted by mrsshotglass at 2:43 AM on October 27, 2010

Maybe if you post this to metafilter jobs someone here can do it. Slightly less sketchy than craigslist.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:48 AM on October 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Depending on what time your procedure is you can ask to be allowed to stay at the centre until late afternoon and then make your own way back.
posted by london302 at 3:01 AM on October 27, 2010

As a 25 year veteran of endoscopies and colonoscopies I can assure you that they are just telling you this to cover their arses. So to speak.

Stay as long as you can at the clinic, after your procedure.... and tell them that your room mate is picking you up when you call them after it's all over. Miraculously, when you go to call them, your room mate is unavailable and you walk/cab it home.

Seriously, this is overkill. You'll be fine after a very, very short time. Just lurk as long as you can afterwards. Have a nap and take a book.

Best of luck, possum.
posted by taff at 3:05 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

...they are just telling you this to cover their arses.

That is not true at all. Depending on how your gastroenterologist practices you may have anything from minimal sedation up to general anesthesia (the latter is uncommon in adults, but is used occasionally). There are a number of drugs that may be used to accomplish this and if you aren't a veteran of these procedures you don't know how you will react. You may be too groggy to stand up, or too nauseated to eat or drink, or too delirious to remember where you live. I once heard a lecture from an anesthesiologist who had an outpatient procedure and on the way home insisted that they stop at a diner for some liver and onions. When her companion asked her about it she had no memory of it and couldn't believe that had stopped at the diner because she hates liver and onions. Now any sort of serious reaction is unlikely, but if something unexpected does happen and you have no companion they will have to scramble to admit you to the hospital or otherwise ensure your safety.

Rescheduling is an option if you need more time to find a caregiver, unless this is an emergency of some sort; call the office first thing in the morning.
posted by TedW at 4:23 AM on October 27, 2010

So what happens if you genuinely have no friends or family available ever (and can't afford to pay someone to babysit you?) Do you just have to die alone of whatever it is that might be ailing you that the doctor refuses take a look at?
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:49 AM on October 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

@Dork When I had a similar procedure, you had the option of no anaesthetic. However I believe I had a lower GI version which is probably much less drastic.
posted by curious_yellow at 5:19 AM on October 27, 2010

When I had an upper GI a couple of years ago I felt rather drunk for a while after it. I certainly was in no shape to drive myself home, although I think a 2 block walk would have been fine. And they did make me eat and drink something to prove I could hold it down before I could leave with my wife. They had my wife come back into the recovery room so it may not be real easy to fake that somebody is waiting for you.

This is an off the wall idea - but it just popped into my head. How about a pet sitter? I imagine they won't charge you anymore than they would to walk a dog around the block, and they tend to be available on short notice for people who get stuck at work or have to leave town on short notice.
posted by COD at 5:44 AM on October 27, 2010

I work in the day surgery unit at our hospital and the nurses are VERY strict about sending people home with their escort. (Not that your procedure is the same as day surgery, but just to say that nurses can be sticklers about the rules if they need to be.) You might not be able to fake a chaperone if they don't want you to.

In our city there are private caregiving companies that help care for older folks. Can you google a local elder care company? Because you don't need a nurse, just a companion, it probably won't be too expensive.
posted by unlapsing at 6:01 AM on October 27, 2010

I favorited the Metafilter jobs comment because that was my first thought. If there's any way to "hire" someone trustworthy to do it, I would go that route. I was under conscious sedation for some dental work recently and there is no way I would have been able to walk 2 blocks or hail a cab after the procedure. I was very wobbly and nothing I was saying made any sense. I don't know if they'll be using the same type of drugs, but if so, you'll want some help. Best of luck!
posted by a.steele at 6:23 AM on October 27, 2010

-take a taxi from the front of the hospital
-ask if they will "let" you walk two blocks
-check with the hospital and see if they offer (or do business with) any sort of medical escort service/nurse-by-the-hour
-In Boston, I volunteered for a service which helped people to/from doctor appointments and other things like that. Most clients were elderly or perm. disabled - but some were not. Maybe see if NYC has something like that.
posted by KogeLiz at 6:47 AM on October 27, 2010

Yeah, you can't fake a chaperone, they are very strict about this and in my case they made me give them the person's cell phone number and then called to verify it right away, before the procedure. This was very annoying, because I wasn't interested in telling anyone about the embarrassing procedure, but they wouldn't budge. I'm guessing/hoping that more and more people will be pissed off about this issue of lack of patient privacy.

I can't imagine that NY wouldn't have some kind of service that others are describing. Good luck.
posted by Melismata at 7:29 AM on October 27, 2010

I had some outpatient surgery once when I was about 20 years old, and for complicated circumstances nobody in my family could be there to drive me home. My parents arranged a car service -- basically a limousine and driver. It was fine. I was out of it just enough that driving myself would have been dangerous, and the driver already knew the destination address so I could just close my eyes and let him drive without having to give him directions, as I might have had to do with a taxi.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:34 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I had an endoscopy and biopsy (to test for celiac) a few years back I had it done without any sedation. It took some persuading, but as my circumstances didn't allow anybody to be there to escort me, there weren't any other options - maybe things in NY are different, but in SoCal a taxi didn't suffice, an actual person had to be there.

I took a half-dose of Ativan (which I was familiar with, and knew I could function on afterward) before the procedure and it was fine. Strange and a bit uncomfortable, but not a big deal.
posted by chez shoes at 7:46 AM on October 27, 2010

Is this being done in a hospital? If so they have social workers there. If you're inpatient they come around and make sure you're ok and not getting depressed and whatnot. I'd call the hospital and ask for the social workers unit number and ask them to help you figure out a workable solution. They'd know people for hire that can escort you home. They typically specialize in transitioning patients that have been admitted to teh hospital from their hospital rooms to complete healing at home. I'm sure they've dealt with situations of having to find escorts to get inpatients transfered out before.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:57 AM on October 27, 2010

I am seconding the "ask the hospital social workers" if no New York MeFites step forward. It might be as easy as asking a hospital volunteer to do it, especially where it's a matter of two blocks.

I had this done in Cambridge, where taxis are cheap and plentiful and safe as houses (for the passengers, at least), and the hospital folks were ultra-strict about not letting me go by myself, so the Largely Mythological Husband had to take a day off work to escort me.

Apparently (according to my doctor BFF) in at least some hospitals they make people who have no escorts hang out in the recovery suite or waiting room for several hours, until they are confident the sedation has worn off. That sounds incredibly boring to me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:33 AM on October 27, 2010

Another story time: when I had my wisdom teeth out, I was feeling pretty decent in the car (someone else driving me home of course), awake and talkative and everything, yet half way up the steps at home, I literally fell asleep and collapsed on the stairs. I was just walking up the stairs and *blam* I was on the ground fast asleep.

The moral of this tale: whoever escorts you home needs to also escort you into your bed unless you can be darn sure you're wide awake.
posted by zachlipton at 8:37 AM on October 27, 2010

I had an endoscopy with no sedation. I had to argue my case with the doctor patiently as he would rather have the patient knocked out. There isn't any pain. It is not fun. You heave a lot as they pump air in there so they can look around. So you have to exert some conscious control over your chest and abdomen while you lay there heaving and the doctor and nurse poke around with the instrument in your guts. I understand why the doctor would rather have you knocked out. Personally, I would prefer not to be knocked out and if I ever get another one I will argue for conscious endoscopy.

The atavan might be a good idea.
posted by bukvich at 9:06 AM on October 27, 2010

Also, while I was awake recovering I heard my doctor tell the patient in the next stall that he couldn't see shit on the colonoscopy and they would have to do it again. I am sure the doctor would have preferred I had not heard that.
posted by bukvich at 9:10 AM on October 27, 2010

I had a similar experience to zachlipton. I've only been under general anesthesia once in my life, and even though there were no complications, I was very out of it for the next two hours. I wouldn't trust myself to press the right button on the elevator to get down to the lobby, let alone finding a taxi and getting into my apartment.

You really need somebody who will literally escort you door-to-door (and also catch you if you fall. When I stepped out of the chair after waking up, I quickly discovered that my legs hadn't quite woken up by that point).
posted by schmod at 9:16 AM on October 27, 2010

what time? which hospital? i'm in NYC, i will gladly escort you.
posted by sabh at 12:28 PM on October 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks all, especially for the kind offers. I ended up going home myself, and was fine.
posted by wireless at 7:33 PM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

« Older It's kind of like a sore throat, but mentally.   |   How do I stop my cat from trying to kill me? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.