No Need to Put Off Colonoscopy

Video Transcript

My name is Jerry Svennes. I'm from here in Brookings, have lived here most of my life. I have served many businesses as their executive officer, as chief executive officer, finance officer, positions like that.

How did your doctor make you feel leading up to the colonoscopy?
First of all, I talked with my family doctor, Dr. Warren here in town. Brookings has excellent physicians, they just really do. And we talked about that and he, you know, didn't make me feel bad, but he said, "You know, you really need to do that." So when I said, "Let's do it," he said, "All you need to do is call my assistant. They'll set everything up." So they called the hospital.

I had a brief physical just to make sure I was healthy enough to do the procedure. Absolutely nothing to that, good to do that once in a while anyway. Then the hospital contacted me. Very professional, gave me a list of what I needed to do and set up the time with the surgical center here. It took about a month just to get... Basically, it took more time to get in to see my doctor than it did to get into the hospital. It just had to go through that process. It was very well organized, though. My questions were answered along the way.

Why did you finally decide to have a colonoscopy?

There's that nagging feeling that, "You know what? Something could be going on inside of me," for the last 10 years. And I wasn't quite willing to do anything about it. And I know I'm not the first person that will say this, but sometimes you don't wanna go in to get something if you think you might get bad news, and that can keep you away. And I'm that kind of person a little bit, maybe more than I want to admit. That's foolishness. That's foolishness. The procedures are here. And the process is not just simple enough, but they can correct things that show up, especially with that type of test. That is complete foolish not to take that chance.

How did you prepare for the colonoscopy?
I always knew that it was a little uncomfortable. But really, for me, if you can just tell yourself that, "Can I drink more water than I normally would for a couple days?" That's really what it comes down to. The preparation, as simple as it was, that was the worst part of it. It was. The rest of it is a piece of cake.

How were you treated by the staff?
When you see people that come and look at you, and they're really connecting with you and you know they know what they're doing, I think that was part of it for me, and I do really tune in in there. I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe what I said. I've been some places I wouldn't do something like this, not that people don't try, but it's not the same always. When you're in the setting where people are good at what they're doing and they care, and I don't say that lightly neither, because we can all have the mission statement that says all these nice things, but it's the people that show it.

How did the staff respect your privacy?
Probably hard to admit, but that's probably one of the things that was the biggest concern to me, and maybe one of the things that kept me from doing things earlier because I'm a very private person. Maybe guys aren't like that—I don't know. I just know, maybe, like my mother, I'm that way. And I knew I shouldn't feel that way, but sometimes you just do, and I did. And so, I came in that morning resolved. I was very comfortable. I knew I was in good hands. I did. But I still… Once I started to see how the privacy was handled with 100% respect for my thoughts and feelings, I didn't have to say anything. I didn't have to ask anything. It was just done in a way that people knew that you would be concerned about these things.

What did you appreciate most about Brookings Health System?
It's a procedure that really needed to be done. And I felt so good to have had it done that honestly, that's probably what I appreciated the most. To know that it was gonna be done correctly and done by people that are very competent—pretty much the same thing. And again, the fact that all I had to really do was just show up. That was it. Drink some water ahead of time. I'd summarize that you drink a lot of water and you show up and you go home. And it's just not a big deal at all.

How was the new same-day surgery facility?
I was very pleasantly surprised with how efficiently laid out the new facility is. Everything is right there, the people are right there, you're taken into an area and you don't have to worry where you're going at all. Everyone comes to you and then you have a short trip to the procedure room. Everything was very simple. My wife was taken care of well while I was there. The doctor came out and talked with her when it was done. You know, for me, maybe the best part was I hardly knew what's going on after a certain point in time. It was just done, you know. So, for all the hesitant guys out there, there's no excuse whatsoever.
What advice would you give someone hesitant about their colonoscopy?

I would look them in the eye and say that, "If not for your own benefit, at least for the benefit of those who love you, this is something you need to do." Because the options are great now. They might not be if you don't do this. Most insurance companies will pay for it. It's not really an issue financially. The process is very simple—much better than it was maybe 20 years ago. There's just no reason whatsoever not to follow the medical recommendations. I'm 50 years old, I think, I'm not a physician. I think that's what it is, at that age, to start it and stay with it. There's no reason not to.

Would you recommend Brookings Health System?
We believe that the health care in Brookings is very, very competent. They don't try and do everything, but what they do, they do well. So my position is this, we start here, and we do everything we can here, and we've had nothing but good results. You can be taken care of well here in Brookings or transferred. I'm not against Sioux Falls, but we need to support our local health care system. I have confidence in local providers that if they feel something is warranted elsewhere, they're not gonna hesitate to do that. So, I would offer to people that come to Brookings Health Care System first, and that's the most honest recommendation I can give you. That's what I would tell people, come here first. If you need to go elsewhere, they'll not only suggest that, they'll help you set it up, and the whole process will go much better that way.