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My First Colonoscopy (A Public Service Message)

Posted Mar 01 2013 9:50pm

The Worst Part

So, let me start this post with the disclaimer that Mr. McBody performs colonoscopies for a living. That is his job. And ever since I turned the ripe old age of 50, he has been bugging me. Incessently. He says that Everyone Needs to Have A Screening when they turn 50. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I said. I put it off.  And put it off. Over and over again.

But then I remembered what happened the last time he bugged me to get tested for something. He was Worried about my Health. As it turned out, he was correct in his worry. I had pre-diabetes. Then diabetes. He kind of knows his stuff.

He did not think there was anything wrong with me, but he has come home more times than I can count, to tell of people who came in, had their screen, in which Stuff Was Found. And either it was a great thing, because it was found Early, or it was an awful thing, because it was found Late. So many cautionary tales.

I was NOT looking forward to this (can ya tell?). But finally I bent to spousal pressure as well as good old common sense. I made an appointment with a lady doctor in his same practice. Whom I like and trust.

I was dreading this. (Oh, did I already say that? Silly me). I had had my share of Drinking Unpleasant Drinks for many a glucose tolerance test. On at least one occasion I drank it too fast (trying to get it over with) and ended up throwing up, and much sadness and despair ensued, because of course, I had to start all over again.

He came home with a freaking GALLON of stuff. As well as a smaller bottle, and some other good things to get me “clean as a whistle.” (do not read on if you are squeamish, or averse to TMI, because I’m gonna go there, albeit in language that is as coded as possible)

The first night (Sunday) I began to Prepare. Which meant drinking the first small bottle. This was not so bad because my Method (believe me, Method is KEY to this process) was to eat small amounts of Very Salty Food, and then guzzle the drink. It was both salty and sweet. I put it in a big glass of ice. I downed it. Subsequently, my hands and feet became SO VERY COLD I could barely feel them. I think this had to do with all of the blood rushing posthaste to my gut, thus leaving my poor extremities without a drop of circulation. It was shivery, but I went to bed with 3 pairs of socks and a couple of quilts. I managed.

Monday – the big DAY OF PREP (also known as a holiday, or President’s Day, to the rest of you. I hope you enjoyed it!!). I was to eat nothing but Clear Liquids all day. For those who do not know, clear liquids include chicken buillion, Jello, popsicles (NOT the fruit kind), and soda or tea or water. 

Mr. McBody had had his own colonoscopy a year or two before. He said that the Method he liked the best, was to take a sip of the Vile Stuff, and then follow it with a “chaser” of Crystal Light lemonade. I tried this Method for about one glass, or 8 ounces worth. It took me the better part of two hours.

He shook his head in utter dismay. “You have about 30 more of those glasses to go,” he said. I cried. He was exaggerating of course, but the truth was I had barely made a dent in the enormous gallon jug. The vile stuff, for those of you who are curious, is called “GoLightly” (hahahah) and tastes like thickened salt water. With an aftertaste I can’t even describe, it is so horrible.

I finished the 2nd glass. It was after noon. I was beginning to feel incredibly desperate. He informed me that the output of my body was supposed to look like “pee.” Believe me, it looked nothing remotely like that. 

I decided to attempt my own Method. I mixed the Vile Stuff with its own Crystal Light. Rendering it very sweet and salty and icky. But better than Just Salty. I chased it, not with more liquid (which I could not bear) but with a heaping spoonful of orange flavored Jello. Suddenly I was very, very grateful to the makers of Jello. (or, I think it is, Jell-O)

In this manner I managed to get down about 80% of the ENTIRE GINORMOUS JUG. But it took until about 2am to do so. Meanwhile, our dear Junior was calling frantically from across town. HER tummy was upset. VERY upset. (was she having sympathy pain? Or…?) 

It turned out that she had a gastrointestinal virus, coincidentally. Dear Mr. McBody, who has more tolerance of gastrointestinal distress than any human I know (thus his calling and profession) drove down there and offered her comfort in her many hours of distress. Between the two of us, what a pair.

I entered the Surgery Center at around 9:00am.  Everyone was extremely kind to me. All I remembered is the nurses repeating, “Your biggest job in here is to pass gas when it is done.” I was like, Huh?

Then I woke up. There was a terrible, awful, no-good pain right around my midsection. All around me, on other side of the curtain walls, people were merrily farting away. One guy was like, “I’m so good at this!” BRRRRRRPPPPPP. He was in pig heaven. But I was having trouble producing more than tiny little toots, and thus there was a ton of gas or air or whatever in my transverse colon, and it hurt like the DEVIL. I cried. My husband came in and said that this complication happens in about one out of a thousand people. It made me feel Special, and not in a good way.

Finally, I farted enough of the air out and I felt better. Mr. McBody took me out for a nice brunch since I felt like I hadn’t eaten anything solid or proper in a MONTH (it had only been about 36 hours). Then I went home to bed.

What I learned was that I had 3 benign polyps inside me. They were all removed. Then I felt gratitude to him for bugging me. Because polyps that are not removed, often grow into Bad Things, and then it is Too Late, and even worse things happen than having to drink icky Salt water. Those polyps are gone now.

I have to do this again in two years. (rather than the 10 years it would be had there been no polyps at all) I am stocking up on Crystal Light and Jell-O, and maybe I will take some classes at Farting School. 

All in all, I am grateful. I am glad to have had this Unfun test which I am quite sure prevented me from having even worse things take place.

SO: public service announcement. If you are 50 or close to it, GO GET A COLONOSCOPY. And: stock up on the Jell-O. You’ll thank me. 

That is all.

OH and PS. I have mysteriously dropped some previously stuck-on poundage since the Procedure. I wonder if this might have something to do with being Clean As A Whistle. In any case, I’m not complaining. 


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