Because I am a giver, and because I can’t keep anything to myself,(not even what happens between a girl and her gastroenterologist), I am going to give you a step by step, blow by blow, guide to the joy that is a colonoscopy. You will enjoy an extraordinary eye witness account of what it’s like to prepare for a colonoscopy, what it’s like to get a colonoscopy and what it’s like on the car ride home after a colonoscopy.
Not since Katie Couric was anally probed on national television has there been such exciting colonoscopy drama. Grab yourself a beverage, relax your colon and prepare to be dazzled.
Part One: The Colonoscopy Prep.
7 AM: I took the day off work so as to give my full attention to all the necessary colon cleansing activities. At least that’s what I’m telling everyone. The truth is I am taking the day off to avoid a long and very public trial and an inevitable and lengthy prison sentence. As my doctor’s orders say I can not have one single bite of any solid food the entire day, nor can I have even the tiniest bit of creamer in my morning coffee, it is highly likely contact with any annoying person will cause me to kill them with something sharp or blunt.
7:10 AM: I’ve been told that the giant jug of Trilyte that comes with several flavor packet choices is my ticket to colon cleanliness and the last hoorah that will make me ready for my rectal close up. The instructions say to mix it with one of the flavor packets and water so that it has plenty of time to chill in the refrigerator. Purportedly it’s much better cold than not cold. I decide that when I am to start drinking this stuff at 6 PM, I will go one better and make Trilyte slushies in my blender. It’s such a fantastic idea I make myself a note to send the TriLyte people my recipe and a bill for $100,000. I may be a giver, but I don’t give it away for free.
8 AM: I’m starting to get a little hungry now. That coupled with the fact that I have had to drink coffee without Coffee Mate has caused me to yell at one of the Yorkies that he was adopted and that his real mother was a bitch. I grab a tasty cup of colored water known as Jell-o and try to pretend its Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts smeared with loads of real butter. I remind myself how important it is to keep a positive attitude as this is going to be a long day.
9:46 AM: Hmm. I’ve never noticed how much a Yorkie looks like a turkey.
10:14 AM: I’ve got to do something to keep my mind off food. I should try to find something on TV. You know, that yellow Wiggles guy is pretty hot actually. I like the way he waves his arms with such enthusiasm, like he really does love fruit salad. Crap. Fruit salad.
11 AM: I have no idea what time it is really, because I don’t have the required energy the brain needs to actually tell time. I slide off the sofa and belly crawl into the kitchen for more Jell-o and diet soda.
2 PM: It’s time for the first pooper-shooter medicine. I am to drink a small bottle of something that calls itself an effervescent laxative. That sounds kind of pretty and for a moment I consider pouring it into a champagne glass, but I’m too weak to reach the champagne glass shelf. How bad can something be that has the word effervescent right on the label?
2:01 PM: Sweet mother of a monkey! Dear God in Heaven above! That is some nasty, nasty, NASTY liquid. Is it possible my pharmacist gave me a bottle of effervescent dead roach and road kill juice instead? It tastes like the sourest lemon mixed with loads and loads of salt and baking soda. And dead things. Lots of old, nasty dead things.
2:01 and 20 seconds: My ex-wife-in-law friend calls to check on me. She gets to hear me make noises that are both indelicate and disgusting as I try to finish the little bottle. I use lots of terrible swear words some of which I do not even know the meaning, but heard a rapper on TV use. She tells me she has had sympathy pooping all day for me. I tell her it sounds like a really bad greeting card. “Roses are red, violets are blue, all day long I’ve pooped just for you.”
2:35 PM: I am lying on my bed trying not to move my eye lashes or else I will throw up. I would actually love to throw up were it not for the fact that the instructions on my colonoscopy preparation sheet say that I am not allowed to throw up. I guess if they say I can’t, then I can’t, so I chew it back and pray to Jesus that he will smite the inventor of that bottled poop juice with some locusts or something equally Biblical and scary.
3 PM: There is no movement yet on the western front.
4 PM: All is quiet in Bathroom Land and that surprises me. Everything I’ve read says to pack some books, a phone and a pillow in your colonoscopy preparation survival kit and prepare to spend some quality time with the porcelain goddess.
5 PM: Time now for the Reglan pill. I am relieved at least that I do not have to drink it as I only just stopped feeling sick. Among other things, Reglan is supposed to strengthen my lower esophageal sphincter. I’m thrilled to hear that as I have been concerned about my sphincter strength as of late and have had no idea how to remedy it. Still no movement and I’m starting to think…
5:25 PM: Now I know what effervescent really means. “Hurricane force”.
6 PM: Time for that chilled TriLyte that has been waiting for me all day. I have to pass on my slushie plan because I’m fairly certain I can’t get them made in the 2.8 seconds I have between toilet tidal waves. I chose the pineapple flavoring because I decided it would probably taste tropical, like a daiquiri. I pour my one cup full into the glass I have kept in the freezer, hold my nose and take my first gulp.
6:01 PM: Dear Jesus, remember when I asked you to smite the bubbly poop juice guys? Well, since you’re smiting anyway, would you just go ahead and add the makers of TriLyte on your to do list? Don’t worry about bringing locusts. Just pry their pharmaceutical mouths open and pour in a big swig of this pineapple flavored cooking oil that they expect me to drink every ten minutes until my “effluent” (which is French for poop) is clear.
The hours from 6:01 PM until I finally passed out from not eating, not having Coffee Mate and sprinting to the bathroom was spent expelling things from my body with such force, I may indeed hold some kind of record.
Part Two: The Colonoscopy.
3:30 AM: Wake up and insert a Dulcolax suppository as per my instructions. As we have to leave at 4:30 AM to make the two hour drive to the Big City Hospital, I have only one hour to turn my haggard looking self into a colonoscopy beauty queen. I consider having Mr. Man write something clever in Sharpie on my behind, but he sucks at spelling and I don’t want the butt doctor to think I’m stupid.
6:35 AM: Arrive at hospital, take off all my clothes and put on a lovely dress opened in the back designed to accentuate my behind. The nurse asks me a million questions, including whether or not I would like to create an advanced directive. “Do not pull the plug,” I say to Mr. Man. “Keep me hooked up to everything they have for as long as they have it.” End of advanced directive.
6:37 AM: I have changed my mind. I decide I don’t want a garden hose shoved up my butt and I try to figure out how I can escape wearing nothing but socks and a backwards dress. “You’ll be fine,” says the nurse. “We will be giving you some Demerol which will make you very sleepy along with some medicine that is a short term amnesia drug. You will be able to hear us and respond to our commands, but you will not really know what’s going on.” (That drug might explain how I wound up staying in my first marriage for so many years. I knew my cereal tasted funny!) She assured me when I woke up I would remember nothing and made me promise not to drive or use the stove. I wondered how I was going to remember not to drive or use the stove if I had amnesia.
7:15 AM: They wheel me and all the wires they have stuck to me into what must be called the special rectal filming room. I see a long coiled thing in clear plastic and nearly climb off the table. There is a big TV screen in front of me when they tell me to roll over on my side and 3 people, one of whom is a doctor who looks as if he only woke up five minutes ago. One of the nurses keeps telling me I’m going to be fine and continually asks me to scoot my butt closer to the edge of the table. I’ll bet the only people that ever hear that line are strippers and people getting a colonoscopy. As I am telling the doctor that I was just kidding about this whole colonoscopy thing, he is sticking needles in my IV. I try to finish my sentence, but the Recovery Room nurse is waking me up. It’s over.
While you will read again and again online that the worst part of a colonoscopy is the prep, you will likely not believe it. After all, how could drinking and pooping, both very natural things we do every day, possibly be worse than having a hose with a camera on the end of it pushed up your exit shoot? Well believe it. The actual colonoscopy was beyond a breeze. Nothing to it and absolutely no pain whatsoever. If you have been putting off getting a colonoscopy because you were afraid of the procedure, you’d better find another reason. Hey, if the promise of zero pain isn’t enough to sway you, how about this: I was so blissfully stoned after the procedure, on the car ride home I told Mr. Man I thought a Hershey’s Kiss in a purple wrapper would make a lovely hat and that old ladies sometimes eat cheerleader’s pom-poms.
Colonoscopy: Crazy expensive, but billed to Blue Cross.
Getting to spend the day legally wasted: Priceless.
Copyright © 2004-2007, Sherri Bailey
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