A few weeks ago I had what I like to refer to as “the little c.” To be honest, it could easily be called “The Big C,” but I consider that a term for cancer, which gratefully I don’t have. No, I had the “little c” – a colonoscopy; just one of the fun things that comes along with middle age. My intent was to avoid it altogether, but after several years of procrastinating I eventually succumbed to the pressure. Let me assure you, the Colon Cancer Prevention Society of America will NOT be calling me with requests to be their poster “middle-aged woman.” I’m pretty sure they don’t want someone shouting “stop – run the other way!” as their spokesperson.
The fun began the evening before my procedure when I was introduced to a lovely drink called Golytely, which has to be the most ill-named product ever. Despite the stories I’d heard about this drink I was pleasantly surprised to find out it has a consistency much like water. From everything I’d heard I was expecting a thicker liquid. “Well, this won’t be as bad as I thought,” I reasoned. “I only have five more eight ounce glasses to go tonight.” I like to call that time frame the “still clueless” period.
Let’s just say that by glass four, I was having unkind thoughts about the genius that came up with this concoction. Apparently all it takes is four glasses to basically give yourself the flu – complete with total fatigue, headache, bellyache, and well, you know what the flu is like. Unfortunately, going to bed at this point was not an option.
In an effort to be both informative whilst whiney, allow me to share with you some of the things I learned during this experience. Perhaps they will help you when the time for your fun arrives.
First off, every doctor uses a different prep system. I’d strongly encourage you to find one who does not use Golytely. It’s evil . . . but effective, which is why, I suppose, my doctor uses that method.
At some point during the prep you’ll be limited to clear liquids. Because I did a little research online in advance I learned that Gummy Bears become a liquid once inside you, thus I ate Gummy Bears. Since it was a doctor who wrote this information I didn’t feel the need to check with my own doctor and let’s just say, he was none the wiser. Being able to chew on something is nice – at least up until glass four, at which point Gummy Bears become rather unappealing.
Burn a lightly scented candle in the bathroom. It’ll make the whole experience more pleasant for the entire family if you catch my drift.
Get diaper cream. Trust me, you’ll figure it out.
Pick a mindless, fun book to have on hand. It’ll help pass the time.
This last tip is very important. Find out BEFORE you set your appointment time what kind of prep your doctor uses. If you’ll be required to drink additional liquid in the morning request a late morning appointment, especially if you’re not a morning person. Seriously, who wants to get up at 5:30 AM and start drinking flu inducing liquids?
I’ve been told that the majority of people don’t have a difficult time with this procedure although I’ve yet to find anyone who thinks it’s fun. Apparently, I’m in the minority group. But I knew that once I arrived at the hospital there were drugs waiting for me: awesome drugs that knock a girl out and make her loopy. One of those drugs is called Versed.
Knowing that Versed can make you talk uncontrollably I decided to be proactive and apologize in advance for anything I might say to my doctor. My girlfriend once gave her doctor what for when she’d had the drug, and I was afraid it might have the same effect on me. He assured me that with the combination of drugs they had planned I’d be silent during the procedure. If I wasn’t he kindly didn’t tell me . . . and I didn’t ask.
Before leaving the hospital the recovery room nurse showed me the pictures of my squeaky clean colon – free of polyps. She asked if I wanted copies but I refused. I thought one of them made me look a little fat.