I turned 50 and with that comes many milestones. For example, you should have a baseline screening colonoscopy. This is especially important if you have family history of polyps or colon-rectal cancer. Earnie had polyps and her mother died from colon cancer. So I could start 2015 out with a shiny, clean colon I thought I’d book this adventure during spring break. Here’s how the fun went down.
My procedure was for Tuesday, so the day before you are supposed to eat a liquid diet. No solid food, but you can have yogurt, milkshakes, beverages (as long as they aren’t red or purple), hard candy and chew gum. I started the day with coffee. By lunch I was hungry so I had a vanilla milkshake from Whataburger. Satisfying. By 3 p.m., I was starving so I had banana pudding. Ok, not so bad. I was really wanting to chew something, but I wasn’t feeling weak or deprived.
About 4:30 p.m. I delivered food to my niece since she just came home from the hospital having her new baby. I went by Rosa’s Cafe and got two giant fajita platters. Miss Bee was holding them while we drove and I kept looking at her like she was a piece of meat in the tiger’s den. Gosh, I really wanted to pull over and eat a giant tortilla stuffed with meat.
6 p.m. was show time. It was time to start part one of a two-step process. I thought I’d stage this photo of the Suprep Bowel Prep Kit (how else could you describe this) with roses in the background since it’s the finale of the Bachelor and I’ll be watching it while I “prep.” I read the patient “Guide to the Gates of Hell” manual and its mission statement is pretty clear: Patient will produce copious amounts of diarrhea. What does the person look like that had to write this?
My gastro did the fast-sell on this version of colon prep to me while I was getting my pre-procedure consult. She said she taste-tested it and it was by far the best tasting “solution.” That should have been my first clue when it was referred to as a “solution” instead of a drink or cocktail. I remember when Earnie and Mr. Bee did this they had to drink an entire gallon of prep so this couldn’t be that bad. Looking back I should have been suspicious when she said she taste-tested it. Just how much did you taste to come to this conclusion?
You pour one bottle into a cup, fill it up with water and drink it. Down the hatch. After the first big gulp, I was thinking how in the hell am I am going to finish this, then drink it all over again later? Kinda like you can’t explain how labor pain feels — well I can’t describe how awful this tastes. Vats of salt marry a swamp? It was grape flavored which I have detested since the early days of Earnie medicating me with grape-flavored cough syrup from the 60s. I avoid all things grape — candy, suckers, gum, drinks. This was hard work. But, I pushed through it. I thought I was going to barf at the last big gulp, but I didn’t. Then you have to follow this with two more cups full of water over the next hour. I paced myself, drinking the first cup within 30 minutes, then the last cup over the remaining 30 minutes. I wasn’t feeling too full or queasy, but I was cold.
Within 15 minutes the party started if you know what I mean. This went on for about 2 hours. By 8 p.m. I went to bed, because I needed to get up at 2:30 a.m. to do the second part of the prep. I set my alarm, but didn’t need it because my stomach sounded like the sinking of the Titanic. As if on cue, my bowels knew part two was about to commence. I got up and did the whole thing over again. By 4 a.m. I was done and turned in because there was nothing more to produce. Frankly, I was so tired I didn’t care if I pooped my pants. As I drifted off to sleep I kept thinking when I wake up I will be that much closer to a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin. Oh, and I made a press release:
Woke up at 6 a.m. for a quick shower. Got to the endoscopy center at 6:30 a.m. to check in. They started an IV for sedation (which is the reward in all this) and wheeled me back to the procedure room.
As I was wheeling by the staff break room, I could see my doctor wolfing down a sausage biscuit. Damn him. I said, “I see you!” I also spied a box of donuts on the counter with hot coffee. Damn all of you.
I chatted with the CRNA who was administering my Michael Jackson sedative. As I felt the drug making its way into my veins, I told her it was nice to meet her, she had pretty hair, and to have a super day. I wanted to be voted Miss Congeniality of patients that day. You know things like, “that lady with the glasses, wasn’t she the cutest?” or “I heard Dr. Gastro say she had the prettiest colon he’d seen in a while!” What? Don’t judge. I like to be noticed.
I woke up in the recovery area and the first thing I told the nurse apparently was that I was going to eat a cheeseburger. Doug said I made this proclamation several times to anyone that would listen. I was drinking a cup of coffee and asked for coffee. I asked for my glasses and the nurse nicely told me I already had them on. This drug is amazing! You have no memory of a 30-foot long tube exploring your colon. You do get as a party favor a set of super cool pics of your colon for your scrapbook, flatter abs, and you loose about 6 pounds of poop.
Mr. Bee rewarded me with a cheeseburger later for lunch.
Was it really that good or was it because I hadn’t eaten solid food in 48 hours? I don’t know. And I don’t care. I am polyp free, which means I don’t need to see Dr. Gastro for another 10 years!
All kidding aside. This is a really important procedure to have. Despite the mild discomfort of the prep and incessant diarrhea for about 4 hours, it was totally worth it. There are other things worse than this. Like having colon cancer when you could have prevented it by not being such a wieney.