I recently turned 50. Had the big party, spent time with family and friends, was able to donate some monies to an important charity.
Not long after my celebration ended I had my annual physical.
Going in for my 50-year-old physical, I was apprehensive. I have gained some weight and have a family history of heart disease and diabetes. Somewhere in the back of my mind I had convinced myself that until 50 I would be ok, but once that milestone hit my past history would catch up with my body quickly.
All the fried foods, sweets, processed carbs would at that very moment kick in and my health fears would all become a reality.
Thankfully I checked out ok. My doctor gave me a lecture on my weight, she told me I needed to get more exercise and needed to reduce my stress.
Then she said those four words that we all fear hearing from our doctor “let’s schedule your colonoscopy.”
DUM – DUM – DUMMMMMM there it was, official, I am a 50-year-old man and now I am going to have a doctor violate me with a rubber hose. Those candles and birthday wishes faded instantly, I want to be 49 again!
After my doctor talked me off the ledge she referred me to a gastroenterologist, even the name sounds scary. Gastro-ENTER-ologist.
I made an appointment, had the pre-exam and then scheduled the procedure. My doctor gave me a sheet of paper telling me to pay special attention to the “day prior” guidelines.
Everyone told me the pre-planning was the worst part of the colonoscopy. My brother, friends and other family members both male and female all told me, the lead up is the worst part, the procedure is simple.
A few days prior to my appointment I bought the needed supplies, GATORADE, 10 oz. Magnesium Citrate, 14 oz. MiraLAX.
I scheduled my test for early Monday morning, that way I would only have to miss one day of work, as I was told the “day prior” would be a day to stay home and not stray far from the bathroom.
Sunday, “day prior” arrives and I maintain my regular morning schedule and attend Church, with one exception…. NO FOOD, just clear liquids, Jell-O, popsicles. That morning I said a special couple of prayers imagining what I would be going through over the next couple of days.
I have a few minor OCD tendencies, so when I got home from Church I set up my “day prior” supplies.
1) 10 oz. Magnesium Citrate. My choices were cherry or lemon, I chose cherry, I’m just not a lemon fan.
2) 14 oz. MiraLAX. No flavor options here, from what I understood this was the stuff that makes everything happen and tastes like poo every time it goes in your mouth.
3) Gatorade or G2 – 2, 64 oz bottles. For once in my life I chose the low-cal option, I guess since I was going to be losing EVERYTHING in my system I wanted to do it keeping my figure in mind.
The directions were very specific. At 1PM, I was to drink the entire bottle of Magnesium Citrate.
Anticipating the worst, I walked my dog and then came in to drink that cherry nectar. I opened it and turned up the bottle, swigging it like a cold beer in the middle of August.
I drank it down and it wasn’t that bad. Ok, well certainly the rest of the day was going to be horrible.
My directions explained that I would begin mixing a cap full of MiraLAX with an 8 oz. glass of Gatorade at 4PM. I would continue this every 15 minutes until everything that came out of me was clear liquid. Yes, lovely I know!
4PM comes and I mix the MiraLAX and G2, drink it down and it was NO BIG DEAL. The only taste was G2.
I started my 15 minute schedule and found myself on the porcelain throne a couple of times in between drinks.
Be prepared to lose EVERYTHING in your stomach, I lost four pounds (of course I weighed, I’ll take a weight loss anyway I can get it!). By 7:30, I was running clear and the clean-out was complete.
The ONLY part of the “day prior” that was at all uncomfortable was drinking 10 oz. every 15 minutes. As much as I was releasing my innards, drinking that much that often made me cramp and uncomfortable.
Waking up the morning of my procedure I was weak. I got dressed and made my way to the appointment. One thing to be aware of, your Dr. will not let you drive after the procedure as you will be put to sleep, make arrangements for someone to drive you and pick you up.
I got to my appointment and was ushered back into the prep area. My nurse had me strip down and put on a really sexy surgical gown, leaving the back open, well DUH!
I was put on an IV and waited my turn to be rolled into the procedure room. When I went in, I made the only mistake of my entire ordeal…. DO NOT LOOK AROUND THE ROOM!!!!!!! I made the mistake of looking around and saw it…. yes, I saw “the tube.” I am just going to say it, you do NOT want to see the tube! ‘Nuff said.
The next thing you know, I am counting backwards and then slowly waking up with my nurse talking to me.
In my grogginess I lost all sense of etiquette and told my nurse I felt like I needed to fart. Yes, I know, classy right!?!?!
In the glorious words of the movie “Frozen” she told me to “let it go!” I distinctly remember asking her if she was sure it was ok, (see I didn’t TOTALLY lose my manners) she assured me it was and actually I needed to.
Well let me just explain, NOTHING was more glorious than that fart and the subsequent 1 or 900 that came after, it was like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and a Halloween candy run all rolled into one!
I woke up fairly quickly and was moved to recovery. My doctor came out and told me he took two pollops, but that was ordinary. He would send them off to be analyzed and contact me within the next week to let me know the results.
Within the hour I was on my way home. It took a few hours for the anesthesia to wear off completely, but for the most part I was good to go by lunchtime.
A few days later I got a call from the Dr. advising that everything was ok and he would see me in 10 years.
Ok, so let’s be honest here…… the ONLY thing uncomfortable about getting a colonoscopy is the fear.
Yes, it is ugly, not something we want to talk about, but SERIOUSLY nothing to fear.
Buy a few magazines and leave them in the bathroom for the “day prior.”
Don’t make any plans for the “day prior,” you really will need to be close to your bathroom once the cleanse begins.
Weigh yourself before and after, hey if you have to go through it you may as well get some sense of accomplishment out of it.
DO NOT look around the procedure room.
Fart, fart, fart, fart, fart, fart and don’t worry about it, don’t be embarrassed by it and once in your life just let it go!
Most importantly, don’t be ashamed or afraid, the fear of the colonoscopy is MUCH worse than the actual procedure.
Happy 50 everyone!