Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Colonoscopies are Us

Bright and early Monday morning, I had a colonoscopy. 

It all began when I, out of frustration, called a new doctor.  I had just left the yearly visit with the OBGYN and was feeling totally put out.  I had a list of questions.  NONE of them were answered and I was D.O.N.E.  When I got home, I picked up the phone and made an appointment right then and there with a new doctor.  

Sitting in the exam room with the Wonder Woman Doctor, she began to question me concerning my medical history.  

WW:  Have you had a flu shot?
Me:  No......... I've never had a flu shot........ and I've never had the flu.  I think maybe I've become immune to those kind of germs being a preschool teacher for all those zillions of years.
WW:  (not amused)  Do you want a flu shot?
Me:  No.  **I don't want a shot.  I never want a shot.  Especially when I'm well.  
WW:  Well, we'll just have to cross our fingers on this one.

WW:  When was your last mammogram?
Me:  July 2012.
WW.  Okay, I'll order one.  

(I had already explained to her about my  OBGYN yearly visit where I did have the pap.  But nothing else)

WW;  Have you had a colonoscopy?
Me:  (oh great)  No Ma'am.  All of a sudden I get polite.  Ha 
WW doctor just looks at me.
Me:  Last year I was given the take home test thingie.
WW:  That's not accurate.  I'm ordering a colonoscopy.  I also want to see you in one week.  Please come in fasting.  Nothing after midnight.  

We talked a little more but frankly, I don't remember.  All I can remember is COLONOSCOPY!!

Fast forward a month and.... boom.  It's colonoscopy time.

Five Things I Learned From Having a Colonoscopy

1.  Everyone will tell you the worst part is the prep.  (We'll get back to that in a minute)
The worst part for ME was waiting in the the waiting room.  The room was full of people who were there for....... well, to have a camera shoved up their colon!  All of us were hungry.  All of us were anxious.  Nobody made eye contact.  And time just ticked by.
I'm sure every single person in that waiting room got up to visit the restroom.  A couple of them more than once.  I thought about going as I'm sure I needed to go but I have this quirk about public bathrooms.  Especially when everybody knows what's happening in there.  And especially when you can hear the FLUSH.  

2.  The prep liquid tastes like snot.  No, it tastes like goo.  No, it tastes like salty snot.  It tastes disgusting.  Why does it have a taste?  Why can't it be tasteless?  The texture is bad enough.  You see, you will be given a Rx to take to CVS.  They will give you a huge gallon size plastic jug filled with a little powder in the bottom.  The morning of your prep, you fill with water to the fill line.  Shake it.  Chill.  Mine came with flavoring packets.  But guess what............ I didn't read the directions.  You add the flavoring BEFORE the water.  Dang.  Messed up.  I tried to sprinkle a little flavoring powder into the already mixed up solution but it wouldn't dissolve.  Dang.  Could I drink it without the flavoring. NO!  So I used crystal light.  Lemonade flavor.  (You can't drink anything red, purple or orange)  

3.  I've read that others experienced immediate ......... results.  Me?   Nope.  It was HOURS AND HOURS.  I started drinking it at 4:30.  I was very mathematical about it.  Actually set the stopwatch timer on my iPhone for beep every 10 minutes.  I planned to drink 10 swallows every 10 minutes.  What do they say about plans?  I quickly adjusted that to 5 swallows every 15 minutes.  The directions said to drink 1/2 the jug in 2 hours.  Wow.  That's a long of salty snot!  I managed to drink 1/2 of the jug's contents in 3 hours.  That is the very best I could do, thank you very much.  Then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.   By 7:30 I felt like I would explode.  This stuff needed to GO.  Get up.  Get going.  Sound the bugle.  Let's get this party started!  After walking back and forth, back and forth, I finally just ... well, you don't want to know.  Let's just say, the party started.

4.  I did not feel crampy.  I really expected to.  I did not feel rumbles.  I did not feel the urge.  It was a fairly faint urge.  And surprisingly, although I'd fasted all day, I did not feel hungry.  I had some chicken broth and some sugar free green jello.  I did feel anxious.  And in the back of my mind I kept pushing back the feeling that the prep wouldn't work thoroughly and they'd send me back home unable to perform the test.  Hurry up morning

5.  And then I'm sitting in the waiting room.  Looking around but making very sure not to make eye contact.  No one is chatting.  There's one wife there with her anxious husband.  He's filling out patient info forms.  Why didn't he fill out the ones they sent to him in the mail?  The wife keeps pointing out blanks he missed or information he's gotten wrong.  I want to slap her.  Two women sit on the side.  Both are reading the newspaper.  Not speaking.  An older couple arrives.  The man has much trouble getting up and out of his chair.  He's called to the desk several times.  The last time he breaks the chair arm as he attempts to get up.  All the while people are rushing to the bathroom.  Is there only one bathroom?  Maybe I should go.  I'll wait until that lady comes out.  No.  I don't want to go.  Or maybe I should.  I hate to go when everybody knows I'm going.  I'm weird.  Do they make any LOUDER flushes?  The whole building seems to vibrate.  Is it hot in here?  

6.  Then they call me.  
Nurse #1 enters my information into the computer.  Takes 5 minutes
She then walks me to the gurney area.  (What do you call that?)  Tells me I can leave my shirt on.  Remove everything waist down.  Lay on the bed and cover up with the blanket.  The blanked turned out to be warm.  Straight from the dryer.  Okay. Let's get going

Nurse #2 enters.  Starts IV.  Tells me it's only saline which immediately cools me.  She asks me what I'm going to eat when I get out of there.   Takes 5 minutes.

Nurse #1 returns to tell me the anesthesiologist is here and will come talk to me in just a minute.

Anesthesiologist comes in.  Where do they find these young guys?  He tells me he will use propafil.  (The Michael Jackson Sleep IV)  He said the advantage is that you are out immediately, and wake up immediately.  I'll not feel groggy.  I remember all those times at the dentist when the anesthesia did not work.  Oh, and baby #2?  Epidural didn't work.  Baby #3 epidural didn't work.  I get tense.

Doctor comes in.  Says we're ready to go.

They wheel me into a little exam room.  I see a large monitor.  I see a stainless table with instruments.  I see the anesthesiologist.  He asks me to lay on my left side.  Reaches over and begins to administer medicine into my IV.  I did NOT feel myself falling asleep.  I did NOT feel any change.  I went from wide awake to sound asleep.  OUT.  In a nano second.  

The next thing I remember is hearing a voice say "She'll be awake in a minute"  And Ironman answering, "Ok"  Then I woke up.  I was all the way back in the first area.  Back to my starting point.  What happened?  Nurse #3 comes in.  She looks 15.  She enters some information in the computer, removes my IV.  Tells me I can get dressed and go home.  Ironman leaves to pull the car closer to the door.  I got dressed.   I could have walked out just fine but Nurse #3 wheels me out in a chair.

That's it?  Piece of Cake.  I'm not kidding.  

I did skip the most important part.  After I woke up, the doctor returned to tell me he had removed one polyp.  It was too small for him to identify.  I will get a call in a week as to the status. 

All of a sudden the inconvenience of the prep and the test and the anxiety just zipped out of my mind.
If I had NOT gotten an appointment with a new doctor I would have never had this test.  At least I wouldn't have had it for another year!!


If you are 50, DO NOT WAIT.  It's a piece of cake.

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