Sunday, November 25, 2007

Roto Rooter for Colons

So, since I am over 50 I got to have the pleasure of going in for my first colonoscopy a week or so ago. My doctor had recommended one last year but I was given a reprieve since my insurance company denied it saying that it was not a medical necessity.
Now, I am fully aware of the reason for having a colonoscopy since my husband is a colon cancer survivor. I've watched him do the prep about 4 times now, for the initial colonoscopy, the surgery to remove about a foot of his colon, and the follow up colonoscopies. The first time he went I was allowed into the procedure room to watch it live on TV. There was a tall closet on one wall with these really long black what appeared to be garden hoses inside. Those are what goes up inside you. And they are really really long. How do they get this long hose inside you? You know those hose reels with a handle on them for rolling up your hose? The way they get that hose up inside is similar, they just kind of crank it up in there. There is a light and a tiny camera at the end of the hose so they can see the inside of your colon. If they need to snip a polyp off, they thread a snipper thing up in there through the hose.
So, anyway, I knew the prep to 'cleanse' your colon is not pleasant. First off, you can only have liquids and jello, and only certain liquids, no cream for your coffee or tea, and nothing with red dye in it. Jello has never been a favorite of mine ever since my kids were born and after a c-section all you get to eat for a few days is jello and broth. Yuck. You have to take these laxative pills and then mix this huge bottle of powdered laxative with 64 ounces of 'clear liquid'. We were wondering if vodka counted as a 'clear liquid'. Then you have to drink this 64 ounces of liquid laxative at the rate of about 8 ounces every 15 minutes. More yuck. Then, before bed, you take more laxative pills, and in the morning you get to have not one, but two enemas! Makes you really want to get out of bed in the morning, doesn't it?
And, since you don't get to eat any food all day and absolutely nothing, not even water, after midnight, you are pretty darn hungry and thirsty while doing your enemas in the morning.
Not to mention that your bottom is raw from all the pooping that you do after all the laxatives and enemas. We made sure that we had plenty of toilet paper before hand and I didn't get too far from the bathroom all day. Believe me, nature wasn't just calling, it was yelling. Loudly.
I did make it through the night and went to have my 'procedure' as they like to call it at 9:30 the next day at an outpatient surgery center. They bring you in and give you a gown, little paper booties for your feet, and a paper hat thing to wear. Then you go sit in what looks like a lazy boy recliner and get your IV put in and answer a few questions. They give you a nice warm blanket and let your spouse or other come in and sit with you until time to go in for your 'prodedure'. The benadryl that is put into your IV starts to make you a little drowsy. This surgery center doesn't allow spectators unlike the doctor that did my husband's 'procedures' so they shoo away your other and then take you into the 'procedure' room and have you lie down on your side. The nurse said that they were going to give me whatever it is that puts you out during the 'procedure' and I asked her 'Now you wait until I'm out before you start, right?'. The doctor seemed a little overeager with that hose and I was getting a little nervous because I sure didn't want to feel a garden hose going up my insides.
Next thing I knew a nurse was telling me 'You're all done, want some water?' and the 'procedure' was over with. I kind of floated in and out while they brought my husband in to give him post 'procedure' instructions and show us a picture of the insides of my colon. We were thinking maybe we could use the picture for our holiday cards this year.
The nurse helped me get dressed, got me in a wheelchair, and shoved me out the back door and into the car. I felt kind of woozy but wanted a milkshake or something so we stopped at a sandwich shop and got a fruit smoothie, which wasn't really what I wanted, I wanted a chocolate milk shake. We got almost home and then I had to throw up out the car door as we were turning into our neighborhood. I was thinking the neighbors probably were wondering what a middle aged woman was doing puking out the car door like some drunk teenager.
I slept for a few hours after we got home, then just felt kind of blah the rest of the day.
The next day I felt just fine and actually had quite a bit of energy. Maybe cleaning your colon out once in a while lightens the load or something.


Nora said...

I'm 46...thanks for the preview. I know it is necessary, it doesn't sound so bad. Hey in Hollywood they actually pay people to do this for you!

anodyne said...

Gosh. I didn't realize I had this to look forward to. Thanks for the um, enlightenment. ;)