Saturday, October 11, 2008

Answer: It's Like a Mini-Vacation

Question: What's a colonoscopy like?

[If you are under 50, you might want to come back later. If you are over 50, and you haven't had one yet, it's time. Colon cancer is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world.]

Here's how you do it.

First, go to spin class. Then spend the day fasting, drinking only clear liquids (including coffee, thank God). At the end of the day you will feel svelte and supermodelish and filled with willpower. Enjoy that part while it lasts.

In the evening, drink a gallon of stuff available only by prescription because it is very likely toxic and basically makes you explode for the next two hours.

Now you REALLY feel like a supermodel (no offense to all the supermodels reading this).

The morning of: Wake up Number One Daughter and ask if you can borrow her camera to document things because, after all, "Katie Couric had her colonoscopy done live on TV." Number One Daughter: "Mom, news flash: You are not Katie Couric." So literal, that one.

Have your only child drive you to the outpatient center and on the way there, discuss the fact that you don't have a living will ("Moooooom, stop it!")

Things happen like clockwork. Until the anesthesiologist sees my heart rate of 45. Which I'm guessing is elevated because I'm so nervous. (Am I actually alive?) People get concerned and run around for a while. They stick a thermometer on my forehead (see, now you wish you had photos).

They cover you with warm blankies, wheel you in, stick in an IV, and before you can say "Bob's your uncle," you're off to your happy place and done in 20 minutes. Another 20 minutes to come back to reality. More warm blankies, a cup of tea, and a few graham crackers and you're home, feeling all clean and shiny, ready to tackle the world, since it's only 11 a.m. and you have the day off. "I totally could have gone to work," you think, "since I'm feeling fine!" New plan: Do laundry, clean house, sort mail, go for a run!

What actually happens: Lay down. Wake up six hours later.


If you're putting this off because you think it's painful, think again. If you're putting it off because your health insurance doesn't cover it, don't forget to vote! And if you're putting it off because you're scared of what they might find, you need to HTFU and just do it.


LBTEPA said...

Oooh you are So Tough!

MizFit said...


and have an amazing attitude.
you need to publish this

Susan said...

I heard that!

I guess I have 17 years to go... but I WILL get it done! :)

This was a good PSA.

Anne said...

It is painful, though not in the way you might think. Your body is tossed all over as they ram that thing around every corner. How do I know? I woke up during the procedure. And I had it done in my early 40s. Maybe it's better in your 50s.

peter said...

Glad you got it done and it went well.

Dori said...

Wow, this is timely. I met with my gastro today and my colonoscopy appt. is next Monday. I never had one before and was most distressed that I can't have any food for a day and a half! I get very crabby when I don't eat. He said if there're no polyps, I don't have to come back for ten years. Thanks for sharing; it actually gives me a little comfort. :-/

ShirleyPerly said...

Well, that's one mini vacation I'm not looking forward to. Great post, though!

BettyBetty said...

Thanks for sharing!

Helen said...

I'm not scared of the actual procedure, it's the stuff that you have to do beforehand that intimidates me. No way I want to go through that. That's what happens when your dh is 5 years older and you get to watch him first.

Vickie said...

They gave me some drug to put me out. It didn't work. I was awake the whole time and the rest of the day in fact. But I couldn't drive because of the drug they gave me, which didn't work otherwise, so I'm guessing I wouldn't have fallen asleep at the wheel either. Good thing I didn't feel anything though!

Zinazinabobina said...

Gold Star!

My beloved Jomomma had two polyps removed, both well on their way to becoming cancerous. One imminently. I cannot imagine life without her, and I'm glad Dad made her get the scope.

Now get on that living will business.

Judi said...

Hilarious post. I won't mind doing it cuz ya get to have narcotics IV style. When my DR wants to do a liver biopsy, I am just all "make sure you get a good vein buddy!". LOL.

J/K, kind of.