Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How to Have a Colonoscopy

Prep Day

Sunday, August 14th
8:45 am. Water. 
9:19 am Watched one of those Facebook cooking videos for something called Cheesy Garlic Hedgehog Bread. Think you could probably have a heart event just from watching that. 
9:43 am Why am I still awake? This is my only day off. I need a nap. 
10:28 am More water and a big cup o'java. Black. 
10:50 am. Just reviewed one version of the instructions. I think the last line is hilarious. 
You may not eat anything for 6 hours before the procedure. You may have clear liquids up until 2 hours before the procedure
If you are on Coumadin contact your doctor and arrange to stop your medication for 5 days prior to procedure
You need to have your blood coagulation checked just prior to the test
If you have diabetes and take insulin, contact you doctor for instruction on taking you insulin
For your safety, you must have a friend of family member escort you home after your procedure
Your procedure will be canceled if you do not have a friend or family member to escort you home
You may not walk or take taxi, limo, etc without an escort
You must not drive, work, operate machinery or make important decisions for the entire day.

11:14 am. More water, more coffee. Just told my Dad not to ask me for stock tips tomorrow because I cannot make important decisions. I also said, "Hey ya know how we were sorta raised not to rock the boat? All of a sudden, I want to rock all the boats." 

12:20 pm. More water. We just had a discussion of whether or not a mint counts as food. I vote no but I am cannot screw this up. I've had to take two shifts off from two different jobs and paycheck-wise that is not something I want to do twice. 

12:25 pm. P reads me an article from the Sun Times about a guy who has retinoblastoma, neuroblastoma, and osteosarcoma cancer. (eye, nerve, and bone). He's 27. "That's hell times a million." says P. 

12:56 pm. Water. Looking at active wear on eBay. I had a conversation with the head gym honcho about Zumba and how everyone wears cute outfits and she said, hey maybe that would be a great motivation for you. And I was thinking, disease and premature death. That seems to be working really well for now. High five!

2:27 pm. Water. I announce that there's a new flavor of M&M called Coffee Nut. We're also trying to do a sort of a household purge but what we end up doing is this:

That's the stuff one uses to blow bubbles out the window. 
Third floor occupants have a certain responsibility to their neighbors, don't they? 

2:33 pm. I have to make a commitment regarding the flavor packet. I could-they told me-get some Crystal Lite and pick my own flavor-except for red-or go with the 'Lemon' that's already included. I have to decide before I add the water and I need to get the whole monstrosity into the fridge because this stuff is best served extremely cold. 

Crystal Lite sort of freaks me out in an unnecessary chemical additive sort of way. I'll go with the official Lemon, I guess. It must be all-natural if it came in a plastic pack hot glue gunned to the plastic jug from the pharmacy, right?

2:49 pm. Last year, when I had my first colonoscopy, I remember just how carefully we shopped for the different stuff you're allowed to have on Prep Day. Really. I remember looking all over the place  for broth. I ended up giving it to Grantley. It's not as if I'm generally deficient in 'broth'. 

This year, swear to God, I say to P, hey are you going over to The Jewels so you can get me some stuff? He says-I swear-Let's just look in the fridge and see what we can use up. 

ha ha ha. The romance is gone. I'll just cry into my glass of Dollar Store Yellow Gatorade. ha ha ha. 

4:46 pm. I have a mad hankering for canned green beans. No, really. 

5:58 pm. No yellow popsicles. Frowny face. Italian Ice Cups. Happier face. One hour away from: Do Not Leave the House. 

6:59 pm. Okay. I gotta drink half of this stuff(Two liters is half) between now and 8:30. I found a straw out of one of our water cup things. P said the best thing to do is to put it down quickly. Does he not remember I cannot do that. It tastes like...maybe like if you won a goldfish at the Halloween Carnival and brought it home in a plastic bag. Maybe like that water. 

Thankful it is not thick. Seriously thankful. Ugh. 

7:21 pm. It doesn't seem to stay very cold. I should have made arse-scicles out of it. 

8:17 pm. I'm not drinking fast enough. This may never ever end. 

8:47 pm. Let the bathroom games begin. I have a book in the bathroom. Something about what you can do in your 50's to make sure you have an ass-kicking 60's and beyond. Somebody donated three copies of this book to the library. When that happens right in front of me? I think it's a message and I better check it out. 

9:10 pm. I have to return between 3:30 am and 5:00 am to drink the rest of the stuff. I owe it two cups from this session. Poor Grantley has been getting up and down and up and down to accompany me to and from the bathroom. Probably hoping for some nice broth afterward, poor dear. 

9:56 pm. Gonna try for some sleep. 

 Colonoscopy Day

4:10 am. Okay hit the 3:30 snooze alarm way too many times, but I got tough and stood in front of the kitchen sink and drank and drank and drank. 

Also the pyrex measuring cup I was drinking out of-I shoved the entire business into the freezer last night and I did get a big ice cube and that really helped. Freezing is your friend. Also I didn't allow myself to drink anything other than the official stuff like I did last night. That was a mistake and just slowed me down. 

I got a little crazy and looked up 'tricks to taking colonoscopy prep'-I mean I felt a little sheepish even looking that up-but it turns out there are plenty of pages and I should have read them before I even made the appointment. It seems as if I might have been able to take some sort of pills as opposed to drinking this stuff and that might have been a better idea for me. I should have at least inquired. I didn't even think about it. 

Also I remembered another bowel prep that went better than this one and it involved picking out two different jugs of Gatorade-not red-and you put half a thing of Miralax into one and half into the other, shake it up and wah-lah/kablooie. 

I have been wah-lah-ing. This is supposed to be more effective. To do this in two parts. I dunno, ya know? I think they could come up with something way better and someday I bet they will. Or maybe this is the better. 

I'm going to bravely(or stupidly)quit at 5:30 and get some more sleep. I'm leaving about an inch and a half in the jug. My appointment is at 9:30 but they want us there at 8:45. Good thing we live so close. 

What's coming out of me at this point, is yellow water. I know it's TMI but this is all TMI, duh. You'll be okay.  

I feel okay. My stomach is flatter. It's still making noises like I ate an entire live lion. Back to bed. 

7:48 am. Hit the snooze an awfully lot of times. Took a shower. Had a brief discussion as to what one wears to a colonoscopy. Went with 'dress'. We're leaving at 8:00. Gotta dry my hair. 

8:10 am and off we went and now I have to go by memory. We got there and had to park on the 5th floor which is further up into the sky than I'd even been before over there. Nice view. 

We entered the building and did not have to go far to get to the GI Lab. The Security Guard said 'a right and a left' and he was right. We got into the waiting area-signed in and were lucky-Very Lucky-to get an empty waiting area eventho Chance the Rapper was yelling at us via Good Morning America. I don't turn on the TeeVee till at least after the street lights go on-no offense to Chance. 


I got called in. P came with me. We went past a huge desk with really bright lights and all this activity. (Maybe Chance was trying to wake us up or something.) We followed a nurse into a small room. Changed in the yellow socks and a gown.  
It is a 'nice to have' item to have somebody tie the gown in the back. 

Then, the whole conversation is between the nurse and the computer and you just chime in when it's your turn. Lots of questions. When did you last eat solid food? When did you last take your prescription? What about that one? Did you drink all of the prep? Do you have allergies? Have you had any reaction to anesthesia before? And that goes on and on. 

Then she tapes you in. You get that ET red light thing on your index finger. You get a monitor velcro-ed to your left arm and then it's time for her to get a line started into a vein.

Once AGAIN, I say, hey my right arm doesn't work and once AGAIN she takes it as a challenge and once AGAIN, I'm right and I end up with two sticks as opposed to one. She said something about 'next time bring your veins' and by that time the doctor was already talking to me while she was shoving a needle into my left wrist and that is the only thing that really hurt all day. I hope our paths do not meet again. Also I wonder if a snarky nurse costs more than a neutral one and if that's something available upon request. 

We meet the doctor. He asks questions. I ask questions. I ask him what everyone else usually asks that I'm probably forgetting and he thought for a minute and said, you can eat anything when we're done. Okay.

My yellow foot. 

We meet the anesthesiologist. He's sorta funny. We're supposed to call him by his first name. Calls me 'dear'. Tells me all about his end of things. Oh and the HIGHLARIOUS joke in THIS department is, because I'm getting scoped from my throat to my innards as well as from my a-hole to my innards-(They call this a 'double dip') the big hilarity is not to worry/they use two different cameras. 

I wonder if I could be a hospital gag writer. There is SERIOUS room for growth.

I ask him about this story that's going around-how if you want the major drugs for your colonoscopy-you sorta flutter your hands near your chest and he cracks up and says I'm getting the deep sedation and that's probably for places that just use the medium sedation. Cool. 

He tells me there's going to be a bite block sort of thing in my mouth so I don't bite down on the expensive camera and I get nervous about that, but the initial 'cocktail' starts not long after when he shoots something into my tube. I'm still awake but it's very strange to know that everyone in the room is going to stay the same and you're not.

Out I roll into the procedure room? I think she called it. Not far. And I'm in there and I'm on my side and I'm looking at all the machinery trying to memorize it and that's all she wrote. 

P's pager went off at 10:35. 

This thing has a 5 mile radius-in case you
 wanna go for pizza or something. 

Woke up in the first room getting admonished by a different nurse because I've peeled off all of stuff that was stuck to my right hand, pulled out the IV and there's blood all over. Not ALL over. Just kind of an unnecessary mess. I've done this two times before in different surgical situations. I think in my head, I'm trying to leave and so I start unhooking myself so I can split. Eventho nobody has invited me to go. 

When I was a kid, my Mom tried-upon my request-to make me something called 'Rag curls' (I think the effect is very close to what the youngsters wear right now actually) and by morning I'd have all those evenly spaced rags pulled out of my hair. 

Maybe there's a future for me in sleep weaving. 

Speaking of hair, this is the summer my hair officially turned into a birds nest. 
If you can explain this very pricey haircut to me, I'd be ever so grateful. 

At 10:40 am, P got into the recovery room. He had my(purse-kinda)bag, and my other bag with my clothes and shoes was stuffed under the bed that I'd been reclined upon the whole time. 

The doctor stopped by briefly. He looked a little bit like Elvis. The nurse had handed us a report with little tiny photos of the polyps that were removed. They look like snails. 

We think we were outta there by 11:15 am. 


I offer all of this nonsense to you, so that you do not actually die of embarrassment. 

Ask me anything. 


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