If you've ever had a colonoscopy, you'll relate to this post. If you haven't, then take heed, as your day is coming.
Everyone has to get them at some point. And over a certain age, it's every five years or so. The preparation for the appointment is so traumatizing that the emotional recovery typically takes years. That's why, although you only get one every 5-10 years, it seems like it was much more recent.
"Your chart shows it's been ten years since your last colonoscopy so you're due for another one."
"Whaaat? I'm pretty sure you've made a mistake. I think it was more like 6 months ago because that salty pineapple laxative taste just got out of my mouth last Thursday."
The test itself isn't all that bad. You just lie on a table, naked, with one of those backless gowns and the doctor shoves a garden hose with a big camera on the end up your bum to have a look-see. They give you this special medicine that makes you drowsy but you're apparently still able to listen and take instructions.
In other words, you're wide awake but the trauma is so severe your brain removes the memory, so by the time you're back in recovery, (if there was ever a need for recovery!) you have no remembrance of the event.
The doctor requires someone to escort you to this appointment because there needs to be a witness for what happens next. ( I'm quite certain this part this didn't happen to me because I have no memory.)
See...all of the gas that is pumped into your down-there place in order for the doctor to 'see' has to come out. The same way it went in. I think we both know what that means.
I won't mention names here but a certain someone I know took his father to a colonoscopy and when the doctor pushed aside the recovery room curtain to review the test findings, the poor father's 'natural gas reservoir' begin to explode in a cacophony only rivaled by a late night showing of 'Blazing Saddles'. As the doctor spoke in serious tones about the results, the son convulsed in laughter until he fell out of his chair, rendered useless by the comedy show coming from his father's nether-regions.
Again, I'm quite certain this didn't happen to me. While I can't explain why, I assume my southern roots in decorum facilitated the absorption of the gas into my system which then later resulted in a tiny napkin-muffled burp.
I emailed him these instructions and just talking about the prep he'll drink made me sick to my stomach. In fact, typing the sentence to him telling him about my nausea, made my palms sweat. There is just no brave way to face this procedure.
And then I remembered my friend's husband, Bob. I don't want to embarrass him so from this point on I shall refer to him as 'Robert'.
Bob, I mean Robert was in the hospital and it was requested that he drink a jug of colon-cleansing prep. "Uh oh", I thought when I saw the familiar clear liquid. Poor Robert! The nurse placed the heavy jug on his tray and said 'Drink up. Try to have it all gone by 8:30."
I can still see him now. He sat up a little straighter in the bed and with a look of purpose on his face, said....no, DECLARED (and with pluck!) that he was going to drink that stuff right down. Probably in 15 minutes. "Dana, I'm just like that, you know. If I have something unpleasant to do, I'll just do it fast and get it over with!" I looked at him with as innocent a look as I could and said, "That's awesome! Yes, I've heard that about you!"
My stomach lurched a little. I was still slightly traumatized by the last colonoscopy I'd had, back in 2001. I distinctly remember saying out loud that I'd rather give birth to a large baby with no pain killers than to ever drink that gallon jug of salty pineapple laxative again. I felt light-headed at the mere thought.
Robert took his first swig and I watched his face carefully. It must have been ice cold, which can delay the inevitable stomach revolt, because he seemed calm and was able to carry on a pleasant conversation.
We kept talking about Auburn and the kids and growing up stories and he would occasionally take a swig. ( I may have seen his temple twitch once or twice, I'm not sure.) The nurse came back in and asked if he was finished and he looked a little embarrassed when she picked up the jug and saw the volume had only gone down about two inches. Surely he'd drank more than that?
I shifted uncomfortably on the couch and mentally willed myself to not think about what he was drinking. Brenda and I were going to eat in the cafe later and I was determined we'd split a piece of chocolate cake and being in the same room with that colon prep was having a dreadful effect on my appetite.
(this stuff is called "MoviPrep", by the way. MOVIE prep! They want you to think it'll be like going to the new AMC theater down the road and watching a Clint Eastwood flick while passing the large bag of popcorn. I can assure you it's NOTHING like going to the movies!)
Robert had lost some of his bravado and wasn't sitting up straight in the bed anymore. There was a faint, green cast to his face and I'm pretty sure I saw sweat on his brow. He kept drinking the stuff, but honestly, the jug just seemed to stay full, like one of those magic bottles of milk. While I know he had mettle and meant to be daring and gulp it straight down, there just are no heroes when it comes to moviprep. Brenda and I eventually excused ourselves to go eat and left him alone with his magic jug and the nurse who kept peeking in and saying "Is it gone yet?"
I was nauseous for the rest of the night.
So starting tomorrow, I get to have a front row seat to a colonoscopy preparation. And until it really IS as much fun as going to the movies, I'll keep praying someone invents a simple finger prick.