A colonoscopy is not merely a procedure – it requires preparation… and not just the ‘don’t eat or drink starting at midnight before we knock your ass out’ sort. Shitty preparation. Come on, you knew that word play was coming – too soon? Well, get used to it. I’m hungry and cranky… in fact I’m feeling crappy.
Well, because the day before a colonoscopy you’re only allowed; water; Pedialyte; Ensure Clear; clear juices (apple, white cranberry, white grape); Gatorade; PowerAde; tea; ice tea; or black coffee and clear broths of any kind. Jello-0 and Popsicles – although none that are red, purple or orange – have to suffice as the day’s ‘solid’ food. Chicken broth is most definitely not the breakfast of champions. Finally, even though Chardonnay and vodka are clear liquids, thank you very much, alcohol is verboten the day before a random medical professional inserts a cold medical instrument up my rectum in the hope of seeing nothing bumpy in my colon.
“It’s a cleanse,” I repeated ad nauseam to friends and acquaintances. I’m a woman; we actually share nuggets of information, unlike men who, as my husband says, often don’t know each other’s middle names after years of friendship. My cleanse line always gets a laugh. Only today I don’t even find it mildly amusing.
But I’m doing it anyway because colon cancer is among the top cancer killers in the USA precisely because until it is in its later stages you are usually symptom free. And, when it comes to cancer, ignorance is not bliss.
“It’s a great undertaking just before your trip to see your ultra-svelte, glamorous, food-eating mother,” I repeat ad nauseam … which reminds me that the day before the ‘fast’ – two days before the rectal probe – I ‘treated’ myself to a Hostess Chocolate cupcake – which made me queasy. Damn, I have spent a lot of time in the bathroom this week.
As I enjoy a late lunch of … chicken broth … in the middle of a very hot day, I realize that my hunger headache is not abating. I’m also forced to accept that once again my husband is right. This makes me even crankier. But there is so much more to look forward to besides hunger pains and headaches – there is the evening on the toilet that will be brought to me by the aptly named MoviPrep®. Good times, good times.
The doctor’s instructions said to start drinking the cleansing brew at 6:00pm. So I mixed up Pouches A and B with a liter of water at 5:30pm. I started sipping the concoction right then, slowly, as its taste is a nasty middle ground between salty and sweet. Technically, you’re supposed to drink eight vile ounces every 15 minutes but, since I can’t imagine guzzling the stuff, sipping it over the course of an hour seemed better.
“You’re going to throw that up, aren’t you?” My daughter asked, reacting to my expression after a large gulp.
“No, I’m not. That’s why I’m drinking it slowly and sipping chicken broth (you’re required to drink 16oz of clear liquid to help the concoction do its cleansing) along with my ‘evening cocktail’,” I replied, thinking that now would be a good time to reinforce those boundaries about when children are allowed in my bathroom.
And then there is the morning of the procedure, which finds me in the bathroom mixing up another batch of MoviPrep® and then not drinking anything after I’ve chugged the brew and the accompanying 16 ounces of clear liquid. More good times – and we’re not even at the medical facility yet. Surprisingly enough, the cocktail went down easier with tea – no milk. Also surprising, I wasn’t starved – maybe this is the start of a thinner me? Nah, it’s likely just nerves.
But I’m more nervous about cancer and dying before my children are launched – the way my father did. So I will cleanse my colon gladly, and as often as necessary because there are so many things I want to stick around to see completed.
We – you can’t drive yourself home, so your driver must accompany you to check in too – arrive the prescribed one hour before the procedure. I am taken into ‘pre-op’ where I am asked to don the usual, fashionable hospital wear, ‘with the opening in the back’, while my vitals are taken. I was then stuck with an IV through which I only got saline. What is wrong with this institution? Why don’t I get Versed with my fluids? Why do I have to wait until I get ‘in the room’? Well, I didn’t have long to fret because about 20 minutes later the lovely Versed was being pumped into my IV along with another drug whose name escapes me and I turned onto my left side.
I was completely Zen – ah, better living through chemistry – as I watched the doctor snip out a couple of small polyps – little nodules that will never threaten my life.
About 20 minutes later, I was on my way – to lunch of course – and then an afternoon nap.
Yeah, the MoviPrep® tastes vile and emptying your bowels to the point of excreting light, yellow fluid is no one’s idea of a great time. But I’m four polyps lighter and don’t have to repeat this whole thing again for three years – it would’ve been ten had nothing been found – by which time the taste of MoviPrep® might be improved. I’ve proven to myself that I can function as my usual, cranky self without real food for a whole day, at the end of which I beat cancer. Ha, ha.
Since I’m on my soapbox about screening, here is a link for more information on colorectal cancer.