1. THE PREP
The day before the exam, you can expect to live off of Jello® and broth. If you’re looking for variety, forget it. You can’t have red, orange or purple Jello®. This, of course, eliminates 99.9% of the choices you have. What’s it come down to? Lime, lemon, white grape or pineapple. I didn’t have either! Just liquids! By the second day your stomach is just numb and doesn’t feel! I can’t say the same about my butt.
2. THE FEAR FACTOR OF COLONOSCOPIES
Promptly at five (I waited till 8), you will be instructed to begin the cleansing process. This consists of drinking the Gatoraide® Skunk Juice (Natural and Artificial Flavors) until you feel like puking. Your job is to take pills, drink little bottles and then big bottles and then more pills, really!
3. If you’re lucky enough to have a master bathroom, you’ll want to start hanging out in your bedroom after Round One. There you can listen to music or watch TV. I suggest playing them at low volumes so as not to muffle the weird gastric noises your body will begin to make. Don’t ignore them! These are your warning signals for bigger and better things to come. Consider them the gastric equivalent of a rattlesnake shaking his tail before he takes a big bite out of your butt.
4. If you have family in the house at the time of cleansing, be prepared to answer the same question over, and over and over.
“Are you okay in there?”
If annoyed, you can always answer them with a guttural noise.
5. THE NEXT MORNING
If you’re really smart, you’ll schedule your exam as close to dawn as possible. I DID NOT! (1:30) You’ll already be cranky from the night before, plus the absence of food and caffeine will begin to drive you over the edge. The urge to swallow your toothpaste while brushing will enter your mind. If you succeed, you might as well wash it down with a gulp of mouthwash while you’re at it.
6. ARRIVAL FOR THE EXAM
It is a known fact that all pre-op nurses are terminally in a bad mood. Don’t even consider making a joke about the process. As near as I can tell, they must be bitter about a friend or loved one dying during the colonoscopy process. Your flippant attitude about the procedure will only anger them more. This is especially important given the fact that this same lady will be inserting an IV needle into your arm at some point. All my nurses were great- the anesthesiologist was a bit stuffy but did a great job- best sleep I’ve had in a long time!
7. IN THE EXAM ROOM
The anesthesiologist is your friend. Treat him well. This is the guy who decides what memories you’ll have about the process. If you have a choice between haziness and out cold, go all the way OUT. Trust me. The only thing worse than having a hose up your butt is feeling like you’re going through a mild LSD trip…..with a hose up your butt.
If all goes as planned, you’ll go from talking to the anesthesiologist to waking up somewhere else like you just traveled through time. This is a time to celebrate! While your mind may be thinking of champagne and confetti, the recovery nurse (who WILL have a sense of humor) will only offer you crackers and soda. Take what you can get! Remember, you haven’t eaten a good meal in over 24 hours. Unfortunately, the crackers are kind of like the peanuts you get on a flight- only one package per customer please. The told me to eat light- I needed pasta (and veal parm) YUM!
9. Before you have a chance to come to your senses, the doctor will come in to talk to you about the results. Don’t be alarmed if he/she sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher (WAH, WAH, WAH, WAH, WAAAAH). This is normal. Having a family member there is crucial because you only remember snippets of the conversation, and what you do remember will be wrong. Well here is what I learned- I’m full of crap (7 pounds worth), had a polyp and the start of diverticulosis (said it is part of the “aging” process) so am not a “perfect asshole” as Kay would say.
10. Wasn’t this fun (and I blame Kris & Paula). Actually this is a good thing to have and I’ll be back again in 5 years.