boweled over (or, my colonoscopy prep)

Had to cancel my V.I.P. trip to the Sundance Film Festival this winter (ha!), to join the ranks of thousands out there and have a colonoscopy. Although my hubbie has a magic pill, the superflusher 2000, I chose to follow doctor’s orders for the preparation, which involved lots of fluids and starvation. After downing two bottles of magnesium citrate, you are supposed to drink a gallon of water. Good luck with that! I would have felt better about it all if I had not just read a sad story about fatal water intoxication, a condition I did not know existed. I can only ASSUME the doctors know about this and the quantity of liquids I am drinking don’t come close to that condition. But what do I know about it? I’m not a real doctor, I just play one with my kid (actually, she is the doctor usually).

Also, I failed miserably at preparing for the prep. Clear liquids only, no red coloring. Pantry: no apple juice, no Gatorade, no nonred Jello (who even buys nonred Jello?). I thought I’d be happy with teas and chicken bouillon. Wrong. By the afternoon, with my head pounding, nothing sounded better than a big scoop of cold, wiggly Jello. We finally went to the store (during a lull in the storm) and made some Jello, mmmmmmm good. Did you know it takes 4 hours to set up? We rushed in at 2 hours and decided it was thick enough. Next time, I add another option — 750ml of white wine! Maybe in the Jello! That would make this fast go faster, or at least be more fun. Wine was conveniently not mentioned in the instructions. Hmmmmmmmmm.

So after all the flushing, you are dehydrated, thirsty, headachey and hungry. Then I get to feed my Kid all her meals, snacks, etc. Temptations everywhere. A clump of cottage cheese on my hand, a crust of grilled cheese sandwich, a bowl of crunchy cereal….it was rough not to eat! Finally, the day of the procedure, we wait and wait and wait. Doctors were running late there, to the tune of over an hour (yes, we want them to be careful…), so we watched the fish tank. It’s supposed to relax you, right?

What I learned: some fish get big pieces of romaine lettuce in their tank for snack. I watched a “Dory” fish (from Nemo) eat from the giant floating lettuce leaf for half an hour. Torture. Even the fish get to eat and I don’t! My craving for a cheeseburger quickly transferred over to lettuce at that point, maybe without the salt water and with some blue cheese dressing. Yea, and what about that little fish, too? Mmmmmmmm.

What I also learned: the procedure itself is a breeze, thanks to great drugs, and you get the most delicious juice and dry muffin afterwards! It reminded me of how food on camping trips tastes so good. But if you actually cooked the same food at home….not so great. A peppermint patty never tasted so good as on the top of hill I climbed. So, this colon scope provided yet another chance to appreciate those little things in life, like clumps of cottage cheese, muffins, and yes, good health, too.

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11 responses to “boweled over (or, my colonoscopy prep)

  1. I had one of those about two years ago, and you’re right, those are some great drugs.
    While I was on the table, waiting for them to shoot those drugs into my IV, I heard a great recipe for a Mexican Soup, from one of the two nurses discussing ways to cook a meal while at work,(I assumed they were both single). I had a little trouble remembering it when I got home, but it finally came to me. This is done in a crock pot.
    One can of hominy (or corn).
    One can of black beans.
    One half (or to taste) jar of your favorite salsa.
    One half, to one LB of ground beef (or turkey), browned in a skillet. You can drain off the fat.
    Add water as needed. All in the crock pot, turn on high and cook for at least 3 hours.
    Serve in a bowl topped with grated cheese. Tortilla chips on the side.

  2. That sounds tasty. I am impressed you could remember that whole recipe!

  3. Well, maybe it has been modified somewhat, over the past two years.

  4. Chris Anderson

    Did anybody have trouble doing the prep? Mine didn’t really work, and the doctor said I “wasn’t clean” and that the scope would have to be repeated. My husband had had one with another doctor with no problems. I had elected not to go with this doctor due to insurance problems (big mistake.) These people didn’t even call to confirm the appointment-they said they “didn’t do that” because they “didn’t do the scheduling” when I asked them why, and we ended up 45 minutes early. They didn’t bother to tell us that-we could have gone home and come back. We thus had to wait 1.5 hours, and I was royally pissed off. In addition to everything else, I have a blood pressure problem and it’s not really healthy for me to be put into this dehydrated condition. by the time I got in the pre-op room an hour and forty minutes after we arrived, my blood pressure was 169/103, largely due to the fact that I was royally pissed off. I think the nurse in there was intimidated by me, because she was quiet. The anesthetist was wonderful and the nurses in the back were good, but the front desk people should all get fired to find honest employment doing something other than working with people. They might as well just save their money and put a computer in there you could check in on. It could probably tell you if you were there too early.
    Needless to say, my internist is going to hear about this, because he regularly refers people to this facility. And I am going to my husband’s doctor for the repeat test. I don’t care if I end up paying for it myself.

  5. Oh, Chris! That is awful. I have heard of not being adequately cleaned out and I was afraid of that happening. You go through it all, wait forever (I did too), starving (it was after noon by the time I was seen and done), cold (my bp was real low by the time I got in), and then they say, oops, gotta do it again. I am so sorry for you! My mother, the expert, said to cut back on foods a couple of days ahead of time, and I even saw one site recommending specific soft, light foods for the day before the cleansing part. My doctor’s office did not mention changing your diet for the day or two before the cleanse, but I think it helps. And I too had to call a day or two ahead to find out my appointment time (which could have been a real problem trying to plan for child care). So many in the medical profession don’t really seem to be “people” persons, do they? I remember that with some of the nurses in, of all places, the maternity ward.

  6. Interesting read regarding the colonoscopy. I came across a colonoscopy prep website that I thought was helpful.

  7. Thanks for the link, Peter. It gives some good info. I was surprised how little info was in the printed materials I received from my doctor’s office. Thank you Internet!

  8. Having your colon not thoroughly clean for the rotten disgusting colon- digging is the absolute pits!!!! Mine wasn’t after the most torture in 2 days and waiting 5 hours to be dug into. Must be done again per the doc.
    This fear rates right up there with loosing someone you love and you can not do a thing about it., Except feel sorry for yourself.

    There has to be a better way…. Help….. I must do it again because of the mega polyps found.

    I am in such anx-st and fear the polyps may be cancerous.

  9. Maggee–I totally relate to your stress about the test. But, polyps are the whole reason to go ahead with it!! Otherwise, you don’t know what is going on inside you until you get “real” symptoms and by then, it can be too late. If I had polyps, I would sign up to do it every three years or whatever they recommend. The whole reason the total number of successful cancer treatments is improving is because of tests like this. Last year I had a close (young) relative surprised by colon cancer, as we all were, now undergoing chemo, and I would do this test every year if they told me to. It’s too stressful for me not to.

  10. Pingback: Let the dog in! » Blog Archive » my annual mamm-o-smush-o-ramaHumorous reflections and stories from a Bainbridge Island, Washington family of 3, plus dog

  11. becka buchanan

    I just came home from ahospital stay after a colonoscopy,I went into diareah and severe vomiting that lasted several hours untill I was transported by ambulance to the hospital where they did ANOTHER colonoscopy the Dr. told me that some folks do have problems after this procedure although they contend it is rare. I only know that the cleanse not the procedure itself made me sick sick sick! will I ever have this again? yes but I will fast for three days prior to the cleanse and I will let the Dr. know of how awfull this affected me. I know that I must not allow the polops to take over my colon.