4-15-19 – My Colonoscopy (Updated)
When people reach 50 years of age they are encouraged to have their colon checked for cancer. This procedure is called a colonoscopy. I contacted a local clinic that specializes in these procedures and scheduled an appointment.
I received an instruction sheet that specified a number of products to be purchased at my local Walgreen’s drug store. These items are referred to as “the stuff” and consist of laxative pills and a colon cleansing mixture that is used in Gatorade, plus a lemon tasting liquid that is like a volcano in a bottle.
The day before the procedure there are certain steps that are to be done. Things like mixing the Gatorade and the cleansing mixture and placing it in the refrigerator to chill. That evening one must take the laxative pills and drink the lemon tasting liquid before going to bed.
At 0500 the morning of the procedure one begins the regiment of taking one glass every 15 minutes until the entire 64 ounces of the Gatorade mixture is consumed (approximately 2 hours). The instructions state that one must plan on staying home and near the bathroom due to the sudden, explosive emission of bodily fluids will occur (this is normal). What they don’t tell you is that the entire contents of your body will pass before you and go down the drain.
After a couple of hours there is nothing left in your stomach or your colon, and it’s time to go to the clinic. My procedure was scheduled for 1230 pm and I had to check in one hour prior to do the paperwork. There were forms in white and forms in blue, possibly other colors, but I don’t remember much except one or more of the forms indicated consent for an emergency CPR procedure if necessary. Possibly there were non-disclosure and non-liability clauses should the procedure not go according to plan.
Then a nurse took me back to the staging room where she instructed me to get buck naked and put the hospital gown on with the opening in the rear (where mine is). She was kind enough to let me keep my socks on, although I thought it was a modesty issue. She said to place my clothes in the special bag, and get on the bed and cover with the blanket. It was a warm blanket, and the socks kept my feet from getting cold.
After she returned with the IV stuff and the needle, she proceeded to question me on my prescription medication, making sure that I had stopped the proper medications prior to this procedure. Then she attempted to pressure the vein in my right hand to pop up, and used several karate chop style moves on my defenseless hand. She explained that after the procedure I would feel bloated and puffed up due to the amount of air that would be pumped into my colon to inflate it. She said I would have to pass this gas in order to relieve the pressure. She then succeeded in getting the IV stuff in the vein and told me to wait as someone would be in shortly when the doctor was ready for me. She gave me a cord with a red button to press in case I needed assistance to the bathroom, although I knew it would be fruitless to summon anyone should a reoccurrence of the explosive nature occur.
Then a nurse came in and wheeled me to the procedure room and began explaining what medications would be used, and cautioning me that I would have a temporary memory loss, leaving me with no recollection of the procedure. He would wait do the doctor could talk to me first.
The doctor was nice and began explaining to me about the procedure, how it worked and what the results would show. Afterwards, he would give me a verbal recap and let me know if any abnormality was found. The nurse had me turn over on my left side and pull my knees up to the kneeling position. As he began the medication I attempted to focus on the electrical outlet on the wall, but it was too fast for me.
I opened my eyes and my son-in-law Mike was in the recovery room waiting for me to wake up. A nurse brought me a drink of apple juice. The doctor came in and explained that everything was fine and normal for someone of my age.
I vaguely remember the ride home or getting into bed. About 3 hours later I awoke with the realization that I hadn’t eaten anything for 2 days, and was extremely hungry.
The next morning the nurse called to check on me. He asked if there was anything I wanted to pass on to the doctor, or any way they could improve the quality of service. I told him that everything was fine, but if they wanted to replace the air with laughing gas, it would allow everyone in the room to share this humorous and often embarrassing passing of the gas.
That’s about all I remember of this procedure called a colonoscopy.
On my latest one I asked the doctor for some laughing gas so that everyone could share in the moment with me (he didn’t find that the least bit funny). In the operating room I asked if he wanted me awake for this procedure or not…………….. (I woke up in recovery room).
I do remember advice from a nurse when I picked up the instructions, she said use a straw to use with the drink (mixture), it will make it much easier and faster. (It did) – I am the Real Truckmaster!
Dave Barry’s colonoscopy journal:
I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.
A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis .
Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.
I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, ‘HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!’
I left Andy’s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ‘MoviPrep,’ which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven.
I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America’s enemies.
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.
Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation.
In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.
Then, in the evening , I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here I am being kind – like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ‘a loose, watery bowel movement may result’.
This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic, here, but: have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.
The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, ‘What if I spurt on Andy?’ How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.
At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts; the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.
Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.
At first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.
Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.
There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, ‘Dancing Queen’ had to be the least appropriate.
‘You want me to turn it up?’ said Andy, from somewhere behind me.
‘Ha ha,’ I said. And then it was time; the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.
I have no idea! Really! I slept through it! One moment, ABBA was yelling, ‘Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,’ and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.
Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.
On the subject of Colonoscopies…
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous….. A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:
1. ‘Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before!’
2. ‘Find Amelia Earhart yet?’
3. ‘Can you hear me NOW?’
4. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’
5. ‘You know, in Arkansas, we’re now legally married.’
6. ‘Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?’
7. ‘You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out…’
8. ‘Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!’
9. ‘If your hand doesn’t fit, you must quit!’
10. ‘Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.’
11. ‘You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?’
12. ‘God, now I know why I am not gay.
And the best one of all.
13. ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?’