Conquering the Colonoscopy

I’m pulling this one directly out of the T.M.I. (Too Much Information) file and I’m writing it for those who, like me, may have some anxiety and apprehension about having a Colonoscopy.

I had my first Colonoscopy last week, and as much as I was dreading it, I survived. I hate the idea of a Colonoscopy for all the normal reasons that most guys probably hate it; the thought of having anything stuck into any opening in the body is never a good one. And then there’s the prep, and for me, the fear of being put under anesthesia…and the bigger fear that they might find something wrong with me.

So I’m here to tell you, all in all, it isn’t that bad, here’s my story.

The prep is brutal. I’m to have nothing to eat the day before and the day of (leading up to) the procedure. By noon I feel like I haven’t eaten in a week, it’s killing me. At 3pm, when I feel like I just can’t go on, I get to take two laxative tablets right before I mix an entire 238mg bottle of Miralax (a laxative) into 64 ounces of Gatorade. I drink the first 32 ounces of the adulterated sports beverage at 5pm, then the remaining 32 ounces at 3am, the morning of the procedure. Now, that may not sound so bad, but to put it into perspective, the full bottle of Miralax equates to 14 doses, or two weeks worth, that I drank within a 12 hour period. Maybe it’s just me, but that dosage seems like enough to clear out an African Elephant…maybe two. Thankfully, the frequency of restroom trips wasn’t so bad after about the first 17 or 18 times. Needless to say, by late evening I’m so exhausted that sleep takes over the need for food.

The morning of the procedure I’m tired and hungry, and just want to get it over with so I can go get a pizza, my coveted reward for this painstaking ordeal. My beautiful wife is my driver, and she seems to be enjoying the entire experience, as she laughs at just about everything I do or say. Once we arrive at the facility, I check in with the nurse (who recognizes my home address and tells me she lives right around the corner from me, so much for anonymity), slip into my sexy open back hospital gown, lay down on the bed, and get comfortable.

When I see the doctor right before being put under, his first words to me are ‘are you all cleaned out?” He says it with such candor and excitement, even raising his vocal pitch for the word ‘out’ as if saying it to a child. Seems like he enjoys his job, is that even possible? Right then I get the random thought that maybe it would have been funny if I would have written a few comic one-liners on my backside with a Sharpie. I just as quickly realize how ridiculous the thought is, there’s no way I’m flexible enough to be able to contort myself to write legibly.

Then comes the part I’m dreading, the anesthesia. Believe it or not, this is the first time in my 52 years that I’ve been put under. I’m uncomfortable with the thought of it. It’s weird to think I’m just going to suddenly go to sleep. Turns out this is the easiest part of the procedure. One minute they ask me to roll over onto my left side…and the next minute the nurse is calling my name to wake me up. That quickly it’s over.

After the procedure I’m still feeling a bit groggy when the Doc comes in to deliver the news; everything looks normal and I don’t have to come back for ten years. Whew, what a relief. Not only do I feel better with the Doctor’s report, I feel better in general because the whole thing is over and it really wasn’t that bad (and I get to eat).

OK, I get it, nobody really wants to know the details of a story like this, but for the sake of your health, when it’s your turn, please get this done. It’s easier than you think, and if by chance you do have a problem that needs to be addressed, better to catch it sooner than later, right? The last place any of us wants to be is in the position of regretting that we didn’t get this routine procedure done sooner. I was able to do it, so can you.

Take care of your health, as much of a hassle as it can be sometimes, you won’t regret it.

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