I finally did it. I went down kicking and screaming, but I did it and have now joined the ranks of those who have had.
“Colonoscopy,” my doctor said when she walked into the examining room. We were having my yearly “thing.”
I tried what worked last year when she brought the subject up. I put my fingers in my ears and started singing.
She wasn’t having it. So I said “No. No. No!”
“The only choice you have is what hospital,” she said.
Let the glaredown begin!
“I don’t understand why you do so much to be and stay healthy, but you won’t do this, probably the most important thing to do,” she said.
I hate when doctors make sense at my expense. My mom had colon cancer, so it is a big concern for me. I kept putting it off because I know I’ll die of embarrassment. Imagining somebody putting piping up my hooha while others watch was more than I could deal with. How will I be able to look them in the eye afterward?
Even more scary is they give you something to knock you out. So many people say they remember going into the procedure room and that’s all they remember.
How does that happen? Will I know it’s happening when it’s happening, but then how do I forget it? While I’m under, will I reveal family secrets? Worse yet, will I snore?
It had me worked up.
The doctor’s office scheduled the procedure and within a couple days I had my orders, the instructions and a prescription for the colonoscopy preparation kit. I hoped the kit would be small enough for me to hide among the rest of my purchases so nobody would know.
Unfortunately the girl came at me with a jug so big it could hold enough gas to power my lawn mower for a summer. No subtlety there.
The prep day came. A friend of mine told me when she had her first colonoscopy she decided to make it as pleasant an experience as she could. She put books and magazines and lit candles in the bathroom. Her sister advised her to not choose a flavor she liked because she’ll never be able to drink that again.
I picked lemon-lime for the turbo laxative and fretted about drinking more liquid in one hour than I drink in a week. I’ll not go into detail about the rest of that day of holding court in the throne room other than to say, I read four magazines, did two crossword puzzles, wrote a letter and started reading a new book.
My sister checked on me at one point. For the five minutes all day that I wasn’t in the bathroom, she chanced using it.
“I don’t care what Bonnie says,” she said. “Flowers in the bathroom don’t help when you’re doing the prep!”
That night I had to take three “overnight laxatives.” I guess that’s to make sure everything from your toenails to your hair follicles, extra ear wax and all that you will eat in the next week, will be turbo cleaned out by morning.
Procedure day came. I got all the instructions, was wheeled into the room and turned onto my left side. I chatted nervously with the nurses and tried to keep from thinking too much.
Out of thin air a nurse appeared in front of my face. He smiled at me, said that I was in recovery and had me sit up so he could disengage me from the medical equipment. He went to get me ice water to drink. I turned to ask the nurse who had been behind me what was up and saw she was gone. The doorway through which I came into the procedure room was now a supply closet.
Confused, I turned to the other nurse I had been talking to, but she was now a curtain. Somebody on the other side of the curtain was also getting a drink.
“Recovery,” I realized. “He said recovery. That means it’s over? Holy cow it’s over! How did that happen?”
He held my hospital gown shut while I scampered across the room to the bathroom to change into my clothes. They called my sister to come hear the discharge instructions with me. I was glad because I wasn’t listening. I still wasn’t convinced.
“Did I die of embarrassment? Is this heaven?” I thought looking around the room. Somehow I thought heaven wouldn’t look like a colonoscopy preparation/recovery room.
Then the doctor came in with the good news and bad news. The good news was my colon is clean as a whistle, ha ha. There is no cancer or abnormalities. The bad news, because of my family history, I have to have it done again in five years instead of 10.
And nobody said if I snored.
(Madolin Edwards is the Home and Family editor and can be reached at email@example.com.)