In the past, I have written about what it’s like to experience some glamorous events: the opening of a major feature film, sitting in the Green Room while your husband is on national TV, being in the audience while your husband is one of the guests during the filming of a TV pilot and what it’s like to be in a porn film without taking off your clothes. Now I’m going to write about something decidedly less glamorous: what it’s like to have a colonoscopy.
The preparation is the most onerous part. The day before, we ate nothing but clear broth and tea (we were allowed nothing red, probably because it could be mistaken for blood). We weren’t even allowed to drink water after midnight.
I wasn’t worried about this, because I long ago learned the secret of the gurus: when you fast, you’re not hungry (it’s when you eat LESS than usual that your stomach protests).
We took pills at noon, then started drinking an icky liquid concoction, at the rate of one 8 oz. glass every 10 minutes, at 6 p.m. We couldn’t figure out if the "action" would start after we took the pills (we KNEW we couldn’t leave home after we started drinking the liquid), so we cancelled a meeting we had scheduled for that day. I’m glad we did because I would have had to conduct my part of it by shouting through the door of their bathroom.
Trying to watch TV that evening was a funny situation, with one or the other of us jumping up and running into the bathroom at regular intervals. We never did get to finish watching "Boston Legal," which is one of my favorite shows.
The colonoscopies were done the next morning in an attractive outpatient place, where everyone was very friendly. When I’m in a hospital setting, I am always supposed to tell everyone about my shunt, since I cannot risk being near an MRI machine, which could reset it. This brought up the topic of my aneurysm. I found out that the nurse taking care of me had had a boyfriend who had died from that condition, which made me feel very lucky all over again.
Since I was asleep the whole time, so I don’t remember the actual procedure. Other people have told me that "the drugs are the best part," but since I’m fairly impervious to drugs, I didn’t notice this. (In fact, you go to sleep so suddenly and so completely, Whitley said it was the next thing to missing time!)
Since they inflate your colon with air in order to see what’s in there, I found myself "pooting" quite a bit after I arrived home, so I was glad I hadn’t scheduled any social events for that evening.
We came away with full color photos of the inside of our colons, which showed the polyps that the doctors removed. I wanted to put them in my scrapbook, along with all the other photos that are piling up on my desk, but Whitley dutifully filed them away in our medical file.
What was the outcome? Well, in time Whitley’s polyp could have become a tumor. So, he’s traded a serious illness for a little discomfort. If you’re over 50, you should think about that…
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