Monday, April 4, 2016

Bottoms Up and Cheers to the Prep Kit!

In the spirit of Katie Couric, I'd like to say a word about having my first colonoscopy. For the last five years at my annual physical, my doctor would chant his mantra, "And remember, when you turn fifty, you'll be having your first colonoscopy." Obediently, dutifully, I scheduled one, and it is now over.I waited until Spring Break to schedule it so that neither of us would have to miss work. BIG TIP: Schedule it for a Monday morning, so that you only need to miss one day of your work. A colonoscopy takes up two days of your life and one day of your support person's life. You prep the first day and have to be very near a restroom at all times. You are under the influence the following day and will sleep a lot.

TR picked up the prep kit for me. Oh my! We laughed. But not for long. It cost $0.00 at the pharmacy, but they did say my insurance saved us $25.50. This is like a gallon jug! Or four liters. Whichever way you see it, I had to drink a lot of stuff.

I am proud to say that until this "golden" birthday, I have never in my life had to purchase a laxative. I guess I eat enough produce and fiber to have escaped that, but since this medication was required, I compliantly purchased it.

The instructions were specific. I didn't dare deviate. They even said to follow the emailed instructions because they are different than the instructions on the gallon jug. Yes sir.

The lemon packet. Whatever. This is not an easy liquid to drink. I tried the straw trick. I tried drinking it cold. I just wasn't good at it. I started drinking the first two liters at 5 p.m. yesterday, one cup of eight ounces every ten minutes. Yeah, I couldn't keep up. It took me an hour and fifty minutes to finish the two liters. TR cheered me on by saying, "At least you're getting it down, Sweetie. I've stocked both bathrooms with toilet paper. Do you need anything else?" What a doll.

I woke up at 2:30 a.m. this morning to drink the remaining two liters. I could not finish until 5:45 a.m. That is 3 hours and 15 minutes of setting timers and focusing ONLY on drinking this liquid, sometimes while sitting in my "parking spot." I was supposed to be finished by 4:00 a.m. I cried, I prayed asking for strength to get 'er done, I walked around the house while sipping, I tried the straw again...I just couldn't go fast enough. During the third liter I tried going faster and ended up vomiting some of it. I tried going faster again during the fourth liter because I was so worried about the time I was taking, but then I vomited again. Slow and steady was the only way I would win this race. I explained to Heavenly Father that I really needed to finish the prep so that it wouldn't all be for naught and so that the doctor could see what he needed to see. I figured it was better to finish the whole amount late than to stop drinking at 4:00 a.m. so I persevered. I would call these moments my darkest hour of the entire experience.

I kept thinking of Aunt Chris and her absolute misery in the final days of her life which ended because of colon cancer. She couldn't eat anything. I am so sad she suffered as she did, but she was such a trouper through it all. My heart just really went out to her although my experience was nothing like hers and obviously of such a short duration.

All those menacing powders did their trick and I washed my hands so many times (so many visits to the restroom). I showered and got ready to go to the hospital.

Shout out to UVRMC and their entire Endoscopy staff! Great folks! I got into my gown, undressed from the waist down, and they gave me a heated blanket. TR read a magazine while I snoozed and waited. I was tired from my pathetic night of little sleep. They rolled me back and hooked me up to everything. Nurse Kara said, "Okay, I'm going to put the sedative into your IV and it should only take a second." I said, "Okay, thanks." The next thing I remember was being wheeled back into Room #9 where TR was waiting for me. I have a testimony of that magic medicine that makes it so that you are completely unaware and don't remember a thing--greatest stuff ever!

The doctor came in and said, "Everything looks good, no polyps, no biopsies, no problems, come back in ten years!" Nurse Laura gave me my discharge papers complete with two souvenir color photos, one of my colon and one of my rectum (squeaky clean, I might add). I guess they need to prove to the insurance company that they did the procedure and made it all the way to the end.

I kept waiting for the epic farts, but they never happened. I even asked TR if he had heard anything from me and he hadn't. Maybe they all happened back before they woke me up, but TR said I was only back there 20-30 minutes. Everything I read said there WOULD be gas because they pump it into you for better viewing. People have posted online about hearing all the other colonoscopy people nearby letting them rip. One woman called them "Award Winning Farts." It seems I missed out, but perhaps that's for the best. If the reaction TR had to the mules farting on the trail down in the Grand Canyon is any indication, he would not have been able to contain himself if I had produced anything award winning or epic there in the hospital.

Like everyone says, the prep is the worst part of the whole experience. I'm not even talking about the part where you pay homage to the ivory throne. I'm talking about the drinking part of it. Ugh. sister said that all she had to do was mix this clear stuff with a half gallon of Gatorade. She said it wasn't bad at all and the stuff was tasteless, so she only tasted Gatorade! WHAT?!? Only a half gallon of Gatorade? What? During the whole four liters I kept saying, "There's GOT to be a better way!" I'll be asking more about that in ten years!

Like Dave Barry pointed out in his hilarious colonoscopy column back in 2008, either you have colon cancer or you don't. Find out. I learned that by virtue of the fact that you've reached your fiftieth birthday, you are already at moderate risk of having colon cancer. My insurance covers the colonoscopy. Keep your appointments. Get your screenings. And if you're up to it, post it on your blog so that perhaps at least one person might be encouraged to keep their appointment.

My other big makes our spirits happy. It has been a pleasure to eat today. The long nap didn't hurt either. And my husband is the best. Best, Best, BEST!

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