I’m of a certain age, and my mother died from colon cancer, so it was time to get the old colon looked at.
I figured since it is such a routine thing, it wouldn’t be hard to schedule a procedure, and I was right. I just had to wait eight months. Which makes sense, given lots of people need to get them!
As my scheduled date approached, I did the things they tell you to: stop eating nuts, seeds, and high-fiber things. Then I tested positive for COVID the Friday behind the Monday I was to be colon checked.
I rescheduled, even though it turns out it was a COVID false positive, and today was the new day!
I did do some googling about the experience, and I have to admit there isn’t too much out there that answers the actual questions I had:
- How much pooping are we talking about?
- Can I use public transportation to get to my appointment without causing an incident?
Most of the colonoscopy content on the net seems to focus on how gross the prep liquid is. I gotta tell ya, I didn’t think it was terrible at all. I wouldn’t drink it for fun, but it wasn’t difficult to drink 64 ounces. They had me mix an entire bottle of Miralax into some lemon/lime Gatorade. I drank it down without a fuss.
In fact, after drinking the first half, I thought to myself, “Is this stuff even working?” After about an hour… heck yeah, it was working.
About the pooping
You’re going to poop a lot, but it won’t be uncontrollable, and you’ll be able to leave the bathroom. I envisioned spending hours in the bathroom to shield my family from a fecal hurricane.
As I told a nurse at the hospital (I had my colonoscopy at a big hospital), the pooping was frequent and urgent but not uncontrollable.
Oh, and they have the timing down, so you’re able to make it for a while without pooping a bit before your procedure. Which means you can actually make it to the hospital without making a mess (at least I was able to!).
That’s about all I really wanted to know when trying to research a colonoscopy. You’ll poop a lot, but not all over the place.
I have no memory of what happened
Other than that, the actual procedure was pretty straightforward. I had to put a hospital gown on, get naked (under the gown), and tell about four thousand people my name and date of birth. I also had to assure numerous people that while I’ve been prescribed blood thinners (for an upcoming procedure), I am not actually taking said blood thinners.
They popped an IV into my hand and wheeled me into the procedure room. The nurses had some trouble getting stickers to contact my skin (I’m exceptionally hairy), but they figured it out without having to shave my chest (hurrah!).
Then the anesthesia started flowing, and I woke up in the recovery room. It was one of the most unsettling experiences of my life (I’ve never been under before!).
About 5 minutes later, I got a report with pictures of my “normal” colon and a clean bill of health (they didn’t even find any polyps).
If you’ve been avoiding getting yourself a colonoscopy because you’re afraid of the prep or don’t want someone shoving a camera up your butt… get over it. Dying from colon cancer is far worse. Plus, they give you graham crackers afterward.
If you crave more colonoscopy content check out this episode of my pals John and Merlin. I will say I had to sign all my legal docs before the procedure.