Bend over and take it like a (wo)man
Think you’re too young to need a colonoscopy? Think again. I debated over whether I should I should blog about this, but the debate didn’t last long. What I went through today needs a face… but not your parents face.
Today I had a colonoscopy.
I’m 26 yeas old (as of Thursday) and today I went through something that you may not think you’ll have to deal with for a long time. Your parents may go through it, and you may think it’s not anything you have to worry about or deal with until you’re, like, old (no offense old people). But I guess I think that the stigma stops. Yeah, it sucked, but not as much as it could suck if they found something wrong. For serious.
You all have been with me through my awful illness and know more about my tummy than I’m sure you want to know. So in the interest of bringing you full circle and performing my blogging mitzvah for the year, I want to tell you about my experience and let you know it’s nothing to fear.
WARNING: This blog ain’t pretty. Mildly graphic. But not too bad.
The whole process starts two days before your procedure with the ever popular “no seeds” restriction. No seeds? Sounds easy, right? Yeah. Not so much. Before my birthday fiesta I was invited out to eat and had a darn tootin’ hard time figuring out what the hell I could have without seeds. Ruled out? Nuts, peas, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, berries, sesame seeds, etc. Yeah, you find something that doesn’t have that in it. Ain’t easy. With that out of the way, I went onto my liquid diet.
Two days of liquids… clear liquids at that. From morning til night, and again until 4 hours before procedure, I could have the following: broth, tea, black coffee, lemon italian ice, lemon jello, soda, apple juice. Of that, my favorite was the italian ice which still tasted like NOT SOLID FOOD which by the time my procedure ended was all I wanted.
This is the part I screwed up. At 4pm I had to start my “prep” as they call it. I took the pills and was told that once I started, my best bet was to sit at home, close the facilities, and just wait…
So I did. 4:00- 4 pills. 4:15- 4 pills. 4:30- 4 pills. 4:45- 4 pills. And then I waited.
My tummy gurgled. I was totally uncomfortable. But nothing happened. So I waited. And waited. I asked around, was this normal? “Sometimes it takes a while.” So I waited. Finally, I went to sleep. No movement. Something was wrong.
I woke up this morning and still had nothing goin. I read the paperwork one last time and nearly kicked myself. I missed a fucking dose of those horse pills. I was supposed to take 5 doses and had only taken 4. I was screwed. I waited so long to get the test and then I botched it. So I called the doc, and called again. He told me to go buy a bottle of magnesium citrate. Drink that then do the last 3 doses of the osmoprep.
Holy. God. This is where it gets graphic, although to be honest, I doubt you need much description. Literally, every 5 minutes I was up and down. Draining. Everything. My God. I worked from home but told my coworker to come over for a meeting. Poor thing had a lot of waiting to do while I, um, took care of business. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, but it makes you realize what you’ve got going on in your inner bits. And how they look when forced out the hard way. Or soft way. Or liquid way as the case may be. I should tell you, it isn’t painful. It’s just kinda icky. And time consuming. Look, I told you I was going to be honest about all this. I’m not one to pull punches.
So after I cleaned myself out, it was time for the procedure. You go in, they hook you up to all your machines and have you sit bare-assed on the hospital bed. Everyone comes and talks to you. My favorite was the adorable little nurse assigned to me who explained the procedure.
“Now, the Dr. is going to need to blow some air up into you to get a better look, so afterward you’re going to have the need to pass gas. You need to do this. It is socially acceptable and desirable to do so. We’ll remind you a few times to pass that gas. It won’t smell at all because he pumps room air in. You’re going to feel like when you pass the gas you’ll have a BM, but don’t worry. Nothing will come out. Mmkay?” Mmkay. Farting encouraged. No pooping. Rockstar!
So they wheel you in, roll you on your side, start pumping the drugs, and send you off to the best 20 minutes of sleep you’ll ever get. Mmmmm drugs.
When you wake up it’s all done and you feel a little bloated. At least I did. I passed my gas like a good girl and they gave me ginger ale as a prize (or so I like to think). A little while later they sent me home by way of my coworker TZ. No driving. “It’s like we’ve given you alcohol, so no driving ’til tomorrow, mmkay?” Mmkay.
First thing I did when i got home was whip up a bowl of heart oatmeal. BAD MOVE! Not recommended. My tummy had CLEARLY not recouped enough to handle “hearty oats” and i proceeded to be very sick for about an hour. Crampy. Icky. Blah. But then my dearest darling Big Spoon came over with Chinese food and rice and soup and I ate LOTS because mama was hungry. Then, because I was stir-ass-crazy, I went to Safeway to get TZ a thank-you gift, and procure rations for the week. I also bought whip cream for dessert because I deserved it.
I feel way better now, about 6 hours post procedure. I really wrote this blog post not to freak anyone out or gross anyone out but to let people know that if you gotta get it done, get it done. Turns out I’m ok. Nothing abnormal at all structurally. I might just be in a bad cycle of digestion right now. Or something. Rx? Well, nothing less than what a 75 year old woman could ask for: Milk of Magnesia, Miralax, fiber.
The point is, I needed to know. And now I do.