11 February 2006

Up Yours!

Now, that's not nice, is it?

Yeah, if you are close to my age, it may be.

Have you had your colonoscopy yet?
Dying from colon cancer is an ugly, painful way to die..... and stupid too, because it's controllable these days.

I had my colonoscopy a little over two years ago. I'll tell ya about my experience, and what I'm hearing about how the procedure has changed since.

They gave me a gallon of a clear fluid called "Golightly".
(Sure, it made me think of Audrey Hepburn, but believe me, my body's reaction to it sure as heck wasn't the same!) Golightly flushes your intestines and makes them squeaky clean. You drink this gallon of clear, slightly salty tasting liquid in ONE hour, 8 ounces at a time.

After drinking the first glass, you have a mild case of diarrhea.....a little uncomfortable.
Second glass down........WoW!, can I get to the bathroom quickly enough?
Third glass.........just bring the container here to the bathroom, 'cause I'm stayin'! Honey, could you bring me a magazine?
Fourth glass.......surely there can't be anything more in there, right? But there's still a half-gallon or so of this nasty stuff left to drink!

By the time you finish the gallon, there is nothing but clear fluid coming out, and that's the idea: It gives the Doc a clear view of the walls of your intestinal tract. You can't eat or drink anything until the procedure is over.

Next morning I report to the Doc's office. They start an IV line on me to administer fluids, and give me Demerol and Versed.
Demerol is a pain killer.
Versed makes you drowsy, and helps you to forget that someone is about to feed 30-or-so feet of hose into your behind.

You're laying on your side as the Doc starts the flexible hose on it's journey. It literally is a hollow tube, and he can slide different instruments within this tube, like a camera or cutting devices, or both.

The drugs he gives ya should keep you comfortable during this process. I had a little discomfort when he was forcing the hose the last few feet to it's goal, and after the procedure my Doc was upset that he hadn't given me enough "juice".
(I'll make sure to remind these folks next time!)

On his "Journey Through The Center of Greybeard", he found one polyp that he thought might be a future troublemaker and "nipped it, in the bud!"

The recommended routine now is to get your first one done at about age 50, then another at age 60, and then every 5 years after that, unless they see trouble brewing. So, if you are over 50, get yourself scheduled. Most insurance companies cover it.

It's true when I say that the worst part of the whole procedure for me was drinking the gallon of that foul "Golightly".
Apparently, others thought the same thing.
I'm told that now you drink an 8 ounce glass of an orange flavored potion, and it does what the full gallon of nasty stuff used to do.
That makes it easier to think about going back in a year for a re-check.

The feeling of well-being, knowing that "Mr. C" isn't prowling around in there with nasty plans for my future is well worth the minor discomfort.

Get-R-Done, pilgrim!


John said...

A difficult subject, but you handled it with just the right mix of humor and medical details. My first colonoscopy is still a few years off, but your post has helped me prepare for the pooparazzi.


Anonymous said...

Now that does sound painful....but necessary. Glad everything came out...I mean turned out ok. ;)