23 July 2009

Colonoscopy, 21 July 2009.

This is my second time at this rodeo. (Previous post here.)
It's a little less stressful the second time around, but drinking the gallon of "GoLytley" was still an anxiety producer.

I got home from flying with a student at 10 P.M. the day before the procedure and started drinking the vile stuff at 11 P.M. figuring I could force it down in a couple hours. I was wrong. I was adding a little lemonade to each 8 ounce glass of GoLytely to make the taste more palatable. That means I had to get slightly more than sixteen 8-ounce glasses of the stuff down before I could go to bed. Writing about it now doesn't make it seem so bad, but lemme tell ya...
You get bloated after the first couple glasses and you simply cannot bang 'em down, one glass after another. Added to the time-consumption factor is that you are, of course, heading to the toilet every few minutes to experience a disgusting explosion, and you have an idea of how time consuming it was to drink this gallon of ugly tasting stuff.
I finished drinking it at 3 A.M., complete with the chills that are a possible side-effect of GoLytely.
Off to bed finally to sleep fitfully, I get up a couple more times for "mini-explosions". I woke at 9 A.M. and showered, then headed to the hospital, bleary-eyed.

All went like clockwork...
Through admitting to register and get my armband...
Walk to surgery and get escorted to my bed. Disrobe and put on the gown. They start an I.V. and ask once again if I'm allergic to anything. I'm wheeled into the O.R. where I meet "Jerry", my anesthetist. Jerry is a big ol' good humored southern boy...
We discuss my employment and talk about flying helicopters in Viet Nam and some of my more interesting EMS flights.

The big difference between this time and my last colonoscopy is that this time they'll be KNOCKING ME OUT COMPLETELY. I ask "What drug will you be using?"
With his southern accent Jerry says, "Diprivan"
I laugh. "Now Michael Jackson and I will have something in common."

I'm also getting an endoscope done this time to check for damage from acid reflux to my esophagus, so they make me bite on and install a device that will give them easy access to my oral cavity.

Jerry says, "This may burn a little bit for a few seconds as I start it", when he starts the Diprivan drip, but it doesn't.
"Can you turn on your left side for me so we'll have access to where we need to go?"
"Let me fluff your pillow and make you more comfortable."
...And the next thing I remember is having my head elevated in the recovery room and the nurse announcing "You're done."

Sara Jean now at my side, I drink a glass of grape juice to prove I won't vomit.
"Get dressed and we'll wheel you outta here."
And they do.
After the last procedure I walked the mile home rather than trouble anyone to come get me. There'll be none of that this time...
My gait is unsteady due to whatever it was they pumped into me. Sara Jean chauffers me home, where I sleep for four hours.

So now it's the day after, and other than a slightly irritated larynx and a mysterious minor pain on my left jaw, which they probably manhandled trying to insert the 'scope, I feel fine. I even have an appetite.

They found two polyps and removed them. The Doc says, "I'm 99% sure they're benign, but we'll check and let ya know." And this is the big reason for getting this procedure done, folks...
Removing these things early prevents them from becoming life-threatening later.
I now have a prescription for Prilosec because my esophagus was slightly inflamed and we want to get the acid reflux under control, lest I get CA there.

So there you have it...
One day of slight discomfort and I'm now confident that I won't be having problems with one of the major diseases killing folks today. That's a trade... that assurance, that I'll make again and again in the future.

If you're over 50, you should too.
Get it done so you have one less thing to worry about.

Humorist Dave Barry's column on his colonoscopy experience is here, and is a much funnier version of my account.


jinksto said...

Thanks for sharing... I think. :)

Great post, great message.

Steve Skinner said...

I agree with you on the GoLytle, they should call it GoLeadBomb!

cj said...

You nag in the kindest way...


Cissy Apple said...

Not a fun process. After my old doctor telling me "no" to a colonoscopy when I turned 50, I finally "noticed" blood and had almost constant pain. Well, I really did have the pain. I was half knocked out for the procedure, but the occasional pain as the doc was "turning a corner" or something would rouse me and make me moan--and not in a fun way.

When the doc finished, I can barely remember him saying "You have diverticulitis--eat more fiber". It was never mentioned again--not even in the next couple of appointments. That's why I switched doctors.

...and I got rid of the pain that I'd been having for several years. How? By drinking DanActive for one week. I actually drank it for another reason, but found it also cured my diverticulitis.

cary said...

Great - another milestone on the "As We Mature" highway.

I am soooo looking forward to my first scoping...

Glad to hear you will be around for a while longer.

Flightfire said...


Current Family Practice recommendations state that you only have to have a colonoscopy every ten years if everything is normal. You can also do a flex sig every 5 years or Fecal Occult Blood testing every year. They all have similar effectiveness.

So congrats, you're good for another decade.