TMI – Colonoscopy**

**You were warned!


At least 20 years ago, my oldest son had an emergency appendectomy.  They used the latest technology which allowed them to hand me a video of the whole procedure, as they wheeled my poor baby into recovery.  It showed the entire 15 minute laproscopic surgery, which included a highly dramatic appendix explosion just seconds after it was contained in the bag attached to one of the camera’s appendages.  I was strangely fascinated with watching my young son’s innards swim past the lens.  That’s just not something you see every day!  So when it came time for me to schedule my dreaded colonoscopy, I actually found myself hoping that there would be an opportunity to get a video of my innards too – how fun would that be?  The prep, however, took a lot of the fun out of the situation.


My instructions were clear, if not a little unnerving – “Two days before your colonoscopy, you must start on the prep regimen, and follow a low fiber diet. One day before, a no fiber/clear liquid diet…” 


Wait just a doggone minute!  I’ve always been under the impression that if you want to “clean yourself out” you need to eat things that are high in fiber.  


Well, that’s true if you’re trying to maintain an equilibrium in your colon.  To achieve the total clean out in the shortest amount of time, what they actually mean by low fiber is what leaves the least residue.  After having gone through this clean out, I’m sorry to tell you that high fiber foods lead to what I can only call sediment, what flushes out last, in the wake of the prescription drink that empties you prior to the procedure.  What you’re aiming for is ease of, and lowest acidic content, for the evacuation.


**Seriously, I warned you. 

This prescription drink I speak of is ironically named Golytely.  When I first looked at the label I would have thought it was pronounced Go-lee-tell-ee.  I would have been wrong.  When the Endoscopy nurse called me to go over the instructions, she pronounced it Go-lightly. Which is perhaps the most misleading name ever.  The Go part is accurate, the lightly part?  Not so much.   


The instructions are really specific about the timing of the prep phase, based on the time of your scheduled procedure.  Mine was at 8am the next morning, so I was supposed to start drinking one half gallon of the Golytely at a rate of 8 oz every ten minutes, at 4pm, then the second half gallon at 2am.


I poured the whole manila envelope full of powder into an empty gallon jug, filled the jug with water, then proceeded to drink half of it, 8 ounces at a time.  I was almost pleasantly surprised at the taste which, initially, was similar to a combination of Gatorade and a very dirty martini.  About a quarter of the way through the drinking process I was able to imagine I was chugging three martinis.  However, very soon into the next 8 ounces, the glitter had started to rub off of that fantasy.  

The instructions were clear, you must drink the prescribed amount at the prescribed rate.  Why?  Because, as they ominously forewarned, after drinking the solution, a loose watery bowel movement should result in approximately one hour.  They are not kidding.  I won’t go into great detail, since Dave Barry has already done so, much more hilariously than I ever could in his own colonoscopy story.

Suffice it to say that I got through the first half gallon, and it had the anticipated outcome.  Pun intended. I was supposed to drink the other half gallon of Golytely at 1am, so I set my alarm.  Turns out there was no need for an additional alarm, the urgent need to run to the bathroom every 5 minutes kept me from sleeping at all.  I seriously wondered what was left to evacuate once I finished my second round of guzzling dirty martinis.  Turns out there wasn’t much, except the aforementioned sediment, 
and a few fingernails, oh and the bubble gum I swallowed in 7th grade.


8am arrived pretty quickly after that.  I still hadn’t slept much, so I looked forward, perhaps a little too eagerly to the sedation drugs.  It wasn’t that I was worried so much about any pain, it was the paralyzing fear of being well, you know, …invaded!  I know I must have asked way too many times to make sure they got enough drugs in me.  Even more so when they flipped on the viewer, and I got a lovely close up view of the doctor’s smock pocket, which then reminded me that I needed to ask for a copy of the video.  


This is where the sedation drugs took hold.  The next thing I remember was waking up, not feeling violated, and actually feeling pretty high, in a good way.  I don’t recall actually getting dressed, but amazingly, the next thing I clearly remember is wearing my regular clothes, sitting in a room with Downtown Dad and someone who was telling me that they had found and removed one polyp, and that I would have some gas, but to be sure to fart.  I wanted to laugh at the word polyp and the fact that he said fart, and I wanted to remember to ask for the video.  I apparently did none of the above.  


I drifted in and out of the rest of that day, and I seriously have to agree with everyone who’d had one before, and told me it was a “piece of cake.”  It was literally painless, with the added benefit of a rapid cleanse, and a whole day of relaxation. Some people pay good money at a spa for the same thing, and it’s not covered by insurance.  Nor, do I expect that there would be any polyp removals at a spa.  I couldn’t help wishing though, that I’d actually asked for a video.


A few days later, a 5 page report came in the mail from the Endoscopy department.  They’d received the pathology back on the removed polyp, and they were glad to inform me it was benign.  Whew.  I flipped the page over and there was the procedure report… complete with pictures of my colon! Everything was pink and shiny, and healthy looking, even that dern little polyp. Now that’s something you don’t see every day!


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