I feel the need

I feel the need

Friday, April 7, 2017

Five for Friday: How NOT to injure yourself and insult others while prepping for a colonoscopy.

Good afternoon all!

So my doctor decided recently that since I'm anemic, the issue of low blood iron clearly lies somewhere deep inside...either my colon or my small intestine.  

To that end, he scheduled a colonoscopy and an endoscopy for me.

I will be looking for a new doctor.  LOL

The blessed event happened yesterday, but as some of you may know, there is a prep period for both procedures.  The prep for an endoscopy:  Fast starting at midnight before your scope.  Show up on time. Bring ID.

The prep for a colonoscopy is a little more detailed, and thusly I bring you today's five for Friday!

5)  Fasting.

Okay, this is arguably the worst part of the prep.  It was for me.  Basically, you can't eat solid food, or anything that's not clear, for 36 hours before your test.  But it's worse than that.  You have to cut out nuts, popcorn, veggies, fruits, fiber, and pretty much anything with flavor 24 hours before T

HAT.  So you're on a tasteless, fiberless diet for 24 h ours, and then clear liquids after that.  (And that last 36 hours makes you dream of the previous 24.)

Now I'm a fluffy girl.  I don't fast.  I barely diet.  At first the clear liquid diet is funny:  You know, broth, jello that's not red, blue, or purple, tea, coffee (without any creamer) and...that's pretty much it.

When talking to the nurse about my prep. I suggested that vodka was a clear liquid. She agreed, but responded that I should be moderate in my vodka consumption. The packet I was given  (more on that later) suggested I NOT partake of any alcohol.  

Four hours before your procedure you're not supposed to take ANYTHING by mouth.  Now, most people aren't bothered by this because they are able to schedule their scope for early in the morning and they get a good night's sleep and are therefore blissfully unconscious for the worst of the hunger.  

Not me.  I did not sleep at all the night prior to my scope.  Around 1 AM my children made  a frozen pizza and I begged them if I could just lick it.  (The grease on the top of the pizza looked clear enough.)  They laughed at me.  I'm going to put ex-lax in their Easter baskets.

The thing is, I couldn't sleep because the prep med schedule is so...weird.  I was worried I'd forget a step and not get cleaned out enough to get the scope done and then I'd have to do it all over again.  (Which is also the argument hubby made with I asked if I could just eat a little of the pot roast I'd made for dinner.  It should be noted, he was eating a full bowl of pot roast and enjoying it.  I may put ground up ex lax in his coffee this weekend and call it a "mocha")

There are pills you have to take and then there's the liquid prep. They tell you to drink fluids all day long.  8 ounces of fluids every hour. And then...the prepping hour, the stuff I called "the goo."  It's not actually goo.  It's Gatorade mixed with Miralax.  A LOT OF Miralax.  I drank 14 daily servings of miralax in TWO SITTINGS.  

Here's how this works. Two days before your test you take a pill laxative. They don't tell you this will pretty much blow out any back up you have in your system or that an innocent sneeze might turn into a laundry nightmare.  They won't tell you that.  But I will.  The next day you take another pill. This time anything left in your body that hasn't turned to liquid fires out.  One hour after that you drink the first of the goo. 32 ounces downed in an hour.  (It tastes like someone added blades of grass to yellow Gatorade.)  45 seconds after that, your body begins producing what I consider to be the early stages of Soylent Green.  (It's PEOPLE!).  All this while only being able to eat chicken broth and green or yellow jello.  (I don't like either color.)

A couple years ago my friend Marie went through a colonoscopy and she said, "Now I know why those people on Survivor seem so stupid.  Going without food affects your ability to make decisions."

I could not agree with her more.  I mean, I was in a comfortable house, I had indoor plumbing and comforting bum wipes readily available.  And no one was asking me to drag a bag through a maze, swim 200 yards, and do a puzzle.  After going through all of this, I have a new appreciation for just how evil Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst are.

You spend hours thinking about what you're going to eat when you are finally done fasting.  My first meal with an Einstein Brothers toasted Asiago cheese bagel with Veggie shmear and a coffee followed up with two pieces of extra crispy KFC.  Best food ever.

4)  Post goo prep time is alone time.

Once you've started consuming the liquid death, plan to spend time alone.  If you have an en suite bathroom, that's the best.  I lit candles, loaded the bathroom with plenty of reading material, picked out movies I knew very well so that I didn't get too wrapped up in the plot to not go when I had to go.  (I also picked Civil War flicks...lots of noise. Drowned out the bathroom noises.)

Everything that comes out of you...and it's a lot...will be liquid.  Not loose stools.  Nope. Liquid.  And there's no warning fart or anything to let you know it's time to go. Now, some people just sit on the toilet for the duration, but that becomes uncomfortable and your feet go numb. So, if your bed is close to your commode, just be ready to unload at any slightest twinge of your lower body. 

Oh and fun fact...when you're prepping, really, no one wants to talk to you.  Not at all.  hubby celebrated that he got the TV with the cable all to himself and when I came out, he looked a little...insulted.  But at least he talked to me.  The kids spent some time avoiding me.  Granted, all I wanted to talk about was how hungry I was and how my bowels were now expelling something that looked a lot like Gatorade.  Still, they could have been more sympathetic.  Hubby suggested he sleep on the couch. I said, "I'm not sick...I'm prepping."  So he slept in the bed.  I spent the night dozing on the couch and wandering around in a haze of hunger and dehydration.

The packet  (more on that later) instructs you to drink half the goo at 5 Pm before your scope and the other half 6 hours before your scope. In my case, this was 4 AM.  So...I was so worried I'd miss this time (or I'd miss the tiny twinge while sleeping) that I didn't sleep at all the night before.  That's right...I was up from 6 AM Wednesday morning until 2 Pm after my scope.  I'm too old for that.

It's a long, lonely night when you're wandering around, drinking tea and eating green jello and looking at stuff in the fridge wondering if you could pulverize it into a clear liquid.

3) The Packet

Once you've scheduled your colonoscopy, you get a raft of emails and texts regarding the test.  I scheduled that thing two months ago.  The day after I scheduled it  I got an email telling me to purchase my prep packet.  


I'm an idiot, so rather than finding out what was in the packet and saving myself almost $20, I instead bought the packet which was sent to me with detailed instructions.

In the package were the following:  10 pages of directions.  5 laxative pills.  1 bottle of miralax.  2 packets of powdered Gatorade.  three packets of powered soup mix.  A box of lemon jello powder.  five little packets of wipes that look like, but are NOT, fruit snack strips.  (In the throes of my hunger I nearly tore one open and ate it.)




I ignored the prep packet until it was almost too late.  I opened it on Monday and realized I was already not adhering to the tasteless diet.

I read and reread the instructions.  I cancelled a dentist appointment (the one to fix the tooth that fell out during my trip to Door County.) because after taking the first laxative I realized there was no way I was leaving the house.

I made the soup mix.  I didn't make the jello. I made my own green jello.  And now I'll never eat chicken broth or green jello ever again.  At least, not for the next ten years.

2) Blame it on the lack of food if you somehow imply the nurses are sexy.

I checked with Peaches on this one, and she says I'm okay, but I still feel like I had an uncomfortable moment with at least two of the dozen nurses I came in contact with the day of the procedure.  

First of all there's a team of nurses who all have one duty and they tell you their name, do the duty and you never see them again.  There was the nurse who weighed me and then told me to take all my clothes off except my socks and my bra.  Very sexy look.  Then there was the woman who was supposed to get my IV started.  She stuck me in at least three places  (And all of them hurt) before she settled on the vein on the top of my right hand. 

Then there was Karen, the nurse who fixed my IV because it was leaking all over my hand.  Again, that hurt...a lot.

After that, I think there was a Bonnie, maybe a Kathy, I'm not sure just how many other nurses got all in my face, (At this point I had no glasses, having signed the paper that swore I WAS NOT PREGNANT, I no longer hand any need to read.  So why did they bother wearing name tags?)  and chirped their name while performing one task.

I think it was Karen who rolled me down the hall in what I thought was the worst parade ever.  (This was before they gave me any kind of sedation.)  I felt I should wave, but I had way too many cords and tubes and whatnot attached to both my arms.  

I was parked in an operating room where two new nurses started pushing me into position and putting more stuff on me.  We chatted about children and jobs and plans for lunch and all of that.  Which is when I burst out with this:

"This has got to be the sexist branch of medicine ever."

Again this was BEFORE I got any sedation meds.

Nose Cannula nurse stared at me as if I'd suddenly grown two heads.  That's when I realized I'd probably just implied that I found the nurses sexy.  Now, they were very nice ladies, and they were tidy and clean and all that, but um....that wasn't my point.

I explained.  "I mean, you're sticking scopes down throats and up fannies all day."

Nose cannula nurse relaxed a little and laughed.  "I suppose."

Then I quoted my mother..."Mom always says, 'it's a good thing someone wants to do this.' "

That is literally the last thing I remember.  I'm pretty sure Nose Cannula nurse told the other nurse to plug me full of meds to shut me up.

1)  Some people are fun when they wake up. Apparently I'm annoying and not at all interesting.

Skippy had an endoscopy on Monday and when he came out of his anesthesia everyone loved him. He giggled, he offered discounted pizza to everyone, he was the life of the party.

Apparently, the only thing anyone can say about me is that I repeated myself several times and kept asking what time it was...to the point that Peaches, who I didn't even SEE until 12 hours after my procedure, scolded me for telling her something that Hubby said I'd talked about several times with him.  WELL!

Oh, and seriously, while everyone looked at Skippy's pictures of his clean esophagus and small intestine, no one wanted to look at my pictures.  And my colon is CLEAN!  (They found ulcers in my esophagus.  Nothing to worry about, they tell me.)

You know what, my next step in tracking down why I'm anemic is to go to a GYN specialist. Just for that, I'm not sharing anything with any of the people I live with. HA! That will teach them, because I
just BET that's going to be a SUPER interesting appointment.

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