Molly Shea is not a doctor, but she has endured the dreaded colonoscopy procedure a number of times. It is never a pleasant adventure, but it is essential to undergo for your health.
The Dreaded Colonoscopy
Getting old is not for wimps. Your body starts to fall apart, and there are unfamiliar cakes and pains you have to deal with. Aging may not be a pleasant experience, but it is a privilege not everyone has the pleasure to experience. Thus, you will soon realize the best way to deal with these new health issues is with a grain of humor.
The health care industry has dreamed up all sorts of humiliating ways to ensure cancer cells aren’t lurking somewhere in your body. A yearly mammogram is recommended to detect breast cancer. Boobs squashing is at the top of the list of essential procedures
There are the MRI and CAT scan machines, which make you feel like you’ve been shoved inside a noisy metal coffin. A sort of preview of coming attractions. Then there are the countless blood draws to check your A1C, which makes you feel like you’re a regular blood downer for hungry vampires. All these tests are designed to keep you healthy, therefore, you might as do them. Right!
Scheduling the Procedure
During my yearly physical, my doctor noticed it was six years since my last colonoscopy. Consequently, he recommended it was time for me to go through the process again. My knees got weak at the suggestion. I have had bad experiences with the dreaded colonoscopy in the past.
Colonoscopy veterans will tell you it isn’t the procedure that causes their hearts to quake. before. It is the prep, which makes the dread having a colonoscopy. This process requires you to drink a large amount of laxative mixed with a giant bottle of Gatorade. Participants find themselves hugging the porcelain throne all evening and in my case most of the night.
Consequently, there is a tendency to put off the dreaded Colonoscopy procedure for as long as possible.
Recommendations FOR people about to undergo the procedure
- Start the procedure early if you want to get any sleep.
- Don’t stray far from the porcelain throne,
- Follow all of your doctor’s instructions.
- Hang tight. The dreaded colonoscopy will be over before you know it.
To make a long story short, I left my doctor’s office with an appointment scheduled for the dreaded colonoscopy and two pages of detailed instructions clutched in my hand. Thus, the first task in front of me once I got home was to call my insurance company and get pre-authorization.
This proved to be no easy task. After twenty minutes on the phone talking to a machine and listening to moody background music, I was finally able to speak with a person. I discovered once I spoke with a representative I no longer needed a pre-authorization. I would have known this if I took the time to read the 200-page handout sent to me earlier in the year.
The next chore I faced required a trip to the store to purchase the supplies needed to clean out my upper and lower intestines because it is necessary to have a pristine intestine before the dreaded colonoscopy. I had to find the recommended laxative and a bottle of the powdery stuff that suggested it was a fourteen-day supply, which I would need to drink in one sitting. (Why anyone would want to mix that stuff with Gatorade and drink it for fourteen days is beyond me.)
Accordingly, I purchased chicken broth, popsicles, and Jell-O in the colors specified in the directions for stuff I could eat the day before the procedure. Diet Coke and apple juice would also sustain me in the liquid diet I needed to start the day before the procedure.
I started the prep on a Sunday afternoon. The dreaded colonoscopy was scheduled for early Monday morning. I mixed up the powder with two bottles of Gatorade. The next step was to swallow a fist full of laxatives. (I misread the instructions. Instead of the required four pills, I washed down the entire box with a tall glass of water. There were ten small round pills in the package. The nurse said it was the first time she’d ever heard of someone overdosing on laxatives.)
I buckled my seat-belt and waited for the adventure to begin.
I spent the remained of the evening on the toilet reading a book. There was no other choice because as soon as I thought I was finished I’d find myself running to the bathroom again. My colon wasn’t empty by bedtime. The adventure turned into a white-knuckle experience.
Thus, I wasn’t confident I could make it to the hospital without having an accident. I sat as close to the restroom as I possibly one we arrived for my scheduled appointment. Turns out there was a mix up in time. We showed up an hour early.
The actual procedure wasn’t unpleasant. The anesthesia put me out in seconds. I had an interesting dream I vaguely remembered when I woke up. I didn’t have a single polyp this time. Therefore, I was glad I had the dreaded colonoscopy.
I left the hospital with a colon as clean as a whistle and a mind free of anxiety. I wouldn’t have to have another dreaded colonoscopy for five years. Unfortunately, Rooster wasn’t as lucky. We have the same doctor. he told Rooster he was long overdue for the procedure.
It was two weeks before Rooster went through the same procedure as I endured. When it was over, the doctor came into the room and informed us he removed several precancerous polyps from his colon. Thus, it was a good thing Rooster went through the dreaded colonoscopy.
Not going through the discomfort of a colonoscopy is like tossing a coin and hoping it falls on heads. Aging is like playing a kid’s game of Keep Away with the Grim Reaper. Therefore, undergoing the dreaded colonoscopy helps to tilt the odds in your favor. The prep is unpleasant and messy.
The procedure can be expensive, but it is worth the cost. Once its over, you get on with your life without the fear of colon cancer. There is a slight risk involved with the procedure, but the decision to avoid the dreaded colonoscopy might prove deadly.
Getting old is like a white-knuckle drive through a blizzard. It’s best to move forward with caution and stay within the lines. One of those things you can do to keep from ending up in a ditch is to get the dreaded colonoscopy.
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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