Today is Wednesday and I am on day one of my prep for my first colonoscopy. It is not until you cannot eat, that you realize how bad you want to eat. I began to analyze anything and everything edible. As I scooped out a teaspoon of “better than chicken” base, which you add to boiling water to make a chicken broth, I looked at the base and thought of hot fudge. It was the same consistency, so could I add hot fudge to water, and it is a meal? Then I remembered clear liquids meant no dairy and chocolate fudge surely had dairy in it. So that was out, but my mind did not stop reeling.
Chip made the grocery store run for me, picking up the items I had sent him on my “acceptable list.” I do not typically drink soft drinks, but was going to splurge and drink ginger ale on my liquid-only diet, so that was at the top of the list but also apple juice, white grape juice, orange Jell-O, and broth.
He bought all of the items but when he handed me two small boxes of Jell-O mix I thought what is this? When I told him, I wanted orange Jell-O, I meant those cute little individual containers. He smiled and said he did buy some of those, but they were two for five dollars, so he thought the boxes would be a better “aka” cheaper idea.
Well, I quickly learned those cute little individual containers are a waste of money. I could eat one of those containers of Jell-o in two bites, so it was a good thing he bought the boxes so I could actually make a large bowl, which I did, and sadly placed it in the refrigerator to wait it out to get firm, I was ready for it as soon as I mixed it.
I looked at everything and considered if it could be consumed. I even looked at the small packets laying on the counter from leftover Japanese and thought those are liquid, maybe I can just suck those packets dry. Well, nope it was not on the approved list either.
I thought about how much I love orange juice and thought I could definitely live off orange juice for a day. If I could have orange Jell-o and orange popsicles, then surely, I could have orange juice, since it has no other ingredients, just juice. Nope, that is not on the approved list either. According to the list, you have to be able to see through it. Well, that of course knocked out my dream of orange juice for the next 72 hours. But I gave it a lot of thought. If I added enough water to a cup of orange juice, it would probably be pretty clear. So if I drank a glass of orange juice, and chased it with several bottles of water, would that work? How does my colon know if it came in “clear” or if it was diluted in route?
It is now Thursday and surprisingly I did not wake up hungry today. But around 9:00am, though I was not feeling hungry, I was feeling weak. I thought about my bowl of orange Jell-O I had made out of the two boxes Chip had bought me. I love me some orange Jell-O, so I decided to eat a little. Well, it was so good, I ate the entire bowl, and now I have a bellyache. So, to answer my own question, I do I think you can over-do-it with Jell-O.
So I was supposed to drink my first bottle of “stuff” at 6:00pm. At 5:56pm I pull the box out of the pharmacy bag and start pulling out the bottles I am supposed to drink. I had to get Bailey to open the top of the bottle, as it was one of those adult proof bottles that you have to hold down and turn at the same time. Had Bailey not been home, it would not have been consumed on time, as those bottles are not RA friendly at all. I poured it into the container provided, added water to the line, all while reading “helpful hints” such as mixing ahead of time and getting it cold, drinking through a straw, etc. and I thought well dear Lord too late for that, as here it is 6:00pm now and needs to be drunk. Bailey was in the background cheering me on as if I was in a beer-guzzling contest, “don’t breathe, just chug it.” And when I was finished, she was like wow, you did that good. Honestly, it was not bad at all. It was kind of a sweet flavor.
I had been told by friends ahead of time, to stay close by the bathroom and be prepared for it (the bathroom) to become my “room” for the night. I am not one to just sit around so I had put off tasks that could be done while staying close to the bathroom, you know just in case.
As I sit down at my computer, with my stomach rolling, I thought maybe I should go take these too tight jeans off, just in case I need to go really fast and need elastic waist pants on. I really do not know what to expect. Will it hit me suddenly and I cannot make it? I know of people who told me they wore a diaper to their procedure so they would not poop in their pants. I had people tell me horror stories of pooping in their pants, stopping on the highway, and hitting the woods on the way, and the list goes on.
It is honestly not the procedure itself that worries me at this point, though no, I really do not want anyone looking at my pooper, but the unknown between now and then is what worries me. My allergies are bad right now, as they are every fall, and I am sneezing my head off. Do I dare stand up and walk, what if I sneeze? Will I look stupid going to the bathroom to sit on the toilet, just to sneeze?
My second bottle was scheduled for 2:15am. Yes, 2:15am, I thought this seemed a little odd, but was going to follow my instructions. I went ahead and premixed the container with water and put it in the refrigerator since some suggested it was easier to consume, plus at 2:15am I did not want to be stumbling around the kitchen. I had everything ready and went to bed, to try to get some sleep until I had to get up at 2:15am. Well, that did not happen. Not because I was running to the bathroom, but more because I was afraid, I would miss my alarms, yes multiple alarms, I had set for 2:15am. The alarm never went off because at 2:00am, I decided it was close enough, headed to the kitchen to drink my liquid, and be done for the night. Well, lesson learned for me, if I must do this again, I will never put it in the refrigerator. I could not chug it at all, as I immediately had a brain freeze. Who wants a brain freeze from their colonoscopy prep? Not me, brain freezes should be associated with milkshakes and slushes. So, I, unfortunately, had to drink the container slower, than I would have liked, the entire time kicking myself in the butt for putting it in the refrigerator. But I finally got the container of “stuff” down, and immediately consumed 2-room temperature bottles of water per instructions to drink at least 16-additional ounces. Of course, now I was running to the bathroom for the rest of the night, no it is early morning, as night had already come and gone. At 5:15am, I get up, throw on my clothes, brush my teeth, go to the bathroom one last time, with the hope it was enough to last the ride to Reidsville. Just in case though, I did pack a clean pair of underwear. Several times in route, I felt a little twinge of rumbling and wondered if perhaps I should have worn an adult diaper after all. Then I thought maybe I should have packed an extra pair of pants too. What good would a pair of underwear do without clean pants, why did I not think to pack pants?
We arrived at the hospital entrance and it had not opened yet. Who closes a hospital? Ok, so it was not the emergency room which is always open, and I guess I have never been to the hospital at 6:00am, so how was I supposed to know it would not be open. Oh lord, what if I have to go and here, we are in the parking lot, with a hospital locked up as tight as a tick. Thank goodness I saw staff starting to mill around inside right at 6:00am, cutting lights on and unlocking the door. I got in line and stood on the “X” that kept people 6-feet apart while waiting for the patients in front of me to get screened. Then it was my turn. The security guard asked, “Can I help you?” Ummm, yes, I have an appointment. An appointment for what he asked. My mind was reeling as quick as it could for a response, and of course, I thought of none, so I softly said a colonoscopy. Boastfully he shared with me “Oh, I have had one of those, it is not so bad.” Well, I really did not want to have this discussion with a perfect stranger, I just wanted to slip down the hall, unnoticed and get checked in. Unfortunately, I was quick to hear as I rounded the corner, the couple who was in front of me was told no check in’s before 6:15am to take a seat. Oh crap, I thought. I really could use a bathroom and here I must take a seat and wait with no bathroom in sight. Maybe I should go look for one I thought and headed back up the hall. Nope, there was no bathroom between me and the security guard, so now he knows I am here for a colonoscopy, and now I have to ask him for a bathroom, and of course, he will know why. And do not even ask me why that matters, “everyone has to poop” but to me, it has always been a very private event and I would prefer no one know when that is going to occur. But here we go, a stranger knows, so he directs me with a smile, and I head on my way. As I am washing my hands, I am thinking about options. Is there another way out and back where I need to go, so I do not have to go back by the security guard? Maybe it will be a crowd coming in and he will not see me. Well of course not, it is a small hospital, and it is 6:15am and of course no one is around to even have him distracted and he smiles at me as I come back by. He was probably remembering his own “thank God” I made it moments. Thankfully he did not ask me if everything came out ok.
Back at registration, I was called up to be checked in and this person also shared with me about their colonoscopy experience. She thought drinking the prep drink was the worst part. I did not tell her what the worst part for me was because I was still afraid of the unknown. I am called to the back by a really nice girl (she was younger than me, so she is a girl), named Melanie. She asked a zillion questions and then gave me a gown, hospital socks, and asked if I needed to go to the bathroom. Of course, I did, and she laughed when I said, “Yep, I am not empty yet.” She said she would get me some warm blankets and come on out when I was ready. When I came out of the bathroom with my clothes and shoes in my arms, I saw that she had put down a clear plastic sheet in the middle of the bed and several warm towels beside the plastic area. I sat down on the plastic and thought, well I guess they think I may have an accident, so it was a smart thing to do, cover the area where your butt will lay, with plastic. I sat on the edge of the plastic, with my clothes still on my lap when she came in and said, your clothes for your bag is under you. Under me, I thought, and I must have looked puzzled because she said you are sitting on it. I started laughing and told her I thought it was plastic covering the bed, you know, “just in case.” We both got tickled laughing, as I stood up, and took the bag from under my bottom, put my clothes in it, and handed it to her. I did tell her that in my head I figured they would lay me out on a black trash bag because surely this was going to be a mess and I thought they should all have triple pay of anyone else, because of what their jobs entailed. Two other nice girls, Tonya and Tammy, came in assisted with various things, and headed me to the “procedure room.” I was wheeled, back, I told a poop joke, and the next thing you know I am told it is all over and asked how I feel because my blood pressure was low. I assured them I always have low blood pressure and I honestly felt fine. I was still in shock it was over because I know it had only been a few minutes since we were talking. I got dressed and she walked me to the truck where Chip was waiting with a Bojangles Chicken Biscuit. Bojangles Chicken Biscuits are not on my approved list of anti-inflammatory foods, but I had convinced myself, that this was an exception and enjoyed every bite of it.
So, when I turned 50 a few years back, I did not think it was a big deal but knew the day would come that would make this aging thing be kind of crappy. But now that I have been through it, and I am no longer afraid of the unknown, my philosophy is everyone needs a good cleaning every now and then and it really was not that bad after all.
For as long as I can remember, my family and friends would tell me, that you are so full “of it” that your eyes are brown, but here I am all cleaned out, and my eyes are still brown, so I guess it is still true, I am full of it and always will be.
My advice for others is to listen to other’s advice, and you will have to figure out what works for you. For me, if I have to do it again, the only thing I will do differently is not put my “stuff” in the refrigerator, and I will definitely pack a pair of clean underwear and an extra pair of pants, just in case.