I’ve been probed by aliens…
I don’t know if it was the car ride, low blood sugar, low blood pressure or car sickness but when I arrived at the digestive diseases clinic I was sweating, nauseous, headachy and staggering. As I rode up the metal lift to the reception level I leant my forehead against the cool metal wall. I’m not one to make a scene, much, but I must have looked alarming and alarmed. ”This too will pass.” I thought. I eyed off the sullen grey seats and thought, “No way.”
“I have an appointment at 11:15 for a colonoscopy.” I said.
“Take a seat, Margaret.” One of five receptionists said, gesturing towards the offending grey seats. Margaret, indeed, who are they talking to?
“I feel nauseous, I need to lie down.” I grunted.
One of the nurses handed me a green vomit bag. I knew it wouldn’t come to that, but to placate her I carried it about until I found a horizontal place to leave it. When you prepare for a colonoscopy you are given three doses of medication that over a 24 hour period empty you out. I heard the man in the bed next to me answer the question, ”Did the medication work?” ”Spectacularly.” He said. I assure you neither he nor I had anything in our guts to offer the little green vomit bag. Empty, dehydrated, weak and tired from being up and on the toilet every half hour during the night.
Spectacular was not a word I’d apply to the effects of a medication designed to empty your colon, horrific, mortifying, messy, debilitating, ghastly, and horrendous are probably more accurate. I have recommended this procedure to a few people who I though needed their colon investigated. And here I was with no Idea just what it entailed. In one case a small tumour was found and the long term result was a man healthy as a horse, drinking more water, eating more vegies and protein and less carbohydrates. Thumbs up to the colonoscopy the only way he would have discovered his cancer at such an early stage.
Once I was able to lie down the whole process took a turn for the better. A sweet male nurse offered me a nausea medication, but I said, “No, this will pass as long as I can rest horizontally.” I knew my body’s capacity to heal without help, as long as I give it what it needs, in this case horizontality. He said, “Margaret, the anesthesiologist can give you pain killers for the pain, just ask him.” I thought, you poor boy, you are well schooled in the medical procedures, the answer to having pain is to suppress it. I said, ”I have had enough medication for my liver to deal with, the pain is lessening, but thank you.” He persisted, I refused, he left, with his little cup of pills, looking confused. I was tempted to take the pills just to have a sip of water though.
Once I was horizontal, the whole thing went smoothly. I slept, and finally met the urbane doctor, “The bum doctor.” He called himself aptly, I suppose. The anesthesiologist was there one minute and then I woke up, the whole process was over. The Bum Doctor had removed a polyp and other than that offending protrusion all was well. Happy days except the cup of tea was crap, what can I say, it was.
Mistakes I made:
- My appointment was for late in the morning and I had to endure a thirsty morning (of the procedure) so my dehydration was nasty.
- I decided not to eat much the day before the procedure so my blood sugar plummeted.
- I travelled in the back of a car to the clinic a sure way to feel nauseous.
- Follow the low fibre recommendations so your bowel is clean of any seeds that may hide a problem.
- On the day prior to the procedure when you are taking the emptying medicine, try to have a quiet day near a toilet.
- For the night ordeal of voiding get some adult nappies, there is no way your anal sphincter is designed to hold back the turbulent liquid.
- Sleep near a toilet.
- Attempt to have your colonoscopy as early in the day as possible.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from having this simple if messy procedure. I am hoping that this missive will demystify the anal probe and prompt you to investigate. I went because I don’t like recommending something to people unless I know what they are up for. I had no symptoms, no constipation but I am of an age when a colonoscopy is recommended. The Bum Doctor said, ”Good on you for doing this, it sounds like you’re healthy and all we’ll probably only find in a few polyps.” He did find a very large polyp and in the course of an hour’s work he removed what might have been a problem. Tonight I’m a happy camper sipping water and waiting for a risotto to cook.