Subject: the colonoscopy
Do not read this unless prepared to die laughing...
I imagine that most of us, at this stage in life, have had a colonoscopy; although mildly graphic at times, this account is probably one of the better ones I have encountered!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.
I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.
A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.
Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.
I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'
I left Andy' s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies..
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.
Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.
Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water.. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose , watery bowel movement may result.'
This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.
The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.
At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked..
Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.
Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.
There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate.
'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.
'Ha ha,' I said.. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.
I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.
Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.
More on Colonoscopies
Subject: the colonoscopy
That's hillarious! And pretty accurate from what I gather from my mother. I haven't had one...yet. But I had to help her get ready for hers and take her to the appointment. She's had several strokes and can't speak much, but she did make it clear that the "prep" was every bit as "violent and action-packed" as the writer above states. LOL
I'm having the honor on Tuesday. My second. The prep is far worse than the test.
Oh dear me, I am laughing my head off. I actually wiped off a tear or two from laughing so much. I enjoyed that little journey of having a colonoscopy. That reminds me, I am overdue to make an appointment for my second visit also. I just hope that I don't remember what I just read and start to giggle, (don't want to get stuck with needles etc, while laughing since as a youngster I was always told I was a silly girl), then I would have to repeat the laxative procedure all over again. Yuck.
No giggles. Hopefully it is early in the AM so you can get your day started and have lite food afterwards. Have a good test. Goodnight.
Not till 1pm and I'm starving and still drinking. LOL
Thanks for posting that--I just turned 50 so guess what I should be scheduling soon...Hm the vodka sounds great, maybe gin works too
Had my second one done day before yesterday. She removed 1 polyp this time. I had my first one at 49 because my sister was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma of the rectum at 48. Who would think. On my first one, I had 3 polyps removed and 2 were precancerous so naturally I can't stress more strongly the importance of getting a baseline at 50 or earlier if family history of any kind of cancer. We have a strong history of breast cancer. My sister had radiation, chemo and surgery and has been cancer free for 5 yrs now. Early detection is the key.
Good of you to encourage us! Did you all see the commercials they ran onTV several years ago? so funny--two guys in lab coats are cruisng the street and they see, chase down and tackle a 'polyp'
No I don't remember it. Perhaps they should run it again. I know alot of people tend to put it off or not do it becuase of modesty, embarrassment, etc. and that is so wrong. These people do so many everyday that they don't even think about it. The way I figure it, I will never see most of these people again unless they are still around in 3-5 years when I have to repeat it. Yes the prep can be unpleasant but the procedure is a piece of cake. You go to sleep and wake up an hour later all done and rested.
Just had my second one and I don't think they are bad at all. Drinking all the gunk is a pain and being close to the throne is annoying. But just get er done!! I'll have another one in 5 yrs.
my mom had to do her first , last year. She then had to have surgery within days to remove a stage 2 tumor that threatened complete blockage. Now certainly she should have started them twenty years ago, and she would have maybe only had polyp removal during the procedure, instead of risking her life and having major surgery at 89 yrs old.
I love Dave Barry's humor!!
I had my first one earlier this year. I was a bit late since I am 53 but better late than never.
Very good! My experience was a bit different. I think it was a 3-day prep. I think there were pills and liquid diet. The worst part was the green (I think) soda-like drinks. The words Fleets Phosphosoda seems to be hard-wired into my brain...something like a WARNING! WARNING! kind of thing. I was supposed to drink some the day before the test, so I iced it down, thought "no problem", but believe me, my stomach didn't want it! With the first sip, I had an impulse to hurl. I fought it down and somehow...somehow, I managed to get it down...it tasted SO mind-blowingly gross! AND I knew that foul-tasting, disgusting stuff would be waiting for me again the next morning also. After numerous trips to the bathroom, I went to bed that night. Woke up with a headache and feeling slight nauseated. Probably a touch of migraine. I knew I shouldn't be drinking the stuff in that condition. Nevertheless, I tried to force it down! Tried to keep down that impulse to immediately spit it out before I would throw up. I got it down, then 15 minutes later, the nausea was just too much. So I sat down for a while. A short time later, I couldn't fight it anymore and threw up. There wasn't any more of it, even if I'd wanted to drink another one...which I was relieved to know that it was over. I knew then that things were not going well for the test. They did the test that afternoon anyway. It was lights out like Dave. But they let me know later that I was not THAT completely cleaned out. Hah! Big shocker, huh? They should have just postponed it. But from what they could tell, nothing wrong in there! And you know what that awful phosphosoda is? It's really a "Fleets enema"...except you drink it! Anyway, I decided when the time comes again, they will just have to figure out a different prep for me! Because there is no WAY I'd drink one of those again! Ever!
I had to come over and reread this thread this evening. I need something to laugh about and have finally made my appointment. Will have to check this thread again a few more times before the 18th of this month. I have the jumbo, plus size gallon container called GoLYTELY in full view to remind me of the time remaining. Has anyone tried this particular one lately?.
Any more funny stories?.
Oddly my doctor said I didn't have to have it last year when I
turned 50. I guess I should bug her to get one. BTW - I loved
Dave Barry's description. He's so funny!
The thing is that when I had my colonoscopy, nothing funny happened that I could remember like Barrys experience.
I can actually say that everything in the operating room came to a complete halt. I was a show stopper!!!.
The techician and anestheologist could not find a vein for more than a half an hour. Even the Dr. had to pull off his mask and face guard to help hold my hand and calm me down. Then I woke up talking to myself.
torrie-glad you survived!
Well I had mine today. Truly once you get over drinking the stuff and going to the bathroom oh, say, 35 times... the rest is easy. I was thrilled that it doesn't give you cramps. I don't know when I will ever want to drink lemonade or ginger ale again. Or beef broth or eat peach jello. Three ten-oz bottles of mag citrate look small but taste big.
Some consolation that it was an excuse to feel whiiny for a whole day and a half, of the not eating, and an excuse to stay home too. A simple homemade toasted ham and cheeese sandwich afterwards was like the best thing I ever ate!.
I just reread Barry's piece and was in tears of laughter! I wish I had re read the vodka tip the other day! They want clear liquid, I'll give them clear liquid. Tangeray.
I have my appointment in a few weeks to meet the colorectal doc and then will schedule the "event".
Good for you Tammy! Like my doc said just before the procedure- the prep is the hard part , And it really isn't that hard. Just annoying! My annoyance in part was it was a cold day, and I mostly had cold drinks, just couldn't get cozy. They try to make the list look long but its really- Broth, juice, soda, tea, jello...Oh, was supposed the get fluids up before prep with Gatorade but neglected that- everything was fine anyway.
I feel great today. That 'sleep drug' is amazing, I'm still impressed at that --shot in the IV, total zonk, wake up in twenty minutes or whatever--wow.
Again- Go for it!
A good friend from college days is facing 6mo of chemo for colon cancer. It was found during her 50 yr old colonoscopy. She had 7" of colon plus some lymph nodes removed in Dec. Just a very good reminder that its important to have these procedures done.
Oh Tammy, that is sad and sobering news. I sure wish her success.
This is an old thread, but I've been AWOL for a while. Just wanted to say that I luv Dave Barry, and that bit is one that I read while trying to prepare myself for my first colonoscopy (and only one so far).
Because of all the other dreadful tales that I'd read online, of how awful the prep part is, I almost backed out, but a friend urged me on, and 1) I'm so glad she did because they removed a polyp that the doctor said would have turned cancerous, and then he said come back in five years.
2) I don't know what all the complaining is about. I've read where people said it changed their lives, in that they could never drink or eat certain flavors again. My own family doctor said his wife acted as if she were dying throughout the whole process. Well, here's my take on it: I eat and drink a lot of things in my everyday life that don't taste like candy or soda pop. I do it because I want to stay healthy, and healthy foods and supplements aren't always as tasty as junk food. This must have given me a whole different outlook on the prep process. I didn't get hungry. The trips to the toilet were like diarrhea I've had and survived before. And the taste of the liquid they gave me was a lot like Gatorade, salty and sweet at the same time. I didn't gag, though I certainly wouldn't want to drink it all the time.
I'm only posting this because I believe some people are scared away from having a colonoscopy by the negativity surrounding the process, as I almost was. It wasn't a bad experience. I followed instructions to a T, drank my refrigerated drink, went to the clinic where they put me into a light but peaceful sleep, woke up, my husband drove me home, and I took it easy for the rest of the day.
Darci- glad you posted. I completely agree with you. Its really not such a hardship and it IS so important. One day of prep to PREVENT colon cancer- its a miracle!
(Sorry you hated it so much Linda)
My hubby just did his second one yesterday.
An update on my friend - her doctor has recommended that they remove another 6" of her colon. After the 6mo of chemo & removal of 7" of colon plus lymph nodes. I imagine she'd be in very dire shape now had she skipped her 50yr colonoscopy!
I guess, with a lot of effort, she might be able to feel lucky for that. I'm sure we all hope for the best for her.
Interestingly, she's going an alternate medical approach now. Special routine w/supplements & juicing. I looked up the doctor & program and its got a big following. She spent time at their clinic and has been following the diet very carefully. I gather the doctors don't have any definitive reason for wanting to remove more colon. Its supposed to help prevent the cancer from coming back.
I've probably had more of these than all of you put together. My first experience was like Linda's with that disgusting citrate of magnesia, Fleet prep 3 and the rest. I had the test because I was sick, so you can imagine what it was like when I wished I was shot. What misery. That was 1987. I think I have had about every prep there is and the ones that were taken off the market.
My last one was May 2010. New doctor. New prep. Take a bottle of Miralax. Tasteless. Next one should be in 2 months. Those drugs are so great, and I feel so wonderful when I wake up. And the cinnamon toast is pretty good, too. That's the treat for being good.
Truth is, it is amazing what those tests show.
My 2 cents. The first one was a bad drinking experience . A gallon , (I think ) of the stuff , all within three hours . It didn't move through my system and just sat in my stomach until I was so swelled and distended . That night , it must have moved on but didn't have the squirts , Must have been dehydrated and the water absorbed into my system . Very little fluid went through . They said I was very clean inside tho, so must not have had anything in me, and all was successful. Four polyps removed . Good biopsy report .
Second one , five years later .
So much better , had two packets of powder in two different containers . Add four cups water , shake and refrigerate each one . At the start hour , pour liquid into a one cup container and drink four of them in an hour . Repeat five hours later with the second container . EASY as a breeze ! Be at clinic five hrs later for procedure .Two polyps removed , biopsy good .
The second drinking experience made the whole thing so easy that as long as I can get the two phase laxative , I will never dread it again .
Everyone was so nice , you never feel invaded .I don't know, and don't want to know what went on while I was asleep .I went home a happy camper .
The biggest fear is the fear it's self .
There is no reason this has to be a bad experience. If there is, you've got a doctor with no compassion! They have come so far with doing these preps.
This is a life-saving test that is now so much more comfortable and not at all humiliating. Everyone should get with the program.
Now we need dang health insurance co to give us some Credit for having done this instead of just denying coverage on anything we already have pre existing.
Love Dave Barry's writing... used to collect his columns years ago.
My first one I had the gallon jug. Barely got half down. The last glass was coming up as the next was trying to go down. I have a bad gag reflex. sigh They did a quick check before putting me in lala land and I was squeaky clean.
Second one I requested the pills. Soooo much nicer. Insurance companies don't like the pills since they are double the money but I will never attempt the gallon jug again. I gag just remembering it!
PS Cancer isn't the only concern. I had 12" removed due to diverticulosis killing it off.
I don't know why I'm reading this in 2013, but Sally, now I know how old you are! I HATE the prep. Due to my MS I have some bad wiring to the bowel and YUCK. Unfortunately my grandmother died of bowel cancer and I have lots of other serious risk factors, so I can't skip it.
Has anyone heard of (or tried) a colonic as a colonoscopy prep? I hear it gets you squeaky and clean with no discomfort and stink.
The thought of a colonic is not such a great thing for someone with inflammatory bowel disease. Carrie, do you take additional vitamin D?
I take 2000 internation units a day. i haven't noticed any difference although my vit. d level is now in line with new recommendations.;