Monday, November 7, 2016

Ode to My Burning Butt

colon pictures
So, I had my first colonoscopy last Friday. I know, I know, I was a "little" overdue. I recently switched to a new physician, and she really pushed me to sign up for the test. In fact, the office scheduled an appointment right then and there. Lest you think I don't take care of myself, I have my skin scanned every six months for skin cancer, have my eyes examined once a year, take my boobs out to be pressed annually, and see the dentist twice a year. It's just the deep, dark hole that I have ignored. We don't have a history of colon cancer in my family, but my dad's sister got a perforated bowel out of her final colonoscopy and lived the rest of her life with a colostomy as the prize. So, I had my reasons for being skittish about the test.

As it turned out, Dr. B. scheduled the test at a hospital that is not the most convenient for me, with a sadist physician who feels that pooping your brains out during one day is not enough, insisting that you get up at 5:00 a.m. on the day of the test and drink some more of the liquid laxative. In the end, pardon the pun, my husband was going to be out of town on the day of the test. As you cannot drive yourself due to the anesthesia, I had to reschedule. At the risk of being the butt of many jokes, I put a message on a local Facebook group requesting recommendations for a more realist doctor, preferably at a closer hospital. My friend Steve came up with the winning combination for me, and I scheduled an appointment for November 4th at the 9:00 time slot. Because of the liquid diet you'll be on, in addition to the liquid that will be flying out of your butt, I recommend getting an early test time.

poop prep
As is customary for me, I did a lot of research to make this test as palatable as possible. My prep as ordered by the doctor included a clear liquid diet on the day before the test, and also drinking a 10 oz. bottle of Magnesium Citrate at noon; 64 oz. of Miralax (a powder that I mixed with Lemonade Crystal Light as I can't stand Gatorade), drinking an 8 oz. glass every 10-15 minutes beginning at 1:00 until it was gone; and then another 10 oz. bottle of Magnesium Citrate at 3:00.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the test I did a low-fiber diet as I had read that doing this helps prevent cramping when you are doing the prep. I have to say, this really worked for me. Wednesday night I put the two bottles of Magnesium Citrate in the refrigerator so they would be cold. On Thursday (prep day) I donned comfortable sweat pants, enjoyed my morning hot tea and some jello, and then laid out my battle gear. I mixed the Miralax and lemonade together and put it in the refrigerator for later, put the Preparation H wipes and ointment in the bathroom, along with my reading material. At 12:00 I poured the Magnesium Citrate into a glass, and squeezed in a slice of lime. I placed about a half teaspoon of sugar on the back of my tongue, and drank the 10 oz. down through a straw as quickly as possible while holding my nose. (The straw helps you bypass many of the taste buds on your tongue.) After the last swallow, I popped an Altoid into my mouth while still holding my nose. After a moment or two I was able to remove my fingers from my nose. There was a slightly salty taste in my mouth, but it was overpowered by the Altoid.

My stomach started gurgling around 12:35, but there was no action for another 10 minutes. Even then I thought it might just be gas, but I hustled to the bathroom just in case. That is not gas - trust me! Get yourself into the bathroom the second you start to feel anything. This is where the sweat pants are worth their weight in gold. Easy off! After that it was time for the first glass of Miralax. I drank that cold through a straw, and there was no discernible taste other than the lemonade flavor. Back to the bathroom! This was the pattern for the next two hours. I just about had time to drink a glass and run to the toilet before it was time to drink another glass. But I got all 64 oz. in. And out!

The worst part was getting down the second Magnesium Citrate at 3:00. I used the same process as the first glass, but it was a struggle as it was making me gag. It may be because it came so close on the heels of the Miralax treatment. For the next 2 hours I was in the bathroom. Despite using a medicated wipe after each go and liberally dabbing on Preparation H cream after each wipe, my butthole was burning. And bleeding. It was terribly painful, and certainly gave new meaning to the expression "Shit fire!" That's exactly what it felt like I was doing. Next time I will try a baby cream like Desitin. As I recall I could get that off my kid's butts (or my hands) without a sandblaster.

By 5:00 I leveled off to going once every half hour, and by 9:45 I was done. Or so I thought. I woke at 5:50 Friday morning, and dashed to the toilet at 6:00. Just like the Energizer Bunny, I was still going. We left the house at 7:00 as I was to arrive at the hospital at 7:30 for a 9:00 procedure. I didn't think I was going to make it. I had my husband drop me off at the door, and before the lady in Endoscopy could even say "Good Morning", I blurted "Where's the closest bathroom?" Fortunately it was right there. Where I'm sure everyone in the waiting room could hear my outburst. Oh well, at least I didn't crap my pants.

I got signed in, and then answered some question before sitting down to wait. I sent my husband off to work as there was no point in him waiting around for three hours. They said they would call him when I was ready to be picked up. At 8:30 I was taken back to what I'll call a cubicle. It had walls on three sides (with its own bathroom, thank heaven), and a privacy curtain across the front. The nurse had me change into a gown, taking off everything except my socks. (A word of advice - don't bring anything of value with you to the hospital. Leave your jewelry and electronic devices at home. All I had with me was my driver's license and insurance card.) After I was done she had me climb on the bed, covered me with two warm blankets, then attached a pulse oximeter to my finger and three heart leads to my chest. Then she inserted on IV line into my right wrist. She asked me some more questions, including had I used any drugs or marijuana recently. When I raised my eyebrows and asked her if people actually answer that honestly, she said "You'd be surprised." Huh. Then she asked if I feel safe at home. Again, my eyebrows shot up. This question was designed to try to detect elder abuse, she told me. Wow. A male nurse came by and asked if he could observe my procedure. It turned out he was a student nurse, so I thought, what the heck. I'm going to be out of it anyway. Then a nurse anesthetist stopped in to go over the anesthesia protocol with me. Sign here, sign there, sign everywhere.

By 8:50 or so they wheeled me into the procedure room where I met the anesthesiologist and finally the doctor who would be performing the colonoscopy. They both went over a few things with me, had me turn on my left side, and then began releasing the anesthesia into the IV line. I remember feeling it take over my brain, not that is was warm or anything but numbing it I guess. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled back into one of the cubicles. They kept the lights out for awhile, and then my doctor came in to let me know that he had found one small polyp, which he removed. That is standard procedure, but it will be sent off to be biopsied as they can be precancerous. But because he found one, he wants me have another colonoscopy in 5 years and not the recommended 10. Yippee. I was also told that I have hemorrhoids. Ya think? After spewing flammable liquid out of my butt for most of Thursday, who is actually surprised by this? He also explained that they pump air in the colon during the exam, so to expect a lot of gas. It made me think of those long circus balloons, and I chuckled to myself. He said to make sure and let it all out. So basically I can fart in public, and people will be happy about it instead of appalled? Awesome!

The nurse offered me something cold to drink, and when I finished my Sierra Mist I was told I could get dressed. Believe it or not, I had to go to the bathroom again. They had told me it would only be air coming out. Wrong! How in the world could there possibly be anything left inside me? Especially since they use a suction device during the colonoscopy? At least people can no longer say I'm full of it.

As I was getting dressed they called Jim to tell him I was ready to be picked up. It was 10:15, so they were right on the money when they said the procedure takes about 30 minutes, and then anywhere from 30-60 minutes for the anesthesia to wear off enough that you can leave. Since he was only 15 minutes away from the hospital, the timing was perfect. They actually let me walk out to the car, instead of being transported in a wheelchair. I was kind of surprised by that. When we got home, I used the bathroom again. Unbelievable...I drank a glass of water and had a bowl of cream of chicken soup with a few crackers to see how that would settle. Then I climbed into bed for a nap. Later in the afternoon I took the dog for a short walk, and I felt fine. I am so happy that this all behind me. (See what I did there?)

The only strange thing that has happened is that I felt a little dizzy at an event Saturday night. As I was only drinking ice water, there was no reason for me to sway like a drunk. But that sensation passed until I woke up Sunday morning. Oh my, was I dizzy! I had to hold onto walls to walk. After looking online to see if sedation anesthesia has this kind of a side effect (it doesn't), I came across a site on vertigo that attributes dizziness to dehydration. As I don't have any other symptoms of a cold or any other ear problem, I have to wonder if my extreme diarrhea for 7 plus hours was the culprit. It is much better today, and I am making an effort to drink more liquids than normal.

So there you have the poop scoop. I've been there, done that, got the pictures to prove it. Go get yours!

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

Been there, done that. A butt-load of no fun. Glad you did it and got a mostly very good result.