Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Scope

My fourth colonoscopy is in the books.  No problems.  But lots of memories.

A few notes on colonoscopies:

Anyone who has had one can tell you the prep is the worst.  My prep involved taking 4 dulcolax tablets and an entire 14 dose bottle of Miralax, along with 128 ounces of Gatorade (I switched in Cyrstal Light after a while).  It has to be light Gatorade.  My normal favorites (red favors) would, for obvious reasons, not look good on a scope.

Roughly 24 hours before the scope, you stop eating  Liquiid diet only.  This wasn't terrible.  After drinking 64 ounces of Gatorade, I didn't have the desire to eat anyway.

From around 4pm to 7pm I was running to the bathroom.  Things slowed down after 7pm, but didn't fully stop until just before the procedure.

I remember nothing of the procedure itself.  Put on the gown, get on the table, roll over, a shot goes in the IV, and that's that.

Perhaps the most memorable thing about it was the nurse - who told me.  "As part of the procedure the Doctor will blow lots of air in your colon.  You'll need to fart it out before you leave."

As requirements for getting out of the hospital go, this wasn't exactly a high hurdle to clear. 

In fact I don't remember doing that.  But I asked my wife when I fully woke up.  "They told me I had to fart before I left.  Did I do that?"  She just said "You don't remember?"  Apparently the nurse woke me up, told me I couldn't leave unless I "tooted" (this was a different nurse).  I said I couldn't, so she made me pull my legs up to my chest.   That got the desired result.  (Good to know)

I have absolutely no memory of that event.  As far as I knew I said hello to the Doctor, then woke up and drank a Mountain Dew.  Then went back to sleep for a while longer.

The whole idea behind a colonoscopy is to look for polyps.  I didn't have any this time.  I did 11 years ago when I had my first procedure (family history plus some other issue, sure enough, I had polyps).  Untreated polyps will eventually turn into cancer.  If I had ignored my family history and other signs, there is a good chance I wouldn't be here to write this blog.


Now for the fun part...

If you have polyps removed, there is a small chance (I think they said 1 in 200) that the solder or whatever they use to seal the polyp will break, and you will start bleeding.

In 2008 I was 1 in 200.

There are great ways to find this out.  Attending your son's baseball game is not one of those great ways.

I went back to the hospital.  They said "We're going to keep you overnight"  In the morning, the on-call proctologist will see you first.

Next morning he looks at my chart and says "You won't need to go through the prep.  We can take care of it."

I say "Good".

He starts to get things ready and I say "Wait - aren't you going to knock me out for this?"

"No, it's not that far up."

"Is it up your butt?  Because if there's something that's going to get cauterized on my body - I want knocked out."

Well, I lose that argument, and put me on the table, and let me watch the TV screen he will be using.

Scene one.  Camera is on.  We see, on screen, for the whole room to see, bigger than life, my butt.

I look at the nurse and say "Wow.  We don't have this channel on DirectTV".

Zoom in.  Zoom in.  Zoom and it's in.

"Holy crap on a stick are you freaking kidding me?"

He puts a garden hose in there.  It has a lamp to light the way (you know, I always meant to install track lighting but never got around to it).  And I come to find out later it has a water hose, just to clean off anything.  And of course it has this freaking needle to anesthetize the spot once he finds it.

Tears are running down my face.  I am channeling every ounce of hatred I have toward the guy who's using a PacMan controller to operate a Swiss Army knife in my - as far as I can tell by now - esophagus. 

And then he said it.

"Okay.  This might hurt."

Well shoot Doc.  If only there were some way to avoid that pain.  I don't know - maybe with a shot of Demerol???

And then I saw the heated soldering iron emerge. 

And then I said a stream of words that I won't repeat.  Let's just say that - had George Carlin been there - he would have said "Wow - there ARE more than seven."

Later (much later) I realized that the Doctor was likely just following procedure.  I was close to forgiving him.

Then I got the call from my Doctor.  He said "What happened?" 

I described it in meticulous detail. 

He said "How do you know all that?"

I said "I saw it."

And I will never forget what my Doctor said next:

"What?  They didn't knock you out?"

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