The Cleansing and the Camera

A few years back my father got colon cancer and he went through months of treatments. He's fine now. What that means to me is that I now have a "family history" and if you have a "family history" you should get checked for colon cancer every 3 years starting when you are 40. The last time was 3.5 years ago which means that I was overdue.

So the fun all began on Monday—that was the great gastro-intestinal cleanse day. I start the day off with a nice light breakfast, then clear liquids all the rest of the day. That was really easy. When you are hungry, you drink. No problems. Then at 6 p.m. take these 4 little pills. OK. A little grumbling in the stomach, but no problems.

Then the real fun begins… at 7 p.m. and for the next 160 minutes drink one cup of this artificial-vanilla flavoured liquid rapidly every 10 minutes.

First cup… not that bad.
Second cup… my stomachs grumbling a little more now.
Third cup… my stomach is really grumbling now.
Fourth cup… oh look, I can actually see my stomach moving.
Fifth cup… oh dear god get me to the bathroom.
Sixth cup… oh for the love of all things good, get me to the bathroom.
Seventh cup… I think I'll have this one in the bathroom. Good call.
Eighth cup… Bathroom.
Nin… bathroom… th cup… Bathroom
Bathroom. Tenth cup will have to wait. Bathroom.
Tenth cup… oh good heavens. No more. No more. Bathroom
Eleventh cup… Bathroom. Now I'm getting kinda nauseous. Bathroom
Twelth… Thirteen… … … … Fourteen… Make it stop, please make it stop
Fifteenth… I don't think I can finish this.
Sixteenth… shoot me NOW.

I literally think I was in the bathroom 20 times in the the span of 3 hours. It was getting to the point that the toilet was so cold because of the constant flushing that I had to keep switching bathrooms. The toilet tank condensation was dripping on the floor. My toilets don't even do that in the summer.

Nighttime came and I was certainly cleansed, I had a wicked headache, and I was dog tired. I took the precaution of putting down on an old towel on the bed, you know, in case of emergency. I went to bed and fortunately slept like a baby.

I got up Tuesday… hungry as you wouldn't believe, and for the first morning EVER, I didn't have to go to the bathroom. I had nothing left to give. My appointment was for 10:30, and I made it there at 10:20. By the time 10:30 came around my pants and underwear were below my knees and I was on the bed with a nurse trying to find my vein. Ah yes, the one joy of a colonoscopy is that you get sedated!

A few minutes after the needle is placed the doctor comes in, she injects the sedative, he asks me to roll on my side, and bring my knees up. I have assumed the position. She hooks up the camera contraption and he says the most famous words of all "now relax". Fortunately by this point the sedative has worked it's magic and you can do nothing but relax. I can feel the doctor leaning and pushing. Only once in the procedure did he have "a little trouble getting around the corner" and I had to role on my stomach. I don't know how long it actually took, but 15-30 minutes later it was all over. I was escorted to a lounge with all the other drugged up people, offered a cookie and juice, and told to wait for 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes later the nurse takes my pulse and blood pressure, says everything is fine, hands me a sheet that has checked off "Your colonoscopy was normal" and "please repeat your colonoscopy in 3 years" and I'm sent on my way.

Was it uncomfortable… ya sure, a little, but hey, I know the treatments that my father went through for the cancer, and compared to that… this was nothing.