Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Two, Four, Six, Eight! Colonoscopies are Great!

Easy for me to say. Mine is, ahem, behind me; and I don't need another one for a couple of years. You, however, are a different story. You, or someone you love, might be putting it off. So your Colonoscopy Cheerleader is here to Kick Some Chicken Butt.

You Can Do It! Let's Get To It!

Step number one: Call the doctor's office. You will be put on infinite hold. DO NOT HANG UP, even if you are really, really planning to call again tomorrow. Clean out that drawer with the warped birthday candles, ball of string and keys to cars you had in college. The Front Desk Lady will finally come back, and your drawer will be empty (except for two yellow candles and one green one that didn't look so bad.) When you explain to the Front Desk Lady that you would like to (well you wouldn't really LIKE to, but try to be polite) schedule a colonoscopy she will connect you to the Office of the Colonoscopy Scheduling Lady (and, no, the Front Desk Lady was not giggling as she transferred you.) Choose another drawer to work on, because the Colonoscopy Scheduling Lady will have to put you on hold while she checks the Colonoscopy Schedule. The Lady will return to tell you that she has one appointment next February, and a cancellation on Monday you want that?

Don't Be a Baby! Say YES! Not no, or maybe! Y-A-Y, You!

The good thing: you will not have to worry about having a colonoscopy for months before you have it. The bad thing: yes, you do have to cancel your Sunday dinner plans. You will, um, be catching up on your reading. But that new fusion Mexican Vietnamese restaurant will still be there next week. Maybe.

You, You Got It! You, You, You, You Got It!

The Packet Of Very Important Information. From the Doctor's office. Confirming your 7 AM appointment on Monday. Containing the prescription for two gallons of something that tastes like a can of Gatorade mixed with an entire box of baking soda, a canister of salt, a whole bottle of those little Saccharin pellets and some "lemon" flavoring concocted by a mad scientist who had just come from a Going Out Of Business Sale at the Mad Scientist Store.

And instructions, which tell you to drink one gallon of the something the night before the procedure. And to drink the other gallon FOUR HOURS BEFORE the procedure. Hmmm...7 AM minus 4 hours would be about 3 AM? It's probably safe to guess that you were not the only one "lucky" enough to ever snag a Monday morning 7 AM cancellation.

One Day! To Go! It's Time to Start This Show!

Sunday! Sunday! probably won't dawn with its usual happy possibilities. If you're going to church, I strongly advise the early service. You have laid in your supply of Jello (no red flavors,) unless of course you are me and you have a rule about not eating anything that wiggles more than you do. Then you have vegetable broth, ginger tea and water. Which might be enough to have you looking forward to the gallon of artificially flavored Gatorade, baking soda and Saccharin. Well, until the first sip. (My recommendation is to hold your breath and drink it, as fast as you can. It is not really, really terrible; but the shorter the time on the palate the better. And you are going to dream about that second gallon, ready and waiting on the kitchen counter, all night. Or at least until 3 AM.)

Be Strong! Be Good! Tomorrow You Get Food!

No cheating. Because if your doc can't maneuver that Mercedes of MiniCams around the ess turns and hairpin bends, you are quite literally SOL. And your doctor will be quite disappointed in you; perhaps recommending that Nurse Ratchet administer a serious enema next time.

I'm Here! I'm Ready! Let's Get This Done Already!

Worryworryworry your way to the hospital. Worryworryworry in the waiting room. Worryworryworry when they call your name. Stick you in a cubicle. Take all of your clothes (except your shoes? True that, so they have traction when they "rearrange" your legs, and your legs don't fall on the floor.) Give you a very thin sheet as cover, in a very cold cubicle. Worryworryworry when the chipper (who the H-E-Double Toothpicks is CHIPPER at 7 AM?) nurse asks if you are ready to go. Worryworryworry down the hall, into The Room. See lots of medical stuff, worryworryworry, get some ahhh anesthesia and ahhh have a lovely nap and ahh ask the nurse when you wake up 20 minutes later if you were good; and if so, could you take a little of that sleepy stuff home as a prize? Get dressed, get a visit from the doc who tells you that you had the cleanest colon he had seen all day (forget that it was also the ONLY colon he had seen all day) thank him for the compliment and go out to breakfast.

You Are A Champion!

It might occur to you that Blogging About Colonoscopies is weird, and that maybe Nancy and the Kitties are weird, too. You might be right. But, my mother is a colon cancer survivor. A very, very brave one. My friend, David, who I have know since before either one of us had to shave, is a colon cancer survivor. He could use your support, you can visit him here:

David's Caring Bridge Site

Colon cancer stinks. It is not funny. Bottom line - Wipe it out. Get a colonoscopy.


La Alicia said...

I applaud your blog post -- it is very brave to talk about something that openly that makes most people uncomfortable when the topic is even mentioned. Totally appreaciate your sense of humor (I have to admist that I did giggle a little when reading about the shoes for traction)and although I am not yet the age to get one -- I will reflect on your blog when it's time. Rest assured that I will be forwarding the link to this post to many of my friends who are of the age to get their colons on camera. :)

Nancy said...

Alicia, thanks. I agree that wearing shoes so that your legs don't fall off the table is pretty funny, but brilliant at the same time.

The procedure is absolutely anticlimactic. It is unscary, and no fun. But it is still a big deal.

Spread the word.

High Desert Diva said...

Did you see a movie with Paul Newman called Blaze (I think)? He wears his cowboy boots to bed (with his mistress) for traction.

Bravo for this post.

Nancy said...

Diva, only you...