Colonoscopy – Bend Over, I’m Ready For My Closeup

Internal View of Colon

(Just to clarify, that’s not a picture of a rose!)

(second clarification: that’s also not a picture of the interior of my ass…I don’t know why that’s important, it just is…it appears to be a perfectly nice colon, it’s just not mine)

One of the “perks” of getting into your 50’s is a colonoscopy. I’ve been avoiding it for a bit ‘cause seriously…who wants a camera shoved up their ass? My doctor was pretty insistent that it was important to get this done so I finally agreed. Fuck.

The colonoscopy prep was about what you’d expect.

3 days before your procedure:

1. Go go buy a box of Pico Salax at the drug store.

2. Stop eating all nuts, corn, green leafy vegetables and salads for 3 days. I can do that.

1 day before your procedure drink only clear fluids:

1. Water, juice (NO RED JUICE), clear soup
2. Jell-O (NO RED JELL-O)
3. Tea or coffee WITH NO MILK OR CREAM
4. No Solid Food for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

6 pm on the day before the procedure:

Take your first packet of Pico Salax. DO NOT use the instructions that come with it, prepare as follows: Mix the contents of one packet with 150 ml of cold water and stir constantly. If the mixture heats up while stirring, allow it to cool before drinking. Drink at least 3 large glasses of a clear fluid in the hour after taking sachet.

On the day of the procedure:

Take your second packet of Pico Salax 4 hours before your scheduled procedure time and take at least 3 glasses of a clear fluid in the next hour. Nothing to drink for 3 hours before your procedure.

You will be sedated and unable to drive for 24 hours. Arrange for a responsible adult to get you home. (I’m not sure any of my friends can necessarily be described as responsible adults but I do have a friend who thought the day might be mildly amusing and offered up her services).

This sounds like a fun day off. No nuts, corn, green leafy vegetables or salads for 3 days…that I can do, no big sacrifice. I went and bought the Pico Salax which strangely enough is kept behind the counter at the pharmacy. Is there an issue with this stuff getting stolen? No one’s getting high off it, time to review your life if you are shop lifting oral purgatives. Then it occurred to me that perhaps it might come in handy if you were into anal…although it’s a pretty dramatic way to clear the runway. Maybe someone with an eating disorder might abuse the stuff. Ok, keep it tucked away if you must. I just didn’t want to have to ask for it, have the pharmacist ask any questions…I’m not making any eye contact with the pharmacist, clearly we are both aware of what’s in store for me this week. I DO NOT want to talk about it.

Picked up the broth, Jell-O and some Gatorade while I was out. I haven’t made Jell-O in ages and while I would have preferred cherry or strawberry, clearly off the approved minimal list of 3 things I was allowed to have. Prepped lemon Jell-O for lunch and blue raspberry Jell-O jigglers for supper – thought it might at least feel like I was eating something solid, pretty sure it’s not cheating.

Breakfast was black coffee…without the splash of milk I usually put it in. Lunch was chicken broth followed by lemon Jell-O. MMMmmmm…delicious. By the time I get off work I’m late getting home and wondering whether it’s worth having broth and Jell-O jigglers for supper and chasing that down an hour later with an oral purgative. But, since it’s my last chance to “eat”, I’m going to have my blue raspberry jigglers, I’ve been looking forward to this all afternoon.

I have questions about this oral purgative – it’s painfully clear what it’s intended to do but I’m wondering about this “if it heats up while stirring” thing…either it’s supposed to have a thermal reaction or it’s not. This is not an either/or situation. I’m a little reluctant to down it ‘cause I know I’m setting myself up for an “interesting” night. Not sure how volatile the ensuing reaction is going to be or how soon it will kick in. As a treat, I used Gatorade to wash it down. And now, wait. It took a couple of hours to take effect and then it occurs to me…how the hell am I supposed to get any sleep tonight. My entire goal tonight…to not shit the bed. Everyone’s got to have a goal, that’s mine. Just don’t shit the bed. I was up about every hour and a half and it does exactly what you expect it’s going to do. Brutal.

Happy to report mission accomplished, I did not shit the bed. By 7:30 in the morning, I have to take the second dose. Shortly after downing it, I have more questions. Has anyone factored in the time to get to the clinic into this particular scenario? It’s about a 35 minute drive in my friend’s brand new car with my butt exploding with only a few seconds notice. Not shitting in my friend’s brand new car is right up there with not shitting the bed. If last night is any indication, I’m not sure how this will play out. The upside, if there was one, I was pretty much completely purged at that point and the drive was uneventful (I took a towel to sit on and an extra pair of leggings just in case). Fortunately, there were no enroute incidents. I’d like to think I’m a lot of years away from worrying about shitting myself in public.

Arrive at the clinic and I don’t make eye contact with anyone, this is a colonoscopy clinic, that’s all they do here – we are all here for the same reason and I have no desire to engage in casual chit chat with someone when we both know we are here to be anally violated with a camera. Fortunately, they took me right in.

You get asked a lot of questions in there.

Nurse: ‘”Do you know why you’re here?”
Me: “Yes, yes I do, for a colonoscopy.”
Nurse: “Have you ever had one before?”
Me: “Nope.”
Nurse: “Was there a specific reason for this one?”
Me: “Nope, apparently my doctor insists on one when you’re in your 50’s.”
Nurse: “Any other reason?”
Me: “Nope, it’s not like I volunteered for this, this was not my idea.” (I didn’t just wander in here ‘cause I had nothing better to do than get a camera shoved up my ass…how bored would I have to be?)
Nurse: “Did you do your prep?” (who the hell would show up without doing the required prep? my sense of humour runs dark and twisty but that’s just fucked)
Me: “Yes I did.”
Nurse: “Was it effective?”
Me: “Ya, my butt was exploding all night long, I’m going to go with effective.”

Get changed for the procedure. Get an IV put in. And wait.

The anesthesiologist comes to introduce himself – same questions, same answers.

Anesthesiologist: “It’s uncomfortable when the scope goes in, but fairly painless coming out, I usually allow my patients to start waking up as it’s being removed”.

Me: “Let me make this really clear, I want to be out cold for the entire procedure, in fact you can throw in a post colonoscopy nap, I didn’t get much sleep last night given my deep-seated desire to not shit the bed”.

The doctor comes out to introduce himself. More questions, more answers.

I get rolled into the colonoscopy suite. Before I roll onto my side as instructed, I tell the doctor he has a really strange job. He places the tip of the scope in (just the tip, yup…I said it) and says “You will be asleep in about 30 seconds”. I turned to face a monitor and there it is – the inside of my ass.

“No one should ever see the inside of their ass, that’s completely unnecessary and unnatural” and specifically to the anesthesiologist “for the record, I’m still wide awake”.

And then I wasn’t. I came to on my way out of the procedure room. The final stage will be laying in recovery passing a ridiculous amount of gas that was pumped into me. The anesthesiologist came over to make sure I was waking up okay, he said “you did great” to which I respond “I did nothing, literally nothing, I was asleep”.

I left the clinic after confirming that I could now go for lunch. I had no idea how long the Pico Salax is effective but I’m a little peckish (fkg starving!) and craving sushi. I’m hungry and I want to make sure it’s not going to blow straight through. Apparently, I can now safely eat.

~~~ the nasty wench ~~~

(For the record, got an all clear, clean sweep so to speak!)

a little odd that the Pico Salax packets specify “not to be taken unless advised by a doctor”…I’m not sure why else you’d take it…please don’t tell me.


Pico Salax packets

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