Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Colonoscopy: Uncensored

Before you click away from the screen, hear me out. There are hardly any first-hand accounts of colonoscopy experiences. There is a dearth of information about why they are important, how to prepare, etc., but very little is available on what exactly to expect with such a procedure. Some of you might have to go through this one day. Some of you need to schedule one. Ahem. Now you know what you're getting yourself into. Here goes my experience, in timeline form:

Sunday, 8/29, Two Days until Colonoscopy
11:00 am Clean and vacuum house & start laundry: This is an important step, considering the preparation, procedure and recovery for/from a colonoscopy (heretofore known as the big C) will take you out for two to three days

3:00 Shop for groceries: You'll need some fast, easy options for Dad and kids plus lots of delicious (ahem), nutritious, clear liquids for the patient (see below)

Monday, 8/30, Colonoscopy Eve
7:00 start clear liquid diet: juice, water, iced tea, gatorade, chicken broth, jello, popsicles (though not any foods with red food coloring)

9:00 finish laundry

12:00pm take 2 dulcolax tablets, hence beginning the expulsion process

5:30pm take 1 zofran in preparation for drinking prep solution, until you resemble a full, rolling water balloon. This medicine is intended to keep the delicious salty beverage from coming back up, instead working its way south and accomplishing its purposes

6:00pm start drinking 1 GALLON of C prep. It tastes like someone took an old lemon-lime gatorade bottle and filled it with sea water. You get a taste of lemon lime but it is not nearly enough to mask the salty, filthy flavor

Side note: did I mention you will be drinking 1 cup of this solution every 10 minutes? That is ONE GALLON of lemon-lime flavored SALT WATER in 2 hours and forty minutes. TWO DAYS' worth of water in 160 MINUTES. Be prepared for some bloating. I've thoughtfully included a picture for your viewing purposes. The picture on the left is of my pregnant belly at 18 weeks. the photo on the right is after consuming approximately 2/3 of the C prep.

7:40-10:45: go to bathroom. Frequently. Spend some time in bath, trying to relax. Get out. Go to bathroom. Get out, calm crying child. Get back in. Warm the water up. Get out, child is crying again. Get back in. Get out. Go to bathroom. Get out. Get in bed. Get out. Go to bathroom.

Another side note: See "Possible Side Effects"? I didn't vomit but the rest are a check, check, check, check, and checkity-check-check. Irritation is the worst. Baby wipes and bootie paste aren't just for babies, people. They are your friends.

Tuesday, 8/31, The Big Day
12:00 a.m. go to bathroom again

3:00 a.m. see previous line

5:00 a.m. see previous line

6:50 a.m. wake up suddenly, glance at clock, and inform husband it is time to MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! Get children dressed, fed, prepared for park play date with friend (extra clothes, sunscreen, diapers, etc). Pack yourself a lunch bag with jello and gatorade for when you come out, famished. Oh, and do this all with an excruciating headache, like someone was pounding on your head with a mallet while you slept.

7:30 leave house, drop kids off at playdate (thanks, Suz!), grumble at your spouse at least twice on the way to surgery center (you're hungry, tired, sore, and still fighting off a raging headache)

8:00 arrive at surgery center where procedure will take place

8:30 head back, get changed into ultra-fashionable surgery gown with bootie-baring opening. Be thankful you're not the only one wearing said garb. Receive IV (no vasovagal response! No fainting, anxiety, drop in BP, thank goodness!). Settle self down in lazy boy with magazines.

8:45-9:30 read two gossip magazines and consider yourself fully caught up on all celebrity goings-on. Look up occasionally to see doctors walking back and forth, MAs wheeling half-awake patients back and forth. Notice your warming blanket has grown cold. Consider asking for a new blanket but realize no one is coming to check on you.

9:35-10:35 walk into surgery room. Lie down. Make small talk with Ray, nurse and friend from last procedure. Mention you remember his kindness and TLC from two years ago. Smile as he straps you down and adheres various monitors, gives you oxygen (which tickles and kind of itches the skin under your nose). Engage in small talk with staff as they busy themselves around the room, getting you all prepped. Joke about going under as RN Ray administers the sleepy meds and wishes you a pleasant nap. Start counting to see how long it takes, lose track.
At some point during C, wake up, feel gas and pressure in nether region. See the live video feed of your colon on the screen above. Hear remarks from doctor. Realize this is not good news.
Flash-forward. Hear more remarks. Dr. is comparing last C results from two years ago with current ones. He is instructing staff as to how you can see multiple ulcerations, polyps that weren't there before. Hear disappointment.

Wake up barely, stand and turn around to sit in wheelchair. Get up again when you are delivered to lazy boy. Sit down, pass out. Wake up when a sweet old man joins you in the recovery room. You heard him talking earlier with the nurse and he has a gentle, warm smile. Wonder to yourself who is passing more gas, you or old man. Smile and go back to sleep.
Wake up. Nurse Ray says, "Look who's up! Ready to get dressed?" Nod. Start getting self dressed. Hear another nurse say, "Try not to stand up, ok?" Wonder if you got yourself dressed all previous times.

See hubby. Hear him talking with nurse. Think you hear nurse say "looks like 80 polyps." Wonder if that is even possible. Get in wheelchair. Wheel up the ramp to car. Get in. Talk for a few minutes. Realize that with polypectomy you will be on liquid diet at least two more days. Go to sleep.

11:30 Get home. Go upstairs. Get in bed. Eat two cups of jello. Drink a glass of gatorade. Go to sleep.

3:30 Wake up. FOUR hours later. Remember hearing your son go down for a nap, hearing his sweet "Nigh, nigh" as they climbed the stairs. Remember hearing hubby take shower and head to work. Think to yourself that mother and sister-in-law are at your house, but ask just to make sure you aren't home alone with two kids.

3:45 Go downstairs. Kiss son, check in with daughter. Drink a big glass of water. Realize you are starving but don't know what to eat. Open fridge and stare at delicious options available: gatorade, water, jello, chicken broth, popsicles. Make yourself a delicious treat of chicken broth mixed with vegetable broth. Sip slowly. Son climbs in lap, snuggles, stays for 15 minutes and helps you finish broth. Be amazed that he even likes the stuff. Relish those 15 minutes.

4:15 Hear mother-in-law announce they're taking the kids overnight. See packed bags sitting on counter. Kiss kids goodbye. Lay down on couch.

4:30-9:30 Lay on couch, tired, watching t.v., getting up occasionally for another glass of beverage. Go pee at least once an hour. Weird.

9:30 Go to sleep

Wednesday, 9/1, Day After
7:45 wake up 10 1/4 hours later. Wonder how it is Wednesday already
8:00 miss kiddos. Wonder why you still feel so tired and worn down. Look at recovery instructions from doctor and realize you're not supposed to drive a car for a full 24 hours after procedure. Realize you still have sleepytime meds coursing through body and resign self to sitting down, checking up on email, etc. Start colonoscopy blog.
9:00-11:00 chill
11:00 pick up some groceries
12:00 make your own chicken broth because the boxed stuff tastes like metal
1:00 nap
2:00 wake up, watch t.v., wait for kiddos to come home
4:00 kiddos home! Loves all around
5:00 feed family dinner. You're up! You're moving! You can even cook again!
7:30 get back to blog

There you have it! Three full days.

1 comment:

mel @ the larson lingo said...

Becky! Oh my gosh! What an poor thing! That was exhausting to read about. I am so sorry! I hope you have recovered...almost 2 weeks later!