Rite of passage; a ritual event that marks a person’s transition from one status to another.
Colonoscopy; see Rite of passage.
I think you know where this is going. Literally.
Remember the Rites of Passage from growing up time?
- Working at the Cannery.
- Your first kiss.
- Getting your driver’s license.
- Graduating from school.
Well, I just experienced a MLC Rite of Passage – my first Colonoscopy.
I’m about 5 years late in getting a colonoscopy, and after listening to my doctor constantly remind me to get one, I finally decided to take the plunge, so to speak.
I originally had it scheduled for December of last year – but the flu/pneumonia one-two punch caused me to postpone it. Then our January vacation gave me reason to postpone it further. But alas, I can’t be putting this off any more. So I made the appointment.
Now, before getting into the nitty-gritties, the topic of Colonoscopy is quite popular. We talk about it during lunch, sharing stories while eating. No big deal. Even the medical assistant that was prepping me mentioned how the Colonoscopy is talked about at parties. The younger folks might even say that Colonoscopy is “trending” amongst the MLC crowd.
Now, one of the top reasons that people are hesitant to get a Colonoscopy is not the procedure itself – rather, it’s the prepping.
The night before my Colonoscopy was what I was dreading the most – drinking that special cocktail. People gave me tips like, mix it with Crystal Light, or suck on a lemon or lime after drinking it to help kill the taste – like you do with tequila. Yeah, right. And mostly everyone admitted that they didn’t finish drinking the whole milk-gallon jug of the nasty mix.
The morning of the day that I had to do my “cleansing”, I read the TriLyte instructions and had to decide what flavor powder I wanted to add to the mix. There was Orange, Pineapple, Lemon/Lime, Citrus/Berry, and Cherry. Since I love Pineapple, I decided to go with the Orange. See, I didn’t want to chance having a bad experience with it and end up hating Pineapple flavoring because of it – so I chose Orange. I mixed in the Orange flavor packet, filled it up with water and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
And since I had to be on a liquid diet for the day, Paula made me Lime jello for lunch. But I mostly just drank a Sierra Mist and sipped on Sencha tea all day.
When I got home, I started drinking the formula. It didn’t taste THAT bad, but it did take some focusing to keep it down. Then I tried the ol’ “hold your nose” trick and it worked. I downed the first cup. There was no turning back now!
After about 15 minutes, I held my nose and drank the second cup. Then a bit later, the third cup. And nothing. I thought “what if this stuff doesn’t work on me”. But after the 4th cup, the rumbling started. It was like there was a thunderstorm brewing in my stomach. I mean, just sound wise. No cramps or pains. Just rumbling.
So I took my charged up iPad with me into the bathroom to occupy my mind while my body did it’s thing. Only reason I got off was because it was time to drink another cup. Plus, one of my legs fell asleep. And Paula wanted to bocha. So after I drank the next Cup-o-Doodoo, I used the “pencil maneuver” (inside joke) until the bathroom was available once again. *We do have other toilets, but there’s something comforting about using your own throne.
Can you imagine if this was around during our small-kid-time – when there were at least 6 people living at home and there was just 1 bathroom?
So anyway, it wasn’t that bad, really. I only went through about 1/2 a roll of toilet paper. Other than my left leg falling asleep on the toilet, it took only about 5 or 6 seatings. And to prevent RBS (Raw Butthole Syndrome), I used the “tapping” technique when it came to wiping. Like how you tap dry your face with a towel instead of wiping hard. Okay, I could’ve chose a better example, but you get the idea. Just have to be careful and be sure to wipe the run-off on your butt-cheeks first so you don’t get it on your arms.
Somewhere around 11:00 PM the jug was about 90% empty. And so was I.
Then came the big day! Woo-hoo! Just for good measure, I woke up about 3 hours before my appointment and drank 1 more cup of the delicious mixture. Did my thing while reading the morning newspaper comics and I was good to go!
Actually, I did go once more. You know – for good luck.
I got to the Endoscopy Institute of Hawaii, checked in and about an hour before my scheduled appointment, my name was called. The pretty young girl (oh great – why couldn’t be one ugly old hag), took me into one of the prep rooms and gave me instructions to put on the gown (open side in the back) after removing all my clothes. Including underwear. I guess they have to add that last part in there. But she was really nice as she took my vitals and gathered information. And knowing that I was a Colonoscopy virgin, she was very gentle with me. She even asked me if I wanted a blanket since it was kinda cold. I accepted her offer and she came back with a nice warm blanket – like when you put on an article of clothing straight out of the dryer. It was nice. Then she asked if I wanted a magazine to read or if I wanted the light turned down a bit, but I was okay since my procedure was schedule for 10:00 – which was about a 1/2 hour away.
So I waited and waited. I must’ve dozed off a bit and I lost track of time. Then I overheard one of the nurses saying that it was 10 minutes until 11:00. How long was I sleeping!? And while I was behind the curtain, I could hear the nurse’s desk telling the other doctors that your so-and-so appointment cancelled because he said he vomited when trying to drink the solution. And another guy hurt his shoulder, so he cancelled too. I’ll bet the nurses must hear some doosies of excuses of people chickening out.
So after about 20 minutes more, they come into my waiting room and transport me into one of the procedure rooms. I’m lying there checking out all the technology and monitors and stuff. And listening to all the beeps and buzzes of the equipment. Then the doctor comes in and introduces herself. Dr. Bueno was a lot tinier that I expected. And there were a couple of other nurses in the room too. Wow, so much attention (not that I wanted it).
After stating my first and last name and my date of birth, and the reason that I was in there, they started getting to work.
I saw the nurse anesthetist inject something into the IV. But I didn’t feel sleepy. I was waiting for the nurse to say “Start counting down backwards from 10” because I wanted to see how far down I could count. But the next thing I know, she injected something else, I blinked, and that’s all I remember.
Actually, I do remember waking up a little during the procedure and feeling something weird – like a stomach cramp. But it was for maybe 3 seconds only and I was back out. It was almost like a dream.
Next thing I know, I woke up in a different room and all the things that were stuck, poked, and inserted in me were gone! Then I started trying to remember and I recall waking up for the short period. And then I thought “Hey! I didn’t get to count down backwards from 10! I got gypped!”.
The nurse in the recovery room offered me some juice and showed me copies of the reports. A few polyps removed and recommended again in 3-5 years because of the polyps and family history.
I got up from the bed, feeling a little drunk, but managed to get my clothes back on without falling to the floor. Then I went to the waiting area for Paula to pick me up and take me home.
Overall, it wasn’t that bad. In fact, it’s like how people drink a special juice mixture for a full week to do a “cleansing” of their system. But in this case, it’s done in one evening just by drinking the kaka-cocktail. And it’s a time to take advantage of the cleansing and start watching what you put into your body.
If any of you MLCers are 50 or over and haven’t done your Colonoscopy yet, schedule it! Medical insurance now covers a Colonoscopy procedure. And it’s not just a guy thing. Girls need to get checked too. Or if you notice blood in your doo-doo, check with your doctor right away.
And the biggest thing is – it may save your life! Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers today by early detection.
Plus, it’s a MLC Rite of Passage.
Have you had a Colonoscopy? How was your prepping experience? How did your procedure go? Do you have any helpful tips to pass on? Share your Colonoscopy stories with us. And on Thursday, we’ll talk about other Rites of Passages – so start thinking about them.