Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Colonoscopy/Endoscopy: The Dreaded Double

Growing old.  It's not for the faint of heart.   I'm in my early sixties and  I've heard 60 is the new 40.  Don't believe that for a moment. 60 is still 60 and the only thing new are the  aches, pains and illnesses that I didn't  have in my 40s.   Among the indignities of getting older is the colonoscopy.  Yes. The colonoscopy, where a doctor snakes a "thin flexible tube" with  a camera attached into the rectum and way, way up into your large intestine.  The tube is anywhere from 4 to 6 feet long.  In this case I guess size does matter.  Obviously there is a camera attached to the tube along with the ability to take tissue samples,  if  God forbid, they see something they don't like.  As an added bonus, my doctor threw in an endoscopy.  An endoscopy is another thin flexible tube this time inserted in your mouth and goes down into your stomach.  Hopefully they don't do it simultaneously and meet in the middle.  Lucky for me I will be heavily sedated.  if I wasn't sedated for this I would probably lose my mind.  Imagine laying on your side, ass exposed, strangers milling about, machines blinking and making noises, blinding white light, nurses chatting about their weekend, all the while some  dude is snaking a thin flexible tube up your ass.  Nope. Not for me, thank you very much!  "I'll take heavy sedation for two hundred, Alex."  And lo and behold I hit the Daily Double because an endoscopy and colonoscopy, when done at the same time, is affectionately called by my gastroenterologist a "double." Yes, we are going to do a double on you. I urge you not to look that up on Urban Dictionary.   Okay. You did.   Satisfied?   I shudder to think what a triple would be.  

Anyway, the intestine has to be squeaky clean thus necessitating a colon cleanse.  Now I'm not going to go into detail on this but suffice to say, you-

1. fast (no food, liquids ok)
2. drink some horrible tasting liquid 
3. stay close to the toilet for the next 12 hours
4. stay real close to the toilet for the next  12 hours
5. essentially live in the bathroom for the next 12 hours

Now I've been hearing a lot on the radio about DZ10.   It's the  new miracle fat loss supplement  that, of course, promises you weight loss without actually changing anything in your lifestyle like adding in silly things such as  diet changes and exercise.  I mean, why bother with sweating and eating heathy right? Their claim is I have anywhere from 4 to 22 pounds of undigested food in my intestines. I can't even imagine  all of that food just rotting inside my colon.    Four to twenty-two pounds mind you, of undigested food just sitting there festering away. Makes perfect sense right? Somewhere in there is the pizza I had three weeks ago.   That works out to an average of 13 pounds if my math is correct.  so I weigh 179  and after drinking this stuff I will be down to a svelte 166 which is what I weighed in college.  So lucky for me, I'll check to make sure I don't have cancer AND drop two waist sizes.  A win-win if I ever saw one.  

The doctor gave a me detailed set of instructions as to what I can eat.  I call it the Solitary Confinement Diet because  here is my food for the next 24 hours.  Broth, water, gatorade, tea, coffee, Jello and popsicles. Now, ever since  I was a kid I hated Jello so that's out, and the popsicles can't be red or purple because we don't want the food dye to show up as cancer, and since they are all pretty much red or purple,  that's out as well.  They should have thrown me in a jail cell because after a few hours of not eating food I was ready to murder someone and the cops always look at the husband first.  So that's out too!

Four o'clock rolls around and we need to start the cleanse.   I  drink the first 8 ounces.  Hmmmm. Slight lemony flavor combined with a heaping dose of salt, sour and bitter.     To call it vile would be an insult to the word vile.  This stuff is beyond disgusting and  I have to drink 8 ounces of this stuff every 15 minutes.  Then the fun begins.  I'll spare you the details.  They are not pretty.  Then, I have to do it all over again at 12 midnight.  Fun is.  Fun is actually not doing this at all.  Fun is not burning a precious Sunday staying within spitting distance of the toilet.  Finally this ordeal is over and at two in the morning, I fall asleep.

After a short nap I run to the scale and weigh myself.  I am visualizing size 30 waist jeans.  I will be buying out Nordstrom's.  I am quivering with excitement as I leap on the scale and...WTF?  I went from a 179 to 177.  Huh?  What?  two pounds?  What about all the massive amounts of rotting sludge that was supposed to come out?  What about the losing two waist sizes?  Two pounds is from the fact that I haven't eaten in two days and I'm slightly dehydrated.  I throw away the Nordstrom's catalog in disgust.  

We get to the hospital at the scheduled time and are whisked in to the pre-op.  After verifying who I am, I get prepped for surgery.  Johnny coat, IV-line, endlessly repeating that I am Barry A. Scott, my birthday and what procedure I am having done today. As if this is as simple as giving someone else your pee so they can pass a drug test.  "Sure I'll stand in for YOUR colonoscopy! What are bro's for?"   I will be given propofol, the drug that caused Michael Jackson to have an early demise.  Let's hope I have better luck than he did, or at the very least, don't moonwalk with six feet of hose dangling out of my ass.  

 Then I'm wheeled in and put under.  I'm always a bit skeptical about getting put under.  I mean, I'm essentially naked, in a room full of strangers, and to make matters worse, i'm heavily sedated.  Are they taking selfies?  Are they laughing at my body?  Am I moonwalking?  I don't know.  And you know what? I probably don't want to know.  Except for maybe the moonwalk.  Just sayin'.

I wake up in post op after about an hour and half.  The doctor comes in, shows me a few pictures of my insides, tells me they removed a few polyps and when the pathology report comes back he will get in touch.  He had a "don't worry look and attitude."  I asked him about the polyps he said nothing to be concerned about.  I like that.  I go home and have some coffee, eggs and toast... the first solid food in two days.  And now, because I still have some propofol in my system I promptly pass out.    

Oh, one more thing.  Did I mention that they inflate you with air?  Of course I didn't.  Well, in order to have a clear view of of your colon they literally blow you up.  Well, what goes in must come out and, let's just say, it will be a little noisy today.  Good night.  

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