My Colonoscopy – NOT a book report
Colonoscopy – a new concept for me
A little over two years ago, I closed my fifth decade on this earth and turned 50. My body celebrated the occasion by breaking out with diabetes and since then hypothyroid and a couple of other minor annoyances. I had a family doctor who kept talking to me about having a colonoscopy. Mind you, not mildly and in passing but at every opportunity. To wit, I would go to her with a sore throat and/or viral infection and she would tell me to go for a colonoscopy; the same would happen with muscle pain or any other symptom with which I presented. I kept insisting that my family doesn’t have a history of colorectal cancer, thank G-d; that in our family we have a host of other cancers that show up to keep us company before we cross over to the other world.
I put it off and put it off and kept rejecting any and all recommendations for this test until recently, one day when I spoke with my father, he almost cried and said “I don’t want to lose my daughter because she did not do a test that could have been done.” Okay so finally I phoned and scheduled the colonoscopy and a couple of weeks prior, went to my newer and wonderful family doctor to get prescriptions for everything I needed to prep.
This doctor is a very intelligent woman but sometimes not too grounded. It was good that I paid her a clinic visit because she noticed that what she gave me was a referral for a gastroscopy. Well, let’s just say that we’ll keep that our secret, just between us. She printed out a new referral for colonoscopy as well as the prescriptions.
Now, firstly, instead of prescribing Picolax® for the colon cleansing prep, she prescribed Meroken™, a white powder that comes in a 3 liter jug to which you add water and mix. This thing smells citrusy and I added a lemon flavored syrup but hey, slime is slime and the slimy texture was not improved, even with chilling the solution. Over approximately 4 hours, I drank the sludge and began cleaning out. I paid much less visits than I expected from what I heard; I attribute that to my holistic lifestyle and mostly natural diet. My system is pretty clean to start with and I simply did not have that much to dispose of. I went to sleep and upon awaking to the alarm, diligently gave myself that ubiquitous fleet enema, after which I stepped right into the shower and then dressed to go.
My friend Esty, who graciously and generously offered to accompany me, met me downstairs and we drove to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem. Mind you, this hospital campus is a small town. We parked and then went up in the elevator, across many corridors, down another elevator in the Sharrett Center and found level -1, Gastroenterological imaging.
I went through the mandatory check in and then a young National Service girl called me to my bed in the recovery ward. I was near the window. She put a yellow ID bracelet on me and explained that I was to undress from the waist down and could leave only my socks on. I was to wear a gown open in the back and that I could cover with a sheet that was folded at the foot of the gurney. I did as I was told and they kept telling Esty that she HAD to guard my valuables. I also removed my eyeglasses and put them safely in my purse. My appointment was for 09:45 but they did not take me to the examination room until after 11:00.
Where IS that vein?
First this woman tried to insert an IV cannula but she couldn’t find my vein in either arm. Then, this man called Felix showed up and began poking me unsuccessfully. I told him it hurt and he asked me what I have to say about it, so I told him “You’re hurting me and you should use a lighter touch and a finer hand.” The little guy said “I say that if you didn’t move your hand all the time, we would be done with this already.” I told him “You know, you have some nerve and I’m only sorry I didn’t record what you just said. Believe me, if I did move my hand, you’d feel it!” Felix, which where I was raised is the name of a cat, became very quiet. After poking me in various places about 6 times, the professor came over and said “The cleansing prep often dehydrates the patient, making it very hard to locate the veins.” The mature physician gently took my left hand in his shaky hands and inserted the cannula. Professor Zimmerman won my heart with his wonderful bedside manner.
Once the cannula was in, the young woman injected the sedative into my system and I was sedated but not completely out. From time to time, I remember seeing parts of my inner self on the screen and hearing Zimmerman excitedly say “It’s clear, look at that! Okay, let’s go further!” When it was over, they wheeled me to recovery where Esty awaited me. The woman who wheeled my gurney, named Luba, said “All is in order, all is fine.” According to Esty, I told her “I told you so!”
I wish that someone would have told me to take off the following day and rest up at home. Instead, I went to work. I found that I was not able to either sit or walk and that everything below my waist was swollen and painful. I was not prescribed painkillers. The sedative was still in my system because at some point, I saw the floor at shoulder height and the room was spinning.
What blows my mind is that too often people say “Oh, it’s nothing,” or “It’s no big deal.” Well, unless you’re used to having certain parts of your anatomy stretched, it’s a VERY big deal. In fact, it’s sodomy and even more because they penetrate the ENTIRE colon!
An experience like this raises the question of whether there is anything to look forward to in getting older.