I've finally come to terms with the fact that I am over 50. It has taken three years for me to get there but I find myself realizing that I AM 53 and over due for "The Dreaded Colonoscopy".
Oh, I have thought about it for these three years and each time, although I know the importance of the screening process, have totally been freaked out by the possibility of having the procedure done. There's really nothing about the entire thing that doesn't give me serious anxiety:
1. Someone putting a tube up your butt.
2. Walking into the surgery center. For a procedure. Of ANY kind.
3. Needles. Specifically having an IV put in. Yes, I gave birth to four children AND had epidurals
with all 4. Don't judge me. I was young. I had no fear. And I got a baby out of the deal.
4. The "cleanse". OH CRAP (literally). Have you read the danger literature included in that stuff?!
Possibility of dehydration, seizures and even death. WHY do I read that literature?!
5. Not getting to have my coffee with creamer. Two mornings in a row. Pure insanity.
6. Sitting on the toilet for...EVER apparently (ugh!).
7. Did I mention getting a TUBE STUCK UP YOUR BUTT?!?!
I have thoroughly researched "The Colonoscopy" for the past couple of weeks leading up to mine, both online and talking to people who have already experienced theirs. Here is some of the advice I have gotten:
1. Just go ahead and mark 2 days off of your calendar. One for the "cleanse" because you won't
be able to leave the house (lovely mental picture there.) And one for the procedure day because
you will have anesthesia AND will be tired from sitting on the toilet all night long (again...lovely
2. You won't be able to leave the bathroom so set up a little table in there for your drinks (ewww...),
grab a good book and a pillow (for sleeping on the floor between bout of crapping I suppose.)
3. Don't worry, it's not like a stomach virus, you won't have cramping you will just "go". WHAT?!
That sounds a bit dangerous to me. Should I invest in a package of adult diapers?!
AND THIS IS ONLY A SAMPLING OF ADVICE THAT I RECEIVED PROIOR TO THE PROCEDURE!
The next thing I did in an attempt to ease my mind was to search the Internet not only about the procedure but also about the prep I had chosen, Prepopik. Let me share with you something about this idea: DON'T DO IT! Just DON'T. Nothing good can come out of searching the Internet or knowing what others' experiences have been because if you are like me, a "dreader", it does absolutely nothing to ease your mind. However, saying that, "dreaders" cannot help themselves. They must continue to search until the moment is upon them. Which at that point...THEY FREAK OUT!
And so, I made my appointment, scheduled my procedure day, researched until my computer keyboard was worn out and then Sunday, the day of my prep, was finally upon me...(sigh).
I chose Sunday as my prep day because I wanted to get this thing over with at the beginning of the week. For me, there would be no good time. Ever. Sunday consisted of going on a liquid diet. My fear of dehydration was real so I began to consume jello (I had forgotten why I don't eat jello. I hate it. BUT...when you're starving you will eat anything.), chicken bouillion, Gatorade, Sprite, water, coffee and white grape juice. Nothing could be red or purple. Of course, since those are the only good tasting flavors in the "Liquid Diet World" (hmph!). I had so many liquids beforehand that I actually started "going" before I took the prep.
And then, the dreaded hour was upon me: 6 pm. That was to be the first dosage of the Prepopik. I wasn't dreadful at first, however, as the night progressed I mentioned to Hubby that I thought I was most likely getting a hemorrhoid from all the activity. My second dosage was at 1:30 am. Yep...there was pretty much no sleeping going on for me that night. I think finally around 3-ish I fell asleep and then awoke around 5:30 to take a bath and dress for my appointed time to arrive at the surgery center, 6:30 am Monday.
I knew that Monday was not going to go easy for me. Remember, I said the entire process freaked me out. And by that I mean it caused real anxiety. When having the consult with my doctor I told him that anxiety would play a big role in this entire process for me and he assured me that I could have something put in my IV that would calm me down a bit before I went back for my procedure.
I signed all of the consent forms and then was taken to the back pretty quickly to get my IV and vitals taken. And, of course, put on that lovely gown that splits up the back. I didn't like the fact that I had to go back there to do all that stuff alone. They told the Hubs that they would call for him to come back soon. I watched as the nurse laid all of the equipment out to put my IV in. And, yes, I have had not only IV's before but the epidural before mentioned. This was somehow different and suddenly things were getting real in that room. And that's when I started to panic. I looked away, tried to take deep breaths, basically attempted to self soothe myself; I was like a crying child searching for his pacifier. Unfortunately it wasn't working very well for me.
Hubby came back finally and found me wide-eyed and about to bolt from the room. He knew an anxiety attack was eminent as tried to talk me down off of the ledge. And let me interject here that, yes, I do realize that my behavior was over-the-top, however, one cannot control anxiety. It just doesn't happen that way. And as I lay there counting the tiles on the ceiling with tears in my eyes, I said, "I just don't want to be here; I don't want to do this." That was when he took my hand, prayed over me and then as soon as the doctor walked in asked them to give me something to calm my nerves (I told ya he was a "keeper").
Once I was given medication to ease my anxiety and something for nausea, the surgery nurse came and rolled me down the hall. I wasn't freaking out but I really didn't want to see the inside of that surgery suite or the equipment it held. The nurse anesthetist told me she was about to administer the medication that would put me out and I remember talking to her and then the next thing I remember was someone tapping me on my shoulder saying, "It's time to wake up." I was in recovery.
I heard Hubby's voice saying, "If you wake up we can get outta here." I managed to get my eyes open and he informed me that all went well and I wouldn't need another colonoscopy for quite some time (Whew!). I had survived the entire process from cleanse to procedure. I felt such relief now that it was over and all I wanted to do was go home and sleep.
I realize that some of you may be thinking..."Wow, this whole post is a little melodramatic." Well, it may be, but that is just how I roll. For me, this "You're now 50 so it's time for your first colonoscopy thing" was a black cloud hanging over my head that grew bigger and bigger with each year that passed. And the bigger that black cloud grew, the more dread and anxiety built up inside of me. After reading the statistics of those who either put off having this procedure or forgo it entirely, I don't believe that I am the only one with this problem. I have checked it off of my list and now the sun is out again!
***If you are 50 and have not had your colonoscopy yet, just get it over with...quickly. Make that
appointment, meet with a doctor and schedule it. How important is this matter? Click HERE
to find out.***