Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"The Prep"

I had an epiphany today: I figured out why the word "anal" became a slang term.  Like after you spend a lot of precious computer/nap time sweeping and mopping the floor then someone walks by eating a cookie, dropping crumbs on it.  You scold them and they say "Geez, you're so anal!" And you wonder what cookie crumbs on a clean floor have to do with the butt.
I had a colonoscopy today.  Everyone who's ever had one will be quick to tell you that the procedure is nothing, it's "The Prep", the day before, that's sheer torture.  Forcing yourself to drink ten glasses of chemicals while not being allowed to eat solid food is just Level 1 of the torture.  Level 2 involves expelling said ten glasses of chemicals from your colon, which occurs over endless hours with very little warning.  Hint: Buy Depends, you'll thank me later.  Level 3 is all about the mental stress and paranoia.  For instance, while I'm preparing meals for Jordan and hubby, what if I absentmindedly pop something into my mouth as I always do?  From 4-5 days ahead you are not supposed to eat seeds, nuts, and popcorn.  Well I forgot about nuts in cookies and seeds in tomatoes, leading to ridiculous anxiety.  "OMG, how could I be so stupid, I ATE TOMATOES!!!!"
I was explaining to Jordan about the wonders of technology and how far we've come in less than 20 years.  From cassette tapes to mp3's, from room-sized computers to iPads, from floppy disks holding a few photos to mini SD cards holding thousands, etc. etc.  So why why why do we still have to go through the torture of "The Prep"??!!  WHERE ARE OUR PRIORITIES!!?  Why aren't scientists on this?  Surely they get colonoscopies themselves?  [Possibly once a scientist hits 50--the colonoscopy age--he somehow loses his juju?  That explains a lot!]
Worst of all, something occurred to me a week before I began "The Prep": What if after I go through all this the day before, the appointment gets postponed or cancelled the day of the procedure?   This was my third colonoscopy and somehow that had never occurred to me before. (See how age makes you wiser?)  I was horrified to have this even enter my mind!   So guess what happens next?  Tropical Storm Flossie.  Remember "The Secret" where the Universe gives you stuff? Yes, this storm formed because I had that "what if" thought.  It was scheduled to hit Kauai on the very morning of my colonoscopy appointment.  As if "The Prep" weren't stressful enough, now I had to pray that the storm either sped up or slowed down.  Happily it obliged and dissipated.  You're welcome Kauai!

So finally "The Prep" is over and the time comes to go the hospital.  I hobble to the truck and struggle--with sound effects "ow ow ow"--to sit comfortably, wishing I had one of those donut cushions.  We arrive at the hospital and I am not making this up: The very moment we pushed open the doors of Same Day Surgery and stepped into the hallway, lights started flashing and an alarm began ringing, along with a voice saying something about a fire and evacuating. Was I having a nightmare?!  We asked, "Is this a drill?" and an employee replied no, but hopefully a false alarm.  As a group of us gathered outside, I said, "I don't care if they have to do the colonoscopy on me in the parking lot, I'm having it done TODAY!!"  Apparently that spectacle had to be avoided at all costs, so we were allowed back into the building just seconds after my announcement.
The surgeries were behind schedule so I had to wait longer than the half hour they'd estimated when I checked in.  About an hour later, I was understandably worried and this is what I overheard next in the next cubicle.  Again, I am not making this up (although I am paraphasing since I forget the exact words):  "So sorry, Mr. So-and-So, you'll have to come back again tomorrow.  You're already cleaned out, but we're going to give you some more laxative to drink tonight, ok?  Yes....sooo sorry"  I'm pretty sure my face turned white.   I expected a nurse to peek in and say,  "So sorry, Mrs., the doctor is cancelling everyone's colonoscopies this afternoon...."

Well about twenty minutes later the cheerful nurse did peek in, but it was to say it was finally my turn.  They wheeled me into the surgery room, put a mask and monitor on me, and the doctor had me sign on the dotted line.  I considered thanking him for showing up for work, but thought "Don't jinx this...the power might still go out..or another fire alarm, etc." plus I was getting sleepy.  The next thing I knew, I was back in my little cubicle.  The doctor came in and announced that everything had gone well and I had no polyps.  He left me the report complete with a couple of photos of my squeaky clean colon, and he had even noted "bowel preparation was excellent".  I think my happiness at that moment surpassed landing on time in Paris. 
After not having any solid food for 40 hours I'd been fantasizing about my first meal, but after seeing his report, and thinking of all I went through for my "excellent bowel preparation" and squeaky clean colon, it seemed like an atrocity that I was about to mess it up with the tea and graham crackers the nurse had left me.  And that, my friends, was the "aha moment" when I saw the connection between a clean floor and one's butt.  I'm pretty sure that term "anal" was coined by someone who had just gone through "The Prep."

Update:  It's close to a week since "The Prep" and I still find myself stopping before putting food in my mouth---especially tomatoes!


  1. What's truly funny is that funny things happen to me! But maybe they happen to's just that I report on mine. *LOL*

  2. oh dear you had a colonoscopy on my birthday!?? :) thank you for sharing, however, it'll help me prepare (or maybe incite more anxiety!??) when i have to do mine. you are a really good writer, keep it up!

  3. Actually I had it on the 30th, but by the time I finished writing and posted, it was the 31st. You're welcome! *LOL*

    Yeh, the "incite more anxiety" occurred to me, but I just had to write this anyway, couldn't resist!

    Some helpful hints: Get different flavors of the prep drinks for variety. Make sure to chill them. Apply Vaseline BEFORE "it" begins, not afterwards. Also, I started an hour later than recommended since my appointment was scheduled late morning. Big mistake because "it" kept me up later.

  4. Enjoyed reading your colonoscopy story. Made me laugh so much!


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