All Systems Clear

3 minute read

During my last physical, my doctor mentioned that 45 is now the recommended age for most people to start getting colonoscopies. I had expected to wait until I was fifty before I had to worry about it. But after a bunch of procrastinating, I finally got it done.

I probably did more research than I needed to. But I needed something to quell my anxiety. I didn’t plan for it to take place just before Christmas. But, with the hospital’s availability and my work schedule, last week was the best time.

One challenge I had was figuring out what to eat beforehand. I knew I needed three days of a low-fiber diet and then one day of an all-liquid diet before the procedure. I figured these foods would also help me ease back into my regular diet.

I had a mix of tuna, steamed rice, steamed carrots, white bread, eggs, and creamy peanut butter for three days. It wasn’t a bad diet, and I never felt hungry.

Switching to a liquid diet was a bit more challenging. I had to drink 8 oz of fluids each hour I was awake. As someone who drinks water all day, this wasn’t too bad. I just set an hourly timer. I supplemented my water with cold-brew coffee, 7UP, apple juice, Jell-O, and chicken broth.

The purging liquid wasn’t too bad. I’ve heard people say that it tastes like salty lemonade. I didn’t detect either of those flavors. It was like thicker water.

While purging, I had to drink 8 oz every ten minutes. Even though I started when I was supposed to, I wish I had started earlier in the day. I should have calculated how long the process would take and ended up going to sleep later than I wanted.

With Rachel as my driver, we left the house at 6:20 AM for my 7:00 AM appointment. Even though the hospital is about fifteen minutes away, we accounted for wintery driving conditions. But, aside from being chilly, the roads were decent, and we made it there safely with twenty minutes to spare.

After checking in, I waited maybe ten-twenty minutes before being called back. Not being allowed to wear a watch made it challenging to keep track of time. But, once the nurse called me back, things moved quickly without feeling rushed.

I changed into a hospital gown and lay there as they connected a blood pressure monitor, heart rate monitor, and IV. I met half a dozen people who came into my room to ask me various medical questions and see how I was doing.

Then, two nurses wheeled me into the operating room. I, again, verified my identity and procedure. They gave me an oxygen mask and asked me to roll onto my side. They spent a few minutes helping me to adjust my position. I apparently drifted off because the next thing I remembered was waking back up in the recovery room.

Initially, I had some intestinal pain. They explained that this was normal and that I’d need to expel some gas. After doing that for a bit, I could get dressed and check out.

We got home just after 9:00 AM. So, the whole event was much quicker than I had expected. Though, I ended up lying down for a bit until any remaining cramps and gas had left. I slowly transitioned back to a solid diet by the end of the day.

The doctor mentioned that they got a clean scope and found no issues. So, I don’t need to go back for another decade. Based on the responses I gave to their questioning, one of the nurses said that I must have actually read the preparation instructions. I’m sure this contributed to getting a clean scope. Besides, I certainly didn’t want to go through the process again.

Next time, I’ll be less likely to procrastinate. The whole procedure was far better and more accessible than I anticipated. The only other change would be to keep drinking fluids during and after the purging. I was dehydrated in the morning, making it more challenging to get the IV needle in. Regardless, I’m glad I got it done.