I turned 50 two years ago. Which means that, two years ago, I should have gotten a colonoscopy. This morning I finally got it done. I’m here to talk about the two reasons I put it off for so long and why both reasons turned out to be imaginary.
The preparation turned out to be easy. Yesterday I was on a clear-liquid diet. In the afternoon, I had a gallon of solution to drink. I imagined that I’d find myself making several mad dashes to the bathroom before my bowels exploded, and once I got there, I’d be as miserable as every time I was sick with diarrhea.
The truth is that, unlike having diarrhea, I wasn’t sick. Therefore, all the unpleasantness that comes from being sick wasn’t there. When I had to go, I walked (not ran) to the bathroom. What I passed was more liquid than solid. That’s it. No exploding bowels. None of the misery that I normally associate with having diarrhea, because I wasn’t sick. Nothing to it.
As for the procedure itself, any unpleasantness associated with that was alleviated by some wonder drugs. In my case, intravenous Versed and a pain medication starting with the letter F (I don’t remember the exact name*). The combination of these drugs had (and, 11 hours later is still having) some interesting effects. I never felt lightheaded, drunk, or knocked out. In fact, I didn’t feel much of anything. I have no idea how long the procedure took. I don’t know whether I dozed off, but the time seemed to go by very quickly. I’m sure the doctor was pyrooting around in there with the ’scope, but either I didn’t feel a thing or I have no memory of having felt a thing. It was like this: they injected the drugs in my IV, there was some activity in the room, and before I knew it, we were done.
In recovery, the good folks at Touro Infirmary brought me a full breakfast. I wasn’t expecting that, but after fasting for 36+ hours, I really appreciated it. The doctor said there were some small, benign-looking polyps that they removed—he described them as about the size of sesame seeds. I guess that was mentioned during the procedure, but I don’t remember it. Biopsy results next week, but it will be good news either way: (1) they’re benign, or (2) they’re not benign but we caught them way early. Most likely # 1, but if it’s # 2, that would still be good news.
They told me not to drive the rest of the day, due to the lingering effect of the drugs. I thought they were being over-cautious: at no point did I feel drunk or lightheaded. Nevertheless, I let Suzanne drive me home. Eleven hours later, as I write this post, I think I’ve been high all day. My mood meter has been registering 10 all day on a 1-10 scale. As much as I’d like to think that I’ve slain all my demons and healed all my psychic wounds, I’m compelled to reach one conclusion: Must be the drugs. Good thing they’re not over the counter.
* My sister the nurse (Gabrielle) says it was Fentanyl. Powerful stuff, especially when combined with Versed.