A colonoscopy is an internal examination of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, using an instrument called a colonoscope.
There, I've said it. And that's what I had today.
Medical tests are a little scary and always a nuisance. But often to assure your health, they are necessary. The right tests done at the right time discovered my uterine cancer at an early stage and hopefully, led me to a successful surgery and and end to my cancer.
Fortunately, today's test offered a good report with no serious issues.
I just thought I should fill you all in on the basic details to give you some sense of what's involved to encourage you to get yourself examined.
I ate a light diet on Sunday, but on Monday, the day before my test, I was on a clear liquid diet all day. The only problem with that was realizing just how many advertisements there are on television for food. Burgers, pizza, diets, tacos, and mothers serving tasty dishes to their families fill the TV screen time after time. And local pizza parlors baking their wares waft enticing smells across shopping center parking lots. You just have to grit your teeth and drink..but that includes clear beef broth which isn't bad.
At about 3 PM on Monday, I took a tablet included in my bowel prep kit. Nothing much happened at that point. But I did have to mix up a bottle of 2 lliters of a solution to drink later. At 6 PM, I started drinking 8 ounces of the solution every fifteen minutes. Within a half hour, the solution began--to put it politely--flushing out my bowels. I learned to be light of foot in a race to the bathroom for about the next two hours. I am pretty sure I was well cleaned out by then.
Monday morning, I had my wonderful friend, Donna, drive me to the hospital. There I checked in for my test. I have to commend the doctor as I was scheduled for the procedure at 9:45 AM and I was in the test room before 10 AM, so there was virtually no wait.
Just as a side note here, they told me to keep my shoes and socks on during the procedure. I found that a bit strange, but it was nice to be able to keep my feet warm with my own socks instead of those hospital fuzzy things I've worn before.
I met my lovely doctor. I'd made arrangements for the scoping through phone calls and mail, using a physician my general doctor had highly recommended. So as strange as it seems the first time I met my gastroenterologist was a few minutes before my procedure began. She was really nice, by the way, and I felt very comfortable with her.
Then an equally nice anesthesiologist explained that I was going to to into "twilight sleep." Supposedly this is a light anesthesia where the patient is not fully asleep. He said some people stay a little aware of what's going on, some just get kind of "loopy," and the rest might be like me, because in less than a second, I was out like a light.
I have no idea at all what went on from there. Not only was the test completely painless, but I felt nothing at all. And when I woke up in the recovery room at around 10:40 or so, I felt absolutely fine. My doctor came in to tell me that all was well, except for a little diverticulitis--very common in people my age (61) and that I needed to be careful eating seeds and nuts. She also showed me a photo of my insides. I would have liked to have studied the pics a bit more, my I wasn't quite 100% fully awake yet, so I didn't.
By 11:05, I was in a wheelchair being "driven" down to the front of the hospital to wait for my ride home.
Fact is, aside from the test prep stuff--drinking two liters of the solution and the consequences was not very pleasant--the whole thing was a cinch.
I was not allowed to drive or sign any contracts for at least 12 hours afterwards--a precaution after having anesthesia--and I could eat and drink anything I wanted.
So, there you go. Not exactly the most pleasant topic for my blog, but if it encourages one more person to have this important examination, then it was worth it.