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Old 02-05-2013, 10:32 PM   #1
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Dave Barry's Colonoscopy Journal

For those of you who have already had one, it's fairly accurate and funny.

For those of you who haven't had one yet, it's fairly accurate and funny.


I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make
an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.

I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, ‘HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!’

I left Andy’s office with some written instructions , and a prescription for a product called ‘MoviPrep,’ which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America’s enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.

Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavour.

Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here I am being kind – like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon..

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humour, state that after you drink it, ‘a loose, watery bowel movement may result.’

This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. T here are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, ‘What if I spurt on Andy?’ How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked..

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.

At first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house..

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anaesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.

Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anaesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, ‘Dancing Queen’ had to be the least appropriate.

‘You want me to turn it up?’ said Andy, from somewhere behind me.

‘Ha ha,’ I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like..

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling ‘Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,’ and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.

Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:52 PM   #2
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Yes it sounds terrifying to some, but I have had two so far and IMO it sounds worse than it really is.

You can elect to stay awake during the procedure or be put to sleep - I elect to be put to sleep.

And as stated in the article, it is a great feeling to be told after you wake up that everything is good and you don't need another one for 10 years.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:58 PM   #3
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snooper

My prep was called "Go-litely" and there was nothing "lite" about it, although it was better than some bouts of dysentery I've had.
Oh, and Dave forgot about the residual air in your system and the flying around the room like a balloon when they finished.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:08 PM   #4
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I tell my patients every day the prep is the worst part of the whole thing. Not a single one believes me until they are waking up in recovery with zero knowledge of what just transpired. The only thing they know is they now have a belly full of air that they now will be spending the rest of the day passing. And for those of you who don't understand the importance of following the instructions and having a good prep, here is why..... If you come in not clean we will either, send you home to do it again, make you drink more not so yummy stuff there and have your procedure several hours later, or attempt your procedure. If procedure is attempted and you are too dirty to properly see or advance the scope safely we stop the procedure, you are charged for a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy depending on how far we get, and then sent to reprep and come back some day soon. If we attempt and get all the way around but can't see well enough to really look for polyps then you are brought back years earlier than you might otherwise have been. Additionally, at this point we could tell you that you don't have cancer but we couldn't see well enough to find and remove smaller polyps that could become cancerous. Remember colon cancer is the most preventable and treatable cancer out there. Do your prep, follow all of your instructions and Get your screenings! Ok getting off my soapbox now.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:16 PM   #5
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As much as I hate to, I am going to add my experience!

Everything was about the same up until they got ready to put in the IV line. I told the nurse I didn't want any drugs or anasthesia (sp?). It took some convincing but she didn't put a line in me. I went into the procedure fully alert. I talked to the doctor and watched the whole thing on the monitor as he inserted the tube and removed it. I had some mild discomfort as the "hose" snaked through my large intestine. But overall, I thought it was really cool to look at my own appendix from inside of my colon!

Afterwards, I got off the table and drove myself home -- no waiting around for drugs to wear off, etc. I know this isn't for everyone, but it worked fine for me. I was never in anything close to pain. It was mostly just an odd feeling to feel that hose turning corners inside my chest.

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Old 02-05-2013, 11:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B47 View Post
Yes it sounds terrifying to some, but I have had two so far and IMO it sounds worse than it really is.

You can elect to stay awake during the procedure or be put to sleep - I elect to be put to sleep.

And as stated in the article, it is a great feeling to be told after you wake up that everything is good and you don't need another one for 10 years.

I recommend being sleepy, approximately 1% of the population do this awake. If you are skinny your colon will be twisty which equals cramping... Meds make you unaware of this. If you have had any surgery on your abdomen (think hernia, appendix, gall bladder, hysterectomy, tubal ligation, c-section, bowel resection etc) then you will have scar tissue that has probably adhered to the colon. This will stretch and pull during the procedure causing discomfort. Again, meds will make this much more comfortable. If you elect to do this without sedation.... The ones who do the best go in mentally prepared that they can do this. They are capable of staying relaxed and taking slow deep breaths when having discomfort. If you can do this and haven't had any abdominal surgeries then you could be among the 1% that do fine this way. That said, many patients who had sedation say it is the best sleep they have had. If you get sedated, understand you cannot work, drive, sign any legal documents or do any activity that requires your full mental capacity for 12 hrs. This is not the day to buy a car or house or fly to another city by yourself. It is the day to go home, take a nap or be queen or king of the TV remote.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:27 PM   #7
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Vasnipe- we decided golytely was a cruel joke of a name.... Or maybe it is because you tread lightly trying to make it to the bathroom without having an accident.


Ok folks..... This is easy stuff.... Stay healthy, get your colonoscopy. It is not a bad experience. The bad rep is from the years when colonoscopies first emerged. They have come a long ways and are really very civilized and not an uncomfortable process anymore. I look forward to seeing you in the colonoscopy center!
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:26 AM   #8
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First of all, just do it. The options are worse.
But I wouldn't say it is always easy-squeezy.
When I had my first, I just had a spinal, and stayed awake. There was definitely some discomfort as inject air to expand the colon, but nothing exceptional.
For my second, I decided to get put under. But the last thing I heard before passing out was "ooops, it shouldn't be going into the bag, turn that valve there"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The anaethesiologist was training a new guy, and instead of injecting the knockout juice into my arm, he shot it into the drip bag. I think what they did after that was give it to me the right way, but left the bag full of dope on drip, because when I woke up, I felt simply horrible. And after 48 hours of not eating, all I could throw up was bile. I suppose I should have sued them, but I was just glad to get the heck out of there!

And for those who worry about taking the nuclear laxative, remember that some people paid a lot of money to have there innerds "purged". That's a freebie!
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:38 AM   #9
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Bakken- nausea/vomiting is very common following sedation depending on what kind is given. Fentanyl/versed combo is known to cause it, same with Demerol/Valium combo. Propofol (the white stuff) actually has anti-emetic properties (meaning it prevents nausea). On the other end the nausea/vomiting can also be related to trapped air in the colon. The more air you pass the better you feel. If you vomited excessively that is usually related to sedation. I did the same thing with my c-section (vomited for 12 hrs straight) when they gave me duramorph through my epidural. I also got sick with my wisdom teethe and ended up with dry socket. My upper endscopy I did not get sick. It is all related to your reaction to each individual drug, the air in the colon and what you try to eat afterwards. But as you said, the colonoscopy is no big deal.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:49 AM   #10
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Thanks anero. I just find it odd that they messed up, and I woke up feeling like death. I have had a few surgeries, and all the rest were no problem whatsoever. It just seemed like an odd coincidence.
But, once again, get a regular checkup. Your bowel is probably one of the most important parts of your body. You wouldn't believe how much you would miss it.
And while we are on the topic of failing body parts, I started getting "floaters" in one of my eyes coupled with flashes of light in my peripheral vision, which I found out could be a sign of a detached retina. Luckily I am just getting old, so the doctor said, but it could have been serious.
Again, easily fixed if detected, very bad if ignored.
Take care of the old body, it is the only one you've got!
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