Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The worse it TASTES, the better it WORKS...

This might end up being one of the most important posts I'll ever write. But, as stupid and silly as I can be sometimes about stuff that doesn't mean a tinkers' damn to anyone, there are times when I try to post things that will impart relevant info to those who wander here. Admittedly, that doesn't happen often here, but I do think this post is important. And, if you're over 50, I really do think this is something you need to know. Now let me begin...I'm afraid of doctors and hospitals. The last time I'd had any kind of invasive procedure done was when I had appendicitis, in 1968. In short, I'd never really had anything of significance done to me (other than scans or steroid shots) in 40 YEARS. And all of that changed TODAY. And I was scared sh*tless, just like Crosby, Stills and Nash at Woodstock..."this is our second gig, man; we're scared SH*TLESS", said Steven Stills to the assembled multitudes wallowing in the mud.

It all began back in September during that fateful visit to the medical clinic (where I STILL think I caught the flu). I had a blood test done, since I am still taking meds to control my uric acid level. If that stays under control, I don't have the horrible gout symptoms that I used to have, and let me tell you, Gout pain is the worst ever pain I've had in my 53 years on this planet. It's driven me to the emergency room a couple of times, and used to cripple me for weeks at a time. So I got pro-active, got it treated, and in terms of gout, overall, I'm doing just fine. The last blood test I took ended up revealing that I am, of all things, somewhat ANEMIC. Not enough iron. I'd also been feeling fairly fatigued, and still feel that way, but my doctor said that there could be internal bleeding contributing to that anemic state. And, he wanted me to have a COLONOSCOPY done. Ulp! I literally cringed in having something rammed up my (censored), but I agreed with the doctor. He referred me to another doctor; I made the appointment. That was two MONTHS ago. And finally today, which felt sorta like a medically-oriented D-day, arrived. Ulp.

Let me tell you here and now that the WORST part of a colonoscopy is the preparation. You can't eat anything the entire day before, although you can have clear liquids. The evening of the day before, you have to take a dose of the worst-tasting laxative on the planet (second in bitterness only to BATTERY ACID), and then you've gotta dose yourself with that stuff AGAIN, the morning of the big event. Lemme tell ya, folks, the rug between the TV room and the commode is almost worn out from all my trips back and forth. (Too much information, I know, but I'm being as tactful as I can.) Since I keep late hours, I just didn't bother going to I stayed up, obsessing on what I was about to go thru at the clinic in-between doses of battery-acid-flavored laxative. (Awful stuff, that.) There was one advantage to consuming the putrid totally KILLED any appetite I had, so getting through the last 12 hours of my medically-imposed fast was actually quite a breeze. I kept the CD player going, had the radio on, I was playing computer pinball; that's how I kept from totally freaking out, knowing that the hours I had left until my impending encounter with the mad doctor were evaporating faster than ice cubes sprinkled on the sands of Death Valley in mid-August.

I took a taxi to the clinic, because I was advised I shouldn't drive, since afterwards, I would probably still be loopy from the sedative that would keep me from hitting the ceiling during what the medical community lovingly terms as "the procedure". Loopier than usual, that is. And when I got to the clinic, I was sooooo scared; I mean, sheer terror was racing thru my mind; I tend to get carried away by all sorts of reckless imaginings. And I thought about turning around and walking out the door, because I WAS scared, almost frightened at the thot of having something shoved up my (censored). But, the cab I rode in had long since gone. I was stuck. So, the nurse showed me to my cot, and curtained me off from the rest of the pre-op room, and on went the proverbial paper gown. Judging from what goes on during a colonoscopy, I've at last found the answer to why those annoying gowns tie in the back, leaving one's (censored) unceremoniously hanging out for the whole world to see. Now, I am probably the world's most modest person. I don't even take my SHIRT off during the summer. So this occasion was totally foreign to every single solitary fiber of my BEING. After all, my big (censored) was going to be exhibited, prodded and invaded by total STRANGERS. ACK ACK ACK AAAAACKTHPTF!!!

As I lay on the cot, an IV drip was inserted into my right hand. Some form of sedation was inoculated into my hip, and after waiting a while, still fully conscious, I was wheeled into the colonoscopy chamber. Ack Ack AAAACK. The doctor then opened up my IV drip, removed the saline solution, and put more sedation chemicals into that IV. And immediately, the thought of "lethal injection" crossed my mind." So THIS is what the prisoner goes thru, I thot. I told the doctor, "hey, this might not work because I have difficulty getting to sleep sometimes." The doctor's assistant just laughed; evidently he knew something I didn't. I wish I could tell you more about exactly what I felt during the "procedure" ...but I wasn't there! I was unconscious thru the whole thing. More than usual, anyway. Next thing I knew, I was in the recovery room, and much like Peggy Lee, I wondered, "Is that All There IS?" And the nurse told me I'd come through everything just fine and after laying in the cot for a while longer, like a limp dish rag, she brought my clothes back in, and then told me to take a seat; the doctor would be with me in a moment.

While waiting for the doctor, I asked the nurse for something to drink...I was PARCHED from the previous night's laxative activity; my mouth felt as dry as the sand on the nearby Oregon Dunes. And the "Sierra Mist" (PepsiCo's attempt to steal the "7up" market) tasted truly, verily, like Nectar Of The Gods. As I sat there and sipped, waiting for the doctor, I remember being told I would be under "conscious sedation", but if I don't remember anything about "the procedure", how 'conscious' could I have been? Actually, though, I'm glad I don't remember. Soon enough, the doctor came by to post-consult me, and he had six interesting little photos with him, that back in the '60s, could have been used for a psychedelic poster. Only, these fotos were pictures of the INSIDE of my (censored), and it turns out that everything was just FINE. No polyps, no "snips" of anything "up there", no NOTHING. In short, I am JUST FINE. Wow. And I was told that even if something had to be "snipped", no pain would be felt; no nerve ends in there, you see.

I don't smoke, I don't drink anymore, and I don't do drugs, so I was fairly sure they wouldn't find anything, but it is nice to know for sure. And what I'm trying to tell you is, that no matter how gross, yucky or disgusting you might think having a colonoscopy rod (with a little camera on the tip) rammed into your (censored) may be, it is EASY to get through. The hard part is justifying it...I had to pay for the awful-tasting battery-acid flavored laxative; I'm co-paying for having something inserted up my (censored), and I'm trusting the welfare of my vulnerable (censored) to TOTAL STRANGERS. And all of those futile attempts at justification disappear instantly, however, when I think, "well, I'm 53, and all things considered, I am fortunate." And, I'm almost doing cartwheels to think that 10 to 15 years can elapse before I've gotta get it done again. Maybe by that time, perhaps the battery-acid-flavored laxative will be made to taste better. It couldn't taste any worse than it does at the present time.

They say 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'...and I'm happy to say that, I'm still alive. I didn't want to do this...but I am in my '50s. I'm at the age where things begin to happen to the body. And, I haven't slept for 25 hours now. And the pizza I ate when I got home was the first time I'd eaten in 31 hours. And you know what? It was worth it. And, looking back, the whole thing (except for the battery-acid-flavored laxative)...was EASY.


Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

It IS easy! Got badgered into it myself as part of my "welcome to medicare" exam! At least it was worthwhile. The rest of the "exam" was a joke.

4:07 PM  
Blogger raymond pert said...

I had the same experience with one exception: the laxative didn't work that well. When I arrived at the hospital, they had to do a little procedure to see if was clean enough! Turns out I was and I came out of the conscious sedation just fine and went merrily on my way. I have to have another one in the next few years because they saw something or other they didn't like, but not serious enough to go snipping for. I hope the laxative works better next time and that I'm unquestionably clean!

10:51 PM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Hi, Cis. Yep, welcome to the wide, wonderful world of Medicare. Now they know ya, inside and out!

Hey, Mr. Pert...I'd taken an ex-lax the day BEFORE I took the industrial-strength laxative. The colon fotos I show had some off-color patches; I asked the doctor about that and he said, "oh, that's where there was still some (residue) left. I don't think anyone can get totally clean. Because I tried!!! In the meantime, I do know that, mentally, both you and I are indeed 'unquestionably clean'.

10:54 PM  

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