A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Colonoscopy

I turned 50 last September so I hurried to schedule my first ever colonoscopy, a right of passage to celebrate the half century mark. This grand event took place this past July. Well I did what everyone else does the day before the procedure. I started the day with a clear liquid diet. I have to say, I enjoyed my black coffee with sugar, the powder bouillon chicken broth tasted delicious and the Jolly Ranchers were exquisite. I managed the hunger very well. I was motivated by getting the procedure over with and also losing a couple of pounds for weekend. I chose what I thought was the better of the two laxative treatments offered by my doctor. It involved drinking 32 ounces at a time in two sittings spread over 6 hours. It certainly sounded more appealing to drink 32 ounces at a time, then 64 ounces all at once which was the second option. The only problem was that drinking 32 ounces is still a lot of liquid and I was not thrilled knowing I had to repeat this process later that night. The stuff initially tasted ok, like a sugar-free aspartame energy drink, but after a couple of ounces of it, I started cringing with every gulp.

The Laxative Preparation

A friend had shared that she had not left her bedroom after taking the laxative.  I hunkered down in my bedroom and turned on the television. I delegated dinner cooking to my husband. This MOM was off duty. I then sat back, relaxed, and let the medicine do its work. I watched 6 back-to-back episodes of TLC’s Four Weddings, mindless entertainment but perfect for the occasion. Soon I had most of the family watching with me.

What was I thinking…

I had an adequate night of sleep. My procedure had been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. That morning I asked my husband if I should wear make-up to the procedure. What was I thinking, as if my husband knew of such things. But I’m the type of person who loves bouncing ideas off of people. I reviewed the procedure instructions and there was no mention of not wearing make-up. You see I love to always look very composed and made up, even if I’m going to the gym or my colonoscopy. So I went with a lighter version of the makeup. I arrived at the doctors and signed in. I said goodbye to my husband who would return for me 2 hours later.

So here’ how it started…

I switched into the lovely hospital gown that opens in the back and was lying on the hospital bed with a heap of blankets on top since I generally get very cold in these settings. The nurse came to attach an IV line. She first gave me a local anesthetic that felt like a small prick of a pin. And thank god for that local anesthetic, because she could not find the vein. She moved the needle in every direction she could, but still with no luck. I felt no pain, but certainly lots of uncomfortable tugging. She finally gave up and said that she would leave it to the anesthesiologist.  She told me she would not poke me more than once. Lucky me. So I sat there waiting for whatever would happen next.

And then the funny thing happened…

I saw a woman walking towards me, she was dressed like a nurse, she smiled and said (I have changed the names), “Hi, you may not remember me, I’m Susan Wright, David’s wife”. Sure enough, I remembered her. I had worked with her husband 26 years ago at General Electric. All I could think of was “Thank god, I wore my makeup, you just never know who you may run into”.  It’s much like your mother used to say, always wear good underwear, in case you are in an accident, and you have to be taken to the hospital and they see your undies.  The same goes with looking presentable for your colonoscopy. I was delighted to see Susan. We had exchanged holiday cards for all these past years but had not seen each other in person. She sat down and we chatted for while.  It just made my day.

Unfinished business…

The anesthesiologist came over and we greeted each other as he perused through my chart. Then he grabbed the bed to wheel me to the procedure and at about the same time that I was going to say something he realized I still needed an IV line. He was a master, he came over and without hesitation, inserted the needle directly into the vein and voilà I was ready for my Propofol.

Feeling Fabulous…

I was wheeled into the surgery room. I greeted my G.I. doctor and her nurse. My doctor, who by the way looks so very young, asked me how I felt. I told her I felt great and thought to myself, “and I look fabulous too ”.  The anesthesiologist hooked me up to the drugs and said, “Turn to your side”, the nurse said,  “Let me adjust your pillow”, and then it was like MAGIC… I woke up and it was all over. I heard a far away gentle voice offering me juice. I then very slowly got dressed back into my street clothes. Eventually, my friend Susan came over and escorted me to meet my husband. In groggy excitement I re-introduced Susan to my husband and we chatted for a bit. My husband knows how I relish in these surprise social encounters. And how fun to have had one on the way to my colonoscopy.

Thankfully, my test results were excellent. I don’t have to repeat this procedure for another 10 years. I will take this opportunity to share the following. If you are over 50 and have not had your first colonoscopy, then it’s time to schedule one. If you have family history of colon cancer please talk to you doctor about it and get a colonoscopy before age 50. I met a woman in Westport, CT who had lost not only her husband to colon cancer but her 28 year-old son as well. And sadly, I lost a childhood friend to colon cancer 2 years ago. She was only 44 years old, had family history of colon cancer, and sadly did not start early screenings.

I have a dear friend who gets very nervous with any type of medical procedure. She stresses out enormously going for annual PAP smears. She asked me how I manage to be so relaxed when it comes to these medical procedures. I don’t have a specific answer for her, except to let her know, that how I feel at any given time, can sometimes be linked with how I look. It’s like when I have a bad cold, the best thing to do is to get out of bed, shower, get dressed, and yes, put on my make up. Then somehow I start feeling better. Feeling fabulous may sometimes be connected to looking fabulous, even if looking fabulous is just in your head.

Feeling Fabulous in the Swiss Alps

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13 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Colonoscopy

  1. Thank you for the timely article. As I was getting ready this morning for my first colonoscopy, I wondered if I could wear makeup. For such an undignified lprocedure, I was glad to read we can indeed wear makeup.

  2. Thanks for giggle just what I needed for my next coloscopy day after tomorrow had one two weeks ago when a 4cm polyps was found and has to be removed, I’m not as terrified as I was last time it’s just the thought of that flipping drink so much & this time have 3 lots to take 5pm 8pm tomorrow & 7am day of procedure my goodness don’t know how I will do it. I will wear my makeup this time hope they don’t wipe it off this is UK . I’m 88 & always feel more confident with my face on. Anyway thanks again. Yvonne
    Ps suffering from PHN last two years after Shingles which is awful reccomended anyone who had chicken pox as a child
    To get vaccine. TTFN

  3. Thank you Ariadne for crossing my path at this time, as you know what has happened in U.K. last couple of weeks makes it hard to understand what is happening & then you read the good things that transpired at the same timer people who risked their own safety to help others . I was feeling low not just because of the procedure to come but my feeling of hopelessness of what is happening I lived through WW2 but it was different we knew our enemy then.im rambling on not very sensibly I suppose but just to say thanks for caring . Yvonne

  4. We must remain hopeful and positive. I am a believer that the small connections that we make with each other around the world on a daily basis is what helps build our collective strength and friendship. We also lived in London and are feeling very sad with all that is happening. I invite you to read more of my blog for entertainment and inspiration. Again, do keep me posted with how you do. Your friend, Ariadne

  5. Ariadne thanks for your good wishes I had my coloscopy yesterday after a nightmare of the moviprep , I had to take three lots of it day before at 5pm 8pm and then on the day another lot at 7am before leaving for hospital in Hampstead I was so relieved to get that drinking over 3 litres of prep + another litre and half just water that I wasn’t worried about actual procedure which was a bad thing for me as I suffer from reverse psychology which means If I expect the worse it’s always ok. The. Hospital & staff were lovely & made ritual as good as they could so I’m not thinking of possible outcomes but unfortunately they couldn’t remove polyps and now have to wait for tests. & have to have MRI & CI next Wed. I suddenly feel alarmed as they spoke. To my daughter. Outside & I don’t know if she is telling me everything but I read report about biopsies they were going to do & one had. (? Cancer) the dreaded. C word. I don’t know why I’m telling you all this but can’t discuss it with my daughter or son as mustn’t show them I’m nervous. I guess I’m lucky with our NHS as the hospital I went to is so good( the one that cured the nurse of EBOLA) & im sure they will do their best for me but at 88 don’t think I would start any of the usual things they do in the cases that need it but will just take my chance.
    Sorry to tell you all this but had to speak to someone. YVONNE

    • Hello my friend. Glad your procedure is done. It is not fun having to drink all that liquid. I remember feeling like I was going to explode! Good luck with the MRI and CI next week. You’ll have more information to help with any decisions that will need to be made. Stay involved and informed. Reach out to your children and talk to them. We find more strength and courage in numbers. You are in good hands with your NHS. Do keep me posted. Ariadne

  6. Thankyou. Ariadne
    Trying to look on brightside but feel as much a mess as the election turned out
    We are lucky with our NHS and can’t grumble at treatments I’ve received up till now everybody was lovely .
    Will keep in touch
    Love Yvonne

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