So, I went for a colonoscopy last week. It was a surreal and not something I wish to repeat. Good news is – results came back normal! Yay! But the whole experience was not really fun at all. And since I googled a lot of “What will happen for a colonoscopy” and got nothing but scary things like, “Bring a TV into your washroom the day before” and “It will hurt” I thought I’d make this little cartoon of my experience (which was not that bad at all! Just mostly humiliating).
WARNING: POTENTIALLY GROSS STUFF AHEAD
Firstly, I was not able to eat the entire day before surgery (and the morning of). Needless to say, Mama was hungry.
Then, while I was starving and miserable they gave me this stuff called Picolax. You can google what that stuff does. Or you can have my condensed version: You poop until you literally have nothing left inside you. At all. Then you poop some more.
I figured that everyone was being a giant baby. I drank the Picolax drink and was like, “Pffft, this tastes fine. I do not know what everyone is freaking out about.”
So that was my entire day. It was a weird time.
The next morning, I feel the need to DRESS NICELY FOR MY COLONOSCOPY. For real. Who does that? I wear my best nautical themed dress with a cute belt. Obviously I am very nervous. My husband sees that and tries to distract me to no avail. I just keep looking around at all the people in the hospital waiting room. They look miserable. I assume they are also hungry.
All of a sudden my name is called. I jump out of the seat and in a hurry the nurse tells my husband that he can pick me up in two hours. I ask if he can come in with me. She shakes her head because OF COURSE NOT. So in this confusion my husband takes my purse heads for the car and I head in with the nurse.
Then I realize he didn’t give me a kiss goodbye and I have no way to contact him. AND WHAT IF I DON’T MAKE IT?! So I’m tired, scared and now want to cry because I am ALL OVER THE MAP.
I get put into a room with 4 other people. All of whom are sleeping. I am looking into my future.
The same nurse tells me to change into those gross hospital gowns and relax on the bed under the blanket. I try not to think of how many people have died under this same blanket. I count ceiling tiles until she returns. My companions snore on.
She returns and has to give me a needle to put the saline in (and later the drugs that will put me in a ‘Twilight’ sleep. Which is basically truth serum.) She can see that I am terrified. Please remember guys, a camera is going up my butt. The fear is real.
After promising me that she is a ‘sharpshooter’ when it comes to veins, she digs around in my right arm for a good three minutes. No good. She moves to my right. I assure her that I will not think any less of her. She seems amused.
Suddenly a new nurse arrives named Mary. Mary is no nonsense but she takes pity on my scared face and talks me through as the saline starts pumping into my veins. I screech, “IS MY ARM SUPPOSED TO BE COLD?” and she smiles, nods and explains why. I feel I can trust Mary.
That is until I am wheeled into the ‘Operating Room’ or whatever it’s called. Its freezing and more people are there, welcoming me like an old friend back from sea. I can feel my heart start to jump and realize I have been my version of calm up until this point.
It is now that I start to panic.
Mary comes to the side of the bed, positioning me on my side and moving my arm so the tubes don’t get caught. I can see them injecting the drugs into my tube and am suddenly seized with the horrible feeling that I won’t make it out of this experience alive. They’ve put the oxygen mask on my face, likely to stop me from talking.
I start subtly moving about, trying to ask questions when suddenly I feel as if someone is holding my head against the table. (I realized later, this was what the drugs feel like; immense pressure in my head).
Suddenly my vision becomes very blurry. All my trust is gone for Mary. I assume in my stupor that she is holding down my head forcefully so I start calling out to her, heartbroken at her perceived betrayal.
I wake up a while later. I do not remember one single thing from my procedure. Not one. I have a moment of horror and wonder if I am a horrible secret racist or just a jerk under sedation. No one comments on that, so I assume I am in the clear.
I call out confused and raise myself until I am sitting on the edge of the bed. The tubes are out of my arm and I feel very, very tired and confused. All I want to do is go home and sleep in my own bed.
Mary is less patient with me now. Likely because I screamed her name in an accusatory manner right before passing out. I can hear my husband’s voice and I quickly get dressed after eating my juice and cookies. I hate apple juice, but at that moment, it is sweet nectar.
The nurse explains that due to my complaining during the procedure (which I do NOT remember), they had to give me more sedative than normal so I may be out of it for a bit. I stumble into my husband’s arms and he guides me out into the parking lot. I decide that this is the perfect place to catch a few Z’s.
When I am denied my very reasonable request, I realize I have a missed message. Someone from work needs some information. I attempt to phone them, blearily trying to press the number keys on my phone before my husband takes my phone from me.
I then catch myself in the rearview mirror and find that I look like garbage. I feel I must rectify this immediately.
After I have been taken inside to the bed I made for myself on the couch before we left, I feel suddenly very concerned about my belt. I try again to call my work but my husband insists I give him a play-by-play of what I will say.
I should add that I have never in my entire life worked with someone named Shiela. Ever.
I do not make the call.
This happens 3 times over the course of an hour. I am convinced more than once that my belt has been stolen by someone at the hospital.
My mom and stepdad arrive at our place then, taking over for my husband who has to return to work. Walter decides to pour himself some juice, but I become concerned.
Over and over and over. Then I got mad and went back to sleep on the couch. That day is a blur. I barely remember any of it happening. But just in case I forget, my husband lovingly recorded a lot of it for me to look back and reference. What a guy. In case you’re wondering what happened for the next 24-48 hours; it was this.
So, if you’re afraid of having a colonoscopy, I totally get it. But I for one had an okay experience – everyone is different, don’t assume that your experience will be awful! And If colon cancer runs in your family, or your doctor suggests that you need a colonoscopy – please don’t put it off. It could save your life!