Guess what? I got my first colonoscopy yesterday. I have chronic anemia that for some reason has been getting worse over the last year. After a three iron infusions and other tests it was decided that maybe I should get a colonoscopy just to make sure there wasn’t bleeding going on in any unexpected places.
I want to share my experience for anyone who needs one but may be afraid. I know some may have horror stories about their experience but I have nothing but good things to say about the office where I had my procedure. Every step was explained, every question answered and I was made to feel at ease from the moment I walked through the door to the moment I was walked to my ride.
The only bad part was the stuff you have to drink to clean you out. When I first mixed it together, I thought it wouldn’t be too bad, it smelled like grape Kool-Aid. Then I took the first sip and realized that it tasted nothing like grape Kool-Aid. It was horrible. You have to take two doses of this stuff and the first one took almost an hour. I just could not get it down. The second dose took less time since I knew what was coming and I just plugged my nose and gulped it down as fast as I could.
Now, everything that I read before said that the prep would start working within about an hour. For me it took about fifteen minutes. My advise to anyone getting ready to go through this is to block off the day before the procedure because (I am sorry) you won’t have much time to reach a bathroom when you need it.
The day before my procedure I could eat a light breakfast (eggs or cereal was recommended) and then no other food until after the colonoscopy. You could have certain colors of jello, drink clear sodas and some broth but nothing with any sustenance. You also have to drink loads of water, basically as much as you can pour down your throat.
I did OK that first day. I wasn’t hungry like I thought I would be. I did get tired of the water and wished I had thought ahead enough to get some clear soda, just to have something with some taste. The next morning was hard though. I drank the second dose of the prep at about 7am and then nothing to eat or drink after 9:00, my procedure was set for 1:00pm. I think it was more mental. I am so used to being able to eat when I want and I usually always have a class of some sort of drink with me at all times. All in all, it wasn’t a bad experience.
I checked in at the office and was taken back by a gentleman who checked my ID and made sure I knew why I was there. After getting the gowns on (yes, they gave me two, one that goes on the front and one on the back) I was led to the procedure room where my IV was started and I met the anesthesiologist. I explained that I have small veins but that didn’t seem to worry anyone and the nurse got it done on the first stick. Believe me that is a rarity. My vitals were taken and the entire process, front to back, was explained in detail.
The doctor came it, we talked a few minutes and the anesthesiologist said she would start the medication. As I saw her start to empty the syringe into my IV, she began to tell me something and almost immediately my eyes started jumping. I don’t even remember her getting to the end of the syringe. Next thing I knew, they were waking me up and telling me that I could get dressed. My appointment time was set for 1:00 and I was out and on my way home a little before 2:00.
The funniest part happened once I got home. For hours I had such a hard time getting my thoughts together. I would be in mid sentence and lose my train of thought. I had it in my head but could not make it come out of my mouth. Or I would forget a word. I was trying to tell my husband that they told me my first meal should be something soft like eggs or mashed potatoes and I could not think of what a potato was. I was telling him, “You know, that brown thing that comes from the ground.” He laughed so hard and told me that I should go lay down for a while until my head cleared.
I was able to go back to normal activities today and don’t feel like I had anything done. They did find two polyps which they removed and had to send off to the lab. Those results should be back next week. No one is expecting anything to come from them so I am not worried.
I am hoping that by reading about my good experience, it will help some of you who need a colonoscopy to feel less afraid and go on and make an appointment with your doctor. Colon cancer can sometimes be successfully treated if found early enough. Isn’t that worth a day or two of hunger and an hour sleeping on an exam table?