Presentations

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Over-Fifty Diagnostic Test

My family doctor, bless his heart, is looking out for my overall health and decided I should have a colonoscopy. Geeze, it certainly sounded like a lot of fun, but somehow I had dodged the experience for more than fifty years. I had just reminded him I needed my annual mammogram and although that is pretty much having your breasts pancaked, it is not unbearable. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard anyone say anything good about a colonoscopy.

I knew I was in trouble when the Miralax concoction filled my pitcher. Holy smokes, how was I supposed to drink that much liquid in two and a half hours? When I make something I really like, sun tea, for example, I usually throw about half of it out after three days.

The five o’clock hour arrived and I faced off with the first eight ounces. I drank it in about five minutes. I charted a schedule on my junior legal pad at fifteen minute intervals and planned to be done before American Idol. I began to think that contrary to popular opinion, the prep really wasn’t worse than the test.

I congratulated myself on not having to drink the gallon of gunk they tried to give Jim when he was in the hospital between nursing homes. H e had been kicked out of one home and after nearly a month in “regenerations” we had found another home for him. The hospital decided to investigate his rectal bleeding before discharging him. They assigned Eric and me the task of getting the gallon of liquid down him. After a few swallows, Jim gagged, clamped his mouth shut, and refused to drink it.

“It isn’t going to happen,” Eric said. He tracked down the doctor and told him Jim would not drink the nasty stuff.

“We’ll have to force it down him then,” the doctor said. “He needs this test.”

No way were we going to allow that! Jim’s life was difficult enough without someone dumping liquids down him. I knew he would vomit and possibly choke on it. Against the hospitals’ recommendations, we signed a waiver to skip the test.

I thought about Jim and drank my second glass as easily as the first. By the time I finished the third glass, my stomach sloshed and felt bloated. I began to feel queasy. I decided to call my daughter-in-law, Shawna, who is a student nurse. Eric answered the phone.

“Ask Shawna what happens if I throw up,” I said.

After consulting with her, he told me, “That’s not good. Try to keep it down.”

My stomach had other plans. I called back later. “Part of it came back up.”

“Do you want us to bring you more Miralax?” he asked.

“No!” I began to look with each glass with dread.

“Then quit being a kid. Suck it up and deal with it. Shawna says it would be better to drink it a little slower and get it all down.” Even through my queasiness, I had to smile at Eric’s “suck it up” lecture. How many times have I heard that from him?

I threw up again, but managed to drink the rest of it. Now, I worried all night that I hadn’t gotten enough of the solution down. According to Dr. Google, I would have to begin all over again if I didn’t follow directions exactly.

I made it to bed around midnight and was up at 4:00 to get into the hospital on time. Ginger took me to the hospital and reported in as my designated driver.

The nurses were very nice and covered me with warm blankets. They inserted an IV lock and soon after, I exchanged good mornings with the doctor.

“How are you today?” he asked.

“Well, I’d rather be fishing and I don’t even fish,” I replied.

Soon they started the drug, and I began to feel lightheaded. I shut my eyes for a few seconds and then opened them again. I could see a monitor. I watched as the doctor used a shiny loop to snare a small polyp. I was so fascinated with what they were doing, the time passed quickly.

The nurse gave me a cup of coffee and some ice water to see if I could keep it down. Anesthetic of any kind usually makes me violently ill. The coffee made me queasy, but I decided it was because hospital coffee is usually on the nasty side. I had been alert throughout the procedure and thought they must not have given me much.

I was starving after a day on liquids. “Let’s go get breakfast,” I said to Ginger.

At the restaurant, I ordered biscuits and gravy. Before the food came, I rushed to the restroom to upchuck. Luckily I was alone so I didn’t create a swine flu panic.

I boxed up my breakfast and Ginger drove me home. I spent the day sleeping and vomiting. I went to bed at nine o’clock and felt normal the next morning.

The prep really was worse than the test. In fact, the test was a piece of cake compared to the aftereffects of the anesthetic.
Post a Comment