Saturday, October 13, 2012

Colonoscopy

One of those things you are told to do when you turn 50 is to get a baseline colonoscopy.  I first remember watching Katie Couric do hers on television years ago and I thought it seemed dreadful, but she was laughing her way through it.  How bad could it be?  Since my list of 50 included doing EVERYTHING you should do medically at age 50, I had to get this done.  The hard part was figuring out where to get it done.  It's not something you usually have a regular doctor for.  And then you have to figure out the insurance part of it.  I started with just checking out my healthcare's website under find a physician, but I wasn't even sure what type of doctor to use.  Then I called the insurance provider number on the back of my health card, and she asked a lot of questions that helped me narrow it down. She explained that I would need a gastroenterologist to do the test, but that there were often doctors in this field that worked with family practice clinics like my own, and they might have a relationship with a certain clinic that offered discounts or maybe were better liked by my circle of providers.  She suggested I call my own family practice doc and ask who they recommended.  Sure enough- there were a couple on the list that they liked.  A few more calls and I had an appt. just 2 weeks out.

The person who made my appointment said the way they were doing colonoscopies lately was changing and that I had an option to do the traditional cleanse which was overnight with a prescribed golytely solution, or I could buy my own prep materials and do it over 2 days using gatorade.  I had seen my husband and a couple other friends do the golytely solution and they complained LOUDLY about how awful it was, so I opted for the gatorade.  I received the directions in the mail a couple of days later and this is very similar to what my own said.  Colonoscopy prep with gatorade  I read on-line that the 2 day prep even does a better job of cleansing so if there are any polyps, the doctor is better able to see them.  If you're going to go through the procedure, why not give him the best conditions?

Although the hardest part was doing without salads and real food for a couple of days, I really didn't think it was too bad. I was hungry and my tummy was grumbling a lot, but generally it was OK.  I didn't think the gatorade tasted bad at all- I used a combination of lemon-lime and orange mixed with the miralax.  If you really use your imagination, it's just a tropical drink!

The day of the procedure, I showed up at 1:30 for a 3:00 start time.  Basically I got dressed in a gown, signed some paperwork, and watched TV until they were ready for me to go to the room where the equipment was.  I met the doctor and asked him how he got into this business.  To my surprise, he said he wanted a job where he could watch TV all day.  Ha!  I guess I thought it was all about butts and he said he only looks at butts for a couple of minutes, but the scan of the colon is on a TV and it's not bad work at all.  Each procedure lasts about 15 minutes.  They gave me some drugs through an IV to relax me but I was awake and watched the whole thing on the TV screen.  You can be put out even more if you want, but I was a bit curious.  Here's a copy of what they showed me.  Everything was normal so now I don't have to go back for 10 more years.  That was very good news!

By 4:30 I was ready to be picked up.  You aren't allowed to drive for the rest of the day.  I had a lot of gas, but they had warned me about this.  They have to inflate the colon to get the scope through and it takes a day or so to get it all out again.  The next day, everything is almost back to normal.  Glad it's over and everything went well.  I'd encourage everyone who needs one to get it scheduled.  

4 comments:

  1. I had a colonoscopy yesterday, not because of any problems, but merely a precautionary measure since I've recently turned fifty. The restricted diet, the fasting and the bowel preparation is the worst part, no more than inconvenient and annoying though. The actual procedure itself is a doddle; my one piece of advice to people is do not be embarrassed about farting, you'll be doing a lot of it due to the gas that is used to inflate your bowel.

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  2. Congratulations to you for doing what the doctor recommends! I totally agree with you. Gas is going to be a part of the process.

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  3. Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last 8 to 10 inches of the colon. Together, they are often referred to as colorectal cancers , and they make up the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Only lung cancer claims more lives.

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  4. I'm going to do this next week. I have been glad to hear all over the internet that the Powerade (Coke fan here) and the Miralax are a lot easier.

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