How to Get a Colonoscopy in 14 Anxiety-Filled Steps
By Dawn Weber
It happens to almost everyone eventually. You’re going along living your life, dreaming your dreams and merrily walking around without ever having a tube inserted in your personal regions, when all of a sudden . . .
It’s time for your first colonoscopy.
Yes, despite your best efforts to avoid such a situation, chances are you will one day find your brown eye staring down the business end of a colonoscope — a long flexible tube with a small camera — either due to your age or the fact that you’re having GI problems. Here at the Center for Too Much Information (CTMI), we’ve put together a handy guide for women in the latter situation, as we, um, have a woman “friend” who had this experience. Read on:
- Suffer painful symptoms for several weeks. Dread telling any doctors about it, because you think it will lead to medical staff poking around in your coal hole, although you will soon find out you’re wrong about this. Be sure to begin worrying incessantly and imagining the worst.
- Google your symptoms on WebMD, otherwise known as www.It’sProbablyFatal.com. Obtain lots of information, all of which basically boils down to “Could be nothing. Could be cancer.” Proceed to have nervous breakdown.
- A month later at your annual OB/GYN appointment, discuss problems with physician. Although he used to briefly examine your rear prison purse in addition to your front lady garden, he tells you insurance companies no longer allow him to open the back door until after age 50. “It’s probably nothing. You’ll be fine,” he says, recommending fiber and water (which you already consume) and sending you on your way.
- Two months later, head to family doctor and tell her about ongoing problems. “It’s probably nothing. You’ll be fine,” she says, also prescribing water and fiber (which again, you already consume). She doesn’t examine area either. You’re finding out that oddly, no one wants to look inside your butt, even when you’re paying them.
- Symptoms continue for several more months, so you make an appointment with a specialist, who is concerned enough to prescribe a colonoscopy. You are relieved that someone will finally be looking at your balloon knot. You are horrified that someone will finally be looking at your balloon knot. And snaking a hose all the way up your Hershey Highway.
- As colonoscopy approaches, begin dreaming of snakes — in doctor’s offices, in toilets, in your underpants. For good measure, make repeated visits to WebMD/It’sProbablyFatal.com and continue to scare yourself silly. Chant It’s probably nothing. You’ll be fine until you fall asleep.
- On day before procedure, limit diet to such satisfying items as water, tea and lemonade. Obtain can of chicken broth. This is your lunch. Later that afternoon, open giant prescription bottle of MoviPrep, a.k.a. Colon Blow. This is your dinner.
- Gather fully charged iPad, ten-pack of toilet paper and a change of underwear. Sprint to bathroom and strap yourself to toilet, for it will be your new home. Over the next eight hours, you will excrete digested food from as far back as the Carter administration exiting your rear at speeds approaching the sound barrier. At times you think you will be done with your terrifying mission.But lo — you will be wrong.
- Around midnight, attempt to sleep. Note the word “attempt” here, because thanks to the fact that you can’t eat, drink, or take any of your usual fun array of sleeping pills, you will be wide awake, starving and riddled with worry. Your partner’s snoring keeps you up, so you head to the couch, where your growling stomach keeps you up. Seriously contemplate eating throw pillows.
- Arrive at hospital the next morning and check in. Thanks to anxiety and eight hours of tossing and turning, you’re half asleep, yet still conscious enough to be scared, well, shit-less. (See what we did there?)
- Allow medical staff to prep you for procedure, and smile weakly at their attempts to cheer you up with poo-related humor. You’re desperately trying to forget the fact that they’ll soon be doing things to you that are almost illegal in several states, so you ask for anesthesia. The nurse obliges, but you feel nothing at first and tell her, “I don’t think you gave me enough. I’m-really-nervous-so-you’ll-probably-need-to-inject-more-‘cause-I-don’t-feel-a-thing-and . . .Zzzzz.”
- Wake up groggy and half-naked with faces all around you, as if you’ve slept through your first orgy. The doctor says everything looks fine, and you’re suddenly very happy because of the great news, not to mention the awesome anesthesia. Despite your liaison with the pooper python, you feel no pain in your ass. In fact, you feel no pain at all.
- Head into recovery area. A nurse checks your vitals and says that you have to pass a large amount of gas before she can let you go. You cheerfully oblige her request in front of God and everybody, because you know this is the quickest route to food. Also you are still high as a kite.
- Giggle as spouse helps you dress and ties your shoes. As you haven’t eaten since dinnertime two days ago, demand that he takes you to Taco Bell at once! and post-haste!He reminds you that you’ve recently drank 64 ounces of MoviPrep/Colon Blow. Hmm. Taco Bell . . . Colon Blow. Even in your purple haze, you realize this is not a wise combination, so he takes you to Bob Evans, where you consume everything on the breakfast menu. And the contents of the butter dish. With a spoon.
Well, there you have it, folks, a handy guide for your first trip down the old dirt road. You can see that a colonoscopy is a pain-free way to lose a little weight and freak way the hell out about nothing, as well as a chance to get naked, sleep and fart.
In front of total strangers.
We at the Center for Too Much Information do not advise doing what our, um, “friend” did. Between the start of the problem and and the symptoms being waved off by two doctors, it was eight months before, um, “she” found a specialist who took her concerns seriously. Remember, some insurance companies don’t even require referrals for specialists — hers did not. And as another dear friend once said, if something isn’t right, get checked. It’s probably nothing. You’ll be fine.
Butt (see what we did there?) . . .
. . . it’s better to know for sure.