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The colonoscopy that wasn’t…

It’s no secret that last Monday I was scheduled for my first colonoscopy. I mentioned it a couple blogs ago. I finally got around to scheduling this thing that I have been putting off for two years. Actually, there were a few things I had been putting off in the health department so a few months ago I decided to dive in because all of that was weighing heavy. I feel fine. I know I’m healthy, but since moving here over three years ago, the only thing I had managed to do was the yearly pap with a gynecologist who I didn’t like. He was a close talker and twice suggested two different unnecessary tests. I found a primary care doctor who I really like and began taking care of business.

A mammogram, bloodwork and the dreaded colonoscopy were on my calendar the past couple months. I surprised myself by not canceling and rescheduling numerous times. Of course we all know the test is really no big deal because you are asleep. It’s the day before that we dread, but I managed to get through it. I was actually pretty nervous about the test itself. I don’t like to be put under anesthesia. At the pre-op appointment, I was told it would be conscious sedation, the so-called “twilight” experience. Fine, whatever, let’s just get this over with.

My friend, Michael, and his two young boys brought me to the appointment. I was nervous. The little guys in the back seat were a nice distraction. Liam and I chatted about Thomas the Train. The anxiety level was moderate as I sat in the waiting room for a good half hour. Once I was taken back, things progressed rather quickly. Clothes off, hospital gown on, lay down, two warm blankets (that was lovely), IV in the arm by the nurse and then, Hello, my name is Kevin, I am a nurse anesthetist and I will be administering this and that. You won’t feel a thing and it will be over before you know it. Kevin wheeled me into another room, where I was hooked up to a machine to monitor my vital signs and then the doctor came in and introduced himself. He told me that since it was a light sedation, I might wake up before it was over and be able to see what was happening on the screen. Seeing the inside of my colon didn’t really interest me. I didn’t want to wake up until it was all over.

Here’s what I remember before I actually “woke up.” Asking Kevin if he had started the drugs right at the point where I could feel that he had, then saying “I can feel that,” at some point, and moaning in pain. When I came out of it the doctor was standing over me saying they couldn’t complete the test. I couldn’t tolerate it. He told me that because of my size, my colon has a lot of turns (huh?) and because I was fighting them, it was too risky to keep going. Apparently the first half of my colon looked normal and healthy. No rush, he said, reschedule in six months and we will use general anesthesia. Right. Six months. Fat chance.

Another friend, Elizabeth, picked me up. She brought a big container of food left over from the Sunday supper I missed the previous day. I had been without food for almost 48 hours. I was starving, but more than that, I was completely out of it. I barely remember the ride home. I stumbled up my porch, walked in the house, thought about eating, but decided to crawl in bed instead. I woke up three hours later. It was the best sleep I’d had in a long while. Of course it was, I was drugged. Then I got up, polished off the leftovers and called my mom for that thing that only mothers can provide when you are feeling a little sorry for yourself.

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