Sunday, November 1, 2015

A test you can't crunch (anything) for

Last Monday Spouse and I sat in the patient waiting room of our local hospital while I waited to be called in for a scheduled test. Since we hoped to pick up lunch later, he thought it would be a good idea to pull up the menu from a local deli on his iPad and choose what we would like after my procedure.

Here’s the thing. I hadn’t had one bite of food in 36 hours by that point. I was starting to consider gnawing on my arm. Reading about pan seared chicken breast, crispy bacon, fresh mozzarella, and roasted red peppers was making my empty stomach rumble like it was going to knock me off the waiting room chair. Saliva was gathering in the corners of my mouth and I had to lay down the law.

Please. Stop. It.

I’ll be honest. I had been avoiding this particular test – my first colonoscopy - for quite some time, and at my age (I recently celebrated the 16th anniversary of my 39th birthday) it should not be avoided or ignored.

The hardest part of the whole procedure was the beverage (and I use this term very loosely) you must drink in preparation, which, no matter what flavor packet they include with the gallon of liquid you are supposed to down, will still taste like cardboard with clear glue thrown in for texture. I did discover the secret of gulping a glass at a time and chasing it down with flavored seltzer water. That and orange gelatin got me through the several hours it took to almost polish off the stuff until I had achieved an “all clear” – literally.

By the way, my boss asked me after the fact why my doctor didn't just give me the pills you can take for this process now, instead of doing it the "old fashioned way" with witch's brew. Now I want to know what sadistic so-and-so in my doctor's office filled the paperwork out.

The end result is… well, let’s just say your end spends a lot of time sitting, and anyone else in the house will need to understand that their lavatory time had better be kept to a minimum (especially in our case since we only have one bathroom). Tell them to get friendly with the neighbors or the outdoors if necessary.

The doctor had an emergency that morning which pushed appointments back by a couple of hours, but the hospital staff was friendly and accommodating. While I hung out in my lovely hospital gown Spouse helped me score a second warmed up blanket to cover up – good thing since a substantial part of me was blowing in the wind, so to speak.

Eventually a nurse wheeled me into the procedure room. I spotted what had been described to me as a tiny camera that would be used for the test, which didn’t seem all that tiny from my point of view… but I wasn’t sedated yet.

As I lay there eyeing the equipment the nurse was discussing chocolate with someone else in the room. I weakly groaned, “Mmm chocolate”, which somehow set off a sadistic conversation about food and restaurants and great meals. At that moment visions of omelets and paninis and coffee danced in my head, but it was all a fantasy until after I was poked and prodded and released.

The procedure went well and I was given a clean bill of health, a snack, my clothes, and a release form. Spouse was there to take me home. While I did feel relaxed during the procedure, I didn’t feel at all groggy and had actually watched the whole thing in awe. Now I was just plain hungry. Alas, the deli we looked forward to was closed, as was our second choice. What is it with Mondays and local eateries? We landed at a favorite local pizza place where I tried to pace myself after not eating since Saturday evening.

It’s easy to find the funny in this type of situation.  We want to laugh at those uncomfortable moments, and I won’t tell you this was exactly comfortable. But the fact is a few uncomfortable moments can save a life.  You can pretend you’re invited to a tea party  - or maybe a wine tasting party – if it helps you get through the prep drink.

Just as long as you RSVP to this invitation of preventative measure with a Yes.


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