Every three to five years, I have something in common with so very many of my readers, since I’ve been told I’m pretty strong base-wise with the 60-plussers.
Following a day of preparation that most who’ve experienced a colonoscopy feel is, far and away, worse that the actual procedure itself while being driven in the pre-dawn phase of procedure day by Lady Jane to The Endoscopy Center of West Central Ohio, my highly recommended go-to place for such business for my fifth procedure, I thought about the previous 24 hours.
Really, when it comes to the whole colonoscopy shebang, first of all, let me say that I feel blessed that years intervene before it’s time for another. I know cases with others far younger than I where, because of the threat of that other really daunting “c” word, the procedure must be done far more frequently, in some cases monthly.
As for that prep day, if you’ve yet to experience your first of these procedures, I’ll tell you that for a guy who’s pretty much lived, like all Type As, as if his hair were on fire (many of you might be saying, “Ahhh, so that’s what happened”), the day before isn’t all that pleasant. It’s a day long on monotony and inconvenience to be sure. I’ve often felt that if you want to feel as if life is everlasting, do what the prep day entails about every other day because I think it’s been proven that the average length of a colonoscopy prep day is 72 hours!
While the fasting really doesn’t bother me all that much, I think, because I know it’s coming and understand the whole concept that if Dr. Solomon, who’s performed all five of mine, is to get a good look-see into what’s lurking within, I certainly can’t be shoveling in any solid food the day before. So, I really think that the part of the brain that dictates hunger impulses simply sends a signal to the stomach that, as for that nice strip steak smothered in caramelized onions and green peppers, well, that’s just not an option at this time.
Of course, prep day also includes ingesting the 15 laxative tablets and drinking the 64 ounces of Myralax-laced brew in a couple different rounds separated by six or seven hours to kick start things. While I’ve left the house pretty much every work day of my adult life for gainful employment, and a lot of Saturdays as well, the hardest part of preparation day for me is staying home all day and devoting the entire time to doing what I kind of like to wrap up after a cup of coffee and before I grab my car keys.
As for passing the time between the primary focus of the day, which is in the necessary room, my advice to the first-timers is plan a variety of activities. For me, it was a little writing, a little TV, some reading, some housework and a little document shredding.
On my most recent prep day, I knocked off a couple of those tasks we all have, the ones that we continually procrastinate by always finding something more enjoyable to do. For me, that meant grabbing the rack and finally tackling the leaves that over the winter blew between the bushes. I really felt a sense of pride for finally addressing that odious task after tying off the sixth and final bag.
And, if you think that made me proud, my, I was positively beaming when I swept the largest jumble of plastic containers known to man from a low cabinet space onto the kitchen floor and finished matching lids with bottoms and restacking them neatly inside. I take great comfort that despite my single status, I could effectively store everyone’s leftovers in a six-block radius of my domicile.
The reading phases of my day involved getting caught up on several back issues of Sports Illustrated and reading several chapters of Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.”
And, of course, my TV time was spent with my beloved TCM, a station to which I confess addiction, so much so, I had to wipe a tear or two away when this year’s 31 Days of Oscars ended. There’s nothing like a little Cool Hand Luke to pass some time.
So, for all you who’ve yet to enter the “C” world, first of all, don’t sweat this inevitability. The procedure itself is nothing. And, as for that prep day, the key is variety. The day will be long, I assure you, but if you do some pre-planning as your two days approach and divide the day with a variety of activities around the old castle, you can make the experience a bit more enjoyable.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.