Del Stone

Del Stone
Fort Walton Beach, Florida, U.S.
November 25
I am a journalist and the author of many works of fiction published professionally in the United States and abroad.

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JULY 11, 2011 11:13AM

My dreaded colonoscopy is behind me. Heh.

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I've been dreading this day for three weeks and it's finally behind me.

Had my first colonoscopy this morning and the doctor says I'm fine. He removed one small - I believe he called it "inconsequential" - polyp which he doesn't expect to amount to anything. That sounds good.

I heard many horror stories about this procedure beforehand but none of them proved to be true.

For instance, the prep wasn't that bad. In the '90s I had a lower GI and the prep was awful - two days of not eating followed by laxatives and enemas. Lots of barium the morning of the procedure. No fun.

But this was one day of prep starting at noon Sunday. The mover and shaker of the prep is something called MoviPrep. You mix two packages of powder into a quart container and drink it in quarters at 15 minute intervals. I'd heard the taste was vile but it wasn't that bad. If you hold your nose while drinking and rinse out your mouth with a 7-Up afterwards it's no problem. I drank the first quart and became concerned when nothing happened. My concern turned out to be unfounded. The "movi" part of MoviPrep is no exaggeration. You will be moving - to the bathroom. I finished the first quart at 4 p.m. and the second at 7. In between I drank 7-Up and ate lime-flavored Popsicles, and watched two vile movies, "The Boogeyman" and "Return of the Boogeyman." The second was so boring I actually started reading a book while it played out. Then it was off to bed.

I anticipated a night of tossing and turning, worried about today and what the doctor might find. Oddly, I fell asleep almost immediately and woke up about an hour before the alarm, then dozed until 5:30 rolled around. Showered, shaved, donned the loose-fitting clothes they advised and waited for Mom to show up.

She got here half an hour early which was OK. By the time we reached Destin Surgery Center and filled out the paperwork, the doctor had arrived and was raring to go.

One of the worst parts of having something like this done is stripping down to your socks and donning that awful surgical gown. Mine didn't have a tie at the waist so I wrapped it around me, burkha style, and hoped nobody would notice ... not a realistic expectation since they'd be running a TV camera up my backside.

Then the nurse and anesthesiologist came in, inserted my IV and wheeled me into the room where the procedure would be conducted. I was extremely nervous. It was dark in there, but I somehow began to calm down. I closed my eyes for a moment and when I opened them I was lying under the bright fluorescents of the recovery room.

It was that quick. I have no recollection of events in the dark room.

They disconnected me from the IV and the machines, and handed me bag of clothes. I was able to climb off the table, get dressed, and basically I was good to go. The doctor stopped by to chat for a moment; I have to see him in the next few days. He expects no complications.

I'm happy - maybe relieved - to have had this done. Now I can stop wondering if an alien being is inhabiting my gut. That's a load off, pun intended.

If you're over 50 and haven't had a colonoscopy yet, let me reassure you. Don't worry. It's no big deal. One afternoon of cleaning yourself out and a 20-minute procedure the next morning. You're good to go for FIVE years.

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I'll pass (if you'll pardon the pun) unless someone can show me some data that demonstrate that submitting to this violation of my body will decrease my chances of dying prematurely. I'm not talking about the data that how colonoscopy gives me a tiny reduction in the chances of having colon cancer, as opposed to something else, listed on my death certificate as the cause of my death. Where are the data that show it will delay the DATE of my death?

Nevertheless, I am glad you made it through without any complications. Cheers.
Believe me, Patrick, so am I.