I realize that I am responding late to the open call for “awesome stories” by the new editor, but I am hoping that he/she will take into consideration that I was indisposed yesterday while undergoing a colonoscopy.
My awesome story commenced on Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. when I took my first glass of Miralax mixed with Welch’s white grape juice.
I was instructed to take a glass every 10 to 15 minutes until the entire bottle of Miralax (238 grams) mixed with 64 ounces of white grape juice, Gatorade or other clear beverage of my choice (excluding red or purple Gatorade) had been ingested. By the 7th glass, I was feeling rather queasy. I will spare you the gory details.
At 7:00 p.m. I was to take 2 tablets of Dulcolax.
The instruction sheet also advised that said patient drink copious amounts of water. To say I felt bloated and crampy by evening’s end would be a gross understatement. I will spare you the details of my frequent bathroom visits.
The colonoscopy was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, and I was to arrive at 10:30 a.m. On Wednesday evening, the secretary called to say my appointment had been rescheduled to 12:00 noon. Apparently something “had come up,” a colon emergency, I presumed.
At 8:00 Thursday morning I was to drink a 10 ounce bottle of Citrate Magnesia, although the bottle said “Magnesium Citrate”. I purchased the grape flavor (all flavors were permissible except for cherry), thinking it might be somewhat palatable. God, was I mistaken! It was very tart--I don’t mind tart--but I mean, gag-worthy tart. I added a bit of white grape juice to ease the sting, but to no avail. I drank almost all of it, but must confess to not finishing the last ¼ or so.
My husband drove me to the endoscopy center in midtown Manhattan. This is when the real excitement begins.
Patient bathroom at the endoscopy center
After meeting with the nurse and changing into a hospital gown and socks,
my left foot
Self-portrait in hospital gown
(my colon found this undignified and asked
me not to publish it.
I waited in a closet-like room with magazines and a computer. Dr. G, the anesthesiologist, was my first visitor. Her hair was almost bigger than she was (she was about 5’1”), and the fake eyelashes seemed like overkill, but who am I to judge? She asked me a few questions, explained what she would be doing, then asked me to sign a release form, and left. Dr. K, the gastro-enterologist, entered next. He was a handsome, white-haired, fine-boned, late 40s/50-ish gent. He also asked me some questions and explained the procedure.
Suddenly, Dr. G popped in, saying, “Dr. Joey is on the line.”
Dr. K said to me, “I’m sorry. I’ll just be a minute.” He stepped out of my closet to take the call. I resumed skimming an article in Newsweek on Steven Tyler on who influenced his “style.” He said his first influence was Janis Joplin.
Dr. K popped back in, finished his spiel and asked me about the acid reflux. He said I should probably schedule an endoscopy to see if there was any damage to the esophagus, but of course, that could wait. Of course. He exited and said it would only be a few more minutes, which gave me a chance to finish reading about Steve Tyler. Apparently, he also looks to daughter Liv for fashion cues.
Then it was time. Dr G escorted me to the surgical “theatre.” The sweet-faced technician, let’s call her Maria, introduced herself as I lay on the operating table. Dr. G took my glasses and placed them on a table. She found a good vein in my right hand, jabbed me (I am no wimp, but it hurt: I have the bruised hand to prove it) and inserted the catheter, taped it onto my hand and flushed it out. Then she inserted tubing in my nostrils for oxygen and hooked it around the back of my ears. She took my blood pressure and attached the finger device to monitor heart rate. The beeping machine started up. Dr. G and Maria went to separate corners of the room, and Dr. K sat to my right for what seemed like an eternity. No one spoke to me. I spotted a giant black hose hanging from the ceiling to my right.
Dr. K stood up and said, “I have to step away for about two minutes, then we’ll get started.”
It was more than two minutes. He must have left the room to attend to an A-lister’s colon—a celebrity or a head of state. My colon and I felt slighted, abandoned, even. Maria and Dr. G continued not speaking. It was either stare at the ceiling tiles which I could barely see since I am legally blind without corrective wear, or shut my eyes and go to my Happy Place. I vainly attempted the latter. I took deep breaths to slow my heart rate. Playing a game with the beeping machine seemed like a good way to occupy the time. I liked hearing the beeps decelerate: it gave me a sense of accomplishment.
When Dr. K returned, he apologized for the delay and told Dr. G and Maria he was ready. Dr. K asked me to lie on my left side and Dr. G administered the anesthetic. Before turning over, I took one last look at the long rubber hose to my right and then at the giant TV screen to my left on which, I presumed, they would observe my precious organ.
In the recovery room, Dr. K visited me and told me my colon was fine, albeit “redundant,” meaning longer than normal. Did you know the average colon is 4 feet in length and about 2 inches in width? Neither did I. I didn’t ask him for an exact measurement of mine, though.
I said, “Is that good or bad?”
“Neither,” he said. “It just means it takes your doctor longer to examine it.”
Then he gave me that boyish middle-aged smile of his, and I couldn’t help but smile back.
Severe abdominal cramps and gas ensued for hours on end. Once again, I shall spare you the details. Let your imaginations run wild.
This song is dedicated to all the people and their colons who have ever felt slighted, lonely or been told they were “redundant.”