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Still Waters: Preparing for preventive procedure

Posted: Friday, Feb 22nd, 2013

I bought extra TP.

I had heard the horror stories and wanted to be prepared, at least as well as I could be.

My first colonoscopy was scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20. With family history and age, it seemed like a good idea to take this new adventure.

Tuesday afternoon brought the dreaded preparation day. I had filled out paperwork beforehand, received detailed instructions and tried to brace myself for the worst.

I had heard the prep day was worse than the actual procedure and that I might as well fill the bathroom with plenty of reading material because I would be spending a lot of time there.

I even left work early on Tuesday, something I rarely do. I was afraid the restroom down the hall wouldn’t be close enough and definitely wouldn’t have enough reading material in it.

So that afternoon I cautiously drank the first of two 10-ounce bottles of magnesium citrate I had been instructed to drink the day before the procedure. They can be purchased inexpensively over the counter and come in three flavors. I was told I couldn’t drink anything red or purple, so that eliminated the cherry and grape flavors. I bought the lemon.

I expected something to explode with every sip, but I managed to get the liquid down without too much trouble. It was a bit sour but not that bad tasting, as it turned out.

Also, as it turned out, it didn’t have the dreaded effect I had heard about, at least not immediately. The magic potion took the scenic route. It really took the second bottle that evening to produce the desired effect, and actually that wasn’t as bad as I had feared.

At any rate, I was home early so I thought I might as well get some housework completed while I waited for the inevitable. I also thought that in the off chance I shouldn’t make it through the procedure, I didn’t want my family to see my house in the state it was in.

“She was family, and we loved her, but she didn’t keep a very clean house,” they would say as they prepared for my funeral.

I washed dishes, washed laundry, swept the kitchen floor, cleaned off counters, vacuumed and even took a nap. All the time, I was trying to play musical chairs with the bathroom just in case the music stopped and I would need to sit down.

No worries, though. The preparation day passed, so to speak, without too much trauma.

Being fairly healthy and gratefully so, I have not had the occasion to spend much time in clinics or hospitals, so I think I was more afraid of the unknown than anything. I was worried about the needles, worried about the airy hospital gown, worried I might embarrass myself or mentally scar someone for life while wearing the airy hospital gown and worried about going under anesthesia. The only time I think I had ever been “put under” before was when I had my tonsils out as a child, and I don’t remember that.

It didn’t help Wednesday morning when I arrived at the clinic and was asked if I was a donor and had a living will. I am and I do, but I began to wonder if my house was clean enough for posthumous company.

I am glad to report my fears were unfounded, at least as far as I know. Scenes beneath the airy hospital gown might have scarred someone for life but I wasn’t awake when it happened.

The needles were quick and relatively painless, and the anesthesia was obviously not fatal. I was reassured when I heard Bruce Swanson’s voice and learned he would be the one administering the anesthesia. I have known him and his family for some time, attend the same church with him and trust his steady hand on the anesthesia machine.

Everyone else who cared for me before, during and after the procedure was so kind and caring as well. Bless their hearts.

My coworkers were also kind enough to drive me home and retrieve my car from the clinic parking lot.

It turns out it was a good idea to undergo this procedure. The doctor discovered several pesky polyps and was able to eradicate most of them, but there were a few unusual ones that will require a specialist to eliminate.

So, it looks like I will be going through this again in the near future.

I’m prepared.

I’ve still got extra TP.

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