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Getting A Colonoscopy? Not a Bad Experience and Prevent Colon Cancer Too
One day at work I was talking to a man who was about sixty years old. He told me he'd never had a colonoscopy. He sounded as if he was apprehensive about the procedure. This is completely understandable. Anyone who envisions themselves enjoying a pipe with a camera on the end of it rammed up their butt probably should be committed.
I assured him that this was nothing to worry about. I had one within the last year and it really wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be
At the time of my colonoscopy I was 38 years old. I'm a guy. A few months before my colonoscopy I started having what I affectionately termed "butt problems".
Let's just say that things coming out in the bathroom didn't appear as, eh, elegant compared to years past. The process of going included bleeding in addition to other problems that the old high fiber diet just couldn't cure.
I visited my doctor. He prodded as they do and recommended a colonoscopy.
I quickly learned that just because your family doctor orders you a colonoscopy, it doesn't mean you are going to simply get one. You next have to visit a gastroenterologist.
Gastroenterologist. Quite a word isn't it? I'm not exactly sure of the Webster's dictionary definition but basically a gastrointestinologist is a special breed of person that can stare up people's colons all day long and still kiss his or her spouse at night.
Getting an appointment did take a couple of months. When I finally did meet the gastroenterologist the actual discussion with the doctor took about 5 minutes. I had to schedule a colonoscopy exam.
Getting a Chauffeur
When you schedule a colonoscopy exam be sure to consider the schedule of a friend or loved one who can drive you. You will absolutely need a driver. The doctors office will not let you take a taxi or drive with a stranger, they'd actually prefer you produce a serial criminal that is truly your friend than use any public transportation.
To further this point, the doctors office the day of your colonoscopy will ask you to produce your driver and they will ask that person directly what relation (friend, spouse, brother, etc) he or she is to you. If you can't produce a driver, they will refuse your colonoscopy exam. The last thing you'll ever want is to reschedule this exam the day of the exam. After you read below about the colonoscopy preparation, you'll understand. Seriously, I'd rather postpone my wedding the day of the wedding than postpone a colonoscopy the day of the exam.
Give Yourself the Day Off
Another consideration when scheduling a colonoscopy is your work schedule. The doctor will tell you that you'll have to take the day off that day. If he tells you to take the day off, believe me, take the day off. You'll find out more below.
Days Leading Up to the Colonoscopy
About a week before my procedure I started some scheduled dietary restrictions. Not a big deal. I won't get too into detail on this since your restrictions may differ. I'm not trying to give you medical advice. Just trying to give you an idea of what you may experience (none of which is all that horrible). That said, the restrictions were a piece of cake.
Be sure to follow any instructions the doctor gives you to exact detail. They'll tell you if you don't follow the guidelines they give you, you may have to reschedule your appointment.
The 5-20 hours or so Leading Up to The Colonoscopy
The hours leading up to the colonoscopy was probably the toughest part. Even tougher than the procedure.
I won't get into details since I don't want this article taken as colonoscopy instruction, but basically the 20 hour lead-up involves lots of laxatives that the doctor will instruct you on.
You may have heard that the colonoscopy 'drink' tastes horrible. In my case, this is completely wrong. Even the hospital told me this is a misconception left over from years ago when the drink tasted bad. Mine was fine and had a good flavor.
That said, the drink will, eh, clear you out, totally. Very totally. I think I ran-to-the-can literally about 15 times. Whatever you do during the drink, stay home. Don't walk across the street to buy cigarettes, don't drive to the MAC machine, stay close to the bathroom. If you have more than one bathroom in your home, reserve it for yourself. If you only have one bathroom, then sell your family into slavery for the day so you have it to yourself. I'm telling you, when you have to go, you'll just go. Simply walking around the living room will, eh, inspire your system to go. Seriously.
If there's any consolation to the 'going' part, it is by far the worst phase. The exam actually is easier.
Be careful to follow they give you closely. The last thing you'll want to do after going a million times is have to cancel and do it all again soon.
Hours Before the Exam
Make sure your driver gets to your place early and gets you to the hospital early for the exam. By this time you should be all cleaned out so to speak. If you are like me, you'll also be tired from all the, eh, activity. You'll be glad someone drove you. It'll give you a bit of a rest.
Hour Before the Exam
My experience in the hospital was very good. I was taken good care of and made to feel at ease. They explained what was going to happen and things were very professional yet comforting. All the other patients in the office were there for the same thing so there wasn't any strange feeling like, "Wow. I'm the only guy here about to get pogo'd."
In my case, they had me put on a gown, lay on a table under a cover. They put an IV in me and wheeled me into the examination room
So Have You Had This Important Test?
Here's the best part. At least in my case, the exam was nothing. They gave me some sort of anesthesia and it knocked me right out.
Literally as fast as my eyes closed, they opened and the exam was over. I have no idea how long the colonoscopy took. It may have been hours for all I know but it felt as though I just blinked.
Immediately following the exam they give you a little snack and fruit juice and tell you their findings.
For me, they removed a polyp and took a biopsy which is basically removing a piece of your colon for examination at a lab. I had no discomfort besides a little gas which lasted a few hours.
Some people ask me if it felt like my butt got railroaded and, seriously, I had no discomfort at all even with the polyp removal and biopsy. I thought I'd be walking all hunched over with a limp. I had no bad feeling afterward.
Probably the best advise the doctor gave me leading up to the exam was to bring a driver and take the day off work.
After the exam, at least in my case, I felt lethargic and dumb. I didn't feel bad at all but I did feel actually quite stupid. Between being tired, hungry and the anesthesia the last thing I could have ever done was drive a car, let alone go to work. It seriously would have been a disaster.
How to Count Gym Visits for Fitness Reimbursement
- TurtleDog\'s Blog: How to Get Blue Cross Health Insurance Gym Reimbursement Money
If you have Blue Cross, you might be eligible to get money back for going to you gym. I wrote an article on how to get reimbursed by Blue Cross (IBX). Click above to check it out.
If You Need One, GET ONE. It's Easy
My whole purpose of this whole article is to give you an idea of what to expect with your colonoscopy exam and hopefully put your thoughts at ease since the procedure isn't nearly as bad as you think it is going to be.
It's your body, so take care of it.
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