“This House is Clean!”


On the way to a group run Monday, my running buddy told she was getting her first colonoscopy next Thursday.  A colonoscopy virgin. Grasshopper has much to learn…

(Leave now if you don’t like TMI ‘cause this is going to be “one of those” posts!)

She complained that she couldn’t have any solid food on Wednesday; just clear liquids.  She said she would be hungry.  She was obsessing over how hungry she would be.  “Oh honey,” I wanted to tell her, “hunger will be the least of your worries next Wednesday.”

I’ve had two colonoscopies.  I think this puts me into the “experienced” category when it comes to this sort of thing.  Lucky me.

Studies show that early screening for colon cancer save lives.  I’m all over that.  And, a colonoscopy really isn’t as bad as people say. Really.  Maybe not.

I’ll give you that the prep is kind of yucky.  My friend is going to be taking pills to “get ready” for the big day.  I’m jealous. I was never offered a pill option.

The first doc in Ohio wrote me a prescription for something that I had to mix with water.  It made 30 gallons. It seemed like it was 30 gallons.  They said I had to drink it all over the course of the afternoon and evening the day before the procedure.

Game on!

Initially, it tasted like a cross between Gatorade, Pediacare and lemon-lime Kool Aid.  Not too bad I thought at the time.  “At the time” being the key words here…

Three gallons and three hours later into the prep “protocol”, my upper GI tract started to rebel.  It was getting hard to drink the stuff. It was now tasting like a cross between horse sweat and liquified, stale Easter peeps.  My throat was starting to clamp shut.

‘Round about that same time, my lower GI tract started to join the party.  That’s the nice way to put it.  I hovered close to the water closet.  Very close.  I was thinking of moving in for the night.

Several hours and several more gallons of the now totally undrinkable foul witches brew later, I took a stand.  Enough is enough.  The gag reflex had started kick in.  This is never good.  And what I did manage to force down started to shoot through me like I was a goose on speed.  I made the unilateral decision that I had successfully completed the prep phase.

My second doc in Missouri didn’t write me a prescription for a prep concoction.  He told me to get several over the counter products at the local drug store.  Said they worked just as well.  And it was cheap.  No 30 gallons of toe jam peep sweat.  No clamped shut esophagus.  It was much more civilized with basically the same squeaky clean results.  Easy peasy.  Kind of…

So once the prep work is done, you’re basically home free.  Other than the next day they snake about 15 feet of tubing up your colon while the doc wears a miners light on his head, a hazmat suit and stares at his monitor with live video of your now clean as a whistle innards.  Can I order that on NetFlix?

But the best part of the whole process is the amazing twilight sleep stuff they use to knock you out!  You have no idea at all what’s happening.  This is very good.  And you wake up feeling like you’ve had the best sleep you’ve had in years.  In a sick way, it kinda makes it all worthwhile…

So if you’re over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, for heaven’s sake schedule one!  It’s a relatively simple procedure that could save your life.  Plus you end up (get it – end up?) with some pretty good stories that you can swap with other 50+ types.   Good times.

But I do have one question – when did they stop calling them proctologists and start calling them gastroenterologists? Proctologist is just such a great word.  It’s the stuff great jokes are made of…

Two proctologists were talking about their patients (obviously pre-HIPPA…)  The first one said that he was probing one of his patient’s “nether regions” and pulled out a bouquet of flowers.  In stunned amazement, the second protologist said, “Where did they come from?”  The first proctologist answered, “I don’t know. There wasn’t a card attached.”



14 thoughts on ““This House is Clean!”

  1. You’re right about the preparation. Worst part. I’ve had three – THREE – of those procedures and I’m due for another. Ugh.

    Unfortunately I have this “condition.” It’s called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. Whenever I turn onto my left side, I get dizzy. I mean seriously, disabling dizzy. So I don’t lie on my left side. Period, end of story. Except, for whatever reason, whenever I have a colonoscopy, they always position me to lie on my left side.

    I don’t know if all of my proctologists (or gastroenterologists) are southpaws or if there is something magical about being on your left side when you have that 15′ tube inserted up your butt. I’ve asked about being on my right side, but the answer is always, “Sorry, no can do.”

    So while I have a nice sleep during the procedure, when I wake up, I’m always very dizzy and essentially unable to function for the remainder of the day. And that is why, more so than for the the prep, I hate colonoscopies.


  2. This was SO funny. I’ve got a couple of years to go yet, but thanks for the heads up. Hopefully when my time comes, the prep will be even easier. I don’t suppose much can be done about the actual procedure though?


  3. I downed um…half of the colon prep from the pharmacy. Ugh….and I’m someone who has tasted a very broad range of food and drink.

    I’m happy to report my colonoscipy results earlier this winter, reported a squeaky clean inner colon. They even gave me photos to keep of the end result inside. Cool.

    I don’t need another one until a decade from now. Seriously. That’s the protocol in Alberta.

    I confess: I do notice my regular bowel movement daily for past few years. And honest, cycling regularily does help me. Also start breakfast with some yogurt or juice…gets me primed for washroom. If people are grossed out…wait until you get constipated in old age. That is not a good thing. So good habits start now..


    • No fair!! I didn’t get pictures to keep! You could autograph them and sell them on eBay! 10 years seems like a long spell – I think it’s recommended that we get one every 5 years in the US. Probably says something about our politics – we’re up to our necks in BS here…
      I need to add “regularity” to the “sage” advice I give to younger folks (mostly unsolicited…) Floss your teeth AND make sure you KTBM (keep the bowels moving) No wonder young people don’t want to talk to me!


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