A Different Kind of PITA

A month or so during my physical, my doctor turned to me, and informed me I was a winner: I’m over 50, and I won a colonoscopy. Go me. As a result, today found me at the surgical center where a camera was taking pictures in a place a camera was never meant to take pictures.

The good news is that I got a clean bill of health (if I didn’t, this wouldn’t be a public post). The even better news is that the preparation wasn’t as bad as it was purported to be. So, to make Katie Couric proud, I figure I should share my experience.

The Prep. The goal of the preparation, to put it bluntly, is to clean the shit out of you. They need a clean colon. So they have you take laxitives and drink gunk that cleans you out until what comes out is as clear as what goes in. To do this, my doctor prescribed Half-Lytely, which is evidently just a combination of OTC Ducalax and half the amount of NuLytely liquid. However, that was on long-term backorder, so I got the NuLytly instead. Still, we did the Half-Lytely approach: two ducolax around 11am, and drinking 2 quarts of the NuLytely around 5pm (actually, I ended up drinking all 4 quarts). If you have to do this, some hints I found that made it tolerable: (a) make up the NuLytely the night before and chill it; (b) use the Orange flavoring, it is least noxious… and I added a half-cap of Peach Torani sugar-free syrup; (c) drink it in a container with a long straw (I used a 32-oz Sharkey’s cup); and (d) bite a lime before each chunk of drinking. Expect the usual laxative visits to the toilet; about ½ hour after you start the liquid, expect to visit the toilet about every 5-10 minutes until things calm down. Still, through all the prep, I was able to put in an 11-hour day at home reviewing.

Note that this is also typically done in a surgery center, so the usual protocols apply: no blood thinners, no asprin for a week. A clear liquid diet for 24 hours before. Nothing by mouth for 6 hours before the procedure.

The Procedure. Actually, I have no memory of it. I was offered full anesthesia and I took it, even though I had to pay out of my pocket. Evidently, my insurance company (Anthem/Blue Cross) doesn’t normally cover full anesthesia—I’m going to have to submit the bill and hope for reimbursement. Still, it made things painless and I’m all for that. There was no pain from the procedure itself, although you are extremely gassy afterwards (evidently, they pump you full of air).

The Other Aftermath. As I said, I came through with no problems. However, it can be hard on your house plumbing. We had a toilet back up a line and start leaking out the side, and the plumber is coming at 2pm. Forwarned is foreplunged :-).