Friday, January 15, 2016
TMI With Photos
What follows is going to be about medical care and procedures. If you are young and healthy and do not want to read this, I will understand. I was like you once...I think, but putting your head in the sand is not always healthy.
I lost about 48 hours this week from my routine, uneventful life. It was an expected loss as I have done this before. This loss was time preparing for and time getting a colonoscopy. I am fortunate that my health insurance covers most of the costs of this---although mine did require a $200 co-pay which is a sizable cost. I had this done first long ago at about the age of 55 and the second time around I was 64. They recommend it every 5 to 10 years as we age. My most recent dance with the machinery was this week. If you have not had this done I can tell you it is a good preventative procedure to have if you are covered by insurance. It is also NOT a lot of fun.
First, you must be on a jello, bouillon, clear liquid diet for 24 hours. That in itself requires sacrifice if you are a foodie like me. No creamy liquids and only sugar in coffee. Then the evening before the procedure you must drink a liquid preparation from the drugstore that is the most foul tasting drink (sodium sulfate, potassium sulfate and magnesium sulfate) even though they attempt to drown it in cherry flavoring and sugar . It is a full 8 ounces mixed with 8 ounces of water followed by two more 16 ounce cups of plain water over the next hour. Your gut is now filled with 48 ounces of liquid. Within 45 minutes you will be visiting the bathroom every 10-15 minutes. If you own a Fitbit, be sure to wear it on this day as you will easily reach your 10,000 steps. This cleansing continues for about three hours before it wears off. In my case I was really ready for sleep at 9:00 P.M. While I did sleep uneventfully, I had to set the alarm for 4:00 AM and start the process all over again so that I was really clean for my 8:30 procedure. In the photo above you can see how clean. The nurse told me she had lost 8 pounds when she had the procedure done, but I only lost 2.5!!
The doctor puts a probe with a camera up your rear end and looks at your lower and upper intestine for anomalies, polyps, hemorrhoids, etc. and they want you squeaky clean. They put you under an anesthetic before they pump your bowels with carbon dioxide air and you sleep through the 25 minute process. The CO2 is best because when it is over you have very little gas pains or problems. It just absorbs!
In my case I had a team of really energetic, friendly and efficient nurses and doctors. They even had warmed the nightgown and blanket in a heater before they made me strip naked and put it on. I was required to answer the same questions for two different nurses and the anesthesiologist prior to meeting the doctor, which means they double checked everything. Our nurses are mostly white ladies, but the anesthesiologist was Asian and the doctor was middle Eastern and the receptionist was black and seemed to be a personal friend of Obama according to our conversation. If it was not for these immigrants I would get very little health care out here in the sticks. Regular white doctors want to live in the city with their families, it seems. Even my primary care doctor who is Asian Indian left for greener pastures last year as I wrote in a prior post. (My new primary care doctor is Latino.)
Well, the procedure went as planned with the primary pain being the injection of the sleeping drug through a vein in my hand. For some reason it must have pressured a nerve because my arm was in so much pain before I finally went under that it felt as if I had broken it! The anesthesiologist told me it would feel like a pinch...WTF!!
They found one small flat polyp which was removed at the time of the procedure and sent for biopsy although the doctor told me he was pretty sure it was precancerous. At my age, everything they find seems to be precancerous which I guess justifies all of this medical care. We must keep us old folks alive as long as forever. And the young think it is a waste of money...until it is their turn.
The sleeping drug wears off within 5 minutes of stopping the drip which is very different than it used to be years ago when I felt very drugged all day long. I was not allowed to drive myself home even so.
You would think I would be starving for a big breakfast after this, but I was only a little hungry and very disappointed that either the sleeping drug, the oxygen in my nose drying the olfactory surfaces, or the excessive dryness of my mouth hindered my taste buds and the breakfast at that high calorie place called I-HOP tasted like cardboard. The only thing I welcomed was the hot tea with honey. That taste issue lasted until evening when my dinner, prepared by hubby, of some of our frozen crab, asparagus, sesame oil and roasted red peppers over a pasta was delicious as my tongue or nose seemed to be working once again.
I hesitated writing about this, as medical stuff is not very interesting and sometimes icky, but I felt some who had not had the procedure might find it important or informative. I am now good "to go" for another 5-10 years. Sorry, but I could not resist.