Monday, April 04, 2011


(Blogger seems to be experiencing some technical glitches since I just posted this on Wednesday, April 6th after writing it Tues. night, but the gremlin affixed a different date, so I'll try re-posting to see if it corrects. Actually, my previous piece was posted April 1st, but the gremlin dated it March 31st.)

Yesterday was not a typical day. In fact, the day was quite unlike the
"Summerish Spring Day" described in my previous piece.

Let's go back a few days to when I started that dreaded process for a periodic medical procedure many of us undergo. I had more than slight trepidation since not only had my doctor specialist retired, to be replaced by one I did not know, but the procedure's preparation substances were different, too.

My memory of several previous such preparations requiring drinking of excessive fluids was pretty negative. I recalled the intensity of the liquid's repellent mouth puckering taste. Determined to make this experience as positive as possible, I forced myself to reject preconceived expectations. So, several nights ago I initiated the several day process with step one by swallowing the prescribed two pills before going to bed.

Coincidentally, at this time I was having rare slight headaches that developed into some other unique symptoms that had me thinking I might need to seek Urgent Care. This could complicate the whole process I'd already started and I didn't want to have to begin all over again at some future unknown date. Of course the time frame for these events was evolving into a weekend when my physician's office was closed. Fortunately, I was able to press ahead with my medical procedure preparation because I was really primed for completing this process, having already started, but I felt worse before I felt better. Diagnosis today, Tues., revealed Otitis Media -- middle ear infection -- and some concurrent swallowing and throat issues.

Returning to the saga's second step, the following afternoon was time to mix a large amount of this new liquid concoction for overnight refrigeration. I selected the lemon flavor over the orange, cherry and pineapple, hoping the taste would not be sickening or overpowering. Before refrigerating I was instructed to add lots and lots of water to the container's mysterious white powder and flavoring, then shake to mix. Another two pills would be taken before going to bed that night. Then, the next afternoon I would have to drink this flavored beverage within a specified short time period after first taking yet another larger pill. That entire day I could drink only specified liquids, eat no solid foods. After midnight I couldn't even drink liquids until after the next morning's medical procedure at the hospital.

I had prepared for the worst based on the last time I went through this process. So, I was choosing jello, chicken broth, gatorade, and ginger ale to provide some nourishment and keep me hydrated.

The drinking hour arrived and it was down the hatch with 8 ounces of the lemon flavor mix every ten minutes for the next two hours. I was surprisingly pleased that this new liquid was much more palatable than the product I'd always had to drink before. I gradually became liquid-sot and quickly realized I didn't want to sip ginger ale or any other beverage to pacify my palate. Forcing my mouth to accept the final three glasses of this lemon liquid drink took all my effort and will power.

About an hour later I began those most dreaded rapid trips to the throne in the room of contemplation. I had learned from past years what soothing remedies to have at the ready and was prepared, but I did not need them this time. A half-a-mega-tissue-roll later I could relax for longer time periods in the living room. I began to gather the few items I'd need to take with me the following morning to the hospital's outpatient radiology department clinic.

The procedure itself, like those before, was painless, uneventful and quite routine. As usual, I had no memory of the actual procedure, nor did I experience (or have I ever had) any brief memory lapses of events afterward during the Doctor's consultation. Some individuals do experience this later recall loss, so everyone has to be accompanied by family or a friend who is also responsible for transporting them home.

Now that I'm on my own I wasn't about to impose on someone to drive me to the hospital for this very early morning appointment. I couldn't use my car as I knew I wouldn't be allowed to drive myself home. I was able to use a special very inexpensive car service provided by our city for anyone needing such transportation. I was displeased with the hospital's requirement that prevented me from using that same service, or a commercial cab service for the return trip home. (I had been able to use a cab after this same procedure several years ago.)

Not being permitted to use any sort of private car commercial transportation is primarily due to the hospital's liability concerns, though ostensibly for my own protection. Ultimately, I did have to impose on a colleague to drive me home, and, in fact, tell them herself she would do so, before they would prep me for the procedure. Additionally, she had to be present for the Doctor's discussion of my medical procedures results.

I couldn't help entertaining rebellious thoughts that maybe my privacy rights were violated by the requirement I had to have this person present for my verbal medical report. I had been given all the same information, pictures and more written out in a folder to bring home even before the doctor's appearance. I quelled my natural tendency to protest for individual rights by acquiescing to system rules that must apply to all and leave little room for special circumstances.

Let this be a testimony that undergoing a colonoscopy, especially the preparation, has become a much less unpleasant process in every aspect than that I experienced just a few years ago. Despite my attitude expressed above, I do agree having a trusted known person present after the procedure, who can also provide transportation home, is wise and a not unreasonable requirement.

I do know of one instance when my husband did experience a brief memory lapse following his procedure when later he told me he was unable to recall our short driving trip home together. Just because I've never had such a short memory lapse doesn't mean I might not the next time. Fortunately, that won't be for another five to seven years.

A colonoscopy is a recommended endoscopic colon examination which enables early detection of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. This visual procedure is administered in a hospital outpatient setting by a physician specializing in Gastroenterology.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report:

"Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and in women."


  1. Been there; done that. It's a nuisance -- especially the transportation part.

  2. Just got back from escorting beautiful wife Sandy to and from the colonoscopy place. A jolly nurse confirmed that some folks do suffer temporary memory lapses. She told of a patient who did a bit of computing after arriving home after her procedure. She was amazed several days later when UPS delivered 10 identical pairs of shoes. Our nurse cautioned Sandy not to do any online shopping for a while!

  3. Kay: You know of what I speak and wanting to not have to rely on others.

    Dick: What a coincidence. Bet Sandy is as glad as I am to have this event behind us. Appreciated the memory lapse story -- graphically illustrates why it's best to follow the rules for this procedure.

  4. Oh those colonoscopies....I've had several and don't need to have another for a few more years. I swear, the preparation is far worse than the actual procedure. You certainly described what it's like preparing and going through the preliminaries....UGH! My daughter, Jen, and I are each other's transportation for these fun things.