The Colonoscopy Diaries: Part 1

Posted by:
Susan Rooke
August 15, 2019

Hey, we’re gearing up for some fun out here in the country! (Fun in the Buns? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) Glen is scheduled for his colonoscopy in a few days and mine comes in late October. And we both managed to arrange them for our birthday months! It’s truly one of the most thoughtful gifts we can give ourselves, but I think my reluctance to open mine (open my GIFT. Geez, where is your mind??) is understandable. Glen, on the other hand, always rips the giftwrap off his with a brisk, “let’s get this over with” attitude.

In doing a little probing around online I learned that the colonoscopy as we know it today has been around for only fifty years and didn’t become common practice for more than ten years after that. It wasn’t until the mid-'80s when Ronald Reagan had some polyps removed that the general public began to take notice. My mother died only a few years ago, but she never had one and her mother certainly didn’t. I was surprised to see that in some circles—Canadian ones, for example—there is disagreement about the procedure. Many people just don’t believe that the American Cancer Society’s colonoscopy recommendations are medically necessary for those of average risk.

But then you have the unsettling fact that there are people of average risk who go unscreened and end up with full-blown colon cancer. That’s a good enough reason for me to observe the ACS’s guidelines. (Or try to. I’m two years late for this screening. Better late than never, though.)

The huge turnoff for most of us, of course, is the prep. That’s why I was eight years overdue for my first colonoscopy. (Okay, so I don’t observe the guidelines. But I feel guilty when I don’t, which has to count for something.) However, in the seven years since I had my first screening there’s been an interesting development: HyGIeaCare® (that’s an “i” as in “hygiene,” not an “l”). It’s an alternative type of prep that takes only about an hour and you go right in for your colonoscopy when you’re done. Best of all, it doesn’t require drinking a half-gallon or more of disgusting liquids. Glen’s gastroenterologist, for instance, prescribes polyethylene glycol, which I could have sworn was antifreeze.

HyGIeaCare® is a great innovation for some people, I’m sure, even after taking into account the couple hundred dollars extra it will add to your bill. But after reading about it on their website, I’ll have to pass. (On the new prep, that is, not the . . . Oh, never mind.) Our insurance agent playfully calls HyGIeaCare® “The Sit ‘n’ Spin,” which makes it sound like a giggly ride in the teacups at Disney World, instead of what it really is: a sterile nozzle shoved up—pardon me, I meant to say “introduced into”—your cabinet of curiosities, so that a gentle stream of warm water and your colon can have a play date. (Most of which will be spent making mudpies, I imagine.)

Um . . . no. I’ll do my prep the old-fashioned way, thanks. Especially now that I hear you can wash your laxative down with Crystal Light® Lemonade instead of Gatorade®. As for Glen, he’s fine with just drinking his antifreeze.

So stay tuned! At some point there’ll be a “Colonoscopy Diaries: Part 2,” probably after my turn in October. And when that comes you can bet I’ll be flashing this gift from The Daughter. Maybe the gastroenterologist will get a laugh out of them.

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8 comments on “The Colonoscopy Diaries: Part 1”

  1. I am almost tempted to try the "Sit N Spin" next time I have to get one. Drinking all those nasty liquids had me barfing my brains out.

  2. Susan, I'll be awaiting detailed observations about all of this, and I'm taking notes. We've yet to experience this bliss in life (save for the times when I shoved a human out and some other things came out as well), but I imagine my husband will have the honor first and maybe by the time I'm due, there will be an option where I can indulge in a combination of laughing gas and the probe. Or we could always bring back twilight sleep. Perhaps I could secure the option where I wake up and I've undergone a colonoscopy and a spa treatment.

    1. Hi, Amy! So Glen's was today. His third one, and this time the prep seemed much worse to him, despite the fact that it was exactly the same antifreeze, etc., that he's used to taking. I told him he needs to seriously consider the Sit 'n' Spin next time. Yes, that's an about-face from what I wrote in the post just a few days ago, but now I know a good friend who has actually gone that route. And she LOVED it! (Insofar as it is possible to love such a thing.) So I'm going to investigate that option further in October, and might very well go for it. Apparently it really is as easy as the website says it is. For the procedure itself, propofol is the anesthetic of choice for our gastro docs. It's nice. I actually had a dream under its influence during my first screening.

      HAHAHAHA! Now I'm wondering which spa menu items would go best with a colonoscopy! I think the full-body seaweed wrap is out of the question?

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