Posted By: Susan Rooke
Posted on: March 5, 2020 11:00 AM
The day before, I had my nails done.
No one would be looking at my hands, but so what? I think it’s important to look nice for one’s colonoscopy.
The morning of, I put on a gift from The Daughter: my special socks.
Then Glen and I made the pre-dawn trip into town. He drove while I prayed silently for a good result. One week later, I got the phone call from the gastroenterologist’s office that my prayers had been answered. What a relief, I don’t have to go back for five years! But I already knew there was something else I wouldn’t be going back for. Not in five years, or fifty-five.
In “The Colonoscopy Diaries: Part 1,” I wrote about a new type of prep called HyGIeaCare®. It sounds like a normal-ish sort of enema, possibly an appealing alternative to drinking large quantities of revolting fluids that can be hard for someone with a strong gag reflex to keep down. Like me. But after reading up on it, I wrote that I was going to do my prep the old-fashioned way. Revolting or not, drinking glup just seemed less . . . ew. After I wrote that post, however, a dear friend highly recommended the HyGIeaCare® method to me. That surprised me, so next I asked my gastroenterologist, who told me a member of her family had also preferred it to the standard prep. Two strong endorsements persuaded me, and I decided to give it a try. How bad could it be? Well . . .
There is a sterile nozzle, inserted. There follows a stream of warm water. That much I knew in advance. It was swiftly and professionally applied, with a minimum of fuss and embarrassment. That much I’d hoped for. So far, so good. What I was not prepared for was the quantity of water. Eight . . . gallons’ . . . worth. Eight. That’s one round. And if you can go for another round, for a total of sixteen gallons, all the better. I didn’t, but if you did, you’d have a colon so clean it squeaked.
Of course you can’t hold eight gallons of water, much less sixteen, all at once. No, indeed. Very soon after the ingress begins, so does the egress. And both processes keep going for what feels like forever. There’s a button you can push to stop the water streaming in if it becomes too much to bear. But there seems to be little benefit to that. You’re just dragging the process out. I stopped it once, for less than a minute. Even so, for a single round of eight gallons, I was in that small antechamber of Hell for about an hour and forty-five minutes. It seemed much longer. I had brought a book to help pass the time. I soon realized I couldn’t spare the attention to read it.
It was exhausting. Once it was finally over, though, I relaxed, thinking I was done. All I had left to do was link arms with Glen and stroll across the parking lot to the imaging center (conveniently close). I’d already done the hardest part. The colonoscopy itself would be a breeze!
But I was not done. And what happened next was even worse. It’s due largely to the fact that our colons have bends and turns, nooks and crannies. They are not, unfortunately, straight Teflon-lined tubes. When the technician came in to disengage the HyGIeaCare® apparatus, she told me to wait at least ten minutes before leaving my room. Why? Because, due to the aforementioned intricacies of human anatomy, not all of the eight gallons had found their way to the light again. “You’ll think it’s done, but it’s not,” she said. Are you KIDDING me? Until that moment, this was something I’d had no inkling of. No one had mentioned one word about this. And may I say that ten minutes was at least thirty minutes too short. I will leave it to you to envision all the inopportune moments that escaping water can choose to make its presence felt. Then, envision a few more. Luckily, they’re used to that sort of thing at the gastro imaging center. I hope.
It all worked out in the end (ha!), and it was a good learning experience. Obviously, there are people who find HyGIeaCare® very worthwhile. I’m just not one of them. But everything was better again once I came out from the colonoscopy. Under anesthesia, I’d had a dream, just as I had during my first one. Both had a fairytale theme. Seven years ago, I dreamed I had a goose that laid golden eggs. This time, I dreamed about a woodcutter who lived in a cottage in a magical forest. Whatever the Freudian significance, I enjoyed them.
And my special socks were a hit with the colonoscopy nurses.