Colonoscopy complete. A bit of a letdown, but I’m probably going to live

It was highly anti-climactic.I went in, laid down on a hospital bed, nearly fell asleep while they were doing the prep work, and then once the drugs hit, I was out cold for the entire procedure. They apparently zapped a couple of polyps, and that was it. Now I’m home. Still feeling wobbly and woozy, and making typos all over the place, so I should stop here.

I get to go back through it in a few years, but yeah, not such a big deal. It kind of disrupted a day, but +1, will let a doctor stuff things up my butt again.


  1. cartomancer says

    Wobbly and woozy? Highly anti-climactic? Nearly fell asleep while they did the prep-work?

    Sounds an awful lot like the reviews I’d get on sex yelp. Well, apart from the “+1, would let stuff things up butt again” one.

  2. Ed Seedhouse says

    Since when did they start knocking folks out for this? I was awake the whole time for mine, and got a tube down the throat into the stomach as well (not at the same time, mouth rape first followed by anal rape). The only even mildly painful part was when they had to maneuver the anal probe around the bends in the colon, and that was more discomfort than pain.

  3. says

    @Ed Seedhouse, #6
    I had one done 6 years ago and I remember nothing of the actual procedure. Laid down on my side on the table, next thing I knew, I was on my back in a different bed an hour later.

  4. steve1 says

    This is the funniest colonoscopy joke I have heard so far. Ask the doctor to give a note to your wife that says you didn’t find my head.

  5. anxionnat says

    I’m glad you survived the colonoscopy. I’ve had 5 so far, as I have Crohn’s disease and the doc likes to do it every three years or so. I keep telling people it’s not as bad as everyone says. A couple ago, I woke up, didn’t feel groggy *at all* and went to wait outside the hospital for my ride. My nephew (who gave me a ride to the last one) tells me he saw lots of people, from his perch in the waiting room, who seemed to barely keep on their feet. He wondered if he’d have to carry me to his car. But I came out with no sign of grogginess. The docs use a lot of different meds to knock you out for the procedure, so if you react badly to one med, most of the docs are willing to try others. I’m lucky because I’ve been going to the same gastroenterologist for several years, so the med they use is the best one for me. And, here’s the kicker–the procedure can save your life. Can’t get any better than that! It’s worth a bit of discomfort.

  6. Richard Smith says

    It might be more climactic if the doctor also does a thorough digital prostate exam.

  7. says

    What drug mix did you get?

    I’ve been avoiding a colonoscopy for years but maybe if they’d let me listen to some Pink Floyd while I’m all messed up, it’d be worth it.

  8. charley says

    You might also forget things that happened within a couple hours after waking up, like what you said on the ride home or writing this blog.

  9. says

    Mine is done, too. I wasn’t permitted to leave the recovery room till a friend showed up to bail me out. I guess they’re afraid you’ll drive yourself home. (I did.)

  10. says

    It was just light anesthesia, but I hadn’t got much sleep the night before, and was so tired I was falling asleep before they hit me with the drugs. So I got none of the fun, but I did get a nice nap.

  11. says

    You might also forget things that happened within a couple hours after waking up, like what you said on the ride home or writing this blog.

    If they knock you down and give you Fentanyl, it’s known to have a memory inhibiting effect. Fairly often people will report that they are completely unable to recall things that happened while the drug was in effect. (Hypnotics like Rohypnol and Ambien do that, too)

    You can play some fun games with the effect if you’re not Bill Cosby. I know someone who recently had heart surgery and was given Fentanyl. I told his wife “when he is in the recovery room, tell him his favorite joke. Then when he’s done laughing, tell him again in a couple minutes.” Apparently she told him his favorite joke (to gales of giggles) almost a dozen times before it stopped being funny.

  12. says

    PZ Myers@#17:
    It was just light anesthesia, but I hadn’t got much sleep the night before, and was so tired I was falling asleep before they hit me with the drugs.

    Did you happen to notice seeing anything interesting when you closed your eyes?
    Opiates make me see gigantic surfaces of textured paper stretching in all directions, and nitrous oxide has been known to make me see paisley patterns on surfaces.

    Now I am thinking someone needs to write a pamphlet of “fun things to do while you’ve got medical anaesthesia” indexed by drug mix…

    … and when you open it, every page reads “Listen to Pink Floyd’s Great big gig in the sky and do NOT listen to The Wall.”

  13. blf says

    This was an excellent opportunity for PZ to have been swapped with a replicant squid from space (spacequid). Conveniently, he is going on sabbatical, after which (alleged-)survivors are known to return a bit weird(er), changed… Are we sure this is the real one ?

  14. davidc1 says

    Glad the medical staff came through the ordeal in one piece ,also glad you are ok .

  15. susans says

    @Ed Seedhouse, using the word rape to describe a consensual medical procedure is hilarious. Not.

  16. DonDueed says

    Marcus: when I was a kid (age 5 or so) I had a tonsillectomy. I was given ether. I remember seeing a field of multicolored pastel bubbles.

  17. Ed Seedhouse says

    “@Ed Seedhouse, using the word rape to describe a consensual medical procedure is hilarious.

    Well, I didn’t mean it to be hilarious. I meant it to be an ironical dig at myself. Obviously you saw it differently. At 74, and having benefited from years of privilege due to my pale skin, I am perhaps not as sensitive as I might fancy I am.

  18. unclefrogy says

    one the surprising things I remember feeling was how comfortable it felt to have my entire digestive track empty, I kind of was reluctant to start eating again though finally ending temporarily hunger was pretty nice in the end.
    uncle frogy

  19. Simple Desultory Philip says

    glad to hear everything is ok! lo these many years ago as a broke-ass (lol) college student, i signed up for a trial at the ucla medical center where a doctor was doing a clinical investigation as part of working towards an AIDS vaccine. as far as i can remember after nearly two decades, the thing they were investigating was whether the location of antibody production would vary depending on where the shot was given; because a lot of infection spreads through anal intercourse they wanted to know if it would be better to give a possible vaccine shot nearer the groin to increase the effectiveness. for this reason we all received shots in both the arm and the groin so it was blind to us as to which shot actually contained the antibody-stimulating substance. (part of the informed consent for the trial was the knowledge that for several months after the shot was given, if we took an HIV test it was likely to come back positive due to the presence of antibodies, although we were obviously not being infected with live virus.) we were then all required to come back once every two weeks for the next, four months i think it was maybe? to get what i referred to as roto-rooted. each procedure involved a colonoscopy with three biopsies spread out along the length of the colon. the drain snake they used had a little camera on the end so i got to lay there and watch the exciting live video as they steered around my intestines and then used a little pincer thing to take bites out of the wall. it wasn’t super *painful* exactly but it definitely wasn’t super *comfortable* either. i didn’t get any anesthesia. but i DID get $175 cash money for each roto-rooting, which at the time was totally worth it for lying on an exam table, dealing with some irritating intestinal feelings, and possibly contributing something to scientists trying to help prevent an awful disease. and hey, as a bonus, at least i now know what to expect when i need one later in life for other reasons :).

  20. unclefrogy says

    the other thing that I got out of the experience was a more nuanced appreciation of fallini’s “8 1/2”

    uncle frogy

  21. says

    PZ: Grand news, I’m so glad you’re okay.

    Marcus: The standard drug for a colonoscopy most places these days is propofol. It’s light, and some people sleep and some people just do a twilight thing, where they are sort of aware, and feel things now and then. It does have an amnesia effect. I slept, but woke straight up, and had no after effects at all. Rick was vaguely aware during his, and was spaced to all hell and gone afterward, for a couple hours.

  22. birgerjohansson says

    Glad you are OK.
    If you want an even more horrible colon-related experience, have Mr.Garrison at South Park do to you what he did to Mr. Slave (it involves a small rodent).

  23. hemidactylus says

    @21- Marcus

    Definitely Syd era. “Set the Controls for the Heart of My Bum”? Or “Don’t Remember a Day”.

  24. dianne says

    Remember, in medicine boring is good. I’m happy to hear it was anti-climatic. Adenomas? (That is, if you want to go spreading your PHI all over the internet.)

  25. hemidactylus says


    Oh, Jesus Christ! I’m not even sure South Park is appropriate anymore. Thoughtcrime? What says PC Principal?

    Garrison is now a surrogate for Trump.

    The Lemmiwinks episode was an awkward moment shared with my dad. It was all WTF is going on here. Classic. Red Rocket was almost as crazy.

    And Dawkins and how they basically prophesied the coming Great Rifts. That was prescient though much sooner than expected.

  26. says

    The first time for me I had a couple polyps and then I went back 3 years after and was clear. So then every five years. Last year I am like hmmmm I am 61 I may not care when I am 66 about a colonoscopy at my age? The prep work is the worse part of it too me.

  27. call me mark says

    hemidactylus @#35

    I’m not even sure South Park is appropriate anymore.

    When was South Park ever appropriate? lol

  28. KG says

    Glad you’re OK.

    Here in the UK, colonoscopies are not routine, but those over a certain age (which differs between parts of the UK, in Scotland it’s 50) are invited to mail in fecal samples every three years (they send out a pack). Last time there was an invitation to take part in a medical trial, of something called a “flexible sigmoidoscopy”, which is a kind of colonoscopy-lite, the aim of the trial being to see if this picked up a significant proportion of things the fecal test missed, in which case it would be generally offered. The blurb said this was unlikely to be more than minimally uncomfortable, so in the interests of both me and medical science, I agreed to take part. However, I found it highly unpleasant – no drugs given, I’ll demand them if I ever need anything similar again. Apparently I have diverticulosis (pockets in the wall of the colon), about which there’s disagreement whether it counts as a disease state; if it develops into diverticulitis it definitely does, but so far, it hasn’t.