The Colonoscopy Report

Well, that certainly was interesting. I started to realize how some people can fetishize purging – it’s a very “control freak” sort of thing and it really makes you/helps you realize that your body is just a weird machine that responds to very simple control signals (e.g.: moisture level in bowels, peristalsis, etc.)

I took the directions for preparation very seriously and basically went without food for 2 and a half days. Further, I discovered that I do not care a whit for “clear foods.” I.e.: Jell-o, while a childhood favorite, is not a meal in and of itself. Nor is broth or coffee without half and half. (purists can sue me, so long as you hire Rudy Giuliani) So I wound up fasting while packing myself with liquids and polymers.

What’s funny is that that didn’t bother me at all – since I started having gout attacks in 2012, I’ve been pretty careful to guggle down a lot of water all the time. So, “drink 2 32oz jugs of gatorade” was not a big deal. The laxatives and the consequences were not so pleasant, but it was all bearable. Since it’s a common procedure, the endoscopy crew at the “wellness center” (I guess there are legal reasons they don’t call it a “hospital”)(probably taxes?) were as well-drilled as a Formula-1 pit crew, though less frenetic. I was in and out in 1 hour 20 minutes, absolutely starving. I couldn’t tell if the gurgling in my tummy was CO2 they had pumped in there to inflate me, or hunger, so when I got home I made some butter noodles with roasted red peppers and garlic, and that fixed that. It was tempting to have a glass or 2 of red wine since I was dehydrated and still trippy from the midozalam, but sense prevailed. I crawled into bed and listening to Pink Floyd at high volume I napped in and out.

I’ll spare you the pictures because – mercifully – they were not very interesting. Apparently my colon is the prettiest part of me, or something. I had one little polyp beginning to form that they took off, but I’ve seen pictures of what the bad polyps look like and this one wasn’t one of those. So I expect that I’ll have to do it again someday if I live that long.

Several of you sent me supportive emails, which was incredibly kind and I am deeply grateful.

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Midozalam appears to turn me into a motor-mouth.


  1. geoffarnold says

    I love watching my own medical procedures (cataract surgery is a beautiful psychedelic experience), so for my first three colonoscopies I asked them to keep the sedation low, so that I was awake enough to watch it live on the video monitor. After that, I got bored, told them to let me sleep. (I have a family history which mandates frequent scans.)

  2. Bruce says

    If one is lucky regarding their colon, the standard advice is to get such a colonoscopy at age 50, and then every ten years after that. If they have reason for concern, they invite you back more frequently. I have a friend with issues (under control now), who has been getting them every year now for decades. But I’m good for another ten years, as far as my colon. I hope everyone gets similar news.

  3. kestrel says

    Hey that’s great news! I have been informed by the Partner that “in the biz” they call that drug versed. (Pronounced “ver SAID” and not like the verse in a song.) May you and your (apparently, I’ll just go ahead and believe you here) lovely colon have many years pottering around in the forge and at the lathe.

  4. James says

    I’m glad to hear it went well. It sounds like your doc has a less unleasant cleanout for you than mine has for me. I have but one complaint, jealousy! Your first colonoscopy at 50/60 and you had one little polyp? You lucky dog! In my first one at 33 I had 3 polyps. And I have another coming up in a couple months.

  5. says

    Your first colonoscopy at 50/60 and you had one little polyp?

    Yeah, apparently I colon pretty well.
    I guess it’s an important under-appreciated skill.

  6. says

    I love watching my own medical procedures

    I’d faint. Really.

    I was at a hotel for a conference once and the hotel TV system was being used to broadcast another conference – which was some kind of surgery thing. I turned the TV on to make some noise and a few seconds later I was whooping for air on the floor.

    This was great. I told the anaesthesiologist that I react badly to body horror and he said he’d lean on the sleepy a bit harder. That’s actually the last thing I remember until I came to in the recovery bay.

  7. johnson catman says

    re Marcus @8: For my first one at 50, I was grogged but not totally out and felt some discomfort as the doctor was probing. When I had the one at 60, I was knocked out and remember nothing from right after the drugs started until I woke up in recovery. I much prefer the second method.

  8. C Sue says

    My first one (delayed until age 52 due to previous C diff infection) found absolutely nothing, but I could only take half the prep before my body started violently rejecting it, plus it made me hallucinate. Also, the first person trying to get an IV into me blew it badly, made me turn green, and even when they brought in a real anesthetologist to redo it, I was dry heaving the whole time. Never doing that again if I can help it!

    Hubby, meanwhile, now has to do this every 5 years due to them finding stuff. Blargh. Mine was in a hospital, but his was done in a kind of facility where people were almost stacked one upon another, they were so full and busy.

    Neat trivia: they use versed on horses to knock them out for various procedures.

  9. Janstince says

    Hospital is different from wellness centers.

    Firstly, while technically a medical procedure, there is no expectation of surgical incision during colonoscopies. If an incision is made, the room it is done in has lots and lots of added requirements, including extra cleaning protocols, power requirements, lighting, tool and material availability, and even air conditioning (maintaining low humidity levels in operating rooms while keeping them cool enough that surgeons don’t drip sweat into open patients while wearing 4 layers of clothing is something of a knack, and a nightmare).

    Also, hospitals have overnight patient facilities, with round-the-clock nursing staff, cleaning and maintenance support, stricter building codes, etc.

    It’s not tax purposes. Look up The Joint Commission and your state hospital building codes, if you’re interested in finding out more.

  10. Jazzlet says

    Yay for a lovely colon and just a baby polyp!

    I just had gas and air for mine and watched most of it while describing the times I’ve seen the Who at length, well the length of my colon. I wouldn’t describe the experience as painful, more distinctly uncomfortable going round the corners, but otherwise just a feeling where there isnt usually one..

  11. says

    OK, that makes sense. Thank you for the explanation.

    [I grew up in Baltimore, which is mostly owned by Johns Hopkins hospital, which is a massively profitable entity that plays tax tricks to avoid being realizing profits – e.g.: naming a facility an oncology research lab (but it still provides billable services, naturally) that then pays for itself over time by offsetting the cost of building a whole facility against the allegedly nonexistent profits, etc.]

    I know the regulatory environment is also pretty complicated.but I don’t know enough about it.

  12. bmiller says

    No family risk for me, luckily. I have gotten away with two “dupstick” mail-in tests which are pretty darn accurate. I am told.

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