“We all poop. Don’t be such a damn baby” – Plato
“Let’s talk about poop, ba-by.” – Salt-N-Pepa, original lyrics
“Howdy ho!” – Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo
If, as predicted, the coronavirus eventually recedes to its summer retreat and lurks in wait for its winter return, elective medical procedures should begin to resurrect. Time to think about a colonoscopy.
As you may recall from my clinical and philosophical masterpiece, What Doesn’t Kill You Gives You Colitis, living with Ulcerative Colitis sort of makes me a colonoscopy pro.
Like any professional athlete, preparation is essential to continued success. Rest his soul, but Kobe Bryant exemplified that blue-collar work ethic of practice makes perfect, too.
Speaking of clichés, ignorance is not bliss. Colonoscopies play a vital role in the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. It is better to be safe than sorry. If the attitude you bring to the table is not positive, how can you expect to not be left down in the “dumps”?
Knowledge is power! Let’s take a few moments and define some key terminology so you can best rationalize this indispensable event.
- Colon (aka large intestine) – last five feet of intestine before your butt hole. After your small intestine has absorbed all the nutrients, the colon dries and processes the remaining waste until you’re ready to poop it out. This is where the cancer hides.
- Colonoscope – the tube and camera that your gastroenterologist inserts in your butt hole and inflates with air to create space for the five-foot, cinematic journey of insertion up your colon. Remember: that air has nowhere to go but out when you recover in post-op.
- Colonoscopy – the procedure of inserting the colonoscope up the length of the colon, looking for cancer and polyps, taking biopsies along the way. Your doc may have pics available for sale in the lobby after the procedure.
Just to keep it real… colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. 140,000 new cases are diagnosed every year with 50,000 estimated deaths. According to medical research, at least 30,000 lives each year can be saved through awareness and screening.
Shit just got real. (couldn’t resist)
Now that you understand what a colonoscopy is and how you could die without it, let’s have some fun and make lemons out of lemonade. *Wink*
Top 7 Tips for Colonoscopy Preparation
I would be remiss if I failed to address the joys of colonoscopy prep. Your life-affirming colonoscopy could never be so enjoyable without putting in some work in the day(s) leading up to it.
But I want you to really dig deep and focus on the psychological and spiritual benefits of this unique process. As you suffer, even if you persevere, you will emerge stronger. You may even see the face of god and hear her shimmering countenance say, “You are my beloved and most wondrous creation.”
I hope these prep tips from a colonoscopy pro help you (and your colon) thrive. Enjoy.
- Anal bleaching… while optional, this is the truest of clinical courtesies. No muss, no fuss. Fill in the blank… “If eyes are the window to the soul, then the anus is the ________.”
- Forget 24-hour fasts. Perform minimally 240 hours (yes, 10 days) of “spiritual fasting”. Hold the pink rabbit’s hand when the hallucinations kick in. Think of Jesus’s bunny, Reg. He is your spirit guide. And remember what the dormouse said… “Feed your head.”
- Practice proper toilet etiquette – respect the 3 S’s… sound, stink, and splatter… they should all be controlled and/or confined with the proper requisite level of shame. Bowel prep is disgusting and therefore you are disgusting whilst participating. Internalize that mantra as your insides spill out.
- Deal with the discomfort. This process is your cross to bear. Act like Jesus and shoulder that burden. Don’t whine. Keep moving up that hill. When you are feeling selfish, ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”
- This next tip is in the same vein as Tip 4 – “do unto others”… if you don’t like being abused by a grumpy dick, don’t be one. Stand strong. Hide your feelings. Create visual images of Jesus slapping a leper or telling Lazarus to get back in his cave.
- Judiciously use flushable wet wipes. God’s gift to clean. Plus, they can really make that bleached anus shine! And they might be good for the environment, too.
- And the crown jewel of bowel prep – enjoy that short term weight loss! All that misery and mess are psychologically flushed away when you drop thirteen pounds of pent up turd weight.
Top 7 Tips for a Colonoscopy
Uncle Jimmy was one of my older co-workers who was a legend in the world of medical sales. He looked like your favorite white-haired uncle, and thus, the nickname was born.
I thought I would share some pearls with you that I had shared with Uncle Jimmy’s wife, Karen, a few years ago so she could truly optimize her first-time colonoscopy and dig deep into the world of medical buggery.
These procedural tips should be taken seriously, as they will truly enhance the overall adventure.
- Make sure they use no anesthesia.
- Tell the Anesthesiologist you want to be keenly aware to ensure vivid memories of the event.
- Also tell the Anesthesiologist you want them to firmly hold your hand and maintain intense eye contact throughout the event.
- Tell the OR nurse to hold your hips and whisper your name in an assuaging ritualistic chant throughout. Focus on being assuaged.
- Upon insertion, ensure the GI keeps repeating, “That’s my girl. What a champ.” A tousle of your hair means they are super proud of you. Bonus.
- Safety words are optional and, candidly, frowned upon. If you must acquiesce, some popular choices are “Armageddon!” or “Moo!” Oinking like a piglet is taking things way too far. Control yourself, you naughty little heathen nymph.
- As with any good record album, you should always buy the EP version, if available. Like the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger, this is a little-known treat with colonoscopies. You will never forget the event if they can prolong the procedure as long as possible.
Your adventure is almost complete. I have detailed the quasi-religious experience to optimize your prep and pre-op knowledge. You understand expected conduct, protocol, and proper behavior during the procedure. But what about post-op and recovery?
Alas, there are not many words of wisdom to impart. Recovery is simple – fart. While post-op can sound a lot like the baked beans campfire scene in the Mel Brooks’ classic movie, Blazing Saddles, don’t be dismayed. Join in! The louder and prouder you can let ‘em rip, the faster the nurses will let you go home to feed your starving body. It is their clarion call.
Gosh, all this talk has got me simply titillated for my next colonoscopy. I hope this article serves as a peptic pep talk as you anticipate your upcoming colonoscopy. Have fun, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Godspeed, my little sojourners.
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Long-time Facebook friends, as you will surely notice, this article is an accumulation of multiple FB posts plus some new additions and re-writes. It holds a special place in my heart (and butt) because it was your animated reactions, support, and encouragement that gave me the inspiration and courage to start writing LSLH in February 2020. So, I dedicate this post to you, my beautiful family and friends. Because of you, in the last three months I have written nearly 30,000 original words; and you have helped me open some creative pathways that would have remained closed without your laughter. Much more to come.