« Alzheimer's Finale | Main | TV Baseball »

Monday, 23 March 2015


By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

Since both my mother and my grandmother died of colon cancer, my doctor has recommended that I have a colonoscopy every three years.

It’s certainly no picnic to go through this process but it can save one’s life. No doubt my mother could have lived many more years if she had regularly undergone the procedure; by the time the doctors discovered her cancer, it had spread to several vital organs.

By far the worst part of the colonoscopy is drinking a gallon of the “laxative from hell” the night before the procedure. The pharmacist warned me to refrigerate the concoction which, wisely, I did. Who can imagine how vile it must taste at room temperature?

Along with the jug of liquid came several “flavor packets.” I picked lemon lime but I’m certain that none of the flavors would make the stuff drinkable.

Every 10 minutes the patient has to swallow a glass of this awful stuff. The first two or three glasses are merely horrible; the last three are almost impossible to drink. An inventor could make a fortune by patenting a liquid laxative that tastes like a chocolate milkshake.

At the hospital, a nurse stuck four electrode-like patches onto my chest. Unfortunately, she didn’t shave those areas before gluing the electrodes onto my body. The next day, despite soaking in the bathtub for an hour, the patches still were solidly anchored to me. Gritting my teeth, I painfully ripped off the patches - and quite a bit of hair.

Before the procedure begins, the patient is given some kind of twilight medication. Some patients are awake for part of the colonoscopy but thank goodness, the medicine knocks me out for the duration.

About 12 years ago during my first colonoscopy, I believe they overdosed me and as a result, my mind was foggy for several hours after I was dismissed from the hospital (please, no witty remarks about this being my normal state.)

Since the patient can devour nothing but clear liquids for twenty-four hours before the colonoscopy, starvation was setting in by the time I was released from the hospital. My wife Bev took me to a restaurant where we ordered steak tips, French fries and soft drinks.

While waiting for the food to be served, I began to read to my wife an interesting newspaper article but she interrupted me saying that I had already shared that particular item with her while we were in the recovery room.

The next morning, to my surprise, I discovered steak tips in our refrigerator. Naturally, I asked Bev where they had come from; she promptly informed me that they had been brought back from the restaurant the previous day.

I wanted to know why she went to the restaurant without me for I had no memory of the occasion.

During the latest trip to the hospital, I became a human pincushion. A student nurse was assigned to stick the IV needle into one of my veins but unfortunately, after 15 minutes and several punctures, that elusive vein had not yet been tapped. The regular nurse said that I had “rolling” veins.

By this time I wanted to “roll” out of bed and hide but eventually the regular nurse took charge and “caught” that tricky vein. Of course, the student nurse needed to practice; it’s just too bad for me she didn’t pick the patient on the other side of the curtain.

After the last colonoscopy, I didn’t have any memory lapses. After release from the recovery room Bev and I went to the local Bob Evans, where we shared a steak and a salad. Or was it a hamburger and soup? Anyway, after our meal we went to a movie, or a baseball game, or something like that.

I’m certainly glad the twilight drug is administered before the colonoscopy begins. In addition, I think they should send a little vial of that drug home with the patient. Then, when the bill arrives, the patient could numb the pain when he discovers the cost of the procedure.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Maybe the twilight drug could be available to add to
the laxative from hell drink, so that by the time it is all gone, you can have forgotten what it was like.

Perfect, S C. ! Hahahaha!

Well done, Mickey.

Having a colonoscopy is truly a horrendous experience. I had one before and don't remember anything about a twilight drug.

Unfortunately, I'm due--actually well overdue-- for another colonoscopy, so
I really appreciate the reminder.

You have a good idea, S. C.!

It (your story) was great, and I am grateful that you submitted it.. When the time comes I'll take something knock-out-able. And yes, I've had to drink that awful, awful stuff for a much more minor look inside. When my husband had his colonoscopy here in Sweden, they only asked him if he wanted a painkiller(didn't give it automatically as they do in the US). Being the Viking he is, he said no. Boy, did he regret that! He almost passed out. He begged them to stop, whereupon he got something and the rest is history. Yes, if they can go to the moon, go to Mars, surely they can invent a pleasant pre-colonoscopy drink. Don't you agree? if so, a Noble Prize awaits the man who designs one.

(Warning: barnyard epithet ahead)

Q: what do you call the reassurance that comes from a clear colonoscopy?

A. Peace of ass.

Thanks for posting this Ronni and writing it Mickey. This is the American Cancer Societies Colon Cancer Awareness month, and thanks for getting the word out there. My mother had surgery for colon Cancer in 1948. She had an early colostomy at that time, and it proved very difficult to manage by the 1990's. Her brother died of colon Cancer. The only treatment we have now is early detection.

I am an ex nurse who delivered those drugs. We used to use a drug called versed that is similiar to valium and fentanyl which is similiar to morphine. These drugs took several hours or more to wear off. Now, they use an anesthetist or anesthesiologist who generally uses propofol ( the michael jackson sleep cocktail). This wears off much quicker, usually in less than an hour. The preps are still bad but better than 20 years ago.

Funny story. Our age group looked for stuff to knock them out fifty years ago, now we go through a colonoscopy! LOL. Thanks for making light of a serious situation.

My only risk factor is my age. I had a sigmoidoscopy some 15 yrs ago, which is only a third as invasive with not much of a prep. The MD was totally callous. ... I'll NEVER go back. I have no idea what he shoved up there, but my imagination tells me it was a smallish rodent with sharp claws that scurried around and around for hours until it found its way out. NEVER AGAIN!!

The comments to this entry are closed.