Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Choose your own adventure! Or Part II of the colonoscopy story

After some serious, profound, soul-searching,  I recently came to the conclusion that Los Readers (that's you, btw) were probably tired of reading about my anus.

Whoa! Anus over-share!

Oh. my. gosh. Seriously Kensington, is he talking about his anus AGAIN??

Because of this, I was seriously contemplating not finishing the colonscopy tale I started here, and just giving you this link to a hilarious blogger friend who recently had a colonoscopy as well, and wrote a post that is very, very funny about it.(Warning: contains swears. And is hilarious.)

But then, I started getting comments on my last post about eagles that were basically like "Um, yeah, thanks for the really awesome post about wildlife, but can we get back to serious business, like you talking about your anus? Kthxbai."

So, I decided to listen to my gut, and to Los Readers, and I came up with a brilliant plan. Here's how it will go: I will write part II of my colonoscopy story, but I will use ridiculous euphemisms in place of potentially offensive imagery. Then, at the bottom, I will include the key. That way instead of hearing about graphic stuff, you can enjoy some delightfully inaccurate imagery, and if you're so inclined to be horrified by the contents of my colon, you can choose to read the key.  So, it's basically a choose your own adventure! The control is yours. Do you feel powerful now?

Perfect. All right. Here we go.

My main concern when it came to ye ol' colonoscopy was whether or not I'd vomit. Not sure if you know this about me, but I actually have a bit of a vomit phobia (called emetephobia). So, instead of thinking "what if they put a camera up my "water well"(1) and find some pus-filled, infected malignant tumor of imminent death which will rack my body with unimaginable pain for months?!" I instead looked at my doctor when he said "you'll be drinking over a gallon of prescription liquid"  and whimpered: "...um, doc? Is this going to make me throw up?" (sucks thumb, holds jacket like a baby blanket, curls up into fetal position on the examination table)

"No," my gastroenterologist reassured me, soothingly. "It will just make your "peep-hole"(2) spray "cream soda"(3) like a garden hose."

I was visibly relieved. He went on. "Here's how this will go down. The night before your procedure, you are going to drink a concoction that will empty your "pillow case" (4) completely. You've gotta make sure you drink all of it, because this is the stuff that will make sure that we are able to detect any abnormalities during the procedure. You've gotta be totally cleaned out."

Totally cleaned out. Gotcha. No more "bunnies"(5) in the "rabbit hole"(6). No more "chocolate"(7) in the "chocolate factory"(8) Makes sense. And plus, I wasn't going to throw up, so it couldn't be that bad.

When the day before the fated procedure arrived, I was a little nervous. I don't mind admitting that I took the whole day off of work just to make sure I didn't "throw a party"(9).

The process was everything you'd expect drinking a liquid meant to clear your bowels would be. I made sure to keep the giant jug of the stuff cooled in the fridge because, as the pharmacist said, "you ain't gonna want to down glasses and glasses of this stuff warm." Correct, sir. I even tried to enhance the taste by throwing in some crystal light. And I discovered that there really is nothing more palatable than a delicious glass of crystal light powder mixed with a salty sludge reminiscent of what I'd imagine slugs finely blended in a food processor would taste like.

Glass after glass after glass... Mmmmmmm.

The thing that I didn't anticipate was the simultaneity. Liquid coming in, and liquid going out. Sometimes when the ten minute timer went off saying I needed to gag some more liquid down, I would find myself feeling an urge to "powder my face"(10) so strong that I was in a bind: drink more sludge, or relieve myself? I'd stand there frozen for a moment, unsure of what to do, considering the option of taking a nice cool glass into the bathroom so that the liquid could literally be pouring down my gullet at the exact same moment that I could hear it pouring out of my "lemonade pitcher"(11) into the toilet water.

For reasons of sanitation and sanity, I decided against that option.

After several hours of sitting on the toilet broken up by breaks to drink more sludge, punctuated by more frantic runs to the toilet to "paint rainbows on unicorns"(12), my body had had enough. I was exhausted. It was nearing midnight, and my "couch cushion"(13) was still trying to convince me that it was a fire-hose. I lay down in my bed so exhausted that I fell asleep, but kept waking up in the night worrying that I'd "sprinkle sugar on my plum cake." (14) I was surprised to discover, however, that I woke up clean as a whistle. One or two more trips to the bathroom to "put helium into the party balloons" (15) before I left to the hospital.

After the night of fecal fun, the actual procedure was a cinch!

Things to remember if you ever do this: 1. get there on time so a crotchety nurse doesn't yell at you. 2. when the nurse busts out the razor to shave your arm hair in order to put in an IV, just flex really hard so your vein shows, because then you'll avoid having a bald spot on your arm for two weeks straight. 3. try not to greet the university student there to observe your procedure so cheerfully when wheeled into the surgical suite. He or she will soon be watching a tube snake up your "rectum" (16) while you whimper in pain because the drugs had started to take effect, but only just enough so that you don't realize how ridiculous you sound as you pathetically cry out "oh, oh, oh, oh! More medicine! I need more medicine! Please!" in desperation, but not enough that you don't feel like you're being "tickled" (17) until the magic button of anesthesia is pressed. (Was that sentence as confusing to read as I feel like it is? Don't mind me, it's just the anesthetic talking.)

Anyway, long story short, the procedure was a raging success! And I got a call two weeks later letting me know the news.

They found nothing wrong. At all. Not even a hint of a hemorrhoid. Not even a whiff of a rupture.

Thus, official diagnosis: healthy as a horse
Self-diagnosis: hypochondria.

My life is made of win.

Oh, and PS, what was I doing post op? All day long?

Fish and chips and fries and fry sauce and burgers and root beer and ice cream and donuts and cupcakes and two candy bars and Cadbury mini eggs and sun chips and hummus with crackers and oreos have NEVER tasted so good

Oh, and if you chose the adventure where you don't read a lot of hilarious, graphic descriptions, you should not read the numbered list below.


(4)Poop compartment
(5)Retched fecal matter
(6)Crap chambers
(7)Clumps of turd
(8)Nasty internal dung sleeve
(9)Spray liquid crap all over my computer desk
(10)Take a piss from my anus
(12)Splatter brownish yellow reeking fecal liquid all over my toilet bowl
(14)Leak brown streams of steaming butt-juice everywhere
(15)Empty the last streams of brown liquid so foul small rodents may have died from the stench into the toilet
(17)Sodomized violently by a plastic tube


  1. That was like a twisted, twisted game of Mad Libs.

    Although when my kids play Mad Libs, theirs end up sounding more like your list of graphic descriptions.

  2. That is very good. Now I know why they have to advertise to get people to get these done 'when it's time.' ugh. Who knew the worst of it came the day before!? ;/
    gotta love Western medicine ^^

  3. @Brandi--Ha, very true! In fact, next time I have a totally invasive and unnecessary procedure, I'm totally gonna turn it into a game of ad libs because then it woudln't have been totally in vain.

    @HappyOrganist--Yeah, surprisingly, the day before was WAY worse. The procedure itself was very peaceful, and I woke up from the anesthesia thinking "my, what a beautiful, wonderful feeling I have right now. And I'm still wearing no pants. Awesome."

  4. You, The Weed, are hilarious. Just thought I'd mention that in case you never heard it before.

  5. I am laughing, laughing, laughing...and I was wondering where you have been.


  6. The day before? A literal pain in the butt. Knowing afterward that you're OK in there? Priceless.

  7. I didn't need the key, I've lived through it...so I probably didn't laugh as much as someone else would have. But still, glad everything is a okay with your butt!

  8. "Warning: contains swears". that's an understatement. i don't think it's even possible for me to get through a post without at least one bad word. it's so commonplace now, i think even my mom has given up on the hail mary's every time she sees a new post go up.

    thanks for linkage. i repayed the favor and linked back on the entry i just posted. you scratch my blog, i'll scratch yours.

  9. @Sunny--I know! Pins and needles about whether I'd live or die. Isn't that the kind of drama soap operas are made of or something? Def. wasn't aiming for that, but all is rectified I hope.

    @Jessica--You, Jessica B, are seriously too kind. Like with most things mental, it actually does mean something every time I hear things like that, because somehow the human mind remains unconvinced of certain things no matter what we do. So, thanks for saying it. (Whoa. I just got real and deep there. Butthole!!! Did that lighten things up again?)

    @The Onion--I'm very glad that you're laughing laughing laughing. I guess you can now chime in on something that's been weighing heavily on me. Does absence, in fact, make the heart grow stronger?

    @B Ready--Indeed!

    @Kimmel--Yeah the visceral experience (get it, haha) is a lot less funny...

    @TILTE--Wow, you are awesome, and you def. didn't have to do that! But thanks!

    In closing, I have no idea why I said "totally" three times in response to Brandi, but I guess it was really important to my subconscious to emphasize the completeness, the full and utter fruition, of what I was saying. Either that or I am an idiot. Sometimes it's hard to pin this kind of thing down...

  10. In honor of your gastroenterologist and his colorectal surgeon colleagues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N0w2rORwSc

  11. Haha, awesome. Good for you for getting it done. If you don't and something bad happens to your health, there will be way more probing and cutting and shame.

  12. SO GLAD I was eating ice cream during this. All I keep going back to is cream soda and #12

  13. @Konrad--Uh, that's awesome. Favorite line: the one about 18 holes a day. (I really suck at quoting songs and movies.) But yeah, thanks for that. Also, I dig your new blog.

    @Steph--See? There is some logic behind a completely unnecessary colonoscopy, right? I just kept thinking "if I die from colon cancer at 32, I'll never forgive myself..." Don't wanna leave those little girls without a daddy because I was too scared to drop my drawers. (Well, it's a little more involved than that, but whatever.)

    @Jessica--Hahah! That sounds horrifying and disgusting. And really, really funny. Glad I could enance the experience!

  14. OMG!! That was awesome...just made my day at 6am in the gym. "chocolate in the chocolate factory"...I'm crying over here

  15. why did I choose the adventure??? note to self--- never read the footnotes again -

  16. Glad to hear it's all good. I get one of these every 18 months or so (colitis), and the prep sucks indeed. I also don't do well with anaesthetic, so I go awake and freestyles. Kinda uncomfy, but no recovery time. Also agreed, there is no more delicious food than the first meal afterwards.

  17. @Laura--When I can elicit crying, I know I've done my job well ;-)

    @Katie--It's a tough lesson to learn, but now at least you know you're safe.


    @don--No way! The little freestyling I had was incredibly uncomfortable. I'm impressed with your stamina!. And, yeah, that first meal is pretty awesome.

  18. So glad they didn't have to take out an ugly polyp like they did on me. And around my house, we use the euphemisms "peeing out my butthole", "mudbutt", and "Hershey squirts" often. As often as we can.
    After my colonoscopy, my husband had to drive immediately to the Arby's drive through. HOLLA!

  19. Well, the important thing is that you were able to use the experience as a blog post (and that you're okay).
    ; )

  20. I'm worried about myself, because what's my take away from that whole thing?

    Ooooh fry sauce.

    Transplant a Utahn to North Carolina and thinking of fry sauce elicits a Pavlovian response... Even after reading that post... Hence, why I have problems.

  21. That is sooo funny! My mom went under a lot quicker and told all the nurses how her Dr. looked like Wonder Woman and that she was a great Butt Dr.
    I did a scope down my throat with similar after op fun. They did a biopsy of my stomach and throat - then when released and glad I was aloud to eat food again for the first time in three days - I went to my fav Chinese restaurant on the way home. Take it easy, yeah right. Food is good... o_O

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  23. I love the choice your own adventure idea! I just might have to steal that the next time medical people make me bend to their evil will and I can't control the urge to blog about it.
    P.S. Funny how reading the Translation list didn't stop my mouth from watering for fry sauce. Oh, how I miss thee!

  24. My first prep (I've lived -- barely -- through 4) was two smallish bottles of saline laxative that had to be mixed with some liquid and downed at certain times. I made the mistake of mixing the "lemon ginger" flavored laxative with Sprite. BAD idea. It's been several years and I still literally gag at even the scent of ginger ale or sprite. And yes, I did vomit as well. I just use sheer willpower to keep it down long enough to work as a liquid plumbers snake through my system. Then vomited out both ends. The Prep is my own special hell. Dave Barry wrote a highly insightful piece on this as well. Made me feel human again.

  25. Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last 8 to 10 inches of the colon. Together, they are often referred to as colorectal cancers , and they make up the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Only lung cancer claims more lives.