1. If the waiting room I sat in was any indication, people who get colonoscopies are generally old and icky. This should have made me feel young and cute and sprightly, but instead I started worrying that I’m in severe denial about, well, everything.
2. I was sent to get this procedure because I’m having a lot of unexplained, debilitating pain — and then I was told not to take any of the painkillers that actually work during the week leading up to the procedure. I can get a lot of pain in a week. Just any old week at all is a veritable grab bag of pain for me at this point in my life. I believe I mentioned this fact to the doctor who recommended that I get a colonoscopy. Maybe she wanted to see if I really meant it. Or maybe we civilians are supposed to just patiently wait out pain that doubles us over, brings us to our knees, and makes us scare the neighbors with our creepy moaning screams. Also apparently, if we can’t get any work done in that particular funhouse, our work couldn’t have been that important anyway. (See more on this subject in an upcoming rant, “Why Doctors Should Be Forced To Be Real People For a Week Before Being Allowed To Receive Their Medical Degrees.”)
3. There’s a prescription drug that is okay for patients to take during the week I just mentioned and that would help my pain — and my doctor never mentioned or offered me a prescription for it.
4. The woman I spoke to when I made the appointment for my colonoscopy specifically mentioned in so many words that I shouldn’t take any blood thinners or iron supplements during the week leading up to the procedure. She seemed to think that this was very important for me to know. What wasn’t important enough for her to mention was the fact that I would not be allowed to EAT the day before and the morning of the colonoscopy.
Just real quick here: Could everyone reading this raise a hand if they take blood thinners on a regular basis? Thanks. Hands down, please. Now, raise them if you take iron supplements. Great. Thank you.
Now, would everyone who ingests FOOD on a regular basis give a quick wave? Wow. That many, huh? I should call that lady back and tell her to get her frickin’ priorities straight and tell people the stuff that really matters.
(See more on this subject in yet another upcoming rant, “Hobbies: Eating, Sleeping, Trying Not To Scream.”)
5. This woman also mentioned an unpleasant, gut-emptying procedure I’d be required to undertake the night before the procedure. She specified that I should be at home — “Don’t do this while you’re at work” were some of her exact words.
She did not bother to mention that ingesting all the horrifying medication necessary to truly empty one’s guts is such a time-consuming procedure that you have to start at noon the day before the colonoscopy. Because apparently everyone who doesn’t work at a doctor’s office — which is where we keep all the IMPORTANT people, after all — ends their work day before lunchtime. “Bye, everyone! It’s almost eleven-thirty! I’m going to stop even bothering to pretend to be doing anything remotely important now! Have to go home and expel everything I’ve ever eaten ever! I’m sure you won’t even notice I’m gone!”
6. The instructions that the doctor sent home regarding the gut-emptying liquid said that I should drink the entire four liters of ickiness. Period. Exclamation point.
The instructions on the bottle, on the other hand, told me to keep ingesting specific quantities at specific intervals until either I was finished with it or I experienced specific symptoms.
I’m a tiny little vegetarian person; obviously the four liters in question are meant to be enough to get the job done for anyone, including some giant-sized hulking consumer of bratwurst and beer whose bowels haven’t been anywhere near empty since the late seventies. The beef-eating hulk and I taking exactly the same dose of exactly the same medicine? Not exactly scientific. Monitoring for specific symptoms as I ingest said disgusting beverage? Scientific. Guess which route I chose. And guess what, doctors? I lied when you asked if I took the whole damned four liters. You didn’t credit me with the ounce of intelligence necessary to analyze the situation competently. I returned the favor.
7. Okay, I know I mentioned the food thing already. But seriously. No one seems to treat that aspect of the procedure with enough respect. Everyone is so caught up in the whole camera-into-your-binkie thing — which admittedly tends to rivet the attention — that they barely notice the whole no-breakfast-no-lunch-no-dinner-no-reason-to-get-out-of-bed aspect of the procedure.
Am I the ONLY one who really sort of needs FOOD several times a day? We live in the most routinely overweight country in the world (oh, hush — you know what I mean), and I’m the ONLY ONE who is horrified and miserable at the thought of having nothing more substantial than a lemon popsicle to console myself with ALL DAY?
Fakers. Liars. Lying fakers. Food is GOOD, damn it. It’s freakin’ awesome. If you haven’t noticed that, come on over. I just spent the day baking raisin bread and chocolate chip cookies. Come over and breathe the baked-goods air, and then LEAVE. I’m not sharing. ‘Cause you don’t care about food, remember?
8. Getting a colonoscopy means you get all the risk, stress, and ickiness that comes along with actual surgery, and none of the sympathy points. Nobody sends a card or calls or (especially) stops by to see how you’re feeling. Everyone is too busy covering their ears and screaming as soon as they so much as hear the c-word.
9. People say they’ll pay you not to talk about your colonoscopy, but they never actually come up with the cash.
10. The procedure itself didn’t hurt at all, and yet I had no trouble finding all this ickiness to write about.