“Man Up!” A term we men hear often during the course of our lives. There comes a time in every man’s life when he reluctantly has to face his worst fears and phobias. Some of us do it with grace while others are dragged kicking and screaming.
Such was the case for me recently when I had to face one of my fears: the dreaded colonoscopy. There was no avoiding it. I’m only 45 but my family history required early testing. “Man Up!” I told myself.
I was convinced the procedure was going to kill me. If not the procedure itself, the embarrassment of laying on my back spread eagle while a team of 30 NASA engineers in plastic smocks and protective glasses tried to get a full sized movie camera through my rectum, up my colon and exiting God-knows where. So with this understanding, I decided to log my experiences along my journey to serve as written warning to men in the future. My last act of humanitarianism.
Below are excerpts from that log highlighting the 12 Most horrific hours leading up to my colonoscopy.
1. 5:00 PM
Been fasting for almost eight hours according to the doctor’s instructions. Delirious… I see Dead People. Phone ringing… I can swear it looks like a cheeseburger. I’m convinced the ring asked if “would you like fries with that?”
2. 6:00 PM
Excited to take the four Dulcolax laxatives prescribed by my Doctor. It’s the only food I’ve been able to ingest all day! I tried to add some Frank’s Redhot sauce to pretend I was eating chili but my wife stopped me. Damn her!
3. 7:00 PM
Mixed the first litre of Klean-Prep powder with cold water as part of the required preparation. It’s like chalky water with a hint of lemon zest. The first five sips went down ok. Gagging started with the sixth sip but overall, not as a bad as people have made this out to be. I think I’ll be fine. Man Up!
4. 8:00 PM
Mixed second litre of Klean-Prep. Even though it’s the same tub, this one feels twice as heavy as the first one. I was wrong about the chalkiness of the texture and flavor. It’s more like loosely shredded sandpaper mixed with urine. Yes, that’s closer to the actual taste. Stomach gurgling.
5. 9:00 PM
The nuclear-powered laxative unexpectedly exploded in my bowels. Knees shot. Can’t stand. Must crawl through my own feces to the bathroom. Pants and carpet will have to be burned.
6. 10:00 PM
My wife mixed the third and final litre of Klean-Prep. Not able to leave the bathroom. Fearing she might get caught in the blast radius, she resourcefully pushed the tub into the bathroom using a long stick found in the garage. Somehow this tub tastes like camel sweat and sewer water.
7. 11:00 PM
Learned that the force of pre-colonoscopy bowel movement can send a 200 lbs. man soaring 10 feet into the air. (Reminder: re-plaster hole over toilet where my head, shoulder and left foot broke through the ceiling). I think I just passed the lining of my stomach. And maybe a kidney.
8. 12:00 Midnight
My bathroom has been declared ground zero. Children crying. Animals fleeing. Hazmat team was alerted after a large mushroom cloud was spotted billowing up over my house. Second pair of socks and third pair of boxers now being burned in the yard. Decided to remain naked.
9. 2:00 AM
Use of leather belt to strap myself down to the toilet proved effective. Avoided the cleanup issues encountered last hour. Doing calculations… how does three litres of Klean-Prep turn into 10 barrels of human waste? This stuff is so efficient it digests and passes food you’ve yet to eat.
10. 4:00 AM
Crying has slowed to a sad whimper. Lost 10 lbs in the last 12 hours but starvation from the fasting no longer a concern. Death would be a welcomed relief. Rolled up in a corner trying to rock myself to sleep.
11. 7:00 AM
Arrived at the doctor’s office on two hours of sleep. Receptionist smiled pleasantly and with a large Starbucks coffee in hand asked if I’m having a good day.
Police have agreed to postpone arrest for attempted murder till after the procedure.
12. 8:00 AM
Nurse just inserted the IV that is to deliver the anesthesia. I’m to drop my pants, lie on my side with legs to my chest and count down from 100. (Reminder Note: drop comment in suggestion box: Dear Doctor, have patients lie down in the opposite direction so the last thing they see isn’t the 167,456 foot long tube you’re about to drive up their rectum) 100…99…zzzzzzzzzzzz
I woke up a few hours later in a recovery room unsure of where I was. I pulled myself together and sat up feeling a little hungry but otherwise totally normal; great in fact. I pinched myself to be sure that I was in fact alive and not “on the other side.” Yup, I was alive. I walked into the lobby to find my wife waiting with breakfast and a smile.
I didn’t die. My fear was based in ignorance. There was no embarrassment (if you don’t count the attempted murder of a nurse or having to explain to the neighbors why a hazmat team stormed the street last night). Admittedly the prep leading up to the procedure was less-than-pleasant but really no worse than the aftermath of three bowls of spicy Texas Chili Con Carne, which is something I do on purpose regularly.
When all was said and done, I was more embarrassed about my irrational fear than the procedure itself. It was a non-event. I didn’t feel a thing, don’t remember anything and walked away as if nothing at all had happened.
So men… Man Up! And get checked regularly. Tweet
Featured image courtesy of a.drian via Creative Commons.