Up Periscope! Colonoscopy Preparation, Part 1

Anal Speculum (anoscope)

*The following commentary contains some personal and candid information about the rectum, sphincter, and asshole. Please don’t read further if you are easily offended or have a weak stomach.*

So, I’ve thought about live blogging my upcoming colonoscopy, but then I learned I’ll be woozy and they won’t let me play on my phone during the procedure. I would be lying if I said there is no anxiety. I mean, I did go to the doctor with symptoms of continuous rectal bleeding for the last two years, I do have a family history of colon issues, and I turn 40 this summer. For all intents and purposes, my time for an exam is due.

This is the point where I expect to be chastised for waiting two years to tell the doctor. I have many excuses:

  • I thought it would go away
  • I didn’t want any bad news
  • It’s embarrassing

My answer to answer the doctor’s questions:

  • “No. I don’t have anal intercourse.”
  • “How much? I spray blood when I sit on the toilet. Does that give you an idea of the quantity?”
  • “I came in now because I hurt.”

The doctor performed an anoscopy (he looked inside) and then told me that there was nothing impressive that he could see. I immediately took offense, “I beg your pardon, but plenty of people find my rear impressive!”

Back to that anxiety: it really isn’t the procedure that I have a problem with. Like I indicated, I’ll be given some type of twilight drug and I probably won’t care what’s going on down there. What bothers me is the preparation (no pun intended).

[7:30pm Tuesday]

It’s 7:30pm on Tuesday evening, as I type this, and I’m now forbidden to eat any solid foods. I can only ingest clear liquids until after the procedure on Thursday afternoon. That’s a long time for someone my size to go without eating. However, I am allowed to indulge in Popsicles (not red), Jell-O (not red), apple juice, water, Gatorade, and bouillon. Mmmmmmm…I’m going have a filling repast tonight!

By this time I should have already ingested the first chemical, magnesium citrate, but I’m not ready to read yet (and I just got sent on a service call). By reading, I mean I’ll be reading while my body is preparing itself. Okay, fine. I’ll be on the toilet and I’ll probably be reading The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later (Vicomte of Bragelonne, Ten Years Later, Man in the Iron Mask). Magnesium citrate, if you’re not familiar is a liquid laxative that comes in a 10 oz bottle. It’s carbonated and every effort has been made to make it taste like Sprite or 7-Up. However, they are little off. If you took Sprite or 7-Up and made it a wee bit thicker and added about 4 tablespoons of salt and then you’d have an idea of what magnesium citrate taste like. You drink the entire bottle and (depending on how your body reacts) in several minutes you are off to the library – where you can read!

Then tomorrow morning I have to start my day with two laxative tablets – still not eating. After work I have to drink half a gallon of GoLYTELY, an industrial laxative. Then on Thursday morning I have to administer to myself, not one, but two enemas.

Can you see where my anxiety comes from? I won’t be able to wander more than five feet from the library for the next 40 hours!

[9:00pm Tuesday]

I just returned from a service call and poured myself a nice cool glass of magnesium citrate. Ahhhhhhh…(blech!).

By the way, I went to the doctor last Friday because my right kidney has been killing me. It feels like someone is just pounding on it with a baseball bat. I have a long history of urinary tract infections. I was once hospitalized overnight because my ureter had closed off. It had so much scar tissue from previous infections that nothing could get through. That emergency room visit cost me $19,000. I paid on that for years. Why didn’t I have health insurance? I had received three denial letters just the week before, when I thought I was healthy, from Humana, BlueCross BlueShield, and Golden Rule. All of them stated that I was being denied because I had “Gender Identity Disorder”.

Anyway, my doctor seems fairly knowledgeable, and I really value his opinion and advice. He went to seminary, writes Jesus and medicine books and articles and is a seemingly pleasant fellow. Even with his belief system he took me as a patient. He later told me that he made an exception for me. I don’t really know why, but he said he didn’t want anymore transpatients.

I went to see him a week earlier with the bowel problems and I think that he might think that I’m a hypochondriac or something. During this last visit, he proposed that my pain was musculoskeletal in nature. I started hurting after a brisk workout on the elliptical machine. We had a slight disagreement. I told him it was difficult to urinate and that my urine was cloudy. he relented and ordered a urinalysis, but assured me that the results would most likely come back negative for infection.

I got a call today from his office. The lab results show that I have an uncommon streptococcal B infection in my urinary tract somewhere. This is an infection that only affects 18,000 people a year – and the majority are pregnant women. Now I’m getting really nervous. I might be pregnant! (This should be funny if you know me).

No where was I? Oh yeah, I’m going to fix myself a great big bowl of chicken bullion.

Read Part 2