Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Fifth Colonoscopy - Part Two

**Yawn**   Good morning.  A few observations regarding yesterday's prep:

  • Getting that Magnesium Citrate down was hard.  It's only 10oz, but it's very bitter.  I chased it first with white grape juice. BAD idea.  Use Sprite, 7-UP, or Sierra Mist to chase.
  • The Miralax was fantastic.  I mixed mine with 64 oz (two 32oz. bottles... this flavor didn't come in the 64oz bottle) of Fierce Grape (really good) Gatorade.  At first, I was pretty grossed out by that powder going in, but suddenly it just disappears!   I suggest you use a whisk to thoroughly mix it in.  It does not affect the taste AT ALL. I swear!  The only slight change is that the Gatorade becomes a tad bit thicker. It's still clear, and not one lump!   I got a huge plastic up, added a LOT of ice and used a straw.  It took me three hours to drink, but it was pleasant.  No cramps!  Just be near the potty (I joked with my son that I was considering plugging the laptop in the bathroom and just staying on the pot).  
  • I started drinking the Miralax at 3:35 and was finished at 7:45.  Though my instructions told me to drink 8oz. of the Miralax every 15 minutes, you can certainly take a break or two.  I would drink a few really long sips and wait a half hour.  Or take sips in between trips to the bathroom and then wait 15 mins.  As long as it's all consumed before midnight, it's all good.  Just remember, though;  the longer it takes you to consume,the longer you will 'go.'
  • Speaking of 'going' -- the diarrhea lasted until 11:00pm for me.  By 10:00pm, it had slowed down, considerably.  And yeah, I was glad I bought those wipes and A&D. I'm still sore, today. 
4/14 -- 7:35am
I think I slept for about an hour. In that hour I did manage to sleep, I dreamed about my cousin Sammy Kate and her daughter, Kaia.  I dreamed that they came to visit.  Just popping in to say 'Hey!'  I remember trying to understand how someone that lived in LA could just 'pop in' and say "Hey!" to her cousin, who lives in Maryland!   I awoke thinking that they were still here!  Alas.

Yep, only an hour of sleep; I'm feeling it, too.  Still a bit rumbly in the tumbly, but no more diarrhea;  there is nothing left to produce! I'm empty! And so dehydrated.  I tried as best as I could to keep the fluids going in after the medications were finished, but honestly I was so bloated and, well, frankly tired of the act of drinking. I know that's where this wicked headache is coming from.  Oh well, it's okay; soon, I'll be getting hydration and I'll be sleeping soundly (I hope) in just over two hours.


I arrived at the Howard County Center for Ambulatory Surgery at 9:00.  Spent about 5 minutes filling out paperwork, and was then directed downstairs to the Family Surgery waiting room, where after the volunteer stepped out for a moment, Rob filled in as receptionist.  After he answered the phone and directed another patient on where he was to go (nice job, Babe), the volunteer returned and promptly took me back to the the unit. I kissed Rob goodbye and though I knew I'd see him in a half hour or so, I still got a lil' teary.  He's my official Hand-Holder.  I took a deep breath and marched onward.

Entering the bright, cold holding unit (and recovery room), I was greeted by vibrant, smiling nurses.  In all honestly, I don't think I've ever had a grumpy, mean nurse at HCGH... Okay, there was that one. Hoo boy, was she a bitch. So one bad apple.  Out of all the other wonderful nurses I've encountered?  Not bad!  I was introduced to the nurse that would be caring for me.  Angel.   A nurse named Angel.  Thank you, Lord!  She sweetly introduced herself, and after asking how I was, gave me my set of lovely HGCH patient attire.  I changed, suddenly a bit worried about my veins.  They never like to cooperate when I need them to.  Angel returned to take my vitals.  As she set up her equipment, I noticed her wrists age bead-dazzled;  each arm had bracelets with large, gorgeous, juicy beads.  Of course I asked her if she made them herself.  "Lord, no.  I wish I had that kind of talent!"  She does.  She just doesn't know it.  I told her I made jewelry.  She got very excited and told me her daughter might like something for Mother's Day.

After my blood pressure was taken (140/90... not horrible for one that is getting very nervous about her IV), she looked at my chart and told me that my blood sugar was 265.  At first I was shocked.  Then I remembered;  I drank 64oz. of Gatorade mixed with Miralax.  Ah. Okay.  Still, a check was in order.  She asked me what finger I'd like to use.  I looked at them.  I check my blood sugar twice a day, so it's good to use a finger that's not been used in a few days.  "Let's use this one..." and I proceed to hold up my left middle finger.  God sends me a nurse named Angel and what do I do?  I give her the finger.  I was mortified!  We both got a grand laugh out of it, but I felt terrible and offered many apologies.  Angel truly is... an angel!

Now it was time for me to get nervous.  Now, kids, the following does not necessarily happen in every case.  I am... without a doubt... a baby when it comes to needles. I know my daddy is up there, nodding in total agreement.  This is when my BP goes up.  Once upon a time, getting an IV was a piece of cake.  I hated it, but it was a piece of cake. Fat, juicy veins clearly visible and felt on my hands and arms.  No more.  Now, they hide.  They roll away. They've been punctured so many times they have deflated, so to speak.  I know which arm I have better luck in.  We tried that.  Tourniquet applied, Angel slapped my hand.  We joked that she was getting me back for me giving her the finger.  At that time, another nurse came in and looked at the vein Angel was slapping.  "It's too tiny.  We can't numb your hand..."  **what!?* ..." the vein is so tiny, the anesthetic needle would blow it."  Welcome to my nightmare.  I suggested the other arm.  Again, the tourniquet was applied -- to my wrist this time.  "Ah HA!  There's one."  Angel held my hand and tried her best to get me to talk about anything other than what was coming.  Kids.  I have two.  Teen boys  "I'm in."  Nurse Wen Mei announced.  WOW!  I released Angel's now crushed fingers (Sorry!), and took a deep breath.  NOW, I could relax.

Again to reiterate:  Normal IV insertion is a piece of cake.  My veins are shot.  I was dehydrated, and that certainly didn't help matters.  If and when you do have this test done, I'm pretty sure your IV insertion will be a breeze.  Really!  And if you're nervous, ask about an anesthetic for it.  It's painless, too! 

Rob was then brought back.  I showed Angel my jewelry website. Then my beloved surgeon came in to describe what he would be doing.  If he found any polyps, he'd take a biopsy and or remove them.  He'd be looking closely at my resected area.   I adore my surgeon.  Kirah Parikh.  A lovely man. Gentle, sweet.  Saver of this life; twice.   He's done most of the surgeries I have had.   I still want to do something nice for him.  I wrack my brain thinking of what I could do.  Exit Dr. Parikh, enter Dr. Tao;  the anesthesiologist.  Very nice woman.  She asked me first if I had any concerns.  I told her that during my last colonoscopy, I had awakened in the middle of the procedure, and that I was nervous that that could happen again.  She assured me that no, I would be asleep.  She would be using Propofol.  She went on to explain that I probably woke up because the last colonoscopy  I had, there was no anesthesiologist present.  Surgeons are only able to administer a certain amount and very  limited choice of anesthesia medications.  Propofol is not one of the them.  Then she told us that only she can administer it, and would make sure that I did not wake up.  She then discussed the tragedy of Michael Jackson.  It was the same drug used by his cardiologist that killed him.  What business does a cardio doc have with Propofol?  Exactly.  I signed the proper paperwork, and as soon as I was done, they were ready to take me back.  I kissed Rob goodbye, held his hand for as long as I could and then we were off to the Operating room.

Arriving in the OR, I tensed up a bit.  It's really happening.  I'm here.  Again, three friendly faces greeted me, one nurse taking my hand.  I saw my anesthesiologist inject something into my IV tubing.  I was told to get onto my left side.  As I sat up to do this, I noticed things getting a bit fuzzy.  I think my head hit the pillow?
Warning:  if you are squeamish, or have a sensitive stomach, I advise you to brace yourself.   I will be brutally honest about this next part.  Ready?  Brace yourselves;

It was all over!  I know, right!?  I didn't remember my head hitting the pillow at all!  As I woke up more,  I did have a tiny bit of pain on my left side, which was left over air that was used to inflate the colon.  They gave me some pain meds thru the IV and I fell back to sleep for about 20 minutes.  Soon my husband was there along with a glorious cup of ice water!  Oh man was I thirsty!  I asked if I would be seeing Dr. Parikh again, and Rob told me the news:  no polyps!   Two new diverticuli, but we can manage that.  Then in he came!  He told me the same thing and said everything wa  beautiful.  He would see me again, barring any complications, in five years!  FIVE YEARS!  I almost wept.  I joked with him and  said 'Well, if I'm not going to see you for so long, I need a hug!"   He told me to call him anytime to say 'hello.'  I really do want to do something nice for him.  Just have to think of something. 

Within a few minutes, I was helped to the restroom.  I walked back alone and alert.  I was told I could get dressed and as soon as I was, the IV came out and we were on our way HOME!   I looked at the clock when I was in the OR:  10: 11a.m.  I was home at 12:15p.m.  Not bad!

Of course when I got home, I was famished.  I was told to go light until supper, then I could have whatever I wanted.  I had a large cup of chicken noodle (Lipton Cup A Soup... sue me... I love that stuff) and a green salad with some cold chicken, cheddar and some honey mustard dressing.  OMG that was the best damn salad!  And the soup was divine!  I ate, then suddenly felt the sleep I had not been able to get all night long kick in.  It was as if the Sand Man had fallen asleep on the job and forgotten all about me, then after lunch, made up for lost time.  I slept from 1:15 to 5:15.  It was a good, solid sleep, too, and I think I have some leftover propofol and eased nerves to thank.  And I'm still sleepy.  I think I'll sleep well, tonight.  Knowing that I'm okay and that I have nothing to worry about... I think I'll sleep like a baby!

Rob is at softball practice.  Aaron is in New York until Monday, and Alex is doing homework.  What's for supper!?

Thank you all for allowing me to share  my experience with you.   I wrote this with one mission: to let you know that it's not so scary.  It's a drag, but it's not PAINFUL at all.  Get your colonoscopy done.


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