At 50 years, people typically get their first colonoscopy. Read my experiences with the preparation for colonoscopy, and what to avoid to not add additional stress when you have yours.
- Colonoscopy Prep by Prescription
- Colonoscopy Prep Today Is DIY
- It May be Alaska or Not
- Shopping in Fairbanks Has Its Limits
- A Cool Disneyland-like Ride
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post at no extra costs for you. I have no medical education. All statements in this post base on my own experience and are not recommendations. This post is just meant as a report about my own first colonoscopy.
Colonoscopy Prep by Prescription
I had a colonoscopy this week. Things have pretty changed due to Obama Care since my hubby had his colonoscopy. Back then, i.e. seven years ago to be precise, he got a prescription to pick up the preparation medicine at the local pharmacy. The huge package held a big 1 gallon container not completely filled with electrolytes and vitamins infused water, laxative powder and pills. Plus there was a device to pour the powder into the bottle without powdering the entire kitchen counter. All he had to do was taking the pills, mix the powder with the water and – this was the hardest part – drink it.
Colonoscopy Prep Today is DIY
Instead of getting a prescription, I received a letter from my doctor. It had a shopping list of what to buy in the laxative section of the local grocery store. First, I thought that this change is a good thing to save health care costs. Well, it probably does. And buying 2 64oz bottles of of clear (non-red) Gatorade, Crystal Lite or Propel plus 2 bottles of 8.3 oz MiraLax laxative powder and 4 Dulcolax 5mg laxative pills shouldn’t be a big deal, right?
A Freebie Is Not Always Welcome
When I arrived at the grocery store, it turned out to be the contrary. They only had the pills in containers of 20, but I had expected that. It was good that the generic name was also listed as they didn’t have the brand. The store brand of the needed laxative powder was on a get 30% for free campaign. This meant that the bottles contained 10.1 oz instead of 8.3 oz.
Of course, I have a measure at home, but it is in SI units (metric units). Thus, the 30% extra that I got for free meant I had to convert oz to liter. According to the directions I was supposed to use only one and a half of the 8.3 oz powder bottles. The freebie was 20% short on what I needed. This meant that I had to buy two bottles never the less. I used my measure to separate the 12.45 oz that I actually had to use.
It May Be Alaska or Not
Next after putting the two laxative powder bottles into the chart, I went to the drink section. I had never bought bottles of clear (non-red) Gatorade, Crystal Lite or Propel before in my life. In Germany, you drink carbonated drinks or juices, but not flavored water. Well, you actually don’t drink water. Thus, it was the first time that I stood in front of the Gatorade shelf.
Sulfate solution blue, ectoplasm green, blood red, … it looked like the drinks at a the first Halloween party of teenagers. Of course, there was no clear Gatorade to see! Thus, I searched for the next item on the list – Crystal Lite. Well, they didn’t have any. So I moved on to the last item on the list – Propel. Bingo, they had it, and I got excited as they were all clear as was requested!
The story would end here, if there hadn’t been another but. There were no 64 oz bottles! All bottles were 24 oz. Thus, I needed 5.33333 bottles of something that I never drank before, of something I had no clue of whether I would like the taste. However, according to the directions, I was supposed to use only one and a half of the 64 oz bottles, i.e. 96 oz. At least that was not producing a leftover with four bottles.
Shopping in Fairbanks Has Its Limits
In Fairbanks, it is often so that you can get at least one thing of whatever. However, there might be only one brand, and not necessarily the quantity you want. In other words, you need to know how to shop in Fairbanks.
The fact that the bottles hadn’t the right requested amount now meant that I had to calculate and measure how much of the powder has to go into the bottles. Alternatively, I could have bought a pitcher, and mix the 12.45 oz with the content of the four bottles there. While the powder only marginally changed the flavor, it changed the consistence and color of the drink. Slimy like wall paper clue. Or ectoplasm?
Facit: I doubt that this prep was cheaper than the prep seven years ago. The time for getting the right amounts right costs too.
A Cool Disneyland-like Ride
The hardest part of the colonoscopy was the prep day with being hungry and having to drink the prep solution. The colonoscopy itself was as piece of cake and pretty interesting. Well, at least for a scientist interested in remote sensing. I got permission to watch what they were doing. Of course, this meant no full anesthesia.
What I saw on the screen was similar like these rides in Disneyland Orlando. You know when the movie pretends that you are converted to a miniature and injected into a body and get a ride thru the blood vessels. Seeing your rectum (see photo below). Pink walls. A new view around each curve of your colon. Seeing your appendix (see example photo below). I found it very interesting, but looking into your inside is not for everybody. Moreover, it means that you feel the air in your colon which hurts like you ate s.th. wrong. On the contrary, you won’t feel anything when you are under full anesthesia, i.e. have it done the normal way.
Had you had you first colonoscopy already? What was your experience? Do you agree that the prep day was the worst of it? Did they allow you to watch? Let me know, I am curious.
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Photos of me: G. Kramm
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