Sunday, December 07, 2014

Big Breath In

I heard a voice coming from somewhere behind me as the fog around my brain started to fade.

“This guy’s got a long colon.”

I suppose I should’ve thanked him, whoever he was, but I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not.

I could feel all sorts of weird activity in and around my caboose, so I was either being probed by aliens or getting a colonoscopy.

As things become clearer, I realized I was in Lutheran Medical Center and not having a much-too-close encounter. And the speaker over my shoulder was my gastroenterologist.

This has been a week for doctors. In addition to seeing my internal medicine man, I also had to go to a pulmonologist for a breathing test to make sure I could handle being sedated for the colonoscopy.

For the breathing test I had to wrap my mouth around a large tube—wow, this story is getting pretty twisted, ain’t it?—while a very nice young woman gave me commands like “big breath in!” and “breathe out quickly!”

Once I passed that little ordeal I began the prep for the colonoscopy. People say that this is the worst part of the whole (hole?) experience and gosh, they are so flipping right.

You have to consume gallons of a vile liquid that is essentially Montezuma’s Revenge in a bottle and your diet for an entire day is restricted to water, chicken broth, Gatorade, and, oh, God help me, gelatin.

Say Cheese

It amazes me that I've eaten more of this crap in the last three weeks than I have in the last 40 years.

As awful as a colonoscopy is, my biggest fear is being sedated. I’m terrified that I will close my eyes and just not wake up. I know I hit the Xanax pretty hard when I fly, but at least I’m in control of that situation. In the hospital I feel like an aging schnauzer being put down.

Luckily I survived and I was soon in the recovery room sipping apple juice. My doctor told me that my colon is somewhat tangled, which probably explains the ongoing agony in my southern hemisphere.

The hospital gave me a full write-up of the test and, bizarrely, actual photographs of the doctor’s keester parade. Gee, thanks, folk, I can’t wait to post these babies on Facebook. Can I get an 8 x 10 and a wallet-sized photo of my alimentary adventure?

My sister, God love her, picked me up after the procedure and we went to lunch, where I ate real food for the first time in 24 hours.

When I got home, I flushed the leftover gelatin down the toilet and said a prayer for any fish that might ingest that jiggling atrocity.

From here I have to consult with the surgeon and set a date for my operation. I have officially run out of sick days so any time off will cost me money.

I guess I should have saved some of my vacation days, but I took two great trips this year and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I must say all this medical activity is wearing me down. I’m getting work-up over the slightest things and my aunt encouraged me to be open about my feelings.

“You’re tired, upset, and nervous,” she told me. “There’s nothing wrong with saying that.”

No, there isn’t. And doing so might make life just a little bit easier. I’m trying to learn from this experience and to be my best when I’m at my worst. It’s been a real challenge, which means it’s worth pursuing.

So I declare from the bottom of my twisted colon that I’m scared, angry, and confused. But I’m also grateful and determined to find something good out of this situation. I'll do it, or, so help me, I’ll eat my weight in gelatin.


Walaka said...

The cable cars we're given to ride across the abyss of life are creaky and wobbly, for sure; I am glad you are enjoying the spectacular view as we make our way along. Best of luck with the upcoming procedures and processes.

Rob K said...

Thanks so much, Walter.

It's been a hell of a ride, I must say. But I'll take the creaky cable car route over a swan dive into the abyss anytime. Stay healthy, my friend!

v said...

greetings, rob. i heard the prep for a colonoscopy was the worse part of it. i never had one, not looking forward to it either. that and that boob smasher test women have to get. geeze. there has to be a better way for both tests.

sorry the time off will cost you money, but your health is way more important. hang in there.

Ron said...

"So I declare from the bottom of my twisted colon that I’m scared, angry, and confused. But I’m also grateful and determined to find something good out of this situation."

Bravo, Rob! And it sounds to me that you already have. I agree with your aunt, there is nothing wrong with expressing your feelings because I think that's part of the healing process - body and mind.

I've know several people who have also had a colonoscopy and they too said that is wasn't fun, so I'm glad to hear that part is over for you.

Keep the faith, buddy, and know that all will go well with your upcoming surgery because I just know it will.

Have a great week!

Rob K said...

Thanks so much, Ron. You're right--expressing your feelings really is part of the healing process. At least it's better than putting a lid on them.

This has been a pretty crazy time, so I really appreciate your support. Take care, buddy!

Rob K said...

@Val--how's it going?

That boob smasher sounds like a real medieval procedure. Excellent point about the importance of health over money--you really opened my eyes.

Take care!

Stephanie Faris said...

How does the colon get twisted like that? My husband has to do his first colonoscopy this year and, yes, everyone says the day of drinking that strange liquid (along with the numerous trips to the bathroom) are the worst part. I hope you can get all of this straightened out (literally!) soon and have all of this excitement behind you.

Rob K said...

Hi, Stephanie and thanks for the good wishes.

One of the doctors compared my colon to a sock that's lost its elasticity over time. I can throw out old socks, but I've got to get this old colon of mine fixed.

But at least the colonoscopy is behind me--ouch!

Bijoux said...

I've been putting off the dreaded colonoscopy. How long till your surgery? I hope you are able to enjoy the holidays.

Rob K said...

Hey, Bijoux....

I hate to be a nag, but you probably take care of the D.C. soon. Haven't got a date on the surgery yet.

Thanks so much! I'll do my best to enjoy the holidays this year!

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Our thoughts are with you and your twisted colon Rob! I am sure you will make it out of this just fine and a little less twisted. Or more depending on the drugs I guess ;)

Rob K said...

Oh, thanks so much, Shae. I'll take any drugs they give me!