Here’s what I know about polyps. A woman I once taught with had a nasal polyp. At lunch one day she sneezed and it popped out of her nostril and stuck there, causing her to look like she had a green grape shoved up her nose. This whole idea makes polyps seem rather harmless and actually full of comic potential.
However. When you reach a certain age, supposedly there’s a chance you might be growing polyps in places other than your nasal passages. These aren’t supposed to be funny. So, the people in charge of these things say you need to have a colonoscopy, a procedure designed to hunt down and remove these polyps.
In case you’ve never heard about this, it’s a deal where you get the really good drugs, the doctor sends a probe of some kind up your nether regions, looks for polyps, writes things down, and then wakes you up. You remember nothing. He doesn’t buy you dinner after, doesn’t even really bother to call you again if you’re lucky.
My husband had this done when it was age appropriate. After it was over, I was able to meet him in the recovery “room” which was actually just a big open space where beds on wheels were separated by curtains. The main objective for everyone behind the curtains was to pass boatloads of gas so they could go home without startling other people on the street with their prolific and gregarious flatulence.
I stood there in amazement, while the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles was re-enacted all around me. My husband was still wiggy from the drugs and was enjoying everything immensely. He seemed unaware of the woman on the other side of the curtain who sounded like she was jumping on ten whoopee cushions. The nurse told him he had to walk down the hall to show her he was ready to go home. He jumped agreeably out of bed, his gown flapping in the wind, literally. He strolled down the hall and back, with his ass in full view of anyone who dared to look, a huge grin on his face. “Let’s blow this joint!” he suggested cheerfully as the nurse wrote something down and said, “I think he’s ready.”
So, now it’s my turn. I made the appointment. I was supposed to go to see the doctor beforehand, a couple weeks in advance. I’d gotten some paperwork in the mail, and was to fill that out and bring it along to the appointment. When I got to the office, I was ushered into a room, and a nurse walked over and without even a hello, took the papers out of my hand and rifled through them, keeping some and handing some back. I noticed she was keeping the ones that had my pre-procedure instructions on them. “Don’t I nee-?” She shook her head without looking up. Then she took my blood pressure. While the cuff was reading, she went over to her laptop and entered enough information to have covered the first twelve years of my life. Then she came back, took off the cuff, and walked back over to the laptop to enter more info. Much to my surprise, she then returned to me and started to put the cuff back on. “Didn’t you just do this?” I asked. “Ooops!” she giggled, “It’s Monday.”
The sinking feeling I’d been giving myself over to became a capsizing when the doctor walked in. He looked to weigh 300 pounds on his skinny days. He began to explain the procedure to me. He pointed to the chart on the wall depicting a colon; I guess my
colon. He said, “I’ll insert a tube in your pinkie, go up and have a look around, see if there are any polyps, and then be done.”
HE DID TOO SAY THIS. I stared at him. He then recited the risks and dangers involved in this, letting me know he couldn’t be held responsible for any of them. He asked me if I had any questions.
I was stuck on “pinkie.” I couldn’t think of a question.
He left, the nurse returned with the papers she’d taken from me. Without looking up, she said, “This is what you’ll need to do the night before, and after.”
She read the following:
Mix the entire 238 gram bottle of Miralax with 2 quarts of Gatorade in a large pitcher. Stir, chill, add ice, and let it breathe for at least a few minutes in order to fully appreciate the flavor.
At approximately 4-7PM the evening before the procedure, take all four Dulcolax tablets. It will probably take about 2-3 hours before the action begins. If you are a frequent laxative user, please start with double your USUAL effective Dulcolax dose (or call the office if questions).
Two hours after the Dulcolax, start drinking your chilled Miralax cocktail. You should pace yourself to drink about eight 8 ounce glasses (64oz.) over a 2-4 hour period, roughly one glass every 15-30 minutes, until finished.
Expect to use the facilities at least 10-15 times. The stool should be clear, lemonade-like, not sludgy or brown. Expect some cramps.
Most patients will want to eat breakfast and are capable of being at work within an hour of leaving the office. No driving a car or operating heavy machinery (airplanes, backhoes, chainsaws, etc.) for 4 hours after anesthesia.
It is a good idea to bring an extra pair of underwear.
Halfway though this, I stopped hearing anything, and imagined us in a Saturday Night Live Skit. She asked me if I had any questions. NOPE.
I hightailed it out of there.
The next day I called the office and said I’d had some things come up which prevented me from going through with the procedure at this time.
I didn’t go into exactly what those things were.I had no idea where to begin.