music friday
hell or high water (david mackenzie, 2016)

colonoscopy and me

Every year, Kaiser sends out a FIT kit, "FIT" being an acronym for "fecal immunochemical test". You take a dump on a piece of paper, scrape a tiny amount of poop onto a brush, stick the brush into a tube, and mail it to Kaiser. They check it for blood, and if any shows up, they recommend a colonoscopy. I had a positive test several years ago, and did the preliminary procedures, but no one ever contacted me to actually get the colonoscopy. For many subsequent years, my tests were negative. Honestly, I think they just caught a hemorrhoid that one year.

Well, this year, it came back positive again, and my doctor put his foot down and said I was getting the colonoscopy done for sure.

Everyone said the same thing: the prep was far worse than the actual procedure. Many of you will have gone through this yourself, but for any rookies out there, this was my schedule:

Thursday: Thanksgiving.

Friday morning: Quit eating high fiber food.

Saturday night: Eat a small dinner, which will be my last solid food until the procedure was done.

Sunday morning: Drink 8 ounces of clear liquid every hour until I go to bed.

Sunday evening: Beginning at 6:00, drink half-a-gallon of colon cleanser, 8 ounces every 15-30 minutes. This stuff WORKS. I spent most of the next two hours sitting on the toilet. It doesn't help that our toilet is currently semi-broken, with the plumber coming to fix it on Tuesday. Go to bed whenever you want, but you're going to get up very early the next day, because ...

Monday morning: Get up at 4:30 and do another half gallon of colon cleanser. Finally, get to the hospital at 9:00 for a 9:30 procedure.

To be honest, nothing was as bad as I expected. The two sessions of constant shitting were completely water-oriented, if that makes sense, more like peeing out your butt. The cleanser, which supposedly tastes vile, seemed tolerable to me once I added the lemon-lime flavoring. I was gulping 8 ounces of liquid every 15 minutes ... well, I drink like that all the time. And it's not like this was the first time I sat on the toilet, reading a book. They sedate you for the actual procedure, so who knows what that was like ... I was in a zone.

FWIW, they found 7 polyps.

The best story comes last. On Sunday, my wife made a pumpkin pie, and today, when we got back from the hospital, I broke my fast with that delicious dessert.

As is so often the case, the anticipation for something far surpasses the actual event. I wrote about this once, in reference to Picasso's Guernica:

As we walked down the city streets to the Reina Sofia, my eyes filled with tears of joyous excitement. The work had brought me to tears before I'd even seen it! The "aura" seemed to have escaped from the painting itself and wafted its way onto the streets, where it compelled me with an insistent uniqueness.... As it turned out, the Guernican aura on the street was itself what I'd been waiting for; to be in the presence of great art mattered more than the art itself. The aura had taken over from its source.

Similarly, my colonoscopy was nothing compared to what I imagined it would be like.

That anticipation, though, ruined more than a week of my life. Not the colonoscopy, but the anticipation. Because I couldn't get the damn thing out of my mind, I lived in a stupor while I waited. If you read this blog, you experienced this. I posted on Friday the 17th. I posted on Friday the 24th. And that was it ... two posts in ten days, until this one, which hopefully marks the return of my brain.

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