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  D e s e r t   E x p o s u r e  September 2010


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Colonoscopy
Page: 3


Nor do you need to worry about clogging the toilet. Trust me on this.

Hour Two of Sunday morning's adventure was spent in the bathroom, breaking every 10 minutes for another Nu-lytely dose, then sprinting back to the bathroom. It's pretty all-consuming as activities go. Don't plan to, say, trim the hedges in-between bouts. Wear loose-fitting pants.

I couldn't really celebrate the triumphant moment of downing the last damn drop of Nu-lytely, because duty called — again. By about noon, however, the sprints were becoming less frequent, and that afternoon I was actually able to sit in front of the computer instead of in the bathroom.



I'd fretted about hunger, but food was the last thing on my mind most of the day. The Nu-lytely liquid fills you up so much that there's no longing for breakfast or even lunch.

In fact, curious, I'd weighed myself after dragging out of bed on Sunday morning, and again after all the Nu-lytely was in me (or at least had visited my insides). In the space of three hours, I'd gained four pounds. Talk about "water weight"! It made sense, though, despite how rapidly my body was getting rid of everything in it: "A pint's a pound the world around," as TV chef Alton Brown ("Good Eats") is fond of saying. So the four liters of (mostly) water I'd consumed weighed almost eight and a half pounds.

Lunch was a little chicken broth, cleverly seasoned with some flavorings from the pantry that I then strained out using a coffee filter. After drinking juice and Gatorade to chase the Nu-lytely, I was already sick of fruity flavors. A couple of cups of tea were my afternoon effort to "push fluids," as the pre-op instructions repeatedly commanded.

Dinner was a rerun of lunch, followed by Jell-O — just to make sure I hadn't forgotten how to chew, if you can call that "chewing." Amazingly, I still wasn't really hungry. I longed for crackers, but more for the crunch and saltiness than out of hunger. I began to fret, though, that I might accidentally grab a handful of Wheat Thins or, even worse, cashews to snack on, strictly out of habit.

Bed came early — in part because of my 6:30 a.m. appointment, in part simply to sleep and get it all over with.



The drive to the hospital in an August morning rainstorm was probably more harrowing than the actual procedure. If your first colonoscopy still lies ahead of you, take it from me: Insist on being fully sedated, not some "twilight" state where you might risk being aware of what's happening. After the usual paperwork, changing into that flattering hospital gown (here, however, the opening in the back truly did make practical sense) and waiting for the surgeon to arrive, I got what the anesthesiologist called a "light" dose. Happily, it was heavy enough that one minute I was in the operating room and the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room.

I dreamed of blue doors. That's all I remember of the actual colonoscopy.

The surgeon told my wife in the waiting room that all went fine, and he'd removed one small polyp. (See? If I'd gone the "virtual" route, I'd have another date with Nu-lytely any day now.) That means I probably have to go through the whole routine again in three to five years, just to be on the safe side.

Heck, been there, done that. Honestly, the worst part was the worrying. And now that I know that, yes, I really can chug four liters of Nu-lytely in less than three hours, it's no big deal.

Isn't that right, Katie and Harry?

 

 



David A. Fryxell is editor of Desert Exposure.



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