Getting a Colonoscopy – The Actual Procedure!Featured, General — By Shannon Schmid on June 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Okay- it’s the grand Colonsoscopy finale! Wahooo!
Well… to be completely honest I was somewhat less enthusiastic about it at the time. But it’s done now, and I am thrilled. In case you are just now joining me, you may want to check out the two earlier posts that answered two questions you may be asking yourself right about now…
I got to the clinic in the morning, checked in and was issued a really stylish hospital gown. I’m telling you, they were all the rage. Everyone I saw was wearing them. Next, I was hooked up to an IV with saline in it. I was told that was to be sure I was not dehydrated. That made me laugh because as I told you in my last post I was up at 3:30 am drinking the colon prep – and about a million cups of water. So I was pretty sure based on my need to pee every 10 seconds that dehydration was probably not a huge concern for me!
After a very short wait, a nurse and anesthesiologist came in to see me. I asked some questions because I was concerned I would be “out” but maybe still feel pain. The anesthesiologist assured me that he would take great care of me – and I would not feel a thing. Shortly after he left two nurses came to wheel my gurney back to the procedure room. One must have been new, because she almost wheeled me into the storage room full of supplies and boxes. I found that hilarious, and I joked that for a minute I thought maybe we were all going to go shop at the Container store. Everyone laughed and we all agreed that would be somewhat more fun than a colonoscopy. The laughing really helped me not freak out at this point as well, so that was a great distraction. Anyone else a nervous laugher? Next my doctor came in and said hello, asked if I had any questions. I just asked him to be gentle:)
The Actual Procedure:
The anesthesiologist had me roll onto my side and got my head in a comfy position on a pillow, and then started the propofol that was being used to put me to sleep. It was really interesting. I felt suddenly like I was very drunk maybe for 3 seconds, the next thing I knew I was in recovery and a nurse was saying I did great, and she would bring my husband back to me! It felt like the whole thing happened in the literal blink of an eye! DONE!
In order for the doctor to move the scope through your colon looking for any sign of problems, they pump air through your colon to keep it open and spacious. In recovery your job is basically to toot it all back out. I was kind of paranoid about this part because I was sure it would be SO embarrassing. But you have two things on your side. One, you are still a little drugged so you really aren’t likely to be embarrassed easily. Two, the only people around you are nurses and doctors who know that it’s just plain air you are passing (after all they are the ones that put it in you!) and frankly they are around this all day everyday. You would only stand out to them, if you didn’t pass the air back out. So don’t let this detail freak you out.
After about an hour I was cleared to leave. No heavy lifting, operating machinery or making any big life decisions. You may feel fine – but you are still a bit drugged up. I can attest to that, for the first couple hours after the procedure my sense of time was way off. And I also had trouble remembering who I had seen, and what was said.
(Waiting room where my husband was. He only had time to write two emails before they said I was done!)
Bottom Line: (Pun Intended!)
I got pretty pictures of my colon (that I will not be posting here…lol) and everything looked great. The doctor did find one small polyp, that he removed. It will be sent to the lab and in the unlikely event that it was pre-cancerous I will get a colonoscopy every 3 years, instead of the planned upon 5. The great thing about the colonoscopy is that the doctor can remove any polyps he sees while he is in your bowel, as he sees them! So he can stop any cancer that could have grown before it even has a chance!
You guys, Colon Cancer is a curable disease. You just have to find it early. And the colonoscopy is painless!
Isn’t your life worth it? You bet your bottom it is
*This colonoscopy was brought to you in loving memory of Patricia Noonan Molloy