I mean that literally. I had a colonoscopy the other day, and there’s lots of preparation involved. Basically, I had to flush out my gastrointestinal tract, so they should put a camera up my you-know-what and look around. And that involved lots and lots of bowel movements.
I don’t want to bury the headline, though: I’m fine. No need to worry about me. My primary care doctor suggested I have a colonoscopy as a preventative measure, to make sure I didn’t have any big-ticket medical problems, and I don’t. I also had a endoscopy at the same time, where they stick a camera down my throat and check out my stomach and part of my small intestine, and that didn’t turn up any big-ticket medical problems either.
So, yup, they put a camera in me from both ends. The procedure itself was easy enough. They put me to sleep for a half hour, got the footage they needed, and I woke up and went home. And they did it bright and early – I arrived at the hospital at 6:45am, and was home by 10.
The prep work, though, was brutal. The worst. I started a low-fiber diet three days before the procedure, and that wasn’t bad, because I eat a lot of low-fiber foods (like fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins) anyway. Actually, the events in my last post (where I wrote about grilling asparagus and going to a fitness convention) happened on one of those low-fiber days, and I just did a lot of meal planning and food prep so I knew what I’d be eating and when.
But then, 24 hours before the procedure, I had to switch to a clear liquid diet. No solid food whatsoever. I took a couple stool softeners throughout the day, and then, at 4pm, started taking a laxative.
Ugh, the laxative. It’s a prescription product called Colyte, and the pharmacy gave me a four-liter jug, which was empty except for a bunch of powder at the bottom. 24 hours before the procedure, I filled the jug with water and stuck it in the fridge. At 4pm, I had to drink a tall glass of it every 15 minutes, until I drank three liters worth. It took three hours.
It tastes gross. They even provide a little packet of lemon flavoring to add in, and it still tastes gross. They recommend you slam it down, too. No nursing it with little sips. I had to wash down each glass of Colyte with at least one glass of water, and thank goodness I had bought all sorts of flavored waters, which really helped get the nasty taste of my mouth.
The Colyte works, too. Man, does it work. About an hour after my first glass, I began visiting the bathroom. Frequently. You need to get to a point where you’re expelling clear, non-cloudy, particle-free liquid waste. And it takes a while to get to that point.
I had to drink the last liter of Colyte six hours before my appointment, spread out over one hour, so I stayed up until 2am to get that done. After that, I fasted. No liquids or food of any kind. At this point I was tired and hungry and had a nasty headache, so I popped a couple Advil PM with the final glass of Colyte and tried to get some sleep, which was hard, because I had to run (literally) to the bathroom about once an hour.
In the morning, my waste was appropriately clear and liquid, and the doctor saw what he needed to see inside my colon, so the laxative regimen worked.
My pal Tavi very kindly served as my driver that morning, and I’m sure that was exactly how he wanted to spend his birthday. And that’s true – it was his birthday. What a good friend, huh? I was ravenous by that point, so I asked Tavi to do something I don’t do very often at all: hit up a McDonald’s drive-thru for breakfast.
I wish I was one of those health nuts that say “ever since I started eating healthy, I stopped craving fast food” or “I have no interest in fast food because fresh, home-cooked food is so much better.” But I’m not. I see billboards for fast food and salivate. I sometimes watch commercials (even though I have a TiVo and could easily fast-forward through them) because the food looks so good.
But I didn’t go nuts at McDonald’s. I ordered an egg-white delight combo meal with orange juice, and I ate the sandwich and drank the OJ, and Tavi ate the hash brown.
I think the egg white delight had 250 calories, but I don’t recall now, and I don’t really care. It hit the spot. That night, took Tavi out for sushi to thank him and to celebrate his birthday, and the last thing I ate that night was a piece of birthday cake.
The other thing I want to share is that I resisted the urge to weigh myself the morning of the procedure. I’ll be honest: there was a huge part of me that was curious about how much lighter I was after spending the better part of the last 12 hours on the toilet, but I didn’t step on the scale. It would have been an abnormal low, created by extreme circumstances, and I didn’t want to risk feeling bad about myself after bouncing back up after those circumstances were over. Perhaps it sounds silly that I could think that way, but I know how I think, and it was better to avoid the situation altogether.
Plus, I weigh myself at the end of next week, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been having a good July, both with food and exercise, so hopefully that will be reflected on the scale.
Keep it up, David!