Almost everybody over the age of 50 has been wheeled into the cold, imposing procedure room where you are soon to suffer the indignation of a simple colonoscopy. It is the green mile that soon becomes inconsequential thanks to a little shot of Versed to lighten the moment. There has been a number of published accounts that describe the preparation for this cherished tradition, but some of us are not ready for the dreaded summary offered by the gastroenterologist when the Versed clears and your post anesthesia affection kicks in. Let me explain.
First of all, you have been lied to. When you pick up your gallon jug with a smidge of powder sifting around in it, you are told to expect a mild, lemony flavor. Says so on the jug. It does not taste like lemon, even if frozen in a slushy. It tastes like antifreeze smells, with a greasy texture somewhat like drinking water out of a minnow bucket. It takes about 20 minutes or so before your stomach roils around a bit and you head to the bathroom to begin a new porcelain relationship. At first it isn’t so bad, then it becomes a timing problem, solved only by precision forced glides from you chair to the room of convenience. You begin to understand why folks were hoarding tissue and start thinking about a level pay plan for water consumption at your house. Do not run, as you will surely miss an appointment with the toilet. Under these conditions, missing an appointment can be very distasteful.
You persevere and are suited up for the trip to the hospital sometime the next morning. You leave having very little confidence in your previously formidable nut cracking clinch, and your eyes are slightly crossed from the effort. Folks coming in for this procedure are easy to spot. Eyes crossed and gliding across the floor with movement that would bring tears to a ballroom dancer. They slam home the IV, cover you with a blanket, direct a solid left side position on the gurney and tell you to bring your knees up in a tuck. You are close to the moment of truth, with just enough time before sliding into “conscious sedation” to see what appears to be 500 feet of black hose hanging from a thingabob on a stainless pole. The doc entertains you in a short conversation and bingo……you are gone.
Assuming a normal examination, the doctor meets you in the recovery room where you can barely see him and will remember very little of what he tells you. This is why you bring someone with you, otherwise you’ll be demanding the procedure just completed get underway. I have been through 5 of these fun days, courtesy of a small anomaly on my very first one many years ago. Although still groggy, and barely able to hear the doc, I abruptly woke up, as alert as a border sentry on the Korean DMZ when I heard the doctor say “you are all done and will never need another one of these”. What do you mean never? Why do you say never? I am on the five year plan and will surely need at least 3 or 4 more of these things. Get me scheduled for 5 years, I’ll pay for it if I have to. I do not want to hear “the last” when referring to my longevity. Suddenly, I liked the idea of a few more colonoscopies, as the alternative does not figure in my long term planning.
I close with this thought. Follow your doctor’s orders and never miss this easy form of preventative maintenance. We all know someone who is dying or has died from one of the most preventable killer malignancies out there. As an afterthought, cheat! Sugarless, real lemon drink mix turns the slippery clinch killer into something that will stay down. It has to be lemon (the color) and even my very conservative gastro doc reluctantly agreed it was fine, as long as it wasn’t red. It worked for me and has to be right, after all I read about it on the internet!
Never…the nerve of that guy! It is on my calendar for 2026. Cost be damned……..no “last” times for me….no sir!
Have a great weekend!