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Yeah, I know. Not what you really want to read. But if you are about to turn fifty or if you are younger and have a family history of colon cancer you need to be prepared for this. I wasn’t, but I got lucky. AND there were absolutely no abnormalities, so I don’t even have to think about this for another decade.
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Know all the details about your “prep” well ahead of time. You will not be able to do anything during your bowel prep that you can’t do while having explosive diarrhea. The prep is designed to clean your colon out completely so the doctor can get a good look at all the tissue inside there. Your prep can be anywhere from twenty-four to seventy-two hours depending on your doc’s preference and your health history. If you have the seventy-two hour prep schedule yourself a day off afterwards to recover as well. Seriously.
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At an early point during the prep you’ll be able to have clear liquids. That means you have to be able to see through it. You can have apple juice, but not orange juice. Beef broth is really good – it tastes like “real food”. And here’s something I always have in the fridge for GI bugs, really busy days, or when I know I’m just not getting enough protein: Protein Water. I’ve found it in both grocery stores and specialty stores like GNC. Twenty grams protein and only eighty calories. It only comes in Orange and Blueberry, and it’s pricey, but it’s not like you’re going to be living off the stuff!
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While we’re on the topic of clear liquids let’s talk about coffee. Black coffee is a clear liquid. Coffee with creamer is NOT. So wean yourself off your caffeinated drinks a few days before the big cleanse. I forgot to do this, so I got to add a big ol’ caffeine-withdrawal headache to my list of miseries on procedure day.
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Here are some things to buy or arrange for in advance. You’re going to need your own dedicated bathroom. If your house has only one bathroom anyone else who lives there is going to have to make other arrangements. Dead serious. This is like the worst GI bug you’ve ever had TIMES TEN. You also want plenty of nice, soft toilet paper. Don’t bargain-hunt. Buy the good stuff. While you’re in that aisle get some flushable wipes for the last couple of hours of your prep, when it’s going to feel like fire is spouting from your rear end.
And I was incredibly thankful we still had a pack of adult diapers Michael had received as a gag gift at his fiftieth birthday party. (Yeah, my de-cluttering isn’t going so well.) Buy a package! I wore a pair to the hospital the day of the procedure. With yoga pants. Honey, I took visible panty line to a whole new level.
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You will need something to distract you during the many hours it takes to drink four liters of rather nasty-tasting liquid and then have all of that spew out the other end. I read two really good books. I highly recommend them even if you’re not going to read them on the toilet! They are both light, funny, and exceptionally well-written. I’ve read books by both these authors in the past, and thankfully it looks like they both have plenty more available!
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On colonoscopy day itself make sure you have someone with you. Odds are you’ll be too groggy to remember what the doctor tells you, and you certainly can’t drive yourself home! Make sure this nice person has a book to read, music to listen to, or games to play. Almost all hospitals have free wifi, and almost all doctors run late now and then. Good luck!
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