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Monday, March 24, 2014

Review On My First Colonoscopy

Dear Friends,

I thought a colonoscopy review could be helpful so here it goes.
I know I was so afraid of having to think of going in at age fifty for my first colonoscopy.  I did not do it till just today at age 51. I thought it could be helpful to take you through my experience so you would feel more comfortable and less anxious than I was.

Last night I did the prep at home which many of you have heard about. You drink a solution, about one gallon, all throughout an evening, so you release all the stool in your colon. Let me forewarn you that yes, you have to stay very close to the bathroom. Every ten minutes you drink one cup of this solution. I wrote down on a piece of paper every ten minutes and checked off each time I drank it. It took me about four hours to drink the entire gallon of the solution. It doesn't taste great, but it really did not bother me at all. I drank soda pop during this process. As you are doing this just stay very close to the bathroom. Your doctor will make the referral and then send up a order to your pharmacy for what you need to do step by step.

You take four pills which are a laxative the evening before. I took them and knew that whatever was not out of my colon would surely be gone by the late evening with this laxative. I actually wrote a hub post as I did this entire process. It kept me focused on something other than just drinking and being in the bathroom.

I felt very anxious as most people do about the next morning going in to have this procedure done. I did however, actually sleep. I got in to the endoscopy office for my visit at 9:50 am. They called me back and my heart did flip flops. I am a highly anxious person anyway, so this visit had me awfully nervous. The nurse assistant was amazing and explained to me that the doctor would be in to talk about the procedure and we would fill out paper work. She inserted a IV in so that I could be sedated before the procedure. I want you to know that other than having my two children, I have never had a hospital stay. This IV being put in was nothing. I could hardly feel it. It was just a little prick feeling.

Whew, so far so good, but I was getting a bit freaked out when she put me on the bed and put the blood pressure cup on me and showed me the screen that I could watch my colon procedure on. I was thinking to myself, yeah right, I will just sleep so I don't have to deal with the reality of it. I have to say, this gurney bed with the cover over my body was really comfortable.

The doctor came in and went over instructions on how the procedure would go. He said they would be giving me a sedative and morphine would be flowing through the IV they gave me. I was thinking as he was talking, "do I still have time to run?" I stayed, but in total trepidation as he went through the paper work and told me the things that could go wrong and I needed to sign my signature to say he could go ahead with the procedure. He told me once we were done talking they would put the drugs in the IV and I would get very sleepy and I could choose to watch the procedure on the screen.

All of a sudden just seconds later, I felt really dizzy. I said, "I'm scared, I am really dizzy." They told me that was normal and it was the sedatives and narcotic taking hold. Seconds later, I felt real calm as if nothing could bother me. Earlier when the nurse assistant took my blood pressure, it was extremely high because of my anxiety. Now, I could not even hear the blood pressure machine. The doctor explained every move he made. "Laura, I am putting in the tube right now and we will go all the way through the colon to see what's going on." I can honestly say, the feeling of him putting the tube in did not bother me at all. I hardly felt it.

I can't believe I actually watched the whole entire thing on the screen and asked questions. There were times it was a little uncomfortable but nothing to write home about. The sedatives had me so sleepy and calm. I think it took about 15-20 minutes in total. When the doctor said it's over, I was amazed and exclaimed, "Really?"

The nurse assistant rolled me into recovery which only lasted 30 minutes. They just want to make sure blood pressure and oxygen levels are normal.  They did have an oxygen clamp on my forefinger during and after the process.

Then.... My twin sister came to pick me up. I guess I was a bit loopy, but she drove me to a quick Chinese lunch buffet and then home to bed. I had not eaten in 24 hours so I had to eat. I got home and my sister got me all set up in my lovely bedroom where she had our wonderful fury family come sleep and nap with me. My dogs knew that something had been off, so I think they were as relieved and tired as I. The dogs and  I slept for 4-5 hours. What a great nap, great smooth procedure, and great news, my colon looked great and there were no polyps. I won't have to go back for ten years.

I hope this post helps you get in for your colonoscopy. It really is a very safe and easy procedure. It could save your life. A screening is easy and prevents a horrid type of cancer. I now know the stories and drama I hear about the colonoscopy procedure is not true. Here I am writing you the very day I had mine done.

Good luck to you and let others know this procedure was not a big deal.


  1. I think it's great that your educating people on the dreaded colonoscopy. It doesn't sound so bad, except for the night before when you live in the bathroom. It's worth it though. You did a great job sis. So glad you did it at 51 and all is well. By the way, your not 52 like you said in this post. LOL

  2. Linda,
    Thanks for the kudos. I hope this helps others know it is really not a big deal at all to have this procedure.