Since I was a wee lass I have had intestinal issues. I can remember at age nine guzzling Dioval. Hmm, something is wrong with that picture.
It would seem that although the parental unit were cool as cucumbers in most situations, their little girl was a worrier and had mastered anxiety. I never really analyzed this issue until the intestinal issues become harder to ignore.
In my twenties (oh how long ago that was!) I was diagnosed with Irritible Bowel Syndrome or IBS. What is that you ask? Well, it's a wonderful catch all phrase used when the doctors can't quite pinpoint what is wrong, but they can tell you it isn't one of the big three, Crohns, Colitis, or Celiac. At that time I was told I would have to figure out what my 'triggers' were for attacks. Gee thanks.
Last year was likely my worst bout with it. At one point I was worried I wouldnt' be able to continue on with my love, triathlon. It was then I went back to the doctors seeking help. My doctor decided to refer me to a gastrointestinal specialist to see if there was anything more they could do.
While waiting for this appointment to take place, I continued on my own search for help in the 'non traditional' variety. My journey led me to a nutritionist, who introduced me to a life coach, who in my opinion, saved me. My big lesson? How to live in the present in order to rid myself of the tendency to worry and be anxious.
Since then I've had some minor bouts, but typically it's because I've slipped into an old pattern. Now when it happens I analyze how my thought patterns have been and I get better.
During all this though, my appointment with the GI specialist occurred. I'm not sure what I did to deserve this but I happened to get the most handsome GI specialist in town. Some would think this a good thing. However, when one has to describe, in detail, their bowel movements to a hottie, it really isn't such a good thing.
Although I mentioned that I believed I now had things under control since my 'awakening', he felt it best to conduct a gastroscopy and colonoscopy because my last bout lasted six months and I couldn't get it under control.
Gulp. A what and, shudder, a colonoscopy??? I know what that is! Something in my nether region tightened at that moment.
I then learned a gastroscopy is where they would insert a probe into my mouth, down my throat and into my esophagus, stomach and duodendum. Cough, gack. For those not familiar with the word colonoscopy, it's where they insert a probe, uhm, er, let's just say where the sun doesn't shine. It then travels through your colon and lower intestine. (Another reason NOT to have a good looking doctor!)
My first question? 'Please assure me you will be using different probes. Yes? Nice.' The next question? 'I won't be awake for this will I?? No? Suhweet! Go for it. Do what you need to!'
Yesterday was the big day for the two procedures. But before I get into that, I'd like to share the preparation experience, because it is such a large part of this procedure.
First off I was not to consume seeds or nuts all weekend. This included things like tomato seeds. Do you know how hard it is to scrap seeds out of grape tomatoes?? Then I spent all of Monday consuming liquids of the non red, purple (boo) or blue variety. I think all I managed to get down was a bottle of Powerade (clear), a bottle of white grape juice, one container of veggie bouillon, and two popsicles. I should mention I don't do well without solid food. Grumble, grumble.
At precisely 5 pm I was to begin 'the cleanse'. Oh how I wish this just meant cleansing the bod so that it was nice for the handsome doctor. Alas, this was not so. No, instead I had to ingest 4 litres of Co-Lyte, or what I like to lovingly refer to as 'Clear Death'. In order to do this I had to drink 1 cup of Clear Death every 15 minutes. Did I mention I had 4 litres to go through??
I was lucky enough to have a friend who, very unfortunately, has to do this on a regular basis because of her Crohn's. She gave me some excellent tips to help me through the ordeal that was to last approximately 3 hours.
The first thing she said was 'grab some books, your laptop or whatever to amuse you, and pretend you are a guy hanging in the bathroom'. Uhm, ok. Next was to keep the Co-lyte cold and to use straws. She also mentioned the best thing is to drink 1.5 cups at a time because it gets really hard to swallow after a while.
At 4:30 pm, I started gathering my goodies. I had my laptop ready, some books, a bowl with ice and the Clear Death, a measured cup, my cute red bendy straws, and my watch to time me.
I started at 5pm on the nose. The first glass wasn't too bad. Kind of fruity actually. I was lucky that Gregory was online so I could chat with him. He knew what was going on but begged me not to divulge any details. Wuss. I did joke about the fact that I would have a permanent red ring around my arse from sitting on the damn toilet for so long!
Within a half hour things started happening. All I can say is that I'm glad all I did was drink during the day, because if I had a bunch of solids in me it would have been nasty.
I shall spare the nitty gritty's. Basically I sat on the porcelin throne for 3 hours. Yes, 3 hours. Thankfully Greg was there for me because towards the end it was really really hard to gulp down the Clear Death. The somewhat fruity taste was gone and replaced by a somewhat salty taste. I kept gagging with the first few sips of the last few batches. I needed someone there to reassure me that I could do this. I also needed someone to distract me from the other stuff going on, the fact that I was now freezing and getting a wicked headache. Clear Death indeed!
As soon as the ordeal was done and the life had been flushed from me, I went promptly to sleep.
The next morning I was at the hospital for 7am. I'd say I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, but that would be a lie. I must have been reasonably calm though because when they hooked me up to the heart rate monitor it read 55 bpm. Cool like cucumba baby!
The fun started when I met my nurse, Shariffa. She was friggin hilariou! First off she quizzed me if I'd eaten any solids the day before. I assured her I did not. Then she stated she would be able to tell if I was lying so I better not be! Not sure how she could tell this and I wasn't about to ask! I just kept promising I didn't. Good thing I did follow the plan too because I heard her give 'what for' to the dude in the next bed because they were going to have to give him an eneama! (I can sense everyones nether regions clenching at this point...)
She had some difficulties in inserting the IV. She tried in an area above my thumb...three times. I typically turn away as they are putting the needle in and then I'm fine. When I turned back she was moving it around and stabbing trying to hit the vein. A wave of nausea flowed through me so I looked away.
She then tried another vein on the top of my hand that seemed to pop up slightly only after she slapped it a few dozen times. Ow. She commented that it was hard to get the needle in as she stabbed this vein a couple of times.
I commented back that had I not been dehydrated from drinking Clear Death and peeing out of my arse for the last 15 hours perhaps she would have had a nice juicy vein to stick the needle in! Not to mention no liquids after midnight! Thankfully she found this amusing and didn't hurt me. She also agreed that I was likely dehydrated. You think?!
I signed my life away, then another nurse came to wheel me into the 'inspection' room. As she wheeled me towards the door of the room I was to go into I almost splayed out like a cat going into the bath in order to stop the bed motion. Whoa now! Uhm, excuse me, but does that sign say BIG Endoscopy room?! Let me remind you I'm a smaller sized gal and am pretty darned sure I don't need a BIG endoscopy. She laughed and said it just meant we were in the bigger examination room. I had my suspicions but was at a loss to stop her.
Once in we made some small chat, as I'm apt to do, until Doctor Hottie arrived. He was kind enough to ask how my race went. I told him, then all conversation was to cease as I was injected with some funky psychodelic sleepy drug. The last thing I remeber was the nurse inserting the bite guard in my mouth that would allow the gastroscopy probe to go down my throat. Then it was 3-2-.... la la land.
I was under what they call conscious sedation. They could ask me stuff but I wouldn't remember what was said or what was going on. I kept thinking, please do not say anything about the skookum doc!! I did wake up at one point when they were doing the colonoscopy. I remember some sharp abdominal pain as they filled my intestines with air so the probe could move through. I also remember looking at a television and seeing my intestines. I asked 'what's that yellow stuff?' Heard the Doctor say 'just bile'. Then I said 'oh' and promptly went unconscious again.
The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room and someone had put some juice and cookies by my bed. Too bad I couldn't have the cookies. I could have used some food. Shariffa came to check on me and mentioned that as they filled me with air for the procedure it was likely I'd be passing gas out both ends. Giggle. She said to let'er rip because everyone would be doing it. I tried so hard not to laugh at this point. Not too hard as I was still groggy. I wanted to mention as a triathlete I'm well practiced at the art of 'passing gas'.
Now here's the one complaint I have. The good Doctor came out to tell me how it went, but I was still mostly in la-la land. (I tend to be sensitive to drugs.) I am sure he said it went well and all looked good, but they did take a couple of biopsies. I wasn't aware enough to ask why. Oh well, I'm sure if anything comes up they will call. Unlike the old Susi, I'm not going to worried about it!
You may be asking yourself, 'Uh, Suse, why are you writing this on a triathlon adventure blog??' Well, personally I think it was an adventure! Yes, I find the strangest things adventures... Also, it's a health issue and there is room for that on this blog. I want to spread the word that really, a colonoscopy isn't that bad. Granted I thought I would be a lot older when I got one, but just in case there are those out there who are putting it off, I say be like Nike and 'Just Do It!'.
Oh, I might also add to get it done after doing an Ironman. You see, sometimes it's not easy to rest up after an IM. I had tons of rest after this procedure though! I don't really remember the ride home. (A major thank you to Esther for getting up early and driving me there and back!!) I just remember walking upstairs, going to bed and sleeping for 4.5 hours. I then woke up, chatted with Gregory online, but don't remember the conversation, and went back to bed. I feel fairly rested now.
Also, if you want to get out of cooking, driving or working it's good because they say you can't do any of those things for 24 hours afterwards because you are legally impaired! A day off work and I don't have to cook!! Niiice.
Peace out my friends.