Resurfacing after a (far too long) absence to say to those of you who deal with eosinophilic or other colitis, irritable bowel, whatever: Respect.
After dodging it for two years, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for my mid-life colonoscopy, which took place the other week. Let’s just say that I am extraordinarily grateful to have eos that make themselves at home in the top part of my GI tract, rather than the other end. (And, yes, I really should change the name of this blog to Middle Aged Eos Lady.)
1. Treat yourself to all the treats
I’ll admit it. Fear of prep turned me into one big baby. So, I indulged in everything I could reasonably think of just to get through. Permission to use this nice expansive list of permitted foods from Kaiser Permanente rather than the restrictive list I was given that had almost nothing on it I could actually eat? Check. Beg Mr. Eos to make me homemade chicken soup that he usually only makes at Passover? Check. Coconut milk ice cream that I’ve been trying to eat less of? Check. Pudding? Two flavors.
I got those wet wipes and the tube of diaper balm that everyone advises, figuring I could always return them if I didn’t open them. (Spoiler: I opened them.)
And then I headed to the local Barnes & Noble and walked out with an armful of magazines and one big ol’ book of KenKen puzzles. Ready.
2. Find your groove
A very kind co-worker told me that she found the GoLitely prep “tasted like bad off-brand Sprite.” The thought calmed me for a day or so, but in the end, even chilled, even through a straw, the stuff only tasted Sprite-ish to me if you figured that they also melted down the can and poured it into the mix. Blech. (Apparently, I am not the only one to hear “Polyethylene glycol” and be reminded immediately of antifreeze.)
For the record, here is what worked for me: I chugged as much as I could through a bendy straw (one of the treats). Then stuck a lemon wedge in my mouth, then took a gulp of ginger ale, then sucked on a butterscotch LifeSaver. Why this combo? No idea, but I got through most of the split prep and didn’t really start gagging on it until midway through day two. Reader, I survived. Somehow.
The instructions I received said the laxative would likely take effect in anywhere from a few minutes to three hours. Having lived 50+ years with what has delicately been described as a “sensitive tummy,” I stationed myself in the bathroom, expecting that the first 8 or 16 ounces would do the trick.
Ha! The stuff didn’t kick in for nearly two-and-a-half hours! And then it worked, And worked and worked. And worked.
Given this experience on day one, I decided to begin the second-day prep an hour earlier than recommended. Nothing like melted aluminum can taste first thing in the morning, but this turned out to be the right choice.
4. Peristalsis. It’s real.
After the first evening, when the poop finally ran nice and clear, I thought I was in the home stretch. Imagine my dismay when I hit the bathroom in the morning only to find, once again, a big brown cloud in the bowl. Don’t be discouraged. If this is you, just chug and chug some more. Everything cleared out for good for me about about two hours before the scheduled procedure time. And the post-procedure report called the quality of the prep “excellent.” Not that I’m competitive or anything.
5. The day after
Scope day was actually a double header for me: colonoscopy AND upper GI endoscopy. Lucky me.
EGDs usually leave me feeling miserable and with an achy chest the next day. Last time I had one, I swore that I would ALWAYS take the following day off work. Turns out, I didn’t feel too awful. But I’m still glad to have been at home, because my tummy was still flip-flopping a bit, and when it wasn’t, I slept and slept and slept some more. A three-nap day, in all. Also, Mr. Eos made some matzoh balls to go with the leftover soup…
I am still trying to figure out how I bit the inside of both my top and bottom lips during the scope, and also whether the very, very sore throat I had for two days was due to the scope or to the propofol, which doesn’t seem unheard of, but now has me wondering about the propofol. To investigate another day.
All in all, it was necessary, I did it, and now I am cleared for the next ten years. I’ve been told that nothing will make the next ten years fly by like fixating on 2029….