Saturday, July 04, 2009

July Came In With A Bang And A Whimper

So July 1st was Canada Day. Usually on Canada Day I get all Red and White and boast about being Canadian and all...
But this Canada Day was somber.

How come? you ask......

Well because I was on liquid diet only. Clear fluids... and some pretty intense laxatives.
I know it isn't every day someone shares their Pre and Colonoscopy stories with everyone, but in light of the crappiness of it all I thought I would share.

I had to take two ducolax on Wed morning before 10AM, then at 11AM I had to mix a powder called PicoSalax with a cup of water and drink it down. Well...the two ducolax are really small pills but they stick to your tongue so they are hard to swallow. Kinda like a booger you can't flick from your finger.
Then there is the PicoSalax. It is a powder and fairly easy to mix with the cup of cold water. It tastes like really sour lemonade.

So I figured in a couple of hours it all would start, because it said 2-4 hrs on the box of PicoSalax. I drank a glass of water every hour, plus a cup of broth every hour and a glass of another clear beverage like gingerale or mineral water and jello. I was supposed to continue with clear fluids after 6PM every hour until "it runs clear". Yep clear BM. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

By 6 PM still nothing had happened and I needed to take the second dose of PicoSalax as instructed. So down went the sour lemonaide one more time....and I waited.....and waited.....

I didn't even have a cramp or a rumbling in my stomach.
At 8:30PM I finally passed gas a bit. But nothing like I expected to happen.

At around 9:10PM something began to happen. I felt like I was finally gonna poop.
Sorry there is no cute way to say it.......POOP
Well I pooped all right. Once it began I couldn't get off the toilet! There were no wild cramps, just an urge to go and then liquid poured out of my sphinctor like mud.
Carl kept having to bring me beverages to the bathroom. I thought he was going to die.
The look on his face was pure pain as he crossed the threshold of the room reaching out as far as he could towards me to give me some gatorade or water. As he tried not to gag at the horrible smell that my body was leaving behind he would say, "Are you ok?"
I would look up at him and say, "Yes" in defeat. Through the haze of sulphur odour that was coming out of me.

I guess it was a chemical reaction with the Pico Salax. I hope it was a chemical reaction! Shit! that would be horrible if that is what our colon smells like in the deep recesses we rarely clean out!
It all slowed down around 1AM. I figured that it did because I slowed down in the drinkin. I was getting tired, but it wasn't "running clear" yet, and I was supposed to keep drinking until it did.
I kept drinking.
By 4AM I had had enough. I could not drink any more liquid I was peein a storm and my belly felt waterlogged and I still wasn't "running clear".
I gave up and laid my head down to sleep for a little while.

As I was relaxing to my slumber I thought about this process. How long it took to start working, and then I questioned all I knew about my bowels. I assumed all these years I was normal down there. Or as my Dad would say, "A perfect asshole!"
I did poopy business every day. I only ever was constipated if a medication made me so. I am not a long time on the potty sitter, or a pusher, or a holder, so I thought I was in the elite pooper crowd. Those that can boast they are not afraid of public toilets, and don't hold it in because one cannot impress folks if they know you poop. I really thought of myself as the perfect pooper! Get the urge, go to the toilet, do my business quick painless and not smelly, and wash hands and leave. All taking less than 5min. I felt special cuz I was not held to some routine that could put the whole body cycle off if it was messed with, I had no hang ups about the perfect atmosphere or anything like that.

Then when it took 12 hrs from the first laxetive to first poop I felt defeated. I questioned what I thought was normal. Then I spawned a huge fear in my mind. "What if I am a horrible pooper and I poop every day but it is poop from two weeks ago and not yesterday!?"
I convinced myself my bowels were broken. Probably lined like sandpaper, or all twisted in prezel knots. I was as good as a constipated "imperfect asshole". By this point I was certain my bowels were too slow, and then I convinced myself that I probably had shit inside me left over from Easter dinner in me! That had to be bad. Nothing good could come of that for sure!

I fell asleep without accomplishing "running clear". I awoke at 7:50AM and had my last poop. It was gassy and not much of anything, but when I wiped it was clear. So I hoped what was meant by "running clear" had just happened, because I could not drink any more water before the surgery.

My surgery wasn't until 2:15PM and I had specific instructions to arrive by 1:15PM. I went to our local hospital and went to the outpatient day surgery area. I got screened for swine flu, and then I used a computer to log in. They took my health card number and confirmed my identity through the digital input system of the hospital.

Exactly on time the nurse called for me, and allowed Carl to come to the back area with me where I was prepped. I had to take everything off, but I could keep my shoes. They handed me a big plastic bag for my clothes and belongings. I carried the bag with me as I was processed. I had my cute hospital gown on backwards and a second gown around the other way like a robe as I shuffled to the IV room. I went through a check list of drug allergies with the nurse, then she put an IV in my left hand. She told me that they would give me a drug in the IV that would make me forget everything, yet allow me to respond to the Dr, and I would also get pain meds as necessary through the IV. Once the IV shunt was in place I was escorted to a line of chairs in the back hallway.
Carl sat with me in the hall until they called me. It was not very long before I got my call. The nurse told Carl he could go wander for about an hour. I walked into the operating procedure room. There were two very experienced nurses in the room along with the Dr.

The nurses hooked up my IV drip, and then put oxygen in my nose. They instructed me to lay on my side on the table. They wrapped me up warm in the blankets with my butt free. Then I don't remember much about going under. I remember the last thing I said to the Dr. was that was really impressed she got new hair colour to match mine, and she laughed very hard. And in the middle of her laughing I said my hair colour was for the fire down below. As I remembered the night was literal.....
And she roared with laughter and I was out.....

The nurse told me that I would not remember anything, and I possibly could lose the whole day. I had had a similar memory loss drug for an esophageal scope so I knew what to expect.
But what I expected and the Nurse explained was not exactly what happened.......

Now before you read on I want you to understand something.
I have brain damage that does not allow my brain to pass the hypnogogic state. This means I cannot get into the sleep that is deep(REM). That state of mind where there is no recollection. So what happened to me is because of my own brain damage, not any negligence on the Dr's part......

So I was out...
I had been told that I would be able to respond to the Dr. and tell them if something hurt. I also had been told I could feel pressure and resistance and that was normal.

So there I was in the drug induced gap.
Then I began to remember talking to the Dr.
I remember becoming conscious mid-sentance, "No, it doesn't hurt, it is just pressure pushing. Nope I have no pain."
I was completely calm like it did not matter at all to me that I was experiencing it. I felt pressure and I responded to them when they asked me to push back by doing so.
Then I was out again.
Then I remember responding again, "Nope, doesn't hurt. It's fine." Then....."Ooo that hurts a bit." Then I felt somone pushing on my belly, then I was out again.
The pain I felt was like a bad gas pain..that's all. The pushing feeling was not bad at all.
I actually wonder why we are made to not remember. Perhaps there is weird anxiety over feeling like you may crap yourself or something....

So I then remember waking up in recovery. I was getting my blood pressure checked and my temperature checked. I was in this little cubical in a bed. There was a tray beside me that the nurses were using to hold charts they were filling out about me.
A nurse asked me if I had someone with me and I told them yes, my husband Carl. Then they went off to look for him.
The nurse came back and said they could not find him. I said that he was probably getting a coffee and would return soon.
Then I was out again for a few more minutes.
Then I woke up and the nurse was checking me again and taking the oxygen off me and telling me I could sit up, and she removed my IV.
The Dr. came in and told me that she found nothing negative. She said she found a grade one hemoroid farther up than usual and that is no problem, and was the source of the bleeding I had earlier in the month.
Then Carl came in.
As soon as Carl arrived I was allowed to get dressed and prepared to leave.

I felt really good. I didn't think I was even groggy at the time. In retrospect I realize that I have no idea how I got through the hospital with Carl. I know I went in a totally oposite direction to where I thought I was. I now realize recovery was on a different floor than the surgery.
My next real memory was exiting the hospital after my phantom walk through it. We came out nearer to Emergency which is the oposite end to where we entered the hospital.

I remember walking to the parking garage, but I don't remember driving out of it or heading home. I do recall a glimpse of a memory when I told Carl I would come into the grocery store with him, then I vaguely remember walking around the grocery store getting a few things. I remember saying I wanted a really great meal cuz I was hungry.

Then things are vague again, and I remember sitting in my chair eating olives and feta and melba toast. I remember thinking that I loved olives and feta...... :)
Then I was suddenly feeling really restless and I went upstairs to lay down in the master bedroom because it was close to the big bathroom.
I slept for a long time. I missed dinner eventhough I picked it and wanted it.
I woke up for a little while and went down to the suite to bed.
I slept the next day until 3:30PM. Even though Carl tried to get me up every hour.
After which I made it clear to him that perhaps if I wasn't awoke every hour I may have awoke much earlier.
Of course....he was just tryin to be helpful and I gave him mini shit for it LOL.

I felt great when I finally awoke for good. I got up and ate and chilled in front of the TV. We watched some of Harry Potter and went to sleep.

Saturday I woke up a normal time. I was sore. I guess all the pain killers put in the IV and on the scope had finally worn off. My ribs felt tender and I was getting gas pains and my lower back was stiff.

Once I got moving I felt good.
I wandered around the garden telling Carl what I usually do with the flowers and he did it.
Then we prepared the front garden.
By late afternoon I felt like trying to help but I would run out of steam quickly.
When Cam came home he helped his dad with the mulch and I went back in the house as I was getting tired and cold. The sun was setting, and time to do something else.

In that afternoon I took some photos of the scarves I made, while sick, in the month of June, because I wanted to post them on Etsy before bed.
Now I am here finishing up this note that took me a couple of days to write out...

I hope I amused you with my tale of my tail. I hope it does not sway you from getting your screening when you are 50. For me it has proven it is important to check it out. My Grandmother died young of rectal cancer progressions, and she got it just before she turned sixty. So I should have been screened at 40 because of the risk, and I wasn't because I had another type of screening at that age, but now I am 46 with one warning factor (a sudden rectal bleed out of no where). I got the screening and it showed I had nothing to worry about. Knowing that it is clear is huge!!

I have done my best to be honest about how it felt what happened and how many days I was not quite myself after... (two days) so you can plan how to approach your colonoscopy informed, and hopefully you can plan a couple of recovery days after to let your body get back to normal....

For your Fun and Pleasure I have also added a funny video from one of our June Peterborough Weekends. Please answer this question in comments: What do you think Carl is doing in this video?

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