Sunday, September 16, 2012

Science Project

Because my doctor tends to overreact, I am scheduled for a colonoscopy tomorrow. This will be my second. I remember my first one rather fondly — at least everything that happened after they gave me Demerol. I had the most delightful time until it wore off.

I remember the prep the day before less fondly. That time, I drank what seems like a quart of liquid that tasted like sea water, or bilge. Tonight, I drank 15 ounces (through a straw and with a lot of ice) of what seemed to be tangy lemon soda. I expected to hate it, but it was fine. Of course, I hadn't been allowed to have food all day, only clear liquids, so wet newspaper would taste pretty good to me right now.

Last time, seven years ago, I pep-talked my way through the unpleasant aspects of the preparation by telling myself that my body was about to become my "science experiment." Persuading myself that I was a detached observer instead of just an unwilling participant helped. But, mostly, I felt like Alice must have, after she went down the rabbit hole. "My, how curious." "How very strange."

I had foolishly decided not to drink all the beverages, broths, and Jello I was instructed to have. It seemed like a ridiculous amount for tiny me — until I woke up in the middle of the night with a raging headache and nausea from dehydration. By then, I wasn't allowed to drink anything. My husband raced to an all-night store for Tylenol because we only had Advil, which wasn't allowed, either. I was a mess, and barely made it to my appointment. But then a nurse hooked me up to an IV and soon Demerol made everything marvelously marvelous. As she put the line into my arm, she pointed out the backs of my hands, which looked strangely smooth. "When you can't see your veins, that means you're dehydrated. If you can't see them, drink!"

This time, I am drinking plenty. I wonder: who voluntarily drinks Gatorade? It's vile enough to make me glad I'm not a professional athlete, although I'm glad about that anyway.

I planned to have vegetable broth for "dinner," but it wasn't transparent when I poured it from the carton, so I'll save it for cooking. I had ginger ale as my main course instead.

I was awake during my last procedure, which I recall as being like an excellent party since I was as high as a kite and everyone was cheering me on. The doctor was also my GI specialist, a nice fellow at all times but as brilliantly witty as Oscar Wilde while I was on Demerol. He kept trying to direct my attention to the video monitor, so I could watch what they were doing. But I wasn't that drugged; I knew better than that. He told me he was taking pictures of my innards, and would give me copies. I remember saying, "Great! We can out them on our Christmas cards!" I got those photos, and threw them out unseen. I believe that there are some things we just aren't ever meant to know.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be seeing the same doctor again, and I hope it all goes swimmingly. Fingers crossed for more Demerol, too. (I've never taken a recreational drug in my life, but I now understand what all the fuss is about.) I'll keep you posted.

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