You know that awkward moment when you call your doctor’s office to make an appointment, and the receptionist says “What is the reason for this appointment?” I mean, you know she has to ask so she knows how much time to schedule for your appointment, but you really don’t want to tell a complete stranger your darkest medical secrets. So there’s a brief uncomfortable silence while you calculate how much information the receptionist needs to have, without admitting you’re experiencing anal leakage, or had an erection lasting more than 4 hours, or whatever?
Sure, we all have that problem.* But do we all also discover when we step up to the desk to schedule a follow-up appointment that the receptionist is actually the mother of one of our oldest friends, whom we have known since we were 16?
Just me? Awesome.
Out of curiosity, how would YOU have responded to the [probably unintentionally awkward] inquiry “So how have you been?” when you were waiting for her to schedule the MRI which your doctor ordered to investigate your chronic migraine-y headaches? Would you (a) be honest and admit that you’re sort of a hypochondriac so you’re pretty sure you have some kind of rare, exotic brain disease** and/or an intestinal parasite which you picked up in India when you were there five years ago;*** or (b) say “Oh, I’m alright. You know.” because you totally get that no one REALLY wants to know they answer that question. Ever.
Anyway, next week I am going to have a colonoscopy. I assure you this is not entirely non-sequitur. This is where the TMI portion of this post really begins. Normally I don’t like to share this sort of information with the whole internet but you guys? Some of this stuff is really too funny to be kept secret.
Among the many possibilities my doctor is investigating is gluten-sensitivity/celiac’s disease. There is a blood test for this, but it is not always diagnostically accurate because of Reasons. Don’t ask me because all I know is that a negative test does not rule out the condition, and the only way to diagnose for sure is with endoscopy. YAY?
So as part of the process of Ruling Out Stuff, I had to collect some stool samples. Uh, from myself. Being a vet tech, I am no stranger to the stool sample. I can’t even tell you how many times I have had to mix poop into some liquid in a tube & look at it under a microscope. More times than I can count. Hundreds. From all kinds of animals – dogs, cats, horses, pigs, cows, rabbits, birds, an iguana…but never from a human being, let alone myself. Still, how different could it be really?
As it turns out, it is VERY different. TRUST ME. Listen, there are some things you simply do not need to know about yourself. What your poop looks like up close is definitely one of those things. Let’s just walk through it briefly. First of all, they give you something they call a “hat.” Do not put it on your head. This is like your little potty chair, but only for number 2. The instructions are very explicit: “Do not collect the sample from the toilet; use only the collection container provided. It is very important that you do not get water or urine in the sample.” The instructions do not specify whether or not it is acceptable to vomit into the sample while you are filling the little tubes, which is highly probable because OMG THIS IS THE MOST DISGUSTING THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE.**** I’m guessing that’s probably not okay either.
Meanwhile, I received two things in the mail from my clinic: a schedule of detailed pre-procedural instructions, and a padded envelope containing a bag of a product called –and I am totally not making this up– GolytelyTM.
Yesterday (2 days before the procedure) I was on a low-fiber diet: no bread, no oatmeal, pretty much no grains of any kind except a small amount of white rice.
Today – no fiber at all. NONE. My prep instructions included a specific menu, and a note saying that if I eat more than I’m supposed to, they will cancel my colonoscopy and I will have to do this whole thing all over again. For breakfast I had 2 hard-boiled eggs. For lunch I had 2 eggs and a cup of pudding. After lunch I get no solids, and only clear liquids for the rest of the day. Thank goodness Mountain Dew is considered a clear liquid.
Now I can hear you thinking “But what about the Golytely?” Well, friends, wait until you hear this. The pack of Golytely gets mixed with a gallon of water. I have to drink half of this gallon at 8 pm. Mind you, I have only eaten 4 eggs and 1 pudding cup in the last 24 hours. I think it’s safe to say I will be drinking this 1/2 gallon while sitting on the toilet. But the BEST part is that I have to get up at 1:30 am to drink the other 1/2 gallon of Golytely. So not only will I be peeing from the wrong end, but I will be half asleep while doing it. This is going to be super fun.
If nothing else, I can be fairly certain that the pre-colonoscopy gut-flushing diet will probably help me lose a pound or two, right?
* Not the anal leakage or the 4-hour erection. I mean, maybe some of you have those problems; I don’t know. But that’s not what I mean. I mean we’ve all had that moment.
** SPOILER ALERT: I don’t. The results of my MRI came back last week, and they were all clear. Nothing in there but brain.
*** I don’t have that either. Tests confirmed it. Still no word on whether an alien laid eggs in my abdomen, though I think that’s probably also a no.
**** SERIOUSLY. The grossest ever. And I once spent an hour using tweezers to pick maggots from a turtle’s butt.