My Colonoscopy Story

Yesterday I had to have a colonoscopy. For those that don’t live in the United States, it’s recommended that once someone reaches 50 that they have one to verify they don’t have colon cancer and to check for other stuff. I at least got to defer for a couple of years since I rarely go see my doctor for a checkup, but I finally got cornered so it was my turn.

Now, these are fairly common, but there can be issues here and there. They do knock you out, and you do risk a perforated colon, internal bleeding, and a couple of other things. So you can’t just shrug it off and say it’s nothing to worry about, though for the most part it’s relatively safe.

My issue is that I couldn’t get any real information from anyone as to just what could happen being diabetic. You have to fast, and with the medications I take, I’m supposed to have food with them. So, what would happen to me going through the process? That’s the main reason I made the video.

But there’s a few things I didn’t mention in the video while trying to keep it under 15 minutes. For one, By 4PM of the day I was fasting I started getting this massive headache, and that stayed with me almost the rest of the night. I couldn’t take almost anything for it because I wasn’t eating, though my wife did give me an Advil eventually and that took the edge off it.

I was really hungry all day, but wasn’t so hungry the day of the procedure for whatever reason. I still craved pizza, though we had fried rice instead since it was much lighter. That’s their recommendation, eat light and get used to eating again, so I ate small portions pretty much every hour because I was really hungry; today I’m getting my pizza! 🙂

They will ask you over and over what your name is, what your date of birth is, the last 4 digits of your social security number and what you’re having done. Initially I worried they didn’t know what they were doing until I realized that it’s a safety procedure that they’ve put into place to make sure that physicians won’t be doing the wrong procedures anymore, what with all those errors in Florida some years ago. They also kept asking me what I was allergic to.

After the procedure you’ll expel a lot of gas, and that makes them happy. This is one of those “dignity” things I mentioned in the video. There’s stuff we wouldn’t walk around doing in public that they’re expecting you to do. Thing is, there’s no smell because your entire system is cleaned out, and what they’ve done is pushed a bunch of air into your body through your rectum so it has to come out. And be thankful it’s coming out, otherwise you’re going to get cramped and it’s going to hurt. I had that problem during the virtual colonoscopy in the x-ray department, where you’re not under anesthesia and just have to lay there and take it. That’s when you’re on either your side or back; once you roll over onto your stomach, since they take the views from 3 directions, even adding more air wasn’t bad at all.

One last thing. In the video I said that I came out of the anesthesia pretty easily. Most of that is true. I felt clear headed and knew exactly what I was saying and what was going on. I even felt that if I’d had to I could have driven home, which it turns out is illegal once you’ve had anesthesia in New York for at least the day. However, when I had to get up and get into the wheelchair, I found that I wasn’t okay at all, and luckily I didn’t just try to force myself into the chair because I’d have fallen and the nurse wasn’t close to big enough to have held me up if I’d gone down. So, always respect the anesthesia.

I also mentioned that I was given propofol, the same stuff Michael Jackson was given by that doctor. Let me tell you, I understand why he would have wanted this stuff. Although I wasn’t happy with the pressure my head felt when it started to take effect, I feel like I slept well in that short period of time, and I ever dreamed; I’ve never dreamed while under anesthesia before. In its proper dosage it’s wonderful stuff, but I can also tell why one should never, and I mean ever, use it at home.

That’s all I have other than the video below, but if you have any other questions go ahead and ask. This is one of those things that, as younger people we avoid talking about because it kind of scares us, but once you reach the proper age you’re probably going to have to go through. At least I’m telling you what might be coming.


16 thoughts on “My Colonoscopy Story”

  1. PS. I love that one can edit one’s comments – is this a plugin or part of WordPress somehow? I just corrected some typos!

  2. Was your head clear while fasting, Mitch? I ask because I have hypoglyemia (without Diabetes) and when my sugar drops I get really bad brain-fog. And if I have too much sugar, I get kind of hyperactive and a bit sick sometimes, it’s weird.

    I’ve not had a colonoscopy but have had a barium enema which is a similar procedure except one drinks a pretty yukky concoction that is slightly radioactive and one isn’t knocked out. (Lovely, huh?)

    The last time I had to have a procedure done under anaesthetic and had to fast, I was panicky about not eating. At the time though, there was nowhere to look things up as it was before the internet…

    By the way, if you need info, try doing a search on UK health sites and forums, often they have much more practical info than I find on American sites.

    1. Val, my head was clear but I had this really bad headache that wouldn’t go away until I took a pain reliever that didn’t depend on having to eat first. It at least made things manageable, thank goodness. And I did a global search for information but couldn’t find my specific question anywhere, which is why I decided to make the video just to mention a few things that happened with me.

  3. When I had a colonoscopy, I was actually asleep. I don’t know why but that time I really puke all over the doctor.

  4. Well, Mitch, I am happy that yours was a happy experience because believe me… mine was NOT!

    Oh, I got through the fasting and the ‘clean out’ etc but when I arrived at the clinic at 8.30am for the 10am procedure, I was ASKED my weight – ASKED.. they didn’t actually weigh me. Now let me tell you that it is extremely impolite to ask a woman her weight and I could have lied (sure that some have) but they don’t tell you that the anesthetic administered is DEPENDENT upon your weight! Good thing I didn’t lie, but as it turns out, it didn’t matter!

    They came through and prepped me for the procedure, by which I mean they took my vitals and inserted the catheter into the top of my hand – this is where they would administer the (and I forget the product I was to have but it wasn’t what they gave to you) anesthetic.

    I eventually got wheeled into the ‘procedure room’ and told to lie on my side. A few minutes later the doctor came in and asked me how I felt. How was I supposed to feel knowing what was going to happen? I said that I felt fine. He turned his back on me to do something (during which time I suppose the anesthetic should have been administered but when he turned back to me, it was GAME ON! THEY DID NOT GIVE ME ANY ANESTHETIC!

    I told him that I wasn’t ‘out’ – he took no notice and continued. It hurt like hell and I was flailing my arms around, trying to grab his crotch (with the intention of hurting as much as he was hurting me) but the bastard kept ducking away from me. I swear, he pushed so hard, that my whole upper body extended and then the burn – OMG… that burn.

    I was yelling and shouting but it was as though no-one could hear me!

    Afterwards, the doctor came through and told me that he had found some polyps. I said ‘Yes, and I know exactly how many!’ He said that this was impossible because I was ‘out’. I asked him if all his unconscious patients made that much noise?

    I left the clinic in a wheel chair – honestly, I could have walked out under my own steam *AND* driven home!

    When my business partner got me home, we sat down and signed contracts together and then went shopping for furnishings for our new listing.

    If I had been given any form of anesthesia, I would have stayed home and slept it off – I didn’t!

    The following day I went back to the clinic and put in a formal WRITTEN complaint. That doctor is no longer employed at that clinic *BUT* I am not looking forward to my next colonoscopy!

    Sheesh! Doctors!

    1. Wow Althea, you’re one of the “waking” anesthesia people, the first I’ve ever met. You mentioned yelling at the doctor; which one, or did the doctor that did the procedure also administer the anesthesia? They’re supposed to ask you your weight but it’s not important that they weigh you; I was asked that 3 times as well. I’m sorry you had such a rough experience. However, my having to go back for the virtual colonoscopy certainly didn’t make it a happy experience, though mainly just really irritating.

  5. I’d forgotten about the gas issue (pardon but no pun intended). The same thing is a result of the sigmoidoscopy which is the only procedure that I’ve had to go through so far. My first time I went through this, after the procedure I returned to my office where I had a few customers waiting (it was very unusual to have customers actually come to see me) and I’ll tell you that it was kind of embarrassing as I began uncontrollably passing gas–loudly I might add. Not a procedure you want to have when you have to meet with people afterward.

    When they did the procedure they stick a small camera into your colon and I got to watch on TV since I didn’t have to be put under. A very weird thing to watch and a very weird experience to feel. Not all that much fun. I think I’d rather be put to sleep when it happens.

    I did watch the video (your video I mean). Well done–and very detailed, perhaps more than we needed to know. Wow.

    By the way, I guess you may have noticed that I now have my Gravatar. Yes, I finally figured out how to do it. Dense old me took a while but I did it. Thanks for setting me in the right direction.


    1. Lee, I love the gravatar; very dignified. 🙂 As for the video, actually I’m not sure it was more than what people needed to know. I figure it was honest, and trust me I could have gone further. Good thing YouTube has that 15 minute thing. And I’m with you; I’d want to be out, period.

  6. It is recommended procedure for people above the age of 45. Personally I didn’t know that until last week, when I’ve watched a documentary where procedure was explained and actually the TV reported went under this procedure and shared his experience.

    1. Goodness Rummuser, what a compilation. Not quite like what you said, but I did tell the nurses that if they were laughing when I woke up that there would be heck to pay. lol

  7. I’ve not thought about the complications that being diabetic (thus slow to heal) would have on having a colonoscopy done. I can see where that would be a real concern.

    A friend of mine wanted to have this done as a preventative measure, but her insurance refused to pay for it unless it was done as a diagnostic measure. The clinic told her it would run between $5,000 and $6,000. How does that compare with your bill?

    1. Allan, I won’t have a bill. Because it’s recommended after the age of 50 it’s covered except for a small co-pay, and since my wife works for the hospital that’s associated with the clinic we won’t have to pay that either. Is your friend under 50? Each insurance plan sees these things differently unfortunately.

  8. I’m not looking forward to this, but man I’m glad you got through it ok!

    This is the kind of account people will want to be able to find when Googling prior to their own procedure -especially if they’re diabetic.

    I know this was a while ago, but I hope that pizza tasted good!

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