Prep Work


Here it is. I’m about to experience a right of passage, a coming of age. My mortality seems even more real now, my increasing age can’t be denied. The young clerk at the convenient store has been calling me ‘Ma’am’ for years now – but even that hasn’t really phased me, as I’ve managed to ignore his unintentional slights. But the white hairs on my head have moved in permanently and remind me daily – as does the arthritis in my hands, the wrinkles on my face – and now this. My first colonoscopy is tomorrow morning. And in a few minutes, I will begin the dreaded “prep” procedure. My maternal grandmother died of colon cancer, and my cousin, at 46, is a survivor of the disease. It runs in my family, so I have to take it seriously. I need the screening, for sure. But I can still find humor in this, can’t I? I mean really. I’m about to ingest several quarts of a high-octane laxative called “Movi-Prep”. And I’ll be moving to the bathroom pretty frequently for the next six hours from what I hear. I’ve hardly had more than a scoop of egg salad over the past 24 hours, so really there aint much to get rid of. But I expect it will be dramatic. At least that’s what all the hype tells me. I’ve been hearing about people’s colonoscopies, or at least the famous “prep” that accompanies them, for years. Always kinda thought of it as something my older friends had to deal with. And even with my family history, I still kinda blew it off as something other people had done. But this year I face fifty. Time to prep for the future…

That’s kinda what my whole late winter/early spring has been about; assessing where I am now at this point in my life. How healthy am I? How unhealthy am I? Just what might I be able to actually do to ensure that I stay flexible and relatively vigorous as long as possible? I admit, I’ve put far less into action than I’ve intended, but I am making improvements. This is my fifth week of the Atkins diet, and I’m down eight pounds. Not crazy amazing, but it’s definitely something – and my intake of food is certainly no longer thoughtless, in of itself an accomplishment. And I don’t smoke. Or drink. All that is pretty major, considering the sad place I was one year ago. Behind my life was a continuing, low-grade depression which I self-medicated as best I could. I still self-medicate in a matter of speaking by procrastinating, allowing myself to follow distractions – all the usual human stuff. And I feel far more easily discouraged than I’d like to admit, but in the final summation, for the most part I think I’m taking care of my shit. As it were. ! Yes, pun intended. Couldn’t resist.

Seriously, I gotta drink all of this?? See you on the other side….

4 thoughts on “Prep Work

  1. I had to do the same thing last year. Yes, that “Movi” really makes things move! I had just bought a clearance book at Barnes and Noble, called, “Which President Killed a Man?”, which is a chock-ful of presidential trivia, which helped to keep my mind occupied and entertained enough. The semi-fasting part wasn’t too bad. I gained a new appreciation for soup broth, and when it was time to drink that “Movi-Prep”, I drank it according to the instuctions: you have two rounds of this. As soon as your bowels calm down, you have to start the second round. I finally was emptied out and settled down a little before midnight.

    I actually had a colonoscope in early 1990. While watching Nelson Mandela leaving his political imprisonment, live on TV, I was getting sick with what I thought was a flu, but turned out to be an intestinal blockage. I had thought that years of sobriety and clean living meant that I could eat anything that I wanted, and had developed a fondness for the spiciest food, which really wasn’t the best thing to do. I ended up being hospitalized for the first time since I had my tonsils taken out when I was 6 (I was now 27), and now had to be emptied out and given a colonoscopy. It turned out that I had nothing but a “non-specific” inflammation. At the time, they drugged me, so I was awake through the whole thing, watching the inside of my large intestine, live on video monitor.

    Skip ahead some 22 years to February, 2012, to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, where our twins were born in 1997. My wife stayed home, so that she would be home for when our twins came home from school, so my older daughter went with me. This time, I was being checked out because of family history (my Dad died of cancer, which had started in the colon), and they knocked me out with anesthesia. Just as the terrible metal snake was about to make its way up the colon, everything blacked out, and the next thing I knew, the technicians were putting everything away. They told me that everything was good, and that I was all clean.

    Drugged out on the stuff they gave me, I semi-unsteadily made my way back to the car, as my daughter helped make sure that I didn’t fall. She never saw me in the old partying days, so this was the closest she ever saw of me in that sort of condition. Back in the car, she backed out, and I still had to say, “no, turn the wheel the other way”. She said, “Great- you’re medicated, and you still have to correct me.” I sheepishly said, “sorry, just making sure that everything is all right.” She drove me home all right, as we had a semi-conversation. “Be sure to wait for that green arrow to turn left on 127th”, I pointed out, waking up again. Yes, everything turned out well.

    Here’s hoping that everything turns out well for you. Make sure that you get someone to drive you home when you’re finished. One good thing: you are guaranteed to lose some weight with this whole procedure. Eat lightly during the next few days, as your system will have to slowly get back to normal, as the “alimentary tract” fills up again. Best wishes for the best possible results.

  2. Are you kidding? I didn’t even consider driving! My daughter drove me home, while I hazily commented on HER driving! She’s a good driver, and I’m thankful that there have been no problems in the times that she has borrowed the car. Anyway, I was so woozy after the “procedure” that she worried about me making it to the car. We were parked in a garage across the street from the medical center, and several levels up. At least they had an elevator, but we were still parked at the far end of that upper level (second from the very top, I think). I walked a bit slowly, and made it there all right. I hardly remember anything about the ride home.

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