Okay, so my colonoscopy is scheduled for next Friday morning. Since hearing that I’m going…wait, actually, that brings up another issue. I can’t say I’m going “under the knife,” since I’m not having surgery. But let me tell you, the prospect of a colonoscopy sounds a hell of a lot more invasive to me than most surgery. And “going under the knife” sounds like such an active thing, like I’m actually doing something. With a colonoscopy, though, it’s bascially the most passive thing in the world: I will doze quietly while someone crams a rubber tube through my bowels and takes a gander at what’s going on. Even better, he might even snip some things out of there! Hooray!
Right, anyway. So once I heard that I’d have to submit to this, I started looking around the internet (like one does) to find out as much as I could about it. It turns out that there are a good number of gastroenterology docs and centers out there with some pretty good info on what to expect, how best to prepare for it, and so on. This British doc, for example, gives a pretty good hour-by-hour guide as to what to do. It’s not applicable for me, but still, if I were his patient I’d be pleased with this level of detail. Harvard Health Publications has this little online tract, though frankly it doesn’t tell you all that much that you wouldn’t know from your own doc’s instructions. (“Arrange a ride home”? No kidding, Harvard Health Publications. That’s not really ‘advice’ as much as it is ‘required’.) On the other hand, this doctor’s tale of getting a colonoscopy is a bit reassuring for us layfolk.
Then there are the bits of casual advice (like the very thing you’re reading), such as this. And of course there are ample message boards with readers offering their advice (like here and here), and the occasional blog entry (like this one). From reading numerous such message boards, I think I can distill their collected wisdom thus:
- Baby wipes are key.
- Stock up on reading for the bathroom.
- Everyone has a different idea about which laxative prep kit is (a) best or (b) worst, and what the best mixer/chaser combination is for the various preps.
- Did I mention baby wipes? They seem to be the one great piece of advice that circulates only by word of mouth, and not through doctors’ “official” advice. What’s the deal with that, I wonder. If you can warn patients about constant explosive diarrhea during the prep, surely you can add a little heads-up about baby wipes?