Doctor, heal myself

I have alluded in previous posts to my gastroenterologist’s somewhat lackadaisical attitude to my impending colonoscopy. This is welcome in some respect, since it highlights that this is a common test… but it’s common for him, not me. So I would appreciate a bit more guidance, or at least recognition that this is rarely a pleasant experience for those involved.fleet_ez_prep.jpg

When he scheduled me for the procedure, he handed me a sheet with the following instructions:

  • Do not eat food or drink milk on the day before your procedure (DRINK CLEAR LIQUIDS ONLY). Clear liquids include [a list follows, concluding with “non-red gelatin desert [sic]”).
  • Purchase a Fleets [sic] EZ Prep Kit and take as directed.
  • Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
  • NO ASPIRIN, MOTRIN, ADVIL, ALEVE, IBUPROFEN AND IRON FOR 5 DAYS PRIOR TO PROCEDURE.
  • A friend or relative to drive and/or assist you home MUST accompany you.

I get most of these, but largely because I’ve read up on this stuff online. But a few comments on these.

  1. “Non-red gelatin desert [sic]”? Are GI docs really not in the market to endorse Jello-brand products?jello.jpg It really did take me a second to figure out what a “gelatin des[s]ert” would be. It’s like Band-Aid or Xerox or Kleenex, doc—you can go ahead and say it. Sure, the legal wonks at the Jello company might come running (after ASCAP threatened to litigate the Girl Scouts, anything’s possible…), but I think clarity of expression probably wins the day when we’re talking about things as sexy as bowel cleansing.
    Also, as a snarky aside, I love the idea of a gelatin desert. I imagine that the Sahara would be lemon Jello, and the Mojave would be lime.
  2. I did get the Fleet[s] EZ-Prep kit, and boy does it look ez! Actually, from what I’ve read, this is actually one of the better preparations, relatively speaking. Better than drinking a gallon of disgusting gloop, for example. (I think that’s the Golytely prep, which wins the award for tackiest name. Not that “EZ” is much less disingenuous.) The EZ-Prep involves mixing two smallish bottles with some “flavor packets” (ugh) in about 12 oz. of water. That I can handle.However, my doc’s instructions to “take as directed” fall short a bit, since the instructions in the EZ-Prep kit say “take dose #1 at the time instructed by your doctor, and take dose #2 at the time instructed by your doctor.” Of course I called my doctor today to say, in essence, “instruct me, vis-à-vis the times,” and spoke with, not him, but his receptionist/office manager. She too was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, almost disconcertingly so, and made me feel like I was an idiot for not understanding the EZ-Prep’s instructions. For the record: the EZ-Prep kit says to take the second dose no less than three hours before the exam, and to wait 10-12 hours between the first and second doses. My doc’s receptionist’s advice was to take the second dose “plenty early” in order to allow for, ahem, complete evacuation, even if that means “getting up earlier than [I’m] used to.” That’s fine with me, don’t me wrong; I just don’t think that I’m out of line expecting a bit more guidance on the issue.
  3. “Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.” Okay, but how do I reconcile that bit of wisdom with the fact that I have to drink, oh I don’t know, the second dose of the EZ-Prep kit? How do I reconcile that with the EZ-Prep kit’s instructions—which, remember, I’m supposed to follow, according to my doc’s instructions—to drink plenty of fluids up till three hours before the exam? Too many internal contradictions! Too much confusion!

Actually, there really isn’t that much confusion. Obviously I have to take the second dose, which involves 12 oz. of fluid, after midnight. I just think that maybe my doc could be a bit more explicit and clear about the whole thing. I know he probably goes up a dozen bums a week, but this is a first for me. Help me out here, doc. Hold my hand a bit.

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