The Dos And Don'ts Of Colonscopy Prep



When my husband turned 50, he went through the rite of passage known in medical circles as a colonoscopy. Because I’m a smartass more than I am a supportive wife, I began referring to this medical procedure as an ass cam. I made endless poop jokes, which, to his credit, he handled with good humor. He also pointed out that my turn was coming. Since 50 seemed a long way off, I showed zero mercy and continued to crack ass cam jokes. Crack. Get it? 

I developed some issues that landed me in a specialist’s office well before my fiftieth birthday. Because karma. The end result (end, get it?) was me being scheduled for my very own colonoscopy. For those who haven’t had the super fun experience of your very own lower GI photo shoot, let me give you some basics:

A colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to get an up close and personal look at the inner lining of your large intestine. It helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and is also acknowledged to be a cancer screening tool. For your lucky doctor to get a good look, you must be nice and empty down there, which involves drinking a bowel prep cocktail the day before your test.

It’s a commonly accepted fact that the actual experience of having a tiny camera shoved up your ass is practically a party compared to bowel prep day. Since I’m a pay-it-forward kind of person, I’m (over) sharing the things I learned during colonoscopy prep. If you’re not cool with tales of poop or massive TMI, you probably want to stop reading now.

Do enjoy your “last meal.” 

Your prep day is a day of prayer and fasting. Well… the prayer part is optional, but after the first round of bowel prep cocktail, calling on a higher power seemed a good idea. The higher power ignored me (or may have been laughing) but there I was, curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor and whimpering, “Oh God.”

If you’re not used to going an entire day without solid food, you will miss food. A lot. I know that sounds rather obvious, but since I’m not one to go two hours, let alone a whole day, without shoving food in my face, I didn’t realize how much the hunger would suck. The day before your bowel prep is not the time to pick at a wimpy little salad, so chow down.

But Don’t Select Tamales And Sangria As Your Last Meal.

My day of bowel prep included clear liquids in the morning, and a gallon of nasty stuff called Golytely in the afternoon. Golytely tastes like sour saltwater. It’s got a thick, slightly gelatinous consistency, like it wants to be JELLO when it grows up.

Also? There was nothing “lightly” about the way I was “going,” so my choice of spicy food the night before was something I came to deeply regret. Fuel up, but maybe pick the “bland and comforting” end of things.

End of things… get it?

Do Manage Expectations For Bowel Prep Day.

You’re going to be on the can for the better part of the day. Clear your calendar, and stock up on reading material and the good toilet paper... better yet, those nice flushable wipes. While you may be mentally prepared to become one with the toilet, make sure your loved ones are prepared for you to be occupado for the day. That means they shouldn’t bother you about locating the Wii controllers or refereeing a fight over who gets to eat their cereal out of the Spider Man bowl. You will not have time, and you will not care.

A reasonable human being would be frightened off by the moans, groans, and explosive sounds coming from behind that bathroom door, but in the event you don’t reside with reasonable humans, a warning or some new house rules are probably in order.

Don’t Cook…

…even if you’re the person normally responsible for making the food. Putting a ban on anyone else cooking or eating in the house for the day isn’t a bad idea. Make sure your family understands that eating in your presence will result in venomous wrath or junk kicking. My husband hustled the kids out for pizza after I complained about the aroma of the breakfast Cheerios wafting upstairs. Smart man.

Do Overshare.

Being open about needing the test and the whole nightmare test prep in general helped me discover some avenues of support I didn’t know I had. Kind words from someone who knows what kind of shit you’re going through (seriously someone stop me) means more than you might think.

Also, if you think it’s a good idea to take a selfie with your gallon jug of Golytely and post it on social media with a “guess what I’m doing” caption, you might want to tell your mom why you’re having a colonoscopy so she doesn’t assume the worst. Ask me how I know.

My colonoscopy showed mostly normal results. I have to repeat in two years, which I’m not looking forward to. And? My husband is a good man. He showed a remarkable level of restraint and didn’t make one single butt joke during the whole shebang. He’s a keeper.

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