Colonoscopy 101

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Bathroom Brighteners
Make your bathroom as pleasant as possible.

I’d like to interrupt my regularly scheduled blog post with a Public Service Announcement. One of the joys of getting older is that every time you visit the doctor, there is a new list of preventative tests and procedures. I’ve been having my boobs smashed for years, but when you turn 50, colonoscopy floats to the top of the list. I know it’s not pleasant, but hey, we like to eat and drink and play, and we want to stay as healthy as possible, right.

So, I’m here to lessen or elevate your fears, depending on how this all sounds to you. But looking back on it, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the dread I felt leading up to it. With a few easy pointers from Pam, you too can have a pleasant colonoscopy.

First off, there is the day of the colonoscopy and then there is the day before the colonoscopy and then there is the day before the day before. I want to begin with the day before the day before. Some people may think that this is the time to eat up, after all you won’t be eating anything the next day. Not so, grasshopper. What ever you eat that day, has to, no doubt about it, leave your body the next day. So, I ate a normal breakfast and lunch, and then a light soup for dinner, followed by a Margarita in the evening (maybe 2). The whole margarita thing is optional.

Clear Liquids
Stock up on plenty of these.

The next day, you can have clear liquids, jello, hard candies, and Popsicles. Nothing with red or purple in it. Now people, this is the time to indulge in your every clear-liquid whim. You know the Lorina Lemonade that comes in the lovely bottle with the porcelain stopper, that is four dollars a bottle? Well, now is the time. People, you are getting a colonoscopy, you can justify anything. I personally, also justified two pairs of new shoes and a pair of earrings, but that’s just me.

Movi Prep
Lemon Pledge with a generous dash of salt.

So, I had coffee, followed by apple juice for breakfast. Then I drank the rest of the apple juice and had a lovely bowl of beef broth for lunch. More liquids through the day: green tea, ginger ale, lemonade. Then at 3, I started the Movi Prep (which is code words for making you go to the bathroom a lot). You were supposed to start at 5 and finish late in the evening, but I go to bed early, so I wanted to be done by 10. Turns out it was a moot point, since I was up all night going to the bathroom anyway.

I had already googled the heck out of Movi Prep and learned that it taste terrible. People gag, throw up, try chasing it with other things. My two tips: get it really, really cold and use a straw. Put the straw as far back as you can stand it, and try and have it just go straight down, unless you enjoy the flavor of Lemon Pledge that has been overly salted. Then prepare to spend a lot of time in the bathroom. It really wasn’t too bad, but do take some reading material. I finished the whole Entertainment Weekly Fall Preview Issue and started a book. The Movi Prep leaves you feeling kind of cold and shakey. So, I dressed warm and drank some Gatorade to replace whatever it is that Gatorade replaces.

On the day of the colonoscopy, it is probably a blessing that you are so tired from having spent the night in the bathroom. I remember getting all ready, an IV in my arm, and the doctor guy saying, “I’m going to give you something to relax you.” And me trying to say O.K, but never getting past O. Then I woke up, all over. Seriously. I remember nothing. I woke up, and within 30 minutes I was out of there and at a Panera’s eating a Cinnamon Crunch Bagel.

See, that wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t so bad. And my new shoes and earrings are really, really cute.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to my mom!!! Yeah, I combine a birthday message for my mom with a post on a colonscopy, cause that’s how I roll. I’ve got class.

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  1. says

    I don’t think the margaritas are optional. They may actually be the most crucial part of the whole thing. The earrings as well.

    I’m glad it went okay and that drinking that stuff didn’t give you too many problems. I remember the last time my mom had one, she was up all night crying because she couldn’t drink that stuff.

  2. says

    I just turned 35 a month ago and got a bout of acid reflux in the middle of my first cup of coffee yesterday morning. I accept aging but I don’t like how my body is accepting it. Not looking forward to boob smashing and colonoscopies either, but I will bookmark this post for reference in another 15 years. xo

  3. says

    I’ve been following your lovely blog for months and go figure that with all the wonderful recipes you post, I decide to place my first comment on your colonoscopy post! This is great information tossed gently with your wonderful sense of humor. I pretty much followed the same guidelines when I had my first colonoscopy with the substitution of wine for the margarita.

  4. says

    I had my first colonoscopy at 55–the dread kept me back. They did have to remove polyps, so now I’m on every 3 years. And, oh joy, I have to do an endoscopy every 2. Sooo, I decided I’d just combine the two and my doctor said that was fine. I’m looking at a month from now. I can attest that the day AND night before is the bear! You might want to bring a TV/DVD/stereo and some lighted candles with you into the bathroom because you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Last time, I was in Red Robin having a burger an hour after I awoke, then slept for the rest of the day. That cinnamon crunch bagel may be this year’s treat (9 WW points, but worth it!).

  5. says

    If anyone can make a colonoscopy fun, it’s you!
    I can’t remember the name of the stuff I had to drink, but the dr. suggested having it REALLY cold, mixed with gingerale. Hubby mixed his with 7Up & it wasn’t so great. But the gingerale made it drinkable.
    Hubby had a big old fruit smoothie waiting for me when I woke up! Love that man!

  6. says

    I remember barely being able to chug down that orange sugar concoction, both times I was pregnant, to check for gestational diabetes. I guess a chocolate chaser for this is out of the question? I’m doomed.

  7. says

    great post Pam! and when i get there, i’ll remember your advice. :)
    right now, i have to get my firt boobie smashing.. so i’m not looking forward to that!

    thanks for the comments on the recipes & my blog’s fall party dress! 😀 do try the potato gratin in the tins.. it works better, as they get crisp all around. i liked it better that way! and the pork loin was a huge hit with everyone.. hubby & teen alike!

    have a wonderful week!!

  8. says

    Pam, only you could make a colonoscopy sound like such fun. I smiled all the way through reading this.

    I had one last year and the best part is when it’s over. It’s really, really important to have them. A doctor told me that if you have one every ten years, you’ll never die of colon cancer. Colon cancer is preventable if you do this. And I highly recommend your idea of a few goodies for yourself for being a big brave girl. Why didn’t I think of that?

  9. says

    This made me laugh! Spot on! I’ve had one before, with the next one scheduled for next July. Priceless tip about the Movi Prep-COLD-and a straw. That makes much more sense!

  10. says

    I have been putting off the “Fifty year colonoscopy for 6 years now. You almost have me convinced to go! I did go with my hubby a year ago and the only thing you left out that I recall was for some reason very important is the big release of gas that must come before you can go home. I am not looking forward to my first time, but I know it is a must. You sure don’t look fifty to me either. I love your sense of humor. That is why I follow you!

  11. says

    Good Morning, I’m glad this is over for you. So far, I’ve been able to escape this…but I’m guessing, not for long.
    I’m afraid I’ll be like Joanne’s mom…not able to drink the stuff…
    Have a great Sunday ~Natalie

  12. says

    This post was pretty funny. I heard that stuff was terrible to drink. I hope I remember to make myself a new pair of earrings before I do it.

    Seriously, I’ve been putting off my own for a few years, I have the order in my car, just have to call and make the appointment.

    Here’s my question, do you need to take time off work for this?

  13. says

    The only thing worst than drinking Movi Prep is attending the vomit party it insists you go to. Thanks for the lighter side-look at the the joys of the colonoscopy (AND the lemon-sceted flashbacks, too! LOL!)

  14. says

    I opted to have a colonoscopy at age 48, since I always associated colonscopies with turning 50! So when I turned 50 in August, it was already done and out of the way. It really wasn’t that bad, and since I love everything clean, I loved the way my colon was sparkling the morning of the scope. LOL

    A friend of mine always drinks white wine the evening before hers, and it’s a standing joke now.

  15. says

    Excellent, and oh so important, post! I wrote most of the following in a blog entry a few years ago:

    My brother was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 40. After watching him go through all the awful treatments of chemo, radiation, and a radical surgery, not to mention the horrible fear of possibly dying before his children were in elementary school, I put aside my own concerns about this test and scheduled one for both me and my husband.

    So many cancers are treatable, if detected early. If you are 50 or older, get a colonoscopy! I had one four years ago (six years sooner than normal, but highly recommended due to the hereditary risk as a sibling), and quite honestly, it’s not a big deal. I was asleep through the entire procedure and the prep the day before was certainly tolerable. I’d gladly have that test once every five years if it prevents the ill effects of chemo (nausea, chemo brain, neuropathy, mouth sores, etc.), not to mention living a long, happy life.

    And, yes, a straw can be your best friend. :)

  16. says

    Is it bad that I have the same book on my bathroom counter, but no colonoscopy as an excuse for reading it there? It’s just that the children sometimes leave me alone in there.

  17. says

    Only you could make something like this so laughable. Well maybe “laughable” isn’t the right word, but you know what I mean.
    When it’s time for mine, I’m going to be thinking of you and how you handled it with grace and wit – and then I’m going for a bag of Reeces peanut butter cups…

  18. says

    Here’s my question, do you need to take time off work for this?

    Linda, you might feel more comfortable taking off the day of the procedure. You’ll have excess gas to get rid of. Not exactly something you want to share with co-workers. 😉

    Great post Pam!

  19. says

    Yep, the prep is absolutely the most important thing…why have a colonoscopy if you are not going to be completely cleaned out for them to see EVERYTHING! Good work!

  20. says

    To My humorous daughter,

    Thank you for including a birthday wish with your colonscopy 101.

    I’ve had two of those durn things, so I know what you went through….

    I can’t believe I finally made it into your blog…even though it wasn’t the most comforting blog, even if I laughed out loud reading it.

    Love you……Mom

  21. says

    How about vodka and tonic instead of margaritas? I’ve heard about the ins and outs (sorry, couldn’t help it) of colonoscopies from friends, but it’s good to hear it all again. Drinking that stuff will be the hardest part for me.

  22. says

    As a supervisor of an endoscopy, I have to thank you for your colonoscopy awareness blog!!!! A bit of humor is essential to a positive experience!! I have had 2 and I didn’t get shoes or earrings with either one-I will be smarter next time!!!

  23. says

    I’m glad to hear it wasn’t all that bad!! It certainly is a time to indulge yourself in earrings, shoes, a new cookbook, etc. Cute post!

  24. says

    My wife and I seem to be in a race to see who can put off this procedure the longest. It is not the procedure that bothers me as much as the prospect of having whacked out bowels for a month or two after. They are, unfortunately, the weakest point in an otherwise reasonably robust system.

    You have provided some encouragement, since it is foolish to put this off much longer. Maybe if they provided the service in the context of a full-service spa. Yeah.

    With vodka martinis.

  25. says

    Movi Pep?!!! There is actually a product named “movi pep”!!! I want my next job to be making up names for products. I had to have this lovely procudure about 10 years ago; however, I was awake for it. Talk about a bad memory! During my initial exam and meeting with the doctor, I prayed that he would be some older gentleman … no such luck. In walked Adonis and it went downhill from there. I remember thinking of all the doctors in all the world, why oh why did I have to have a Greek god checking out my backdoor nether regions. Adonis gave me no handy dandy tips to follow. Should I go through this again, I shall follow your lead and a) make sure I have good reading material in the loo, and b) asked to be put under! :-)

  26. says

    That has to be the best and most entertaining description of a colonoscopy ever! Good for you for taking care of yourself and justifying a shopping spree at the same time–I like your style. 😉

  27. says

    I commented last night, but don’t see it this morning. Anyway, I love the picture of the flowers on the book. The pop of the red in the flower and the spine of the book…very good. Another classic post from Pam. Informative and good for a chuckle!

  28. says

    Yes, you do have class! I didn’t know anyone could make this procedure funny, but you did. You’ve officially made your contribution to humanity.

  29. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the colonoscopy 101. I am turning 54 and I chicken out of having one done. Because my doctor keeps nagging me to have one done since I turned 50, I stopped getting my annual physical because I don’t want to hear another colonoscoopy lecture. After reading your experience, I think I’ll be having a colonoscopy pretty soon.

  30. says

    I’m having a colonoscopy tomorrow.and the two things that I’m worried about are,am I going to be able to take my shower in the A.M. without having a “leaking problem”? And also,how bad is the gas that I’m sure I will have,how embarrassing!!

  31. says

    Loved your blog about this subject.
    I have one scheduled this Tuesday and am a nervous wreck thinking about it. I am just 32 getting one because of some tummy issues I’ve had forever. Thanks for the chuckle.

  32. says

    Pam, this continues to be one of my all time favorite blog posts EVER! I forwarded your link to my sister who is about to schedule her first colonoscopy. I think this will ease her mind. Thanks! Stacy


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