One of the highlights of 2014 was the colonoscopy I had in March. I had wanted one for years but was unwilling to pay the $1000+ that it would cost. Then in January, I suddenly had health insurance and with a little pushing I was able to get one scheduled. They are a routine procedure for people over 50 years old and I was just under the limit, but close enough to sway the powers that be.
I was actually concerned about my intestinal health. In my thirties I had chronic pin worms and I just couldn’t get the image of a colon with diverticulitis out of my mind. I needed a new vision for my colon. If it wasn’t healthy, I needed to know that so I could take appropriate action. And if it was healthy, I needed to “see” it as it truly was.
I spent quite a bit of time reading about the procedure on line and learning about my alternatives. I was quite certain I wanted to be awake for the procedure. The whole point was to see it. I didn’t want any pain medication, but was not sure if that would be allowed.
My attempts to talk to the doctor before the procedure didn’t work, so I went into the hospital with a little trepidation. I was also a little worried that my colon was not quite clear enough. I have learned that when I eat less (which was part of the prep) my gut just shuts down – laxatives or not.
As it turned out everything was fabulous. My doctor was an old pro at colonoscopies. She had only done two procedures without sedation, but she said that in India sedation was never used. I was thrilled.
In the first step she goes through the entire colon getting rid of any debris with a little spray head on the probe. Apparently she is known for being extremely thorough. She was very careful spraying everything off.
Once she’s removed everything she goes back through and inspects every nook and cranny. Everything was smooth and clear in my case – just as it should be. The inside of a healthy colon looks just like the tissue on the inside of your lower lip.
Once and a while my gut would cramp up. Very uncomfortable! At first she thought to back out the probe when that happened. I finally figured out what she was doing and had her hold still when it happened. The cramps quickly passed and she didn’t lose any time reinserting.
The only other tough part was when she navigated through the ileocecal valve. This is the juncture where the small intestines meets the large intestines. She kept trying to bust through and I was about to suggest she just give it up when she slid into the small intestines. A quick photo and she moved her probe back out of my gut.
All and all I was completely thrilled by the experience, especially being able to just get up and walk out afterwards without a drug hangover. Yeah! No anesthetic. No recovery time. Perfect colon! (Free colon irrigation!) I think the best part was that I got something that I really wanted.