Hazy Daze

It’s time for a routine colonoscopy. I can’t wait—to get it over with.

In truth, the actual procedure is a breeze for patients. They snooze through the entire process, which probably takes no longer than 10 minutes. There is no pain.

I’ve been there, done that, know what it’s like—a couple of times.

The worst part of a colonoscopy is the prep, though the diet restrictions are not a big deal. Secretly, I always hope that cutting back to nothing by day three will convince me to live on next to nothing postop. Alas, my appetite never fails to find me.

Drinking the nasty, awful, foul-tasting elixir, that’s what I hate. Yuck. It’s all I can do to swallow the stuff—over and over and over again.

Water people like me can’t stomach Gatorade, energy drinks, and a good many soft drinks. We have to talk ourselves into chugging down that chalky substance designed to clean out our systems. We count to three and hold our noses like a kid at his first swim lesson who is certain he will drown.

I’ve heard, though, that the “liquid dread” is much improved. Word is that it tastes like watered down Kool-Aid. Oh, how I want to believe it.

My other issues involve anesthesia and pain-killers. They are not my friends.

I’ve had only a handful of minor surgical procedures, but enough to know that anesthesia makes me crazy. It’s the same for my daughter Jordan—the ole apples and trees philosophy.

Jordan relinquished her wisdom teeth over a college spring break. The trip in and out of the oral surgeon’s office took less than 30 minutes.

Under the influence of “laughing” gas when we arrived home, Jordan jumped out of the car and sprinted into the house. I followed, but could not find her.

“Jordan!” I called out more than a few times.

A giggle erupted from an unknown place nearby. Then, I saw her peeking out from behind a door.

“Yoooouuu caaaannnn’t seeeeee meeeee!” my college-aged daughter trilled in a pitch three octaves higher than her normal voice.

My teenage self tortured my mom and dad in much the same way. Our minister popped in to visit me post-tonsillectomy.  Anesthesia-laden and giggly, I said things my parents still refuse to repeat.

Doctor’s instructions say: “Don’t drive for 24 hours after a procedure,” but I steer clear of my car for two days. Anesthesia leaves me loopy for a full 48-hour count. Meanwhile, my husband will have a morning procedure and mow the yard that afternoon.

I’ve told Gary that his behavior is unacceptable and against the rules. But I may as well be talking to a bank robber as he hops into his getaway car.

After outpatient surgery on my foot a few years ago, the doctor prescribed Oxycodone pills that looked like something my husband-veterinarian would give a very large dog or possibly a horse.

“Start her on the medication right away to keep her ahead of the pain,” the discharge nurse told Gary.

Due to my high tolerance for pain and my aversion to taking pills, I ignored her advice. Then, on night two—a Saturday—around 9 PM, I felt a twinge.

The nurse’s words of warning echoed in my head. I cut the pill into pieces and swallowed a sliver—not even a quarter of the prescribed dose.

I woke Sunday when Gary walked into the bedroom.

“Are you going to take the kids to church,” I asked.

“We’ve already been to church and had lunch,” he said. “It’s 3 o’clock.”

No more pills for me. That’s the closest to death I hope I’ll never again be.

According to my doctor, anesthesia administered for colonoscopies has also improved. That’s good news—for me and for anyone who accompanies me.

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