New territory: The Colonoscopy

“Think of it as a cleanse,” a friend advised.
I had already thought of this. But, I liked hearing it from an outside source. The colon is the exit, the place to discharge things from the body. It’s the solid waste disposal. What else could be disposed of?

Is there a holistic angle to a colonoscopy?

I decided to use this as a cleanse and purge, additionally, for internal things like emotional/spiritual beliefs that I don’t need to keep within. The top of the list: discharge disempowering perceptions. Out, bye-bye, be gone!

I also decided to restart my eating habits, get back on track to a more mindful diet.

Part 1: The Consult
It’s unsettling to me to take a drug so that my awareness is off wandering the lawn of my unconsciousness. I am not really “there,” yet not all the way gone. Instinctively, this feels not good in my gut. But, that’s what they suggest before you belly up to the colonoscopy bar.

I asked the PA who was arranging this thing if she could explain a little more about this state and why I should be in it. She said matter-of-factly, “it’s conscious sedation.” New phrase for me, I had not heard those two words put together before.

Does this make me like a fish on ice at the market, frozen, eyes wide open, but nobody’s home?

I agree to a light sedation with a shot of something to reduce nausea, because most drugs make me nauseous.

I’ve asked several people about their colonoscopy experience. They often say, “I dunno, I don’t really remember,” with a slightly askew grin and a far-off expression of fish on ice eyes.

The fast begins
It started out boring. Drinks are limited, reduced options as they say no red, orange, purple, or blue. No pulps. I have ginger ale and some correctly colored Gatorade.

I rest, listen to podcasts. I go into my slow moving frog Zen state. I feel as if immersed in a still pond, just my eyes and top of head peak out of the surface. This is how I chill when I’m scared.

Photo credit: Tim McMahon. Thanks!

The purge
About 30 minutes after starting the drink… I feel the promise of the first movement. It feels hopeful. A slight stirring at first, a low vibration of change from deep within.

I am a little impatient for things to begin.

Not impatient for long: first discharge occurs and is swiftly successful! I can now feel and hear my bowels singing the song of Suprep bowel prep.

The gates have opened! The purge has begun!

Near a path on Ashland’s Lithia Park

Part 2
They are all really nice at the Colonoscopy Station.

The IV insertion was what I dreaded most. The nurse was expert, got it on the first try. I felt fine, it wasn’t bad at all and yet within moments I started to feel weak, not good. Suddenly, I was like a stunned sparrow just bounced off a window. I had to lean the recliner chair all the way back and have the light off and breathe and concentrate on not fainting. I guess I am a frail bird in these situations. Things going into or pulling out of my veins bug me.

I felt a little sorry for myself. I then asked myself how often am I in a hospital gown, sitting on a recliner, hooked up to a bag of fluids while staring at geometric print fabric curtains? Very rarely. It was simply my turn. I’d be free and out zipping around on my bike again soon enough.

Poster from Rena Fitness

Part 3
I am asked to walk a short distance while carrying my bag of IV fluids along to the next place. This place has the scoping gear, TV screen, and a poster of the colon near the foot of the treatment table. The doctor is friendly, perky, and gives a brief description of what we are doing. He remarks on my tan, saying he would like one too, and I told him to just get out on the water a lot.

The procedure suite looks efficient, tight, though not crowded. Sort of like an Oil Can Henry shop, but in a medical way.

I don’t remember anything after I am told to turn on my side.

Part 4
My parts show no wear or tear; no signs of anything happening. Yet, the film shows the journey from start to finish! All the way to the terminal ileum! That’s the start of the small intestine. What a funny thing to look at- your colon. I didn’t feel any relation to it, which is sad as it works hard for me.

At the initial consult, they had three names to choose from for the procedure. I didn’t know any of them. I asked, who is the kindest one, the sweetheart from this list? Without hesitation, she pointed to one.

“Put me on his schedule.”

He was excellent. I’ve been hearing that kindness matters in the ways of healthcare. Once these people learn the insertion and driving the gadget, which looks a lot like a fancy video game set-up, it’s on. I figure they can all do this, so I want the kind one.

Humor is important always, and this nails it:

For a great and more serious illustration of What Happens, this is helpful:

Always good to have this on board

The Maiden Voyage

“You ate your dessert first!” She said, stating the obvious as the fudge brownie was already half gone.

“Yes. I do that,” said I. The sandwiches were taking forever. I have little self control.

We were having lunch at the Metropol to celebrate the first paddle of the new kayak. Mariann, my friend and paddle partner for the day, was pretty stoked about her new sit-on-top inflatable kayak.

Mariann wanted a clean run-through, to go through all systems, work out kinks, sync with the kayak and water elements. She is a Virgo. So am I. We understand each other. Yet, are quite different.

Her: “I need to attach my leash for my paddle.”

Me: “You will not lose your paddle in this reservoir. Let the fussing begin. No worries, I will practice my breathing exercises!”

Her: “Your commentary will not be helpful.”

Me: “Ok, understood. This is gonna be great!”

She: “Do you know what this is? It is the maiden voyage!”

A woman stopped to talk with us about the pros and cons of the paddle board vs. the kayak. We gave her feedback.
She: “I like to have a place to sit, to be, defined and with back support.” Me: “I like the freedom of movement, unrestricted, free form.”
She: “That pretty much sums up our personalities.”

We carry our watercraft toward the ramp.
She: “What if I have a panic attack?”
Me: “Do you have panic attacks?”
She: “No. But what if I did?”

We hit the water at the perfect time. Soft gentle motion on top, no wind. Ideal.

After a couple minutes on the water, Mariann smiled. “You have to be like when you’re on a plane and you are just there in that place and not worried about what’s above and below.”

“I like it!”

This is fun!
Going under a bridge for the first time

The weather changed. The wind came up and the water got tossy. We were getting pushed around. After being blown downstream, we decided to turn around. She made good time, got ahead of me. When I caught up she said, “I got a tad panicky. There were white caps!”

We made it back and explored a little more- I wanted to go under the bridge and into a protected canal.

She: “You’re going to make me go under a bridge?”
Me: “Yes.”
She: “You are pushing my limits!”
Me: “Someone needs to.”
She: “Yes, but most don’t.”

The reedy canal was peaceful. I pointed out a red-wing blackbird. Mariann said, “oh yes, I’ve seen those in the store- you squeeze them and they make that sound!”

The ease of the inflatable watercraft loading
I like to be close to the water to listen to it and smell it

It was the perfect maiden voyage. The weather was good and not good, which made for excellent practice. We had most of the lake completely to ourselves. We talked about how lucky we are to live here and take part in the nearby nature as often as possible.

I helped her with boating, as she helped me with Nordic skiing this past winter. Both things made us smile and be happy and grateful!