Friday, April 11, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different

I am not a doctor so this shouldn't be taken as medical advice. But one day, you may be in a situation where you are going through the unpleasant task of preparing for your colonoscopy. As part of that preparation, you may have to suck down two liters of Halflytely. According to the directions, you must finish drinking the entire two liters. But you might get to that last little bit, those last few - or maybe last 16 ounces, and your body might not let you get those last few glasses down. You might feel so bloated that there's no room for another drop of that wretched liquid. But the directions say to finish it. What if you don't? Will you be cleaned out enough for the doctor to see what he has to see? I don't know. And I'm not a doctor. That's why I don't give medical advice.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in that very situation. And I asked myself, do I have to finish the Halflytely? It was too late to call the doctor's office. I tried and got the recording. I could have spoken to the on-call doctor, but this really wasn't an emergency, so I hung up. Then I went to the web. There are newsgroups devoted to health. Other people have been through this. Groups of people had discussions on this very topic. Some of these people are tougher (and probably bigger) than me, and managed to force the whole two liters down. Others didn't finish, but they were still adequately cleaned out. I'm not that big, so I took a chance and didn't finish. I don't think I could have. I was cleaned out though. The procedure was a success.

Except for the part when they couldn't get me to wake up and I slept for an extra hour. I think I was probably just tired.

Oh yeah, and the part when they finally did wake me, and I couldn't release the gas that was injected into my colon in order to get a better look in there. It hurt. It was appendicitis quality pain. My wife ended up driving me to the hospital. The doctor called ahead, so they were ready for me. We didn't have to wait.

As soon as we got to the hospital, I went into the bathroom and I was able to force out a good deal of the gas. It was loud. It shook the building. Had I not been in so much pain, I would have been embarrassed. I felt much better and I would have liked to have gone home, but everyone else (wife, doctor, nurses) was so worried that they kept me there for six hours. Everyone was very nice and they attached an IV so they could pump me full of liquids. I had become dehydrated - what a shock. They fed me - crackers and applesauce. After 48 hours with no solid food that was quite a feast.

All of the people at the hospital were very nice, but I really didn't feel like spending all of that time there. The worst part was that I finished the book I was reading an hour before they were ready to let me leave. They weren't going to let me out until the second IV was empty. I told my wife to give it a squeeze to force it into me faster, but she only laughed. Then she went back to her book.

I had more applesauce and some toast when I finally got home. The next day I started eating real food. But I still have a greater appreciation for applesauce and I even bought a jar the other day. It's good. And it's good for you.

Most of this has nothing to do with whether you need to finish the Halflytely, but it is part of my story.

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At 11:10 PM, Blogger Ma Kettle said...

Ok Harry I am rolling! Sadly I know what you went through..

I took one swig of the nasty stuff and lost it! I then began to cry as what if I wasn't you know...and they will know!?!?! food for 24 hours and I was free and *clear*...aside from the assembly line of people awaiting the same hall of shame...

but(no pun yet!) you now have a new appreciation for applesauce! I am chuckling still!

Glad to see I am among such fun company in an experience such as this!!!!

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Have you ever had to use the stuff (I forget what it's called) that comes in two little bottles, you mix it with water, and it's the most vile liquid anyone has ever had to put in their mouths? I had to use that stuff to clean out for my first one, and while I didn't cry, I did a lot of yelling and jumping up and down. My kids and my tutoring students got a good laugh watching me. You do have to laugh about it though . . . once it's over.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger Pen of Jen said...

No, and thank goodness from what you described.Good memory for the kids to look back on and chuckle.

I no longer am on the laughing side...I am sadly on the side that gets laughed at(and it sounds like you are too!)

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

thankfully, i have never had to experience this. But your story certainly entertained me!

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Harry! It shook the building?
sorry, I had to laugh.
But let me tell you, I share your pain. My story had to do with drinking that junk about 45 minutes after eating 4 pieces of pizza. Dumb. I know.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Yes, we get laughed at, but you have to laugh along with them. The situation you find yourself in for some of these medical procedures demands either laughter or running out of the room. When I was drinking the stuff, I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing this so the doctor could look for potentially life threatening growths. Fortunately everything turned out fine.

Jungle Mom,
With any luck you won't have to go through this. It's unpleasant. But there are worse things.

4 slices of pizza? You win. I cringe and chuckle just thinking about that.


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