Is there anything that Moonie doesn’t think is fun?
(Short answer: nope.)
I’ve had a mysterious illness for months now and off-the-charts protein counts. There’s some kind of infection or long-term disease in my body. The best way to look around in a person without cutting them open is to, and I’ll just blurt this out, stick a scope up their bum.
Moonie thinks that is AWESOME.
He wants one up his bum now, too. We had to tell him that all it would show is rainbows and cookie crumbs, and that would get boring, and he finally had to agree.
But he sure thought my own colonoscopy was a ball. Me, not so much. But living with my tan-line-free little nudist, who is so proud of his bum that his name is Moonie, is helping to encourage me to post about our little derriere adventure. We humans, maybe Americans especially, are very private about our private parts, and bum-related things are taboo to talk about. But 1 in 20 of us will develop colorectal cancer during our lifetimes, and other gastrointestinal diseases and issues will affect greater numbers of us, too. It’s something to inform ourselves about, not blush about.
Luckily, Moonie doesn’t find anything embarrassing (except for occasionally blushing around pretty ladies and the random inanimate objects he crushes on). So here is a precise rundown of our colonoscopy experience for anyone having this procedure soon or anyone curious what we’ll all face down the road.
Follow dietary instructions from the doctor.
(Moonie, not so much.)
6:45 a.m. Start fasting after two pieces of dry toast (man, is toast not fun when there’s nothing spread on it) and strained, pulp-free juice. No solids or dairy or non-clear liquids until the following afternoon for you!
7:45 a.m.-4 p.m. Puppy-whine longingly at co-workers’ snacks and lunches while sucking down plain chicken broth (even less fun than it sounds) and water.
Try to ignore the smell and sight of Moonie’s burger and fries.
4 p.m.: Take 4 laxatives as instructed before leaving the office. (Keep in mind I’d never taken a single laxative in my life and didn’t know how long they’d take to work.)
4:30: Hit a traffic jam in Providence. Experience one heck of an anxiety attack when stomach starts cramping.
4:45: Be extremely grateful when arriving home before anything happens from the pills.
5 p.m.: Mix an entire bottle of Miralax with an absurd amount of orange Gatorade (red, blue and purple dyes are not allowed). Put back in fridge to settle.
(“What do they drink on the Death Star?” Moonie asked, popping up with a smile while I swished and swirled like a chemist.
5:30 p.m.: Laxatives kick in. Lock self in bathroom and pray for an end to this.
6 p.m.: Drink the first 8-ounce glass of Miralax-laced orange Gatorade. Resume toilet residency and wishing you were anywhere else doing anything else.
6:30 p.m.: Run through the entire pack of baby wipes you purchased just for this. Wish you’d bought an industrial size.
Next three hours: Drink another 8-ounce glass of laxative Gatorade every 20 minutes. Feel your poor tummy, which earlier had grumbled in hunger, start to beg you not to put any more liquid in it. Feel your belly slosh as you walk and distend in ways it shouldn’t. Vow to never take a sip of orange Gatorade again. Shiver uncontrollably despite flannel jammies ’cause you’re brimming with cold liquid. Force yourself at each appointed time to down each additional glass with increasing dread until it’s finally, mercifully, gone.
Next 12 hours: Stay on or near toilet all night. Constantly beg and bargain with your stomach not to throw up salty orange Gatorade. Feel terrible. Envy everyone on the internet who posted that after a few bad hours from the prep stuff, they went to bed and slept like babies the night before their colonoscopies. Consider forwarding your address to the bathroom.
9 a.m.: Drag your dehydrated self into the shower.
10 a.m.: Check in at surgical site. Let Moonie pick out a book from their thoughtful supply.
10:30 a.m.: Register and be given a hospital bracelet and an additional allergy bracelet so no one accidentally kills you.
Have Moonie sweetly offer to help you wear the bracelets (awww).
11:00: Get set up in your little recovery bed. Let Moonie test the pillow.
11:30: Trade your clothes for a swanky open-backed johnny.
Have Moonie proudly show off his own little open-backed johnny.
11:45: Have IV inserted. Have Moonie inspect it to make sure it’s giving you good stuff.
12:00: Be wheeled into the surgical room with Moonie shouting, “Whee! Make it go faster!” all the way down the hall.
Have someone cover your chest in sticky little heart monitors that will leave black residue for days.
Succumb immediately to anesthesia.
Have Moonie spend the whole procedure watching, fascinated, as a camera shows your insides.
Be blissfully unconscious while the doctor takes biopsies of the areas that look abnormal and be happily unaware when the doctor has to inform Moonie that the little metal clips he’s put in his hair during the procedure are NOT barrettes, even if they make him look pretty; she needs those to put in my organs to stop the bleeding, and could she please have them back?
1:30: Wake up in the recovery room to find Moonie telling fart jokes to everyone in hearing distance. It turns out that colonoscopies force air into your colon to expand it so the doctor can see your colon walls. After the procedure, it’s normal for people to have to, well, push the air back out. So I basically woke myself up farting, like the other people around me, with Moonie giggling as if it was the most hysterical thing in the world for us to have a big ol’ fart party.
Moonie: “What do you call someone who doesn’t fart in public?”
“A private tutor!”
Moonie: “What do you call a cat who likes eating beans?”
“Puss n’ Toots!”
Moonie: “What do you call it when Queen Elizabeth farts?”
“A noble gas!”
1:45: Be offered a little cup of water and a package of crackers by the nurse. Feel like you’ve been given manna from heaven after all that fasting.
2:00: After some words of caution about the little metal clips in your guts – no MRIs for you – get discharged in the care of a responsible adult (it was my mom, as Moonie was too short to reach the gas pedal – “HA,” he pointed out, “YOU SAID GAS” – to drive me home). Arrive still sleepy from the anesthesia. Have Moonie chatter happily about how cool your innards are and how funny it was to hear you fart.
Hope you won’t have to go through this again until the recommended age of 50+, giving you nearly a dozen years’ respite if you can stay healthy. You survived, in part thanks to your cheerful little nudist, but it wasn’t exactly a blast.
“Ha! You said blast!” Moonie shouts, roaring with laughter.
Apparently everything is going to be fart-themed for a while, until something else grabs his attention.
Like that shiny dreidel over there from his friend Renee’s Scrabblekah party. Hey, Moonie, go check it out!