Since When Did Colonoscopies Take a Week?

By Karen

After skipping it last year, receiving the doctor’s reminder recently guilted me into scheduling a colonoscopy for April 27.

Ever since, when I wake up mornings and colonoscopy pops into my head, my stomach lurches and I dash to the toilet to dry-heave until I calm down.

This is my fourth time at this rodeo. I go every five years because I have a polyp-y family. The doctor even found two on me last time. So, I’m familiar with the nasty, nasty prep.

But this time they blindsided me with some new wrinkles:

  • 7 days of no vitamins (buh-bye, calcium)
  • 5 days fiber-free, with minimal basic nutrition

Asking around, nobody I know has ever had to do this diet, nor even heard of doing it.

They mailed me these half-ass dietary instructions that raised many more questions than they answered. Checking their website for “more information,” all they had was THIS SAME F**KING PAGE. They must think it’s a masterpiece.

So, I kept looking. Yup, this is definitely a thing.

But the Mayo Clinic recommends only two days of low fiber in a pretty casual manner.

Kaiser Permanente recommends three days, and their comprehensive list calmed me down considerably. OK are butter, cooking oil, cheese, white grape juice (instead of YUCK apple) turkey, cantaloupe, peeled potatoes and even creamy peanut butter.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance prep diet (four days) even had baked potato chips and bananas!

For the record, I try to be good about eating fiber, fruit and veggies, so I’m woefully ill-stocked for this. I’ll go shopping and start this new regimen on Thursday because I count Butt-Probe Eve with no solid food as a fiber-free day.

For nasty prep, it’s two seemingly gratuitous Dulcolax tablets followed by 14 doses of Miralax, the last supposedly at about 11 p.m.


I’m backing up that timetable two hours because I’d like to sleep before the big day.

For the first time, I’m having the procedure at a hospital instead of the doctor’s office. They said it’s because I’ve hit 65.

Sounds like they want us Medicare folks — after the malnutrition and probable constipation, then starvation, epic diarrhea and sleep deprivation — in a facility with convenient morgue access.

And did I mention I’m supposed to get a COVID-19 test? I was told nothing about where or when, and I’m not asking. I’ve been vaccinated, and I’m more worried about the hospital crawling with COVID than I am.

So, it’s finally the week this nightmare begins to end. Wish me luck. (If you’ve done all this and have any reassurances for me, comments are open.)

16 Responses to Since When Did Colonoscopies Take a Week?

  1. Anita says:

    Karen, that was one of the funniest things you have ever written. I truly was ROFL.

    You are right though. What are the two Ducolax for? I’m certain the Miralax will get the job done just fine thank you very much.

    I’ve only had one but just remember being really hungry coming home. I do hope you are planning a huge Fiber Fest as soon as you hit the door.

    What do they use for the sedative? When I had it they used propofol. Oh, did I love that. I actually came wide awake on the table feeling like a million bucks. I am not a good sleeper and can understand why Michael Jackson found someone to administer it for sleep.

    My husband on the other hand turned into a crazy person! We couldn’t wake him up and we had to put him in a wheelchair and shove him into the car because they needed the recovery room space.

    I barely got him up the steps at home. He was just evil and mean for the whole day. Maybe I am lucky Kaiser doesn’t do colonoscopies unless something is detected in the Cologard. Wouldn’t want to go through that every through years.

    You know we are in our Golden Years when we are sharing colonoscopy stories! 🙂
    p.s…I honestly have the start date marked on my calendar. Will be sending thoughts and prayers to the kitties. I’m certain there is a Karen Look that causes them to run like hell and you could be using it for a few days.

  2. catsworking says:

    Anita, what kind of sicko are you that you are laughing at my colonoscopy troubles? (I kid! I know I’m probably whining about nothing. I’m planning to eat croissants for breakfast.)

    The paperwork they sent says my anesthetic is “MAC,” whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.

    One of my pet peeves is these “patient portals” that all doctors seem to have now, where you can access all kinds of medical shit about yourself that you cannot possibly understand because it’s written in their secret code and they are incapable of translating it.

    My GP’s office has been going on for two years about my “Medicare Welcome” visit, which I never got because of COVID and my doc said I could postpone until THIS year, but when I called to schedule it recently they said no because I had to have it within a year and now it’s too late.

    I’ve talked to several of the front desk fools and NOT ONE could explain to me what this special visit is supposed to entail. Last year, right after I had my usual visit just to get prescription refills, they called me afterward and tried to schedule the “Welcome.” I told them (nicely, in my faux-Southern old lady way, since they call me “Honey” and “Sweetie”) to fuck off, I’d just been there. This was all at the start of COVID and I thought they should/could have done the prescriptions by phone or telehealth, but I couldn’t get video working through their “patient portal” so they made me go in person.

    But I digress greatly from my butt…

    I was starving after previous colonoscopies, and there was a Bob Evans conveniently across the street from the doctor’s office, so my father (who drove me) and I would go have a huge breakfast because I was out by mid-morning.

    This time, it doesn’t start until 11:30, so it will be after lunch when I’m out of there (if I make it past the morgue), and we’re not really near Bob Evans. I’ll probably just come home and be grumpy.

  3. feijicha says:

    Miralax?? I always get stuck with that nasty gallon jug of prescription sh*t that makes me sick. It’s literally torture to get it down, Last time I didn’t even make it to the actual appointment because doing the prep shredded my butthole and I had a MASSIVE hemorrhoid that hung like a testicle awfully close to my girl parts. The very first one I had the stuff they gave me didn’t even begin to work until about 2 am and I was not at the “clear” liquid coming out stage so we had to reschedule. A friend told me every time she has to do the prep it also produces big old hemmies popping out. WTF?? It’s not even like you’re straining. But I got the testicle after not even finishing the first of my split dose. I stopped taking the rest of the prep and said “F… it” Haven’t reschedule yet!

  4. catsworking says:

    Oh feijicha, how horrible! I went and bought everything I need today. I’ve done it both ways, the gallon of prescription shit (which cost me about $100 out of pocket) and the OTC overdose ($25 with baby wipes to spare my raw butt). I’ve never had a hemorrhoid, and now you’ve got me scared shitless (pun intended). The Miralax starts in the afternoon with 8 doses, then picks up right before bedtime with 6 more doses in case you had any notions of sleeping in bed instead of on the toilet.

    This whole experience is so extreme that I’m going to document it and report later. My prep diet begins in earnest on Thursday, and I’m fiber-packing in the meantime.

  5. Randi says:

    Good luck, Karen! I’ve never been through that procedure, but it sounds awful! Hope you’ll not starve to death, but get past the morgue on your way out. Prepare a feast for yourself and the kitties, and just indulge. 🙂
    I’ve been to get my first Pfizer jab today… 4 hours ago, and I’m still feeling fine.

  6. catsworking says:

    Randi, thank you. The procedure itself is nothing. I’m asleep the whole time, and it takes less than 30 minutes, I think. It’s all this colon-cleaning that’s a nightmare. I’m on my first day of no fiber, so we’ll see how that “goes” — or makes me not not. All I can say about that is just about everything that has no fiber is white. No green, red, blue, or brown on the plate at all. A little yellow and orange is all the variety you get.

  7. Donna says:

    Holy……uh….crap,Karen,Ive never done anything like that! Not even days prior dietary restrictions! just a day of liquids and drinking that little bottle of Fleet Good luck and i can”t wait to read all about it!

  8. catsworking says:

    Donna, thank you. I haven’t found anybody yet who has done this no-fiber diet thing. I’m on day 3 and feeling sluggish. Also hungry. Meals just aren’t sticking to my ribs.

  9. feijicha says:

    For my 9am appointment I was told to start the first round of drinking the gallon jug sh*t around 6pm and take 8oz every 15 mins until it was gone –it was like 32 oz total or some ridiculous amount that I calculated. Then, with the appointment at 9am, the final dose (identical quantity and method of slugging it down) was to start at 2AM!! Given it takes like 2 hours to get the stuff down (total of 8 8-oz glasses of the mix every 15 mins means TWO HOURS to get it down meant I’d be done finally at 4 am… but you can’t go to SLEEP at 4 am finally because well…you’ll be glued to the toilet. It’s horrible. I learned the hard way a later appointment (say early afternoon) can be better because you start the first round before bed and then the second round not til very early morning so in THEORY you can get some bit of sleep. I haven’t been able to overcome the trauma to try it again yet.

  10. catsworking says:

    feijicha, this is my fourth one, and I think every previous time I’ve moved the schedule up so I can get some sleep. My procedure isn’t until 11:30 a.m., and I’m supposed to start with the Dulcolax pills at 3 pm, then 8 doses of Miralax (w/8oz liquid) every 10-15 min at 5 p.m. Then another 6 doses of Miralax starting at 10 p.m., which would end between 11 and midnight.

    I bought white grape juice and lemon-lime Gatorade (the flavor I loathe most in this world) to OD the Miralax on.

    I’m backing the schedule up by two hours, so I finish closer to 9-10 p.m. and can maybe get some sleep. I’m not supposed to have ANY liquid from 7:30 a.m. the day of.

    Invariably, when I get there, they chide me for being dehydrated and having collapsed veins. WTF? Do they read their own fucking instructions?

    I figure the timing isn’t so crucial. Once you’re shitting water, if you’re not eating anything, that’s it. You’re clean.

    I bought some so-called “flushable” wipes for the first time because your butt does get raw, but yesterday read a HORRIBLE story about how they don’t break down and clog up sewer systems bigly. So now I’m afraid to use them. Or I guess I could put them in a plastic bag like hazardous waste and throw them in the trash.

    There is NOTHING about this procedure that isn’t utterly disgusting.

  11. Margeaux says:

    Yuck!!! Just the mere idea of this exam.
    One would think that by now something way less
    gross would have been invented.
    I too will be have to schedule one of these, as I was
    about to get one last year as pandemic was proclaimed. My husband was advised to take the
    Dulcolax after he’d done several rounds of some other unplugger, last time he was in for this exam.
    It does seem rather brutal. O.K. Karen, I wish you well next week!

  12. catsworking says:

    Margeaux, I should have had it done last year, but put it off because of the pandemic.

    I don’t get the Dulcolax aspect at all. I just take two of those up-front, then take this large bottle of Miralax. I’ve got it on the kitchen counter and can’t believe I’ve got to ingest the whole thing in a few hours. It feels like suicide.

    I’ve also had the prescription stuff you drink, and I think that’s the worst of all, so I’m glad I was able to talk them into letting me do the OTC thing instead.

    There’s got to be a better way.

  13. MorganLF says:

    Karen …I’ll never ever do it again.

  14. catsworking says:

    Morgan, if this colonoscopy turns up nothing dire, I’m thinking I may never do it again. After four days of the no-fiber bullshit, today is hardcore prep. I’m SO fed up with this extended ordeal, which is only about to get much, much worse as I OD on Miralax, I’m questioning my sanity for scheduling it in the first place.

  15. Anita says:

    Karen, I’m thinking of you today and tomorrow. I don’t blame you one bit. That seems like such a severe pre-colonoscopy regime.

    I hope things go smoothly tomorrow and you feast on your favorite high fiber meal afterwards. Although I doubt you can jump right back into that without having severe stomach cramps.

    Take care and report in when you can. I’ve never been so fascinated by a colonoscopy but you make every topic interesting. 🙂

  16. catsworking says:

    Anita, thank you. I will be SO glad when I can put this all “behind” me. It’s just one more thing to be stressed about, and it’s entirely self-inflicted. Some people NEVER get colonoscopies.

    After past ones, my father and I would go and have a big breakfast and I’d feel fine. But the last time was six years ago and I know my digestion isn’t as bouncy as it used to be, so you’re probably right. Slow and steady on getting back to normal is best.

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