16 (Funny) Things I Learned from a Colonoscopy

Well, I made it through my colonoscopy.  As many of you who had been through it before told me, the prep really was the worst part.  There were also quite a few of you who told me that you would be undergoing the same procedure yourselves soon, so I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve learned from my experience.

1.  For some people, the party gets started rather quickly after beginning the prep.  For me, I took two laxative pills and drank three mixtures of Miralax and Sprite before anything actually happened.  I almost went out for some milk and bread, but the strange noises coming from my gut warned me to stay home.  Thank the sweet Lord I didn’t leave the house, because when the laxatives begin to do their magic, you had better be within feet of a toilet.

2.  When taking laxatives, particularly in such large doses, never ever trust a fart.

3.  For that matter in any instance where you are taking copious amounts of laxatives never (ever) trust a sneeze, cough, or even giggle without sitting on the toilet first.

4.  Plan ahead.  In my last post I showed you my essentials basket, but I should have paid attention and planned to start my prep as early as possible.  There is no way I would have imagined going to the bathroom from 7:00pm until 7:30am the next morning, but it happened.  I literally used the facilities for the last time ten minutes before I left for an hour long drive in the car the morning of the procedure.

5. Don’t plan on sleeping much, and should you drift off to sleep, expect to wake clenching your butt cheeks together and dashing in the dark for the loo.  Sleeping on the toilet might help, or at the very least, leave yourself a light on.

6.  Use a GI facility that is a short distance away.  Although I was finally empty by the time I hit the road the morning of the procedure, I had horrible visions of myself pooping on the shoulder of the interstate.

7.  Keep a sense of humor, and if you don’t have one, get one.

8.  My doctor told me that for my symptoms he would have liked to do an endoscopy (tube down the throat) too.  I told him that if we were going to do both a tube down my throat and one up my ass, I’d prefer to keep my “scopys” separate….or at least do the tube in my mouth first.  He laughed.  I assume you’d have to have a good sense of humor when you’re working with assholes all day.

9.  I had never been put under anesthesia before, and I was a little nervous.  I’m still amazed that the last thing I remember thinking was “oh, it’s just all going black,” and the next thing I know a nurse was waking me up in a recovery room where all I heard was people around me farting.

10.  For those who don’t know, part of this procedure for some, is to have air put into the colon.  Before they will permit you to go home, you have to pass gas.  I literally found myself surrounded by people farting loudly and multiple times on purpose.

11. Farting is always funny.

12.  If you have to fart in a room full of strangers, have fun with it.  Mine sounded like the tunes played by the aliens in Close Encounter of the Third Kind. (Click here to listen to the five notes.)

13.  You get to take home colored pictures of your colon and insides. I’d share mine, but I do have some pride left.

14.  It wasn’t really that bad.  If you’re over 50, have been having GI symptoms, or have a family history that would require you have this done, do not wait and just do it.  Yes, you’ll have to fast from food for a day, spend the night pooping more than you ever dreamed possible, and have a tube shoved up your arse, but it’s better than being sick or dying from otherwise treatable conditions if you waited too long.

15.  The good news about GI problems, a day of fasting, and all the prep is that you’ll feel really skinny all day!

16. If someone says, “You’re full of shit!” You can honestly tell them that you’re not.

So that’s my story, at least what I remember of it.  I almost would have preferred the drugs for the prep day.

My doctor seems to think it is probably Celiac’s but I’m going to need further testing. Good news is that I am beginning to feel better now that I have eliminated all wheat (I used to tolerate small amounts), oats, rye and barley from my diet.  Hopefully I can stay skinny long enough to enjoy it.  My scale, after my poop-a-thon, had me down to a record low weight!

Special thank you to everyone who has emailed, commented on here and Facebook as well as Twitter sending me good vibes and well-wishes.  Your support really means a lot, probably more than you could ever know!  Thank you so much!

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  1. So glad you made it through okay! LOVE the list! I think I’m going to print this out so that I can be prepared when it’s my turn. And you are right. Farting is always funny. Unless you are in the car with 3 boys when suddenly you are overwhelmed by the stench of the “silent but deadly” variety. This is significantly less funny.

  2. Thank you for making me laugh about this horrid procedure. They have to come up with someway else to do the prep. At least you got to take a couple pills and a few drinks. I had to drink a GIANT –at least a gallon–of horrible tasting stuff that despite what the instructions say does NOT–I repeat NOT–taste better when chilled. I go through this 4 times a year. You’d think I’d be skinny by now just from all the explosive you-know-what! The last time I had one, just before I went in the fire alarm went off in the building and we had to evacuate. Thankfully it was nothing buy the equipment sterilizer setting off the alarm with steam, but I told the doctor that I was thankful I wasn’t on the table yet and he started laughing that it would have been really funny if he had to take me out to the parking lot on the table with the six foot hose up my behind. That was probably the laugh of the day. Who really wants to do this for a living?? What compels a medical student to decide they want to look up peoples butts all day? The good thing is my first colonoscopy was random — I turned 50 (blah!!!) and the doctor said “you need to go to have a colonoscipy”. Thrill a minute, but being a good patient I did. They discovered polyps that were on their way to being cancerous. If I wouldn’t have had that random colonoscopy I would probably have 4th stage colon cancer by now or be gone. Colon cancer is preventable! I hope everyone that reads this goes for a colonoscopy, especially if you are 50+. You don’t get symptoms until it’s kind of too late. My friend’s husband just passed away from colon cancer. They had said if he had a digital exam or a colonoscopy in the TEN years before he was diagnosed at stage 4 colon cancer, he’d still be alive today. So anyone reading this –I know it’s disgusting to prep –the procedure is no big deal, but it could save your life.

    • It really is so important to have routine check ups, and even more if there’s family history or a reason to do so (like what they found with you on your routine workup). Sorry to hear about your friend’s husband, but I’m glad that you followed your doctor’s orders and had one done….oh, and my two pills and three drinks were just what it took to get started. I had to drink 64oz of Miralax mix, had four pills, and another 16oz of some nasty saline mix crap. Blah! I’m still surprised I didn’t puke from all the liquid! But WAY better than not having it done and having something serious that goes undetected.

      • I agree completely about just sucking it up and getting it over with. I postponed my initial baseline procedure until last year at 52, rather than the prescribed 50. While they did discover some polyps that were non-cancerous, a very very astute lab tech picked up on something a little off. After repeated testing of my blood, the doctor discovered that I have the very very early stages of Chroninc Lymphosystic Leukemia. It was initially scary hearing that, but I am very grateful that lab tech was paying attention. I now know what is lurking in my blood, and am aware of it, watching it diligently with my new friend, my hemotologist. It may never grow or amount to anything. But at least I know it is there now. I look at it as if I had a heart valve problem — I am aware of it and can monitor it, and take corrective action if needed. So best advice is to put your big girl pants on and get the test done.

  3. Love this story! I’ve had two done and now have to get it done every 3 years. I’m young but I have ulcerative colitis so they have to watch to make sure it doesn’t develop into colon cancer. I had my last procedure in January, and when I came out of the anesthesia I was so out of it but I remember the nurse telling me I had to fart so without even thinking twice in my groggy state I left out a HUGE fart. And yes, they are ALWAYS funny :) Thanks for sharing!

    • LOL…I’m pretty sure everyone wakes up farting. They came back and asked me if I had farted yet and I told them I thought I did when I woke up, but I was still pretty out of it and it was either me or the guy next to me. :) Good times, good times!

  4. Thank you for #9. This will be me when I hit 50 as there is a family history, and with my grandmom, they caught it too late. Glad to read everything went well.

    • Sorry about your grandmother, Beth. Glad to hear you’ll be following through with yours when the time comes (or wouldn’t it be wonderful if cancer was a thing of the past by the time we hit 50?)….

  5. I’m curious about how you have had to eliminate all wheat, oats, barley and the like from your diet. What exactly do you eat then?? Are there any substitutions you could use for some things? And how hard was that to do and get used to??

    • Amy, I have had an allergy/intolerance to wheat for nine years now. When I was first sick, I was tested for Celiac’s Disease and the test was inconclusive. Because of that I cut out wheat, oat, barley and rye too, and just within the last few years started eating the other grains (except for wheat). It seems because of my symptoms I must have Celiacs and these other grains are causing damage too. The diet itself is a real adjustment and I’ll be honest, nine years ago when I first started it I often cried about everything I couldn’t eat any longer. Now, I’m used to it though and there are a lot more choices that are “gluten free” (the celiac’s diet). I usually explain that I eat meats, chicken, pork, fish, veggies, fruit, and as far as starches I eat lots of rice and potatoes. There are substitutions for some foods, but really it’s about getting used to “other” foods. I have several brands that I love now, but still eat very little bread and baked goods.

  6. It takes a special person to do that job – I would hope a sense of humor is one of the requirements. Glad to know you are functioning properly, or at least as proper as is expected..

    • It’s good to have doctor’s you feel you can trust, and for me, I relate so much better to people who have a sense of humor.

      And yeah, I’m about as “normal” as I’m gonna be :)

  7. Oh my, I laughed until I cried reading this post. I’m marking this to reread for the inevitable colonoscopy I’ll someday have. Although, I guess I should read it before taking the laxatives.

  8. Sounds like a fun day! I hope they get you figured out soon…just curious…what are you eating in place of wheat, oats, etc? I would have a really hard time eliminating those things from my diet.

  9. A woman who understands that FARTS ARE ALWAYS FUNNY?!!!

    Will you marry me?

    Braaack.

  10. This list just upped your Sex Appeal about 31.8% in my eyes.

    I had a barium enema when I was younger, and I remember laying on the table just before they were about to take the tube out. One nurse held the bathroom door open about 7 feet away, and another was next to the table holding my arm to help me make it there in time. The doctor said “3…2…1…RUN!” yanked the tube out and I leapt to the toilet pantsless and clemching, spraying barium poo the milisecond my ass was over the toilet, with an audience of about 6 people. Loudly farting goo poo has never felt so good.

    I am ALLLLl about taking tests to make sure I’m healthy and okay, especially considering my gene pool. Especially if they make me fart, expose my naughty bits, or give me a good story to share.

    So glad to hear yours went well. I had a friend go through all the Celiac testing, and I know it can take ages, but it’s worth it to find out.

  11. The good thing about Celiac’s is that the lack of grains will make your stomach stay nice and flat.

  12. OMG-I was laughing so hard I was practically crying! Thanks for the Monday morning laugh :) My parents have told me similar experiences with their colonoscopy’s…and although I’m not looking forward to it, I will do it because of our family history too (my grandma had colon cancer-though they caught hers early enough and she lived for many years afterwards). Both my parents have very good sense of humors-which I think you need when having a procedure like that done. Glad yours came out good (no pun intended). And the whole farting thing…I have 4 boys, hubby and a male dog…and I don’t know which of the 6 is worse!! But it’s so funny when they get going-even the youngest at 14 months has started laughing everytime he farts now!

  13. Another warning… Post procedure do NOT think you can run into the store for anything. One unsuspecting step and you’ve shit-in and have to waddle to bathroom or exit hoping that your underwear and the fuzzy insides of your sweats are absorbing enough for it to be unnoticeable.

  14. I just found your blog! How funny can a colonoscopy be? Well, your comments were dead on and I laughed my butt off! I’ve had two and I can relate. However, when I had the last one, I also had a hip replacement scheduled. Evidently I kept yelling “you’re hurting me” and the doc kept giving me more and more anesthesia. I don’t remember stopping for lunch on the way home…..that’s why they don’t let you drive yourself!

  15. I almost fell out of the chair with number 2! Well, okay now that I’ve written that, it really doesn’t sound too good either! HOWEVER! You’ve got my vote! That was absolutely hilarious!!!

  16. Thanks for this…it was hilarious! I just had a colonoscopy done a few weeks ago to check for Chrone’s. I am by far the first of my friends to have one done (only 28). Ended up that I have Celiac’s and that’s what was causing so many problems (not at all what I expected!). The prep was a pain, literally, but the procedure was nothing. I’m glad that you can put a funny spin on something that many people find embarrasing.

  17. Scheduled for my 2nd try tomorrow…after a “failed” (!!!???!!!#$@&*!!!) prep a year ago…thanks for the great laugh, will assemble a “basket” for prep tomorrow! Love it!

  18. Thanks for posting this! I’m going for my first appt with a gastroenterologist on Friday, and I know I’m gonna need laughs as I prepare for my tests!

  19. Someone sent a joke once about colonoscopies and the only thing that ever comes to mind when I hear that word is “can you hear me now?”…
    When they do them here, all they do is load you up on demerol and I have recollections of asking for a lot more well before they ever started ‘doing anything’….

  20. Elaine Embree :

    Hilarious! Yes, I have had that procedure done. It’s an experience that, unfortunately, I will never forget. They even brought my husband back to be with me afterwards. His job was to keep me awake and rolling over so I would fart. He took the assignment very seriously, I might add. ha

    I also had an endoscopy about a week later. After the 2nd scope, I told my doctor that he had looked at me from both ends now (think about the song “I’ve Looked at Life From Both Sides Now”. lol

  21. I had one when I was in my 20′s. The docs were looking for problems. But anyway, I was in a room with a large window overlooking a river. Thus the shades were open and the sun was shining in. This was before they knocked you out. Anyway, the sun shining in created a shadow on the wall. The Doctor trying to manuver the scope. His arms were flailing around trying to move this coiled scope up. . . .well. . . this IS what I saw. . . and then the nurse was very (VERY) attractive. And she is standing there re-assuring me. . . . And the shadow of the DR truing to move this coil of (the scope). . . . . um. . . .

  22. As I was browsing through your blogs, I noticed this one which peeked my interest because I’ll be having one of these in a couple of weeks (yay 50!) OMG…I got laughing so hard I cried (thankfully not down my leg..this time). You are brilliant! Thank you for enlightening me. Can’t wait to hear the tubas …thankfully it will be done at a hospital because now I know when I get to the “concert” hall, I’m gonna split a gut!

  23. Thanks for this, you made my day ;)
    I will always remember the fart time, today i start a new prep after 7 years, i explain it to my kids: they are waiting on the moment, i’ll run to the toilets ^^

  24. I am 51 and schedlued for my 1st ever procedure on the19th of this month. I was so close to backing out. Thank you so much for convincing me not to. I love your page and i am very thankful for what you do.

    • I swear, the prep is the worst of it…I remember NOTHING of the procedure itself or what I may have said to them right before and right after. You’ll feel skinny and sleepy that day, and for me, I was feeling totally “normal” (or as normal as I can get) the next morning. Good luck & if you remember nothing else, once you start taking the prep, do not trust a fart! lol Remember that and you’ll do great!

  25. Tomorrow is my prep day for my first colonoscopy and endoscopy. Yay. I’m 25 so I don’t know many people who have had one my age. Your blog made me laugh so hard and I feel a lot better about it. The Pinot Grigio part really got me as that is my favorite wine! They are checking me for chrohns but they think it’s just IBS. Anyways. Thanks so much for being funny and relieving my stress about this unpleasant event. Now on to the pooping!!!

    • Julie, sorry that you’re going through it, but I promise the prep was the worst part. The procedures themselves were easy, and tomorrow as long as you stay near a toilet you should be golden :)

      Hope that the clear you of the Crohn’s and it is just IBS – I was 24 when I suddenly couldn’t eat wheat anymore, so I get what it’s like being the youngest person in for the procedure. Listening to old people fart afterwards is funny though, I promise.

      Good luck, Godspeed, and I’m glad this could make you laugh (and just remember any laughing tomorrow should be done on the toilet)!

  26. Debbie Stradrr :

    I’m having my first one tomorrow early, prep not too bad. I call it my Bend-Over and Smile exam.

Trackbacks

  1. Magical! » says:

    [...] been spending a remarkable amount of time in the bathroom lately.  No, it’s not because of my irritable-Celiac’s or whatever the hell is wrong with my insides, it’s because of something much worse…something much more debilitating….something [...]

  2. [...] I actually learned quite a few things, you can read all that my colonoscopy taught me here. [...]

  3. [...] I remember laughing, not just because people around me were farting (that’s a true statement, you can read that one here), but also because my second thought after “Wow, there is a whole lotta ass sounds,” [...]

  4. » says:

    [...] It’s just like the time I put off getting that colonoscopy (for four years).   That ended up being far less crappy than I had envisioned, and truthfully, the skin check was a walk in the park. [...]

  5. […] Spray- ($10.00)  I don’t know about you, but pooping in public can be so embarrassing!  With all my tummy troubles, a product that promises that if I spritz before I go, no one will ever know, I have to give it a […]

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