Monday, March 02, 2015

Adventures in Aging

One of the joys of reaching the age that I've reached is that the medical establishment wants to thread teeny-tiny cameras into various orifices; the cameras are probably not teeny-tiny enough not to be uncomfortable.

And so, I get to be drugged with Benadryl, Fentanyl, and Versed.  I'm secretly hoping that a Crystal Vision comes to me, and I'll have to read "Kubla Khan" before bed tonight.  Oh, right, and finish up an advanced directive.  I have a feeling, though, that I might just fall asleep or something like that.

But first, I have to not eat the day before, and take uber-laxatives.

I've got bananas, juice, green tea and other things.


10:00 PM.  I ate a banana.  This will be my last solid food for about the next forty hours.


The morning goes fairly smoothly.  I've got enough tea and lemonade to fight off hunger.  There was a moment around 9:30 when I felt like I was having a sugar crash, but it passed.

I had a very nice visit with an old Reed College housemate, Donald Fader, whom I haven't seen since something like 1991.  We drank a lot of tea and did a lot of catching up.

2:30 PM.  Starting a little late, I unwrap the package of Surprep Bowel Prep Kit (oh! bowel; I'd been reading that as bowl, and wondered why they were making such a big deal about the 16 oz plastic measuring cup).  After reading the instructions several times to make sure that I'm not poisoning myself, I pour 6 oz of sodium sulfate, potassium sulfate, magnesium sulfate into the cup, add water to the fill line and sip it.

It tastes a little like grape juice.  I should be able to drink it without a helper drink.

2:35:  It tastes a little like bad grape juice.

2:40:  It tastes like a grape-flavored salt lick.  I break out a box of lemonade to wash out the aftertaste.

2:45:  It tastes like a bad grape-flavored salt lick.  How much of this do I need to drink in how long?

2:50:  It tastes like bad grape-flavored salt wash from a stack of tarnished pennies.

2:55:  Ugh. My tongue is tingling.  And I should have drunk twice as much as I have.  More lemonade!

3:00:  How is it that parts of my mouth that aren't my tongue are able to taste this stuff?  I think it's infused itself into my mucus.

3:05  The really sad part of this is that I have to drink another round of this stuff tomorrow morning.

3:10  Those folks who tell you to hold your nose when you drink something are big fat liars!  Doing so only makes the tarnished-copper taste worse.  I think I'm going to throw up.

3:20  Bleah.  My mouth feels like the morning after a particularly heavy tequila binge.  Something within me gurgled, so I'm supposing this stuff is working.

3:25  Mark has admonished me to stop complaining about this stuff and just drink it already.

3:30  The flushing has begun....

5:00 ... there seems to be a pause.

7:00  I seem to be mostly done with bowel movements for today.  They seem mostly clear, but I probably should have gotten some additional over-the-counter stuff to help out.

8:00 Been drinking chicken broth.  Surprisingly, I'm not especially hungry, although I do find myself wanting to get a snack of some sort in an automatic, habitual way.

9:00 PM   I'm cold and hoping that it's because the house is cold and not because my electrolytes have been messed up somehow.


6:30  I managed to sleep through the night.  Nothing like a breakfast of hot chicken broth.

8:30-9:30  Repeat of yesterday's suprep, only this time I drank it a little faster.  Possibly because I chilled it beforehand, it seems easier to drink the spoiled grape cough syrup used to wash tarnished pennies drink this time around.

9:25  Hmmm.  Movements still a little... brownish.  I sure don't want to have to reschedule.

9:45  Feeling a little shaky.  I'm not sure if it's not eating anything solid since Saturday night or caffeine withdrawal.

10:30  Earlier worries that I might not have prepped properly were unfounded, as the last three movements have been what they want:  clear yellow, looking like urine, with no flecks.  I've kind of got a head-ache, and I think I might warm up just a little chicken broth now before I have to stop drinking.

11:21  The last drink.  I still sort of have a headache, but it's not too bad.  I might take a quick nap before Mark comes to whisk me to the medical center.

12:55  Waiting for Mark. I've bathed.  Feeling hungry and a little shaky.  I'll be glad when I can eat something.  Priming myself for Visions by chanting "wind and flame and wave and stone."

1:30  Got into the office.  After filling out some forms, I waited in the waiting room and read through magazines.  I chose Coastal Living, which wasn't too bad until I got to the food sections and had to keep from licking the pictures of food.

1:50  Nurse Jane called me back into the procedure area.  There wasn't a clock visible here, so I'd have to guess when things happened.

2:00 I changed out of my street clothes and into a hospital gown.  When I was dressed for the procedure, Nurse Jane led me to a recliner chair and I got a warmed blanket.  Mmm, warmed blanket; the person getting his warm blanket on the other side of the curtain liked his, too.

2:10  Someone came in and tried to set an IV drip.  He had some problems getting the catheter into my right arm, the catheter kept bumping up against the valves in my veins.  I felt it as a pressure in my right pinkie.   After two tries, he was going to try to do a vein in my hand, but switched to my left arm.   During all this time, the radio was tuned to an 80's station, so David Bowie was singing "Let's Dance."

We chatted about computer security and I explained that I was a writer and asked him about saline solution and dextrose (research!).  

2:25 The assistant come in and said what was going to happen.  I said I wanted to be able to watch the video of the procedure and could I have some light sedation instead of the full Magic Carpet Ride.  

2:30 Everything happened kind of fast.  I got out of the recliner, held my IV bag over my head and followed the assistant into the operating room.   I figured out which monitor to look at.  They had me lay on my left side and hug the fence on that side of the operating bed.  My doctor and I chatted, and I said I was feeling better, and that I thought the problem was in fact a pulled muscle.  

The lights dimmed a little, and at one point I felt a little dizzy, but the various drugs hadn't been administered, yet.  Maybe the saline and dextrose were doing something, or maybe the fact that I hadn't eaten anything solid for thirty-six hours.   

I'd kind of wanted to see what the scope looked like, but really, before I knew it it was in and the show had begun.  I was expecting the scope's entry to be more painful, but they must be smaller than I heard.  Every so often, I'd feel like a pressure in my gut, but then it would stop.  So I watched the camera.

I wasn't expecting the structure of my colon to look so convoluted.  There were many reddish flaps, and an occasional vein.  The camera had a little water squirter, and every now and the the doctor would water-clean a crevasse where some yellowish goop had collected.  Apparently there were some seeds, but I'm not sure how they would have gotten there ... unless they came in on crackers.  I remember him saying at one point that he'd fed in four feet of cable.  

Apparently, the whole procedure from camera insertion to withdrawal took ten minutes.  It felt more like five.  I think I said, "That's it?"

I don't' recall at any time getting loopy or losing consciousness.  I didn't have a vision of The Goddess or anything.  The room sort of spun at one point, and it was hard to track the video because they were spinning a little -- but it didn't feel any different than a really strong tequila drink (or two) does.  OK.  Actually... I can't quite recall how I got out of procedure room and into the waiting area.  After thinking about it for a moment, I didn't walk out... so I think I must have been rolled out on the operating bed.

Mark and The Child were suddenly there.  I don't quite recall how long I was sitting in the recovery area.  I also don't recall any music playing.  The assistant stopped by and said that I had to fart a lot to get rid of the air they'd pumped inside me (Really?  Mark had warned me about the air pumping, but I don't' recall that happening at all).

The doctor came out with a printout of the results and some pictures.  No polyps!  Yay!  Some diverticuli, but everyone has that, and they're not inflamed or anything.  He said that I was "chatty."  (It was research.)  Same time, next decade!

3:30 PM  The nice assistant helped take some of the tape off my arms.  I wished I still had Versed because the tape pulling the hair out of my arms really hurt.

The Child was, I think, a little disappointed that I wasn't saying really loopy things.   I guess if I'd had a greater dosage of Versed, it would have been a different story.  Mark led me out of the medical center, which was a good thing, because I wasn't exactly steady on my feet.

Riding the car was kind of fun,because I had a slight case of the spins.  

I didn't realize it at the time, but my short-term memory was messed up, because I can't quite recall how we got home.... although Mark and I were talking about how not getting a huge dosage of medicines was probably a good thing in the long run.  

4 PM  Back at home.  I don't' feel loopy so much as a little dizzy and tired.  I've had some apple sause, ice cream, some rye crackers and a granola fruit bar.  Editing this, it looks like I have a mild case of Inappropriate Capitalization.

5 PM:  I thought I would just surf the net, but I finally gave in to sleepiness and took a nap.

6:30  At some more real food.

8 PM:  Took a bath.  Looked at my right arm; my elbow is bruised and I probably look like a drug addict.  My left elbow is fine.

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