How to Prepare for Your Colonoscopy in 300 Easy Steps:
A Parody Based on an Actual Instruction Packet
Nothing contained herein constitutes medical advice. If you sue me, I will counter-sue you for imbecility. That’s a real crime. Or it should be.
A colonoscopy is an exam of your colon (large intestine). Your doctor will use a Colonoscope (ass camera) to see the inside of your colon on a video monitor. There will be a roomful of people watching. It’s like a sex tape for weird motherf*ckers.
Follow these prep instructions carefully. It is very important that your colon is empty for your colonoscopy. If there is stool inside your colon, your doctor will tell you that your prep was bad and that it was “kind of gross.” Then you’ll have to repeat the entire prep, which is akin to sitting through a 41-hour soccer tournament in the rain in November, in which your kid only plays one-half of one game, and then doing it all over again.
Arrange for someone to take you home
You must have someone 18 years or older take you home after your procedure. If you think your mom is going to show up, surprise, she’s not. She will send her housekeeper in her place. Luckily, your mom’s housekeeper is a lovely woman who will only ask 11 times if the doctors gave you Propofol during the procedure because, “That’s what killed Michael Jackson.”
The day before your procedure
- Prepare your bowel preparation
On the morning of the day before your procedure, God created man. Wait, no, that’s not right. It’s: On the morning of the day before your procedure, mix all 238 grams of the heinous white powder (white death) we gave you with 64 ounces of a room temperature clear liquid until the white death dissolves. You may feel like you’re on an episode of Breaking Bad but, in reality, you’re on an episode of You’ve Got Family History. Once the white death is dissolved, you can put the mixture of death in the refrigerator. Many people find it tastes better chilled. So, instead of tasting like death, it tastes like chilled death.
- Follow a clear liquid diet
You will need to follow a clear liquid diet the day before your procedure. Examples of clear liquids are listed below. It’s way worse than you think.
Don’t eat anything red, purple, or orange. Yes, that means you’ll have to get that putrid yellow sports beverage. Beverages shouldn’t be salty and sweet. That’s why God created Snickers.
Examples of clear liquids:
Soups: You may drink any soup you’d like. Psych! Just clear broth, bouillon, or consommé. You will know that it’s one of those because it will have no texture or flavor, and it will leave an oily residue on your tongue. It will also taste vaguely of the way dead animals smell. Every time you swallow, you will picture a carcass in the Serengeti with vultures circling.
Sweets: You may eat any sweets you’d like, as long as you won’t enjoy them. So, basically, Jell-O.
Drinks: You may drink any drinks you’d like, as long as they’re not satisfying. So, clear fruit juices, clear sodas, tea, black coffee, sports drinks, and water.
- Note the time of your procedure
A staff member from the site where you’re having the procedure will call you after 11:00am the day before your procedure to tell you what time to arrive for your procedure. If you ever hear the word procedure after this day, you will have a PTSD episode. You will suggest that the staff member should just call it an ass exam instead of a procedure. He or she won’t laugh. Or maybe no one will call you with your arrival time at all, and you’ll have to call them to get the time of your ass exam, in addition to starving yourself to death and taking care of your children. Because why should anyone else do his or her own job.
- Start your bowel preparation
Step 1: Take 2 laxative pills at 4:00 pm by mouth on the day before your procedure. We have to say “by mouth” because idiots abound.
Step 2: Drink the mixture of death
At 4:15 pm, drink one 8-ounce glass of the mixture. Repeat every 15 minutes for a total of four times over the course of one hour. As you drink the mixture, your entire body will convulse. Try not to vomit. If you vomit, you will have to start this whole medieval torture project over. Debate whether you should take anti-nausea medication, which is constipating (the opposite of the goal of this entire exercise). Debate whether you should take migraine medication, because you now have a migraine from dehydration caused by ingesting so much white death. What if you throw up the migraine medication? Can you take more? Make a mental note to hire a live-in doctor when this is all over. Which it might never be.
When you’ve finished drinking the four cups, save the rest of the mixture of death in the refrigerator for the second half of your prep. Surprise! There are eight cups total. Something to look forward to.
Over the course of the next 3-4 hours, your abdomen will expand and your body will emit strange noises that remind you of the time you poured Dran-o into your clogged sink. Lie down in a quiet place. Oh, you have kids? Hmmm…
Bowel movements (explosive, liquid diarrhea) usually begin within one hour of drinking the mixture of death.
Apply petroleum jelly to the skin around your anus after every bowel movement. This helps prevent irritation (just of the anus; there’s no way to prevent general life irritation). Try to say anus out loud without laughing.
At 11:00 pm, just after you’ve finally fallen asleep with an ice pack on your head and a barf bag next to your bed, wake up to take two more laxative tablets and drink the second half of the mixture of death. Rock back and forth on the toilet as your intestines continue to cramp, your stomach tries to eat itself, and things emerge from your body that are so disgusting, you might never eat again. Maybe this is the diet you’ve been waiting for your whole life? FYI: not worth it. Stay up until 3:00 am, shitting yourself. Weigh yourself, because what else can you do at this hour? You’ve lost 3 pounds! Fall asleep. Wake up at 4:40 am with your toddler. Debate whether you should just flee the country while everyone else sleeps.
What to bring with you to your procedure
- Your rescue inhaler, if you have one (does not bode well)
- Your Health Care Proxy form, if you have completed one (also does not bode well)
What to expect
Once you arrive, you will be asked to state your name and date of birth many times. This is for your own safety. People with the same or similar names may be having procedures on the same day. Remember the guy who had his good foot amputated? This is kind of how we prevent that from happening. P.S. If your parents gave you a really wackadoo name, this is going to be one of those times that you’ll resent them, because you’ll have to spell your name 50 times and then answer questions about its origin, all after not having eaten for 41 hours.
When it’s time to change for your procedure, you will get a hospital gown (opens to the back and is nearly impossible to close), robe (negative), and nonskid socks to wear. Once you’ve gone to the bathroom a few times with the gown open in the back and many people watching you, you will have lost the ability to be embarrassed. P.S. If you’re a woman who’s given birth, don’t fret. It’s all been seen already.
You will meet with your doctor before your procedure. He or she will ask you to sign a consent form. Don’t read it! It says that you might die, among other things.
Once it’s time for your procedure, you will be brought into the procedure room. You will lie on your left side with your knees bent (and wonder, “Shit, when’s the last time I had a Brazilian?”). You will wonder what the peanut gallery is going to say about you while you sleep. You will quickly fall asleep due to the most amazing drugs you have ever had, and those three seconds while you’re dozing off might be the best three seconds of your life.
You will awaken in recovery and want to go back to sleep for a year. People will be talking to you, and you will answer them, but you will basically still be asleep. Finally, you will get dressed and leave with your mother’s housekeeper. She is like the person breaking you out of jail, and you will love her forever.
You will eat your first bite of real food in 41 hours. You will immediately gain back the three pounds you lost. Sucka!
And that’s it. You made it.
In sum, it’s a miserable experience. But, now that I’ve made it sound terrible, it won’t be as bad when it happens to you. I’ve managed your expectations. You’re welcome.
All joking aside, I am grateful that I am able to have a colonoscopy. They really do save lives. Please have one if your doctor prescribes it!