Rustlings (May , 2017)

YESTERDAY… was prep day. In the minds of most folk, the prep is worse than the procedure itself. While every physician tailors the preparatory regimen to their own specifications, none of the systems are unbearable. The preparation may be as simple as ‘one powerful pill’ that cleanses your digestive system in a matter of hours. The more common system involves products like Miralax. The patient is instructed to take a specified number of laxative pills. A couple of hours later, you start drinking Miralax. In my case, I drank four 8 oz. glasses at thirty-minute intervals. Hours later, I drank four more 8 oz. glasses at thirty-minute intervals. In between the pills and the Miralax, I drank clear liquids all day – no food – just clear liquids. This morning, I’m all clean inside!

TODAY… I will go to the medical center where the colonoscopy will be performed. A friend or family member will go with me. (I’m not allowed to drive after the light sedation.) I will lie on my side on a surgical table. A doctor (while I’m asleep) will use a camera to inspect my large intestine. If any polyps (abnormal growths) are present, they will be removed and subjected to biopsy – I will not feel a thing. I will wake up in less than an hour, get dressed and go home. I will be instructed to avoid alcohol and the operation of heavy machinery the rest of the day. (This is disappointing. I had planned on drinking a couple of beers and driving a bulldozer down Main Street Greenville today. I guess that won’t happen.) I will also be instructed to rest the remainder of the day; a wonderful side benefit of the procedure.

TOMORROW… it’s your turn! Colon cancer is one of the most curable cancers if detected early. It is also quite deadly when not detected. My biological mother died of colon cancer at the age of 44. Because of her early death, I’ve been subjected to this procedure every five years since I was 30 years old. Yesterday was my sixth. It’s no big deal… and nothing of which to be afraid. I’m not a medical professional – and I’m not attempting to give medical advice – but if you are over 50 years old and have not had an opportunity to enjoy this wonderful experience (okay, overstated), talk to your doctor. If you feel a tinge of fear with regard to the procedure, set your anxieties aside. There’s no reason to be scared… to death.

— Jim