Colonoscopy & Endoscopy: Far from horrifying

Last Thursday was my first colonoscopy and endoscopy and it really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I was imagining it to be horrifying based on what people told me about the process of cleaning your bowel before the procedure. I’d also had minor scopes done before without any pain relief and it was extremely uncomfortable.

I’m very sensitive to taste and smell so I was nervous about drinking 4 liters of Colyte to flush my system. Having it chilled definitely helped but I was shocked I could stomach it all. I drank it in big gulps to try and get as much in as possible every time. Because of the timing, I had to begin drinking it at 5:30am and after about 30-60 min, I was in the restroom a lot. There were periods where I’m confident I couldn’t go longer than 10 minutes without needing to go.

It was difficult to take the dogs for a walk because the feeling of needing to go would happen so suddenly and once the feeling was there, it was almost uncontrollable. I was even nervous to get in the car to drive to the procedure because I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to go without needing the restroom.

Something that was surprising to me was the lack of stomach pain. If you’ve ever taken a laxative before, you’ve likely experienced the sharp stomach pains that can come with the bowel movements. Sometimes it can be unbearable. Even though I was needing to go to the restroom worse than ever in my life, there was no pain or discomfort involved.

Just before the procedure, the anesthesiologist said I may wake up during the procedure and not to worry, that he’d put me back to sleep. This kind of freaked me out because I would hate to wake up in the middle of any procedure. Thankfully, I didn’t wake up and the whole thing only took about 90 minutes.

This was my 5th time going under anesthesia and the 1st that I wasn’t going through rehab nor was on painkillers after. This was weird to me. Since I had been put under, I couldn’t drive for 12 hours but I honestly felt completely normal after about 45 minutes. The rest of the night, I kept expecting to have some level of discomfort or pain and it just was just a normal Thursday night. Because of this, I can imagine it would be hard for some people not to drive for the 12 hours after in which you’re instructed not to. Thankfully, I live somewhere driving isn’t necessary and my best friend picked me up and lives less than a mile from me so getting her to help out seemed burdenless.

If you need to have a colonoscopy and/or endoscopy and are putting it off like I was, it’s not as bad as you think. Just do it.

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