This is the year to conquer fear. In keeping with my 2013 New Year’s resolution, I plan to do at least one thing that I’m afraid to do each month this year. January’s scary thing was asking for a job.February’s was getting a biopsy on that weird thing on my tongue. March’s scary thing was getting back up. April’s, Public Speaking. And now we’re at the dreaded colonoscopy.
I’d been having…symptoms. Symptoms best left between my doctor and me. A few years ago, when it started, the doctor told me that I needed a colonoscopy. I overheard my husband, John, explain this procedure to our pastor over the phone. He said, “It’s something where they put a camera up her…um…um… In her colon.” No, thank you. I’d live with it, I decided. And I did for a few years.
Since this is the year to conquer fear, I decided it was time. Now they wanted to put a camera down my throat as well as up my um-um, but I would be asleep for the whole thing. In the past, I have not reacted well to anesthesia (nothing life-threatening, I just freak out a little), but the doctor assured me they have a new kind that doesn’t leave any lingering impairment when you wake up. “You’ll wake up feeling as though you had a nice nap, and you’ll go out to breakfast on the way home,” he told me. I didn’t. My mother told me, “It’s the stuff that killed Michael Jackson.” Thanks, Mom.
Read Elizabeth Wehman’s Colonoscopy: Need I Say More?
We only have one bathroom, so John and the kids vacated the house for prep day. Is it pathetic that I enjoyed the quiet, drinking chemicals and sitting on
the john the toilet? I might need to get out more.
Dressed only in a hospital gown and socks, I waited in a little cold room. The anesthesiologist walked in and said, “You’re allergic to eggs?” (no hello).
“Yes,” I answered.
He cocked his head, sizing me up, and asked, “What happens if you eat eggs?”
Did this guy think I was lying? “My throat closes and I die.”
He waited several seconds, then perked up, “Can you eat cake?”
Is this a party? “No,” I answered.
He said, “OK, so that’s a real allergy.”
Why would I lie about that? Because of the egg allergy, I would not be getting the wonder anesthesia that killed the King of Pop. He injected me with something else instead.
I woke to the sound of my own voice–crying, bawling, wailing. John held my hands. A woman said, “Kathryn? Kathryn?” until I paused. Then, “Are you in pain?”
Without opening my eyes, I took stock. “I have a headache,” I answered.
She asked, “Do you have pain anywhere else?”
“Then why are you crying?”
I started crying again. “Because I feel weeeeird!” I wailed.
John told her, “She’s OK. This is how she comes out of anesthesia.” He was right. He’d seen it a few times. In my defense, it is an unpleasant feeling.
The woman raised her voice over my blubbering, “Have you been able to pass gas?” So rude! I paused again, opened my eyes and looked at my husband’s face. In front of my husband? “You can’t leave here until you pass gas,” she said. No one had ever said that to me before.
John laughed. He told me, “You have to do it. Doctor’s orders.” He was enjoying this more than he should. I scrunched my eyes closed and howled at the indignity of it all.
“Don’t tell anyone!” I demanded.
He chuckled. I think he might have told someone.
They found the cause of my symptoms: a slight hiatal hernia. The doctor told me not to work out too hard after meals. Done. (He didn’t even need to add the “after meals” part.) He also said to avoid chocolate. So I’m not looking at it when I eat it.
It’s done! Now I need something scary to do in June. Any suggestions?