After the usual paperwork, I was taken back to be readied for the procedure. Clad in a backless hospital gown, I laid down on an operating table. The nurse took my vitals (all good, thanks to cycling no doubt) and hooked me up to oxygen and a blood pressure cup and a pulse taking gizmo. (When your pulse is lower than your age, your in good shape and getting old.) The doctor came in, stinking of gin. Just kidding.
The anesthesiologist sat near my head and introduced himself. I promptly forgot his name. Today I would be getting the celebrity anesthetic Propofol. (This is what Michale Jackson od'ed on.) Dr. McCone, the man with the plan - and the scope - came up from behind. He introduced himself and after some small talk, and an injection of Propofol, I blanked out.
I was having some pretty good dreams. It seemed like I was out for hours, but the whole procedure takes only 15 minutes. In my case, a little longer since the good doctor found two very small polyps. As he said, odds are they are nothing to worry about, but left alone they could have become cancerous. (Eek, the "c'" word.)
My wife drove me home and I went to sleep for a couple of hours. I woke up and ate breakfast. I'm still a tad off - mostly from the persistent gurgle in my gut. That will go away with a couple of meals.
I go back in a few weeks to get the official pathology results. I won't be surprised if Dr. McCone puts me on a more frequent schedule than every five years. No complaints here.
So for those of you who shy away from this sort of thing, here's some advice from the Rootchopper Institute of Fluid Dynamics and Cancer Prevention:
- If you have a family history of colon cancer and you are over the age of 40, get a colonoscopy. If your doctor says no, get another doctor, and get a colonoscopy. If you're younger than 40, talk to you doctor about one. If you don't have a family history, and you're over the age of 50, bend over! You should have one, too!
- Yes, the prep sucks but it's only one day. (I know colon cancer patients who had repeated colonoscopies. They have it bad. You don't. Deal.)
- The procedure sounds awful but it doesn't hurt at all. Not one bit. No pain. Big gain.
- It isn't embarrassing. Okay, a little but what do you care? You'll be unconscious. Try being a doctor who does this all day. Seriously, Dr. McCone and his staff are superb, professional, and experienced. I know he's been doing colonoscopies for at least ten years because he did one on me in 2002 and another in 2007.
- It isn't expensive. With my insurance, it cost me $40. And I didn't have a Groupon. I don't know what it would cost you, but colon cancer is a killer. I'm pretty sure it's a lot cheaper (and a whole lot less depressing) than a funeral. As Norman Chad says, "Pay the man, Shirley,"
As for me, I will spend the remainder of the day eating and napping. Tomorrow I plan on eating and reading as it pours buckets outside. Sunday morning, the Sequoia and I are doing the Vasa ride, an event run by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the Swedish Embassy. At the end of the ride, I'm drinking some blueberry soup.