Dave Barry’s Colonoscopy Journal

A friend of mine emailed me one of those humorous things, this time it was Dave Barry’s article on the experience of having a colonoscopy. Apparently, everybody posts these all over the place; go have a read at the link if not a few hundred other webpages with the essay.

I tried to read it aloud to Diane and was reduced to incoherent bouts of laughing several times. The primary experience Dave relates is the day-before cleanout and its inherent horrors, which Dave turns into light humor. Here’s where Dave talks about the colonoscopy itself:

If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling ‘Dancing Queen, Feel the beat of the tambourine,’ and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.

I think that holds for most people, especially when slightly out of shape people prone to a bit of hypertension go get a coloconoscopy. OK, so I’m slightly out of shape myself, but my blood pressure is a bit on the low end of normal, so the last couple of times I had a colonoscopy, you can erase the bits about the anesthesiologist obligingly making the world go away during the main event. That’s right, I could fill you in on the part Dave could not, but a mere five years remove is not yet enough to turn the recollection humorous. So the one positive benefit one can get from high blood pressure is assurance that they would have little reservation at knocking you out for a colonoscopy, and a positive benefit of total colectomy, like I had, is that I never need another colonoscopy, especially one without anesthesia.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

8 thoughts on “Dave Barry’s Colonoscopy Journal

  • 2008/07/20 at 9:05 am
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    I was concious for mine, though in a sort of drunken state where I babbled at the med team. But I do recall watching the insides of my colon on the monitor, though. For a science geek, very cool ;-).

  • 2008/07/20 at 11:59 am
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    The view wasn’t distracting enough one time and the monitor was out of my sight-line the other. Maybe I should have slugged back a double-dose of ethanol self-anesthesia shortly before the procedure, but I guess I had been hopeful that I could talk them into sedation anyway at the time of the procedure.

  • 2008/07/21 at 1:29 pm
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    if you enjoyed colonoscopy, you’d love a pantopaque myelogram [a particularly unpleasant variety of spinal tap]

  • 2008/07/21 at 9:38 pm
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    That article was hysterical! I have to get colonoscopies usually every 2-3 years (due to pre-cancerous polyps). At least they have made it a much more comfortable procedure than when I started. The only nasty thing you have to drink is the phospho-soda, and it’s in 2 very small bottles, about 4 ounces, I think. The anesthesia is much better also– you fall asleep instantly and wake up instantly, feeling fine. (although you still aren’t allowed to drive that day).

  • 2008/07/22 at 9:39 am
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    Knocked out is the only way I roll on this kind of stuff. I recommend it to all.

  • 2008/07/23 at 7:29 am
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    The doc told me about his experience before I went in. It seems afterward he went home and went jogging. The trick is he “woke up” in the middle of the jog and didn’t know how he got there.

    What happened to me is I remember getting set up on the table and suddenly my wife was there in the recovery room. I looked surprised and said “Your here!” She looked stunned and said I had been talking to her and the doctor for 15-20 minutes.

  • 2008/07/25 at 8:04 pm
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    As a well experienced colonoscoper (I think that’s the term for one who’s received a colonoscopy), I must say that the cleansing and sedation drugs have greatly improved.

    Nonetheless, I must express the need for a seatbelt on the toilet, or you will find yourself in the asteroid field between Earth and Mars.

  • 2008/08/21 at 8:29 pm
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    I would think the correct term would be “colonoscopee”.

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