Drifting away like a feather in air,
Here comes the bowel prep, Boy, you’d better beware,
Once again stuck on that damn liquid diet,
Trips to the can the only workout I’ma get,
Proceed with care, Dear Reader, this could get ugly,
You’ll laugh and cringe, just as I did when I reminisced for this entry.
August 5, 2018
One day in July, shortly before I was hospitalized, I did some internet research on colonoscopies and what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Among the articles that I read I found one little piece of information that grabbed my attention; apparently, the preparation was a lot harder than the procedure itself and its aftermath. In fact, the person quoted went on to state that once the patient had overcome the prep everything else would be a breeze.
At the time I found that hard to believe. The idea of having a camera put into me to examine my bowels sure as hell didn’t seem like a breeze. However, my views would be violently challenged once it was time for my own preparation. But we’ll get to that a little later.
The next two days following my initial consultation with Dr. B were spent making the most of the limited amount of time that I had left to enjoy solid food before I was to once again take up another bullshit liquid diet regimen. The Friday was spent enjoying as much fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and all other foods that would soon be temporarily off-limits for me as I could while the Saturday was spent enjoying solid foods period. Now forbidden from eating high-fiber food, I decided to go out in style and turned that Saturday into an epic cheat day. In addition to the white grains, meat, eggs, dairy, strained fruits and vegetables, skinless root vegetables and spreads I also allowed myself chocolate and cake. My mother had also bought some meat pies during the week and I ate not one but TWO of those bad boys as an afternoon snack, much to my parents’ amusement.
Don’t judge me! I was going to be forced into another fucking liquid diet against my will the next day before undergoing an uncomfortable and invasive medical procedure. I earned this! Besides, it’s not a cheat day unless you go all-in.
But all good things have to come to an end, unfortunately.
I had breakfast on Sunday morning at 7am, two croissants with honey plus poached eggs and a hamburger patty, and from mid-day onwards the liquid diet began.
For the rest of the day I subsisted on various soups and broths cooked by my mother, plus orange-flavored jelly for dessert and large amounts of water and electrolytes. In a show of solidarity, my parents volunteered to undergo this liquid diet with me even though I pleaded with them not to, no one should have to do this shit unless they were under medical orders to do so.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The worst was yet to come.
Which brings us back to the bowel prep before the colonoscopy. As stated earlier, I still believed that the colonoscopy and its aftermath would be excruciating whereas some guy on the internet stated that the prep is where the real pain was. Come Sunday afternoon, my father started mixing two sachets’ worth of the formula that I had received from Dr. B’s clinic that was designed to give patients liquid diarrhea in order to clean out the bowels before the procedure. He mixed the formula with water in a rather tall jug and according to the instructions, once the formula had completely dissolved into the water I had to drink one glass’ worth every fifteen minutes within two hours until I had consumed the entire jug, followed by a few hours’ break before moving on to the remaining two sachets, also to be consumed in fifteen minute intervals within two hours. The formula was also orange-flavored so I assumed that it wouldn’t taste so bad. Hell, it couldn’t be any worse than having to survive on a liquid diet for a few days the way I did in the hospital a week ago.
Not so fast, tough guy!
Little did I know that I was about to eat – or should I say drink – my words. And boy, what a bad taste it would leave in my mouth!
I would have to wait two hours prior to drinking that formula. I poured some into a tall glass and took three deep breaths.
Here we go…..no turning back.
I held my breath and gulped it all down. Fifteen minutes later I drank another glass. And then another following another fifteen minute interval.
This isn’t so bad.
That being said, the stuff tasted horrible! The aftertaste in particular was disgusting.
After that third round, I sat down in the living room with my parents where they were watching season one of a TV series on DVD. I had just made myself comfortable on one of the chairs when I suddenly felt my bowel awaken. It was time for my first trip to the can.
I swear, I heard Michael Buffer shouting “LET’S GET READY TO RRRUUUMMMBLLLEEEE!!!!” in my mind at that moment!
I went straight to the toilet and fired away. As expected, there was blood but much to my surprise, not as much as what had become the norm. I cleaned myself up and returned to the living room. Fifteen minutes had elapsed since the last drink.
“Time for another round, Kid,” my father deadpanned.
And so I had another drink. Not long afterwards, it was time to return to the can and when I returned…..yes, you guessed it, it was time for another.
I was halfway into that jug when I began to feel stomach pains, similar to the type that one would experience after one too many slices of pizza in a single sitting. Drinking large amounts of liquid in fifteen minute intervals isn’t exactly a walk in the park and no amounts of sessions in the toilet shook off that feeling of being full. My parents sensed my distress.
“Are you ok?” asked Dad.
“I’m good,” I replied, masking my discomfort. These past few months of putting up with various symptoms and ailments had tempered my pain threshold and ability to withstand torture but those were about to be put to the test once more, some next level shit if you will.
My mother, who herself had undergone a colonoscopy a few years earlier, was quick to reassure me.
“You’ll be ok,” she said, “it’s normal to feel uncomfortable during the prep. That drink is designed to give you serious diarrhea.”
Ok, at least any pain I was feeling wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, I’ll take that.
I literally spent the next two hours drinking, shitting and walking around the living room in an attempt to dull any discomfort in my stomach. It worked for a while but once I was down to the last couple of glasses that little piece of information that I had read on the internet had shockingly come to life. This prep shit was fucking torture!
My father poured out the last glass for me, finally emptying that damn jug.
“Come on, drink it,” he ordered, “this is the last one.”
I gulped down the last of the formula and then once again went to the toilet. Much to my surprise, there was less and less blood in the stools with every trip to empty my bowels, which was a positive spin on an otherwise torturous prep. I was entitled to a few hours’ respite after finishing that first jug of formula, just in time for dinner. I was rather hungry despite feeling like an over-stuffed water balloon but I couldn’t say that my dinner was particularly appetizing.
Two types of soup as the main course and orange jelly for dessert. Man, I left this fucking liquid diet shit a week ago!
Nonetheless I lapped up two bowls’ worth of soup and had a small cup of that jelly. My father seemed to enjoy it much more than I did despite not being a big fan of sweets. That stuff was too sweet and tasted artificial.
I spent the next three hours after dinner up until the next round of bowel cleansing resting, mostly parked in front of the computer watching random Youtube videos, reading and pacing up and down the living room, anything I could to distract myself from this heavy feeling in my gut without over-exerting myself. The effects of that formula still persisted and so I still made regular trips to the toilet and those frequent trips eventually began to take their toll because each trip became more painful than the last, as though my rectum was becoming weary from cleaning up my bowels. Talk about experiencing ring of fire without having to overdose on spicy food first.
Soon, it was time to mix up the remaining two sachets of formula into another tall jug of water to continue the treatment, which my father and I did two hours before the next session. I felt queasy just looking at that shit dissolve in the water.
“Still two hours away, Son,” said Dad, “just relax for now.”
My stomach had finally settled and the toilet trips were beginning to wane. I was fine for the time being, but it was merely the calm before the next damn storm.
Before I knew it, 9pm rolled around and it was time to consume what was left of that fucking bowel cleanser. My father and I were watching Warrior, a mixed martial arts themed film, when I reluctantly got up from my seat and poured out the first glass of formula from that second jug.
“Don’t drink it all at once,” advised my Dad, “Take your time.”
I drank that glass in small gulps but was instantly assaulted by that vile taste and that sickening feeling in my stomach. Rather than sit back down I paced around the living room in an attempt to prevent any feelings of fullness in my stomach but it was no use.
Calm down, Boy. You’ll need to drink more of that shit in fifteen minutes’ time.
And not long after that first gulp, it was time to make a beeline for that toilet where I expelled more liquid waste. That burning sensation persisted but I was somewhat heartened by the fact that there didn’t seem to be any more blood. That brief feeling of victory, however, was shattered as soon as I walked out. Sitting on the kitchen table was another glass of that shit that my father had poured out.
Was I in the toilet for that fucking long!?
Yeah, I guess I was.
And so I gulped down that second glass. Then I went back to the toilet. Then I gulped down another glass. On and on that fucking vicious cycle went for the next two fucking hours, where any time spent not drinking was more or less spent shitting.
I missed a large portion of that movie due to those trips to the can. But at least I got to see all the fight scenes.
After about one hour of drinking I was just about ready to pack it in. That bloated, heavy feeling in my gut reached the point where I could do nothing other than sit on the couch groaning as I clutched my stomach like a knife attack victim. By now I felt as though I had swallowed one week’s worth of meals in one sitting and that sticking a pin into my mid-section would cause me to explode into a mess of flesh, blood and that damn formula. This was a new level of hell that my willpower and strength of mind hadn’t anticipated.
Dad took one look at my face and knew right away that I was distressed.
“Hang in there, son,” he said, “you’re halfway through the jug, this will be over soon.”
Just halfway through!? Aaarrgghh!!!!
My mother, who had been preparing for bed, walked into the living room to get a drink of water. She noticed me sitting on the couch, writhing about in pain while Dad rubbed my back trying to soothe me to no avail.
“I know it hurts, Son. I’ve been there too,” she said, “the cleansing is the hard part. After this the colonoscopy will be a breeze.”
There. She echoed the words from that article I read on the internet about how the prep is far worse than the procedure. Given the type of hell that I was going through I sure hoped that they were right.
I then turned to Dad, still grimacing in agony.
“Do you think it’ll be ok if I vomited?” I wondered. Yeah, it was THAT bad.
“No, Son,” he replied rather sternly, “keep it in there and let it exit through the rectum. You’re stronger than that.”
Easy for him to say that when he wasn’t going through this crap. But he was right.
I drank another glass and followed it up with another session on the throne. My once rather agile movements, unaffected by anaemia and possibly rejuvenated by the blood transfusion, were now reduced to heavyset waddling. I dragged myself to the toilet in complete pain, resisting the urge to regurgitate as I sat down on that porcelain throne and did my business.
By now the taste of that formula had escalated from nauseating to pure fucking rancid and the ring of fire burned harder than a bushfire in summer time. The previous weekend at the hospital was looking more and more bucolic in hindsight compared to this. Like a drunken reveler exiting a nightclub and stumbling out into the streets I made my way back to the sofa and plopped down, completely drained but still feeling heavy and sluggish, urging myself internally to keep it together.
This is nothing, Kid! You got this!
Then my father tried another remedy, one that seemed to work for a while during the difficult days of the past July; he massaged my feet. It was a good move as it took my mind off the stomach pain. The timing also was perfect as we had reached the climactic moment of the film that we were watching and I was treated to some rather intense MMA action. It temporarily took my mind off my own pain.
But that massage was of no help when it was time to drink again. During my next round I tried pacing about the room once again as I drank to ensure a smoother flow through my system, but the combination of feeling full and that disgusting taste continued to torment me. I had to sit back down after finishing that glass to ward off the feelings of nausea.
A few more glasses and toilet trips later I was down to the final glass. By now I had lost count of how many times I had to shit and I didn’t even bother counting the amount of glasses I drank. I could only marvel at how I was able to gulp down what seemed like a week’s worth of water mixed with that wretched bowel cleansing formula without popping, let alone throwing up. I didn’t even have a swollen belly to show for my efforts though my stomach sure as hell felt stuffed beyond its limits, I could no longer sit or stand up straight without feeling ill. I poured the last of that liquid into the glass and weakly toasted my father, who had poured himself a glass of milk. I never thought this moment would arrive.
Last one, Kid. Don’t you fucking blow it!
I held my breath and willed myself to gulp down the last of that formula, holding my arms aloft triumphantly after I slammed my glass back down on the table – and then promptly ran back into the toilet.
I can’t say that trying to sleep that night was smooth sailing. With that colonoscopy now less than twenty-four hours away the nerves had kicked in and I was still dealing with the effects of the formula. I went to the toilet at least seven times before I finally drifted off to sleep.
Damn, what a day!
Well, that was that. My bowel was now completely empty, although there might be a couple more sessions on the toilet upon waking up and I would be prohibited from eating or drinking anything until after the procedure. The hard part is done and dusted, now onto the main event……..