Boomers Face the Big Test: Colonoscopy a go go!
By T. Myers
It was very disconcerting to have my physician refer me for a colonoscopy. It made perfect sense, but I was honestly not ready for my first anal probe- no matter what the South Park kids joked about! Knowing that my own mom had colon cancer didn’t make it any easier. The entire thing was scary and weird and I just did not want to go through with it.
What does a good reporter do when facing the unknown? I researched, talked to friends and tried to put myself in a more enlightened position to prepare myself for the actual procedure. Armed with my internet research, some horror stories from people who had already completed the test and my camera and notebook, I took on the experience as a way to teach others who were yet to succumb to the inevitable procedure and set out to make my colonoscopy a ‘pioneering adventure.’
I picked up a gallon jug full of special colonoscopy salts a few days before my test. Following the directions on the bottle and a few encouraging words from the local pharmacist, I mixed the appropriate amount of water into the big jug and prepared to drink several ounces of the lemony, salty liquid every ten minutes through most of the evening before my test. By the time I finished half the bottle, I was upchucking about half of what I was supposed to be drinking. (I am not used to having that much liquid- 3.5 liters- at one time.) I waited an hour and resumed the ritual until it was all gone. Then I went to sleep, waking up in time to go to work in the morning hours. A friend drove me into the clinic where I checked in at the counter an hour before the procedure. I told my friend to go shopping and to pick me up in a couple of hours. In the meantime, the admission ladies checked me in, making it official.
I was called into the pre-surgery area by a nice nurse and taken back to a curtained room. By this time I was pretty wound up from the idea of something scary and the fact that I was focused on taking chronicling the event. I was asked to change into a hospital gown and then a nurse, who told me she would be with me through the process, came and got my IV in. I was hooked up to a bag of fluids that equalized my electrolytes. They also brought me a hot blanket to wrap me up with warmth. I waited- alone and thinking for half an hour or more and I listened to the other nervous first timers around the holding area, as they visited with their nurses. When it was time for me to go into the surgery, I was wheeled in to a cool room and my surgeon, Dr. Buzzas and his tech assistant told me what they were going to do and my nurse administered the Propofol. (Yes, I was MILKED). I know that during the procedure, they insert a hose and blow air into the colon and then they work through the colon from bottom to top. If they find a polyp, the doctor removes it and cauterizes the site until everything has been examined. The polyps are sent to a lab for testing for cancer and then they become part of the report you get in your follow-up visit. I remember nothing, but, I woke up very quickly and was completely ready to go get lunch! My friend waited while I dressed. Two weeks later I got a good report and I was asked to come back in five years for the next one. Yippee!
Dr. G. Rodney Buzzas is a Bend surgeon who specializes in the colonoscopy and general surgical procedures. Buzzas works in Bend out- patient clinics and St Charles Hospital. Thanks to the people who helped me survive at Bend Surgery Center: Kandis Shockey and Paula Prince at check-in and admissions, Lori Hasson for taking me into the holding room to prepare for the procedure, Dr. Buzzas and his assistant, Mark McCready, the operating room Endoscopy Tech and the anonymous nurse who stayed on the Propofol drip while I was under!
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