Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just a day at the spa

In a sharp contrast to my daily dose of being undermined, mistrusted and denigrated, I took the subway yesterday morning down to St. Mike's gastroenterology department, checked in with a friendly, calm receptionist, then sat with a magazine and waited for my colonoscopy.

I got summoned by a very polite student volunteer (wearing a T-shirt that said "Student Volunteer"), who led me to the changeroom and showed me my locker in the manner of someone welcoming to a spa treatment. He handed me my gowns - you get to double gown, so no bare bumbie. After I changed, I was shown to a Lazyboy chair and a nurse, who introduced herself and told me about St. Mike's international reputation for treating the kind of stuff I was being tested for. First though, she noticed I looked cold, so brought me a heated blanket. Nice.

After she stuck the IV thingie in my hand (it hurt), she led me to another Lazyboy chair, which was where she tucked me in to wait for
my procedure, and told me I could nap if I wanted to. It was a long wait, but I was very comfy, and the Olympics were on the tv in front of me, so I got to watch synchro diving team Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda. They came in 5th (sigh), but it was pleasant just reclining there under a blanket with no obligations.

Then I was interviewed in my comfy chair by one of the dr's assitants. I totally forget his actual title, but he introduced himself, and after the
symptom & medical history questions, chit-chatted with me about my son, etc. I had oxygen & a sedative during the procedure - I fought the sedative as best I could - I wanted to watch the monitor - and so I got to see the whole thing, which was very cool. Another benefit of watching was I saw for myself that they didn't find anything. A benefit of the sedative is that you feel pretty darn relaxed.

The first thing they'd find - if they were to find anything during this screening - would be a polyp, which is pre-pre-cancer. And had they found one, they would h
ave remove it right then and there. In short, in means you probably won't get that cancer, if you get screened once very five years and have polps removed. They catch the trouble before it starts.

I got tons of praise from the four (I think) people in the room for being relaxed and not fussing about the discomfort. So, gleaning from that, I understand it
can be uncomfortable, and if I had felt any pain, I definitely would have squawked about it.

Then we were done, and I was told - again - what a great job I did (how I've been longing to hear those words!), and that I was completely and totally clear of any polyps. A new nurse rolled me on my soft comfy bed over to recovery, where I was instructed to sleep and feel free to toot (they didn't actually say "toot").

Two hours later I woke up, and a very chipper nurse brought me cookies and ginger ale. After she determined I was okay to go, I changed, greeted my hub and boy, and went with my boy to find the doctor so I could check out. He again praised me for being so relaxed and said he wished all his patients were like me. Jee
z! I mean, I've been feeling like I'm some sort of scourge whenever I have any dealings with my boss, I was almost in shock with all this nicey-nice talk from the doc, who may say all this stuff to all his patients - possible, because he really was nice. Then he gave my son a chocolate (with my permission), and off we went.

I was hungry, so hub and boy agreed we should go to Swi$$ Ch^le+, and so we did. A pretty darn good day, all told.

I'm glad I had the screening. I was dreading it, but I would not object to doing it annually if I had to -- it's really not that bad. I did need to be tested: I've go
t family with various related problems, which is why my GP booked me for it, plus I felt I should do it for personal reasons. My old mentor has colorectal cancer, one of my best friends has lost her sister and brother in law to colon cancer, and a friend's mom has battled it twice. Plus Katie Couric did it on TV - and good for her for doing that it reassured me that it couldn't be too mortifying. And in fact, it really was not embarrassing at all.

When I woke up on Tuesday morning - the morning before the screening - I was practically paralyzed with anxiety, facing my performance review with my b*ss cum borg drone, and then an evening with Kleen Prep. I was so anxious I couldn't eat lunch. And I wasn't supposed to eat after lunch - they want you to have an empty stomach before you start cleaning yourself out. Anyway, my performance review went okay. I came into it prepared with proactive plans for all of her previous criticisms and pointed out all the stuff I was already doing. Plus I reminded her that in-depth industry knowledge had not been a qualification for my job, but since it appeared that she now required it of me (actually demanded it), then I would need help in the form of courses.

I felt pretty satisfied about the meeting and once I got back to my desk, I was so bloody relieved I could've put my head down on my desk and fallen asleep. Turns out I was about a billion times more anxious about my review than I was about having a colonoscopy. Then, the colonscopy day turned out to be pretty good. Way better than a day at the frigging salt mine, that's for sure. And that's gotta change.

Colonoscopy prep notes:
The prep - which cleans you out the evening before the screening, as well as the morning of - is unpleasant, but not horrible; I expected the Kleen-prep would make me feel horribly sick, but it didn't. I had a stack of magazines, and highly recommend People's "Child Stars, Then & Now" -- it's perfect for an evening on the throne. You have to drink a cup of the stuff every 10 minutes until you "run clear". The only big deal about it is that you cannot leave the throne until, well, you can leave the throne. So the trip downtown had to be carefully timed for after the running stopped, which was about 2 1/2 hrs in total.

Photo:
Our sunflowers, which Char
lie planted back in April. I love 'em; they're so freaky.

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