Earlier this month, I had my annual colonoscopy, which I guess to be my one-hundred millionth. Maybe that’s why they went back-to-back with an endoscopy as if I had won some kind of scope lottery. I figure I’m a pro at this point, with bragging rights to the early 90’s hospital prep, when the nurses would walk into your room where you’re watching Ghost and episodes of the new dreamy George Clooney ER show, and dump gallons of tepid prep on your bedside table like they’re carting barrels of crude oil around.
Thankfully times have changed. Prep has gotten better. Not good, mind you. Better. It’s all about those little doses of perspective.
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
The first rule of the game is to closely monitor your fluid intake. Two colonoscopies back, I prided myself on working a full day prior to the procedure day, driving three hours to where my doctor’s office is, and flying through the prep. I had a later appointment at 11:30 a.m. the next morning, and by the time I crawled onto the bed for an IV, my always ultra-thin veins had virtually disappeared from dehydration. Mind you I normally have to ask for butterfly needles, and they were insisting on regular ones. After the seventh attempt and my veins shrinking up even further in horror, I started crying and the nurse pitifully said they may have to start trying my feet. Thankfully, a passing anesthesiologist was pulled into my room for assistance, and he got ‘er did. Lesson: my dears, never think you’ve had enough fluids to drink. Always, always drink more. Don’t forget the morning-of cut-off time for your fluid intake!
4. But Not Gatorade!!!
Because of that horrific experience, this year I drank so much Gatorade in a vain attempt (pun intended) to be fully hydrated that the massive amount of salt and sugar took on my body like an MIA fighter. My blood pressure shot through the roof. As I started the Movi-Prep I began projectile vomiting everywhere. Never again, Gatorade, never again. I’ll take my Sprite and water, no thank you very much. Lesson: An occasional clear Gatorade is fine, but don’t drink a 6-pack.
3. Go Early
I’m not a morning person. To the degree that in lieu of having to get up in the middle of the night for round two of prep, I used to schedule my appointment where the “wake-up and prep” alarm didn’t go off until 7 a.m. or later. Bad move. The longer you wait for your procedure, the more likely your body will end up dehydrated and just plain weak. See # 1 and 2! I now opt for an early morning procedure; after all, you’ll sleep it off during the procedure and ensuing snoozies that set in later that day! Lesson: The early bird finishes the whole ordeal sooner!
2. Clear the Calendar
I don’t know about you, but I’m particularly sensitive to going under anesthesia. I try to book my procedure for a Friday morning then take the weekend to rest and recover. Also, lesson learned: many insurance companies will only cover a procedure, unless the doctor orders otherwise, for 365 days plus one day after your previous procedure. I made the mistake of inching forward in the fall to this year having one right around Thanksgiving. Not ideal! Try to plan best you can. The holidays are stressful enough without having to deal with prep and recovery on top of decorating, shopping and preparing!
1. Carve Your Own Path
These tips have worked for me, but everyone has to carve their own path. As with anything in life, you have to find what works for you and stick with it. Share with the Crohn’s / IBD community. We can all help each other get through life one step at a time.
Written by Jamie from Crohnie Travels. Visit her blog for inspirational tips about traveling with Crohn’s and much more!