I am sitting on the toilet as I type this. (I've always wanted to write that. Alas, it is untrue. I am at my desk with my pants primly tied at the waist.)
I left work yesterday at 4 p.m. It was the worst kind of day to have to leave early and sign off for 36 straight hours, but isn't that always the way? In this forever connected world, it was hard to explain to my colleagues exactly why I wouldn't be available via phone or email at all, ever, for an entire day. I told a few the truth. Now I know what to say the next time I'm at a party, stuck talking to someone I don't like.
When I got in the cab to come home, I started crying. By the time I got home, I was sobbing hysterically, inconsolably, like a child who has just learned her doggie was run over in the middle of the street. I can't quite explain why I have been dreading this so much, but let's just say that's a matter for my therapist and me to work on over the next 20 sessions. Jeff gave me a big bear hug. "I don't want to give myself non-stop diarrhea!" I sobbed. "People in Hollywood pay good money for this," he reminded me.
I changed into what I now fondly think of as my Pooping Suit. That consists of drawstring sweatpants in a dark color (just in case...), a tee shirt from Hawaii -- that happy place Tiffany recommended I draw upon -- a zip-front hoodie, and some fuzzy slippers. I also put my hair in a ponytail and took off all my rings -- the better to deftly pull open the bathroom door, turn on the lights and fan, and pull down my pants, all within what I like to think of as the Safety Zone -- the time between "uh-oh" and, well, you know.
I lined up my clear liquids in a row on the kitchen counter. Gatorade. Water, in a 16-ounce container -- my measuring stick for each dose. Apple juice. (Am I the only pre-colonoscopy patient who wondered if organic unfiltered apple juice qualifies as a clear liquid? To be sure, I strained it. Twice. Then I poured it in a glass and held it up to the light. Could I see my fingers wiggling behind the glass? No. DISCARD! Over to apple juice choice #2, organic from concentrate. Overly sweet, but oh well.)
Then I sat Jeff down and explained to him where we'd need to go today, and at what time. I gave him the lab number so he can check on my progress -- you know, in case he wants to go out for a spot of lunch while I am being anally probed -- and ensured I had phone numbers in my purse for my Plan B, C, and D rides (in case Jeff woke up with a migraine today and couldn't go with me).
At precisely 5 p.m. I took my first dose. I am such a dork that I actually reset the timer on the microwave before I took the pills, lest the accuracy of the schedule be thrown off by the time it would take me to swallow 4 horse pills and a gallon of liquid. (16 ounces. Whatever.) Once I finished my bottle of water, I measured out another 16 ounces of liquid -- sometimes Gatorade, sometimes apple juice. Every 15 minutes for an hour, I repeated the procedure.
The literature said that the pooping would start within 1-3 hours of finishing the regimen. Ever the overachiever, I was enjoying quality time in the bathroom well before I finished my 4th dose. By 6 p.m. the games had begun in earnest. I clocked myself -- I was in the bathroom every 5-10 minutes for the first 2 hours. I puttered around the house, doing chores in short increments. I'd fold a shirt, two towels, and ball up a pair of socks and then make a mad dash for the bathroom. Then it slowed to every 15-20 minutes. (I also got so sick of getting up from the first season of Heroes that I learned to hold it. I feel sure my sphincter would win gold if "holding it" were an Olympic event.) By the time bedtime rolled around, I was exhausted. Thankfully, I slept well. I only had to get up twice in the night.
One thing no one told me is how cold you get. By my third dose, my teeth were chattering -- and I was drinking unrefrigerated beverages. "I'm so c-c-c-cold," i whimpered to Jeff. "It's because of all the liquid," he said, matter-of-fact. "But it's at room temperature!" I wailed. "Which is 20 degrees colder than your body," he replied. I knew that. By night's end I was curled up in a down comforter on the sofa, and I went to bed wearing pants, slippers, a tee shirt, and a sweatshirt.
This morning I woke up at 7. I'd been advised how good and clean and fresh I would feel the morning after, and I expected to spring out of bed, light and refreshed, empty of all that had ever weighed me down. Instead, I dragged myself down the hall to the loo like Quasimoto, hair plastered to my head from night sweats. Weak isn't quite the word for how I felt, but it's close. Still, I managed to lug out the scale and strip down to nothing. Get real -- instant weight loss is the only reason I let my doctor talk me into this nonsense.
I took a shower -- and yes, I put on all my makeup; I figure if I can flutter my long dark eyelashes at all the doctors they might not notice that MY BARE BUM IS HANGING OFF THE TABLE -- and then started in on round 2. I've persuaded Jeff to go out and buy me some fresh flowers before we leave so I'll have something pretty to look at while I eat an entire pepperoni pizza and a gallon of chocolate chip ice cream when I get home.
Now here we are, T-minus 3 1/2 hours before the colonoscopy. I've packed my favorite pair of panties in my purse, just in case I have an accident on the way in, and I'm planning tonight's feast. Do you think a pound of spaghetti carbonara and a pan of brownies is too much for a first course?
Thanks for all your kind comments. I'll let you know how it goes!