These procedures are now a regular part of my life. And if you have any family history of colon "stuff" (polyps, tumors (benign or malignant), etc.), you should get one as early as your 40s. Please do so. It is so much easier than the alternative of finding out later when there are chemo- and radiation therapies to endure. That said, here is how it goes [my commentary will be in square brackets].
Purchase two (2) bottles of 1.5 oz (45 ml) Fleet Phospho-Soda at any pharmacy, in the laxative section. [This is easy, but be sure to get the 1.5 oz. bottles and not the enema squirt bottles. Each 1.5 oz. bottle cost about $4 US.]
One week before procedure: Do not take IRON, vitamins, or herbal supplements; try to avoid food with seeds (flax seed, popcorn, nuts, berries, etc.); take your usual medications UNLESS stated by your physician (aspirin and Tylenol are OK); EXCEPTION: Ask for special instructions if you take major blood thinners such as Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, or Aggrenox or if you take insulin or other diabetic medications. [Apparently, these things affect how your colon behaves or its interior lining - you don't want any micro-tears from sharp seeds, or funny colors from supplements when they inflate your colon with an inert gas prior to the camera look-see!]
Three days before procedure: Stop taking fiber supplements (Metamucil, Citrucel, etc.) [You definitely want the laxative to clean you out without fiber supplements working to stop you up.]
Two days before procedure: Eat lightly (chicken, turkey, fish and soups); avoid red meat and fatty foods; NO SOLID FOOD AFTER 5:00pm. At 5:00 pm begin clear liquid diet (water, coffee, tea (NO milk or cream), clear fruit juices (apple, cranberry), soda pop, Gatorade, bouillon, popsicles, Jell-o (avoid the color RED); avoid alcohol. My doctor recommends drinking at least one liter of Gatorade today and tomorrow. [After my experiences with a lower abdominal resection and the partial bowel obstruction, this was not such an ordeal. And it is only for 36 hours or so... you can do this.]
One day before procedure: Continue clear liquid diet; NO SOLID FOOD; it's important to drink at least an 8 ounce glass of clear liquid each hour you are awake. 9:00am - Pour 1.5 ounce bottle of Fleet Phospho-Soda into a 4-8 ounce glass of cool clear liquid (ginger ale or 7-Up is recommended). Drink and follow with an 8 ounce glass of water. ** Stay near your restroom from this point on. ** PHOSPHO-SODA doses must be 10 hours apart. 7:00pm - Repeat dosage of Phospho-Soda as previously described. [This stuff is vile. It is the most distasteful part of the ordeal - for me even more distasteful than the evacuation that it causes! My advice: refrigerate the Phospho-soda, add as little "cool clear liquid" as you can, and drink it quickly. Have the full glass of water ready to rinse the taste out of your mouth. And concerning the proximity to a bathroom - this is an imperative! Also, it's a good idea to heed the suggestion about Vaseline/Desitin described below.]
Day of procedure: Continue clear liquid diet up until one hour before your exam, then nothing by mouth until after the procedure. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Please keep all valuables at home; be sure to bring your insurance card. [You will only partially remember stuff after you are in the recovery room. The comfortable clothing is to make getting dressed easier afterwards (you are wearing a gown, t-shirt and socks during the procedure).]
IV sedation will be given to you for this procedure. You MUST bring a driver with you to wait in the waiting area during and after the procedure so that the doctor has someone to talk to regarding your release instructions. You CANNOT take a bus or walk home. DO NOT work, operate heavy machinery, or drive until the following day. [Absolutely good advice. I do not remember getting dressed, getting into our car, or arriving at home. I remember waking up in my recliner. Scary.]
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What if I have major medical changes between the time I schedule my procedure and the procedure date?
Please notify our nursing staff as soon as possible so we can make any adjustments to new medications or possibly change your preparation routine. If you are having heart issues you may need to delay your scheduled procedure until your cardiologist feels it is safe.
What if I accidentally take my vitamins within 7 days of my procedure?
If you take potassium or folic acid with your prescription medications, please continue. If you accidentally take multi-vitamins, just do not take any more. If you are taking an IRON pill, you may need to reschedule your procedure because it will leave black tar on your colon wall.
DURING YOUR EATING LIGHT DIET (two days before the procedure) DO NOT EAT THE NON-FAT POTATO CHIPS CONTAINING OLESTRA. IT LEAVES A THICK FILM IN YOUR COLON, WHICH MAKES YOUR COLONOSCOPY VERY DIFFICULT.
What do you mean by clear liquids?
If you put a liquid in a clear glass and hold it up to the light, you should be able to see a newspaper through it. It cannot have any solid in it whatsoever.
After I take my first PHOSPHO-SODA preparation, I begin to have clear bowel movements. Do I still need to take the second dose?
Yes. You still need to take the second dose to ensure proper cleansing of your colon for the best visibility possible.
What if I can't find anyone to drive me home after my procedure?
By law, we cannot release you without a ride home. You cannot ride a bus or walk, but you can take a taxi or medical transport if you absolutely cannot find someone to give you a ride. Our doctors prefer that you have someone in the waiting area during and after the procedure so they have someone to speak with regarding your release instructions and if there are any complications. The sedation used during the procedure can cause slight amnesia so you may not remember anything.
You should coat your rectum with Vaseline or Desitin before you start drinking your laxative to help with irritation. Reapply after every bowel movement. [Good advice - I wish I had heeded it!]
Our doctors highly recommend drinking Gatorade or Powerade the day before your laxative preparation and during the preparation to prevent dehydration. [Yes. You will be amazed at the volume of liquid that Phospho-Soda causes you to release. Totally amazed.]
Restriction of activity - the intravenous sedation you have received will slow your reflexes and affect your judgment.
1. Do not drive a car, operate equipment, or work around sharp objects until the day after the procedure
2. Do not make important decisions or sign important papers for at least 24 hours.
3. Do not drink alcoholic beverages for 24 hours.
4. The day following your procedure: resume full activity.
Diet - you may eat and drink normally one hour after the procedure.
Treatment for common effects - bloating, excess gas, or mild abdominal discomfort: rest, eat lightly, and use a heating pad.
NOTIFY DOCTOR - If you have any of the following:
1. Fever or chills
2. Severe abdominal pain or new chest pain
3. Spitting up or vomiting blood
4. Passing blood by rectum (2-3 tablespoons is OK)
5. If IV site becomes infected or is painful
I received a nice little summary and a copy of the pictures taken of my insides. Interesting. I hope this is useful information for all of you out there in blog-land!