Since 60 is the new 40, I turned 41 this year. And because I choose to keep this body healthy long into the “new 80” – I get an annual physical with most of the recommended tests. But this week – during the last test – I began to wonder if it’s worth making a healthy body sick to make sure it’s not sick.
I’m okay with a complete blood work up. In fact, if it weren’t for the darn needle it would be a piece a cake. Fasting for several hours is not a problem. I figure it’s good for me to skip a meal or a glass of wine and drink lots of water, or skip a morning cuppa. And I eagerly await the results.
“My cholesterol is slightly elevated? What’s the ‘good cholesterol’ number? Oh, higher than most. Okay. I’m good with that. And what’s the ‘bad cholesterol?’ In the range?”
Even getting my mammos grammed is okay. Flattening my ribs and soft parts under a plastic smoosher for a few seconds was weird years ago but I’ve gotten used to it – and it seems to be a small price to pay. Besides, I don’t have to fast, it’s not invasive, and the technicians are usually good at making us girls feel comfortable.
Lucky me, THIS year called for the colon camera! While I tolerated the prep pretty well, I started to feel sick while my hospital bed was being wheeled down the hall toward the procedure room.
In case you’ve missed out, the “Easy Prep” – as they call it – consists of fasting for about 20 hours plus downing a bottle of a lemon-lime saline laxative with two tiny stool softeners. One bottle at about 6 p.m. the night before the procedure and another in the morning to provide a clean track for the camera. It was okay, really.
My appointment was at 10 a.m. I followed orders not to drink water the 4-6 hours beforehand so I wouldn’t throw up. So I tolerated the prep, managed the dehydration – knowing it was temporary and heck, if I passed out, at least I was in the right place right?
A nice nurse named Veronica gave me a gown made for a 300-pound man. She started an IV in my right hand as we chatted, and all was well.
I’m a well person, I told myself. This is only a test. But when they started moving my bed down the hall I started feeling like a sick person – I started thinking, “what if I was sick? What if I was being wheeled into surgery instead?”
I began to feel queasy. My pulse quickened.
The super anesthesiologist hooked up the oxygen. “Wow, this is a big test,” I said, to three people working around me. As he released the sedative into the IV port he said, “You might feel a slight burn.” I waited – didn’t feel it. But I did feel the sedative begin to work. “Here it comes,” I said, and started thinking about sailing.
I awoke in a recovery room – kinda like ER with a curtain separating me from a woman next door. I looked up to see my honey walking toward me. Next the doctor showed up with his report – nadda. Thank you. Bye.
He was a very nice, caring man. Before the procedure when he asked if I had any questions for him, I said, “Yes. I’m a well person. I eat right. Take care of myself. Is this test really necessary?”
“Well, we do suggest every 10 years – if you’re well,” he said. Silly me. That’s his business.
This is a personal decision and one I cannot make 10 years in advance. I am grateful now to be well. But these bodies cannot last forever; we know that. We are given the opportunity to take care of them, or not. I’m not sure right now I would have another colonoscopy. I might just eat more broccoli.
What about you?