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Why You Need to Carefully Prepare for a Colonoscopy: Embarrassing Misadventures

Updated on August 29, 2017
FlourishAnyway profile image

A psychologist, FlourishAnyway drove her mother to a colonoscopy, simultaneously laughing, gagging, and crying her way through the mayhem.

Holy Crap, Batman!

My mother and I looked like this BEFORE her "incident."  Look how Robin is already giggling.  Not a good sign.
My mother and I looked like this BEFORE her "incident." Look how Robin is already giggling. Not a good sign. | Source

Misadventures Of A Colonoscopy Sidekick

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Or smelling.

I had left my 65-year-old mother, along with my iPad, sitting in the waiting area at the local hospital so I could go use the restroom. We had just registered her for a colonoscopy.

That day, I had been entrusted to be her sidekick, her driver—the "Robin" to her "Batman."

I could surely do that, right? I mean, I'm a responsible adult, a psychologist for goodness sake. But I'm the industrial/organizational kind—not the clinical or counseling kind that specializes in people's feelings. Just sayin'.

But still, all I needed to do was be her driver and wait for her until she woke from anesthesia. How hard could it be to be her colonoscopy sidekick for a few hours?

Then the Bat Mobile Springs a Leak

A nice clean Batmobile.  But then there's trouble.
A nice clean Batmobile. But then there's trouble. | Source

Uh-Oh! Batmobile Not on Empty Yet

There was one little problem, and we were about to discover it. My mom had faithfully followed the doctor's instructions for colonoscopy preparation in purging the slush from her system, but the — ahem — "Batmobile" was not on empty yet.

As she sat in the hospital waiting area, her Batmobile started rumbling unexpectedly. She had no choice but to rev up her engines and kick it into high gear. She careened around the corner and headed straight for the restroom.

Just Follow the Skid Marks

My mother left skid marks on the way to her Bat Cave.
My mother left skid marks on the way to her Bat Cave. | Source

Tail Pipe Springs a Leak

Unaware of her troubles, I exited my stall only to see a thick trail of fresh sludge from the Batmobile. It led from the restroom door to the stall beside me.

She had been unable to power down the Batmobile in the safety of her Batcave before her tail pipe had sprung a major leak.

I scrunched my nose and froze, looking at the trail of Bat exhaust in the floor at my feet. What a mess someone had made!

The voice from the stall made it clear that the "someone" was my mother. My tidy, well-groomed and always nicely-dressed mother. Holy Crap, Batman!

Trapped in Peril

Bat exhaust threatened to do both my mother and me in.  Being the superheroes that we are, we rose to the challenge.  Perhaps not gracefully, but somehow ...
Bat exhaust threatened to do both my mother and me in. Being the superheroes that we are, we rose to the challenge. Perhaps not gracefully, but somehow ... | Source

Robin the Reluctant Superhero

Calling my name, she beckoned me to get her a change of clothes. Me? Clothes? Where? Oh, no. No, no. What was a side kick to do? This was clearly not in the job description.

Oil from the Batmobile was all over the walls and floor of her stall, and she was holed up in that sullied Batcave trying to shed a very dirty Bat Uniform. Bat Juice slushed in her shoes, coated her pantyhose, and was all up her back. The Batmobile finally sputtered to a halt, and she let out a desperate half-laugh.

I couldn't look. No one needs to see Batman like that. Robin always was the reluctant superhero. I don't know why, but I started laughing inappropriately.

What the Role Required: Superhero Composure

Little did I know that the role of colonoscopy sidekick required the composure of a superhero.  We were headed for trouble.
Little did I know that the role of colonoscopy sidekick required the composure of a superhero. We were headed for trouble. | Source

At the same time, considering all of the Bat Juice there was on the scene, I also started gagging and crying. Yep, all three. Robin needed to run for help.

You've got to know your strengths, and in messy situations like these I'm not a hands-on help kind of superhero. Barely a superhero at all, actually. Just a sidekick. I was simply supposed to be a sidekick.

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Help! Send in the Reinforcements!

Send in a superhero clean-up crew!  Trouble is brewing!
Send in a superhero clean-up crew! Trouble is brewing! | Source

Superheroes Descend on the Scene

I managed to avoid slipping in the trail of Bat exhaust as I sprinted to the admissions desk for desperate assistance. Laughing and crying at the same time, I told the clerk what happened.

I asked the clerk for help as she looked at me like she had seen the Joker. (Was it my uncontrollable giggling?)

A team of stunned superheroes was dispatched to the ladies' room while I returned to check on my mother. I also needed to retrieve that iPad she was keeping for me.

There was a makeshift "DO NOT USE" sign on the restroom door. Our Bat escapades had shut the hospital restroom down.

Bat Juice ... It's Everywhere!

Bat Juice is very special stuff, and medical professionals who do colonoscopies for a living are very special people.
Bat Juice is very special stuff, and medical professionals who do colonoscopies for a living are very special people. | Source

Bat Juice Is Very Special Stuff

As I re-entered the restroom, the stench was unbelievable. Even the cleaning lady said, "Oooo-wooo" as she entered the restroom. Bat Juice is apparently very special stuff.

Still crying and laughing, I started gagging again as I checked on my mom. I attempted multiple times to retrieve my forlorn iPad. It sat humbly on the floor of the once-pristine Batcave and beckoned me to rescue it. At least I could do that.

Just as I got my hands on the treasured electronic device, I was overcome by Bat fumes. I ran for the bathroom sink. This sidekick was sick to her stomach.

A very stern nurse ran in and saw me standing near the trail of Bat exhaust. Mistaking me as the patient, she grabbed my arm and asked, "Are you ok?"

I looked down at the Bat Juice and said, "I didn't do this!" Then, I pointed to the Bat Cave. The nurse then sprang into action to help my mom as I continued to gag.

"Get the daughter out of here!" she repeatedly demanded, as I heaved. Eventually, Robin left Batman in the care of the other superheroes. I was still laughing, gagging, and crying.

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There's a Superhero in All of Us

FlourishAnyway's brother as Batman, 1976
FlourishAnyway's brother as Batman, 1976 | Source

Extraction from the Batcave

For a long time, Batman refused to come out of the Bat Cave to return to the waiting area. However, eventually a nurse extracted her.

They had scraped the rust off the undercarriage, and my mother was wearing a brand new Bat Uniform—borrowed surgical scrubs. She was as good as new.

The superheroes had put her in a wheelchair because she had no clean shoes and was feeling weak, being drained of all that Bat Juice. She and I cracked up at one another as the nurse handed me the muddy Bat Uniform and defiled shoes, all wrapped neatly in a clear plastic bag.

For the next 90 minutes, while she underwent her procedure, I sat in the waiting room, continuing to intermittently laugh so hard that I cried. I think we now know why Robin will never be a major superhero.

A Vow to Return

Then when it was time, we revved up the Batmachine, and I took Batman straight home, vowing to return again ... if only to give them their uniform back.

Oh, Yeah! Feeling Triumphant in a Brand New Bat Uniform

My mom, rocking in her new Bat uniform.  Let's hit the road.
My mom, rocking in her new Bat uniform. Let's hit the road. | Source

Preparing for a Colonoscopy: a Video from the American Gastroenterological Association

What Is A Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a procedure to examine the inside of the large intestine using a four foot long, flexible tube with the approximate thickness of a finger.1 The tube has a camera and light on the end.

Why Are Colonoscopies Performed?

Healthy people over age 50 are recommended to undergo a colonoscopy every 10 years. In addition, colonoscopies are used to investigate problems such as blood in the stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and a change in bowel habits.2

How Do You Prepare for a Colonoscopy?

Advance preparation for a colonoscopy involves emptying out the contents of the intestines. This is typically done by consuming a large volume of special cleansing solution and eating a minimalist, clear liquid diet.

Getting a colonoscopy?  Make sure you choose a responsible sidekick.
Getting a colonoscopy? Make sure you choose a responsible sidekick. | Source

Batman's Tips for a Better Colonoscopy

  • Carry a Spare Bat Uniform. A complete extra change of clothes and shoes could be necessary even if you've followed all the instructions in preparing for the procedure. Better to be safe than stranded!
  • Choose Your Colonoscopy Side Kick Carefully. Or at least understand what you are getting. Your side kick is more than just a driver. They will be there when you wake up to comfort you, and if you have a problem, this person will need to assist you.
  • Have a Sense of Humor. See the humor in any situation and realize that even awful things can be awfully funny. It's probably not the first time the hospital bathroom was closed down for a scene like that, although my mom pointed out it's the first time it's ever happened to her. It's a day we will never forget!

Notes

1Marks, M.D., Jay W. "Colonoscopy Prep, Procedure, Complications." MedicineNet. Accessed June 9, 2013. http://www.medicinenet.com/colonoscopy/article.htm.

2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Colonoscopy - National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse." Home - National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Accessed June 9, 2013. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colonoscopy/index.aspx.

Go Find the Superhero in You

Go get your colonoscopy or encourage the old person in your life to get theirs.  Be a superhero today.  But take a change of uniform ... just in case.
Go get your colonoscopy or encourage the old person in your life to get theirs. Be a superhero today. But take a change of uniform ... just in case. | Source

© 2013 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      C McNairy Wight 1 - Oh, bless your heart. Do take extra clothes and a better side kick than myself. And do NOT let them make you wait in a general purpose waiting room for long just in case your engines start running. Best of luck and a big hug to you.

    • profile image

      C McNairy Wight 1 3 years ago

      I was looking for comfort before my colonoscopy! Instead I got a humorous, though unsettling, look at what could go wrong. One thing for sure, I will take extra clothes. Thanks for the fun trip !

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Sunshine625 - She simply went to another facility for the follow-up colonoscopy. She thought they'd remember her at the hospital where she shut their restroom down. Thanks for your encouraging words!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I hope Batman has a change of heart and follows the doctors orders. I suggest Robin insist. Use Depends! Super Hero style!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Sunshine625 - Batman has recovered from this mishap but was reluctant to return to the scene of the crime when her doctor required a follow-up colonoscopy 6 months later. Thank heavens for the cloak of anonymity or something like that, eh?

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I can't even imagine. I felt so bad for Batman. Then again Robin was hysterically funny!! I've had two colonscopies and luckily I didn't have Batman's problem. Way to go Dynamic Duo!!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      DDE - Glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great hubs an informative and useful to all readers you just know how to think of helpful titles voted up and interesting

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Crafty - I am so glad you enjoyed it! Good to know a kindred spirit!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Flourish! Of course, it's a good thing I didn't have a mouth full of iced tea when I read this because it would have spewed like batmobile oil but oh my, this was hilarious! Thank you. :D

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      LKMore01 - Thanks for reading, commenting and voting. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, isn't it?

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 4 years ago

      First I was captured by the title. As I continued to read, this HUB became a super hero's adventurous gift. What a wonderfully creative perspective for what was obviously a stressful event, Flourish. Voted this gem up and awesome.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      healthylife2 - Thank you for reading and commenting. I am glad you you enjoyed the hub. Sometimes it's best to not be able to recall certain situations, but don't you wonder what went on, what those doctors and nurses were asking about? I hope your health is fine.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks so much for the laugh! I had the fun experience of a colonoscopy among other tests due to my health history. Although it went smoothly other than getting a little sick during the prep a doctor and two nurses asked if I remembered it so I'm not sure if I was somewhat entertaining during the procedure. Either way colon cancer is the one type that is completely preventable by doing this procedure so thanks for writing about it from a very humorous and creative perspective.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      vespawoolf - As I waited for her in the waiting room even an hour or two after all this transpired -- still giggling out loud and wiping tears -- I was half expecting a psych consult. I was certain they wouldn't believe that I am a psychologist myself. Oh, good Lord. Thankfully I did not go into medicine. Thanks for reading, voting, and sharing.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      What a hilarious story and you told it in such a tasteful way. I can see why you didn't pick medicine as your career of choice! : ) I'm glad your mother has a regular colonoscopy. Her story gave us all a laugh. Voted up and shared!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Moonlake - thanks so much for reading, commenting, and voting. It was embarrassing, but we laughed so much we tried to forget that part of it. Thank goodness she didn't take the crying route. I couldn't have tolerated that.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      How very embarrassing for your Mom. Sometimes they just don't think when they have us do these test. They have to know what kind of shape we are in and need to make sure that this kind of accident doesn't happen. I have to say I have had this test and have never had to wait in a waiting room. We have always been put right into a cubicle or right into a room.

      Voted up.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Peggy! Sometimes it's good to be the shadow and not the "it" guy.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a humorous hub! I am still smiling. I loved how you equated your role to that of Robin...Batman's side-kick. Now I will always associate Batman and having a Colonoscopy thanks to you. Haha! Up and funny votes.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      tobusiness - Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      There is a lot of very practical and useful information in this clever humorous hub. You were indeed a pair of heroes.

      Nicely done.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      agusfanani - Thank you for reading and commenting. Sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh -- at yourself, at others, at the situation, at life.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      This is a very interesting hub specially the way you face an incident humorously. The way how to cope with such serious situation lightly is really something to learn for me.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Nell! It's 100% true! We still look at one another and crack up in disbelief. Thanks for reading about our misadventures.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Oh my God! this was so funny! no, not what happened to your poor mum, but the way you wrote it I nearly choked on my latte'! lol! good on ya robin, you did good! lol! serious stuff to do, and I am glad your mum is okay, nell

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      rajan - Thanks for reading and commenting. My mother and I are both glad it's over! I think the nurses are too.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Bejimester - I'm with you. I sure hope for major innovations before I need the procedure myself, but time's a tickin'. Thanks for the read and comment!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting and humorous read. Glad it ended up fine.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 4 years ago from San Diego, California

      I'm still young enough to hope I'll never have to go through procedures like this. Still crossing my fingers that the "Cure for Everything" machine will be invented before I hit 70. You're a champ for handling the situation so gracefully.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      @ Peter - Thank you for reading and for your vote and comment. Wishing you the best with your health...

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

      An unpleasant procedure handled in a gentle and compassionate way.I do have one each year just as a check but it doesn't get any better. I'm sure they could do all this with a much thinner tube.

      I wish all of you well. Voted up and funny.

      Kind regards Peter

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Alphadogg16 - Thanks for the read and the encouragement. Glad you got a laugh out of our fiasco. I wish you good health, my friend.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Nice hub FlourishAnyway, I can't stop laughing. Being that cancer is very prevalent in my family, I have a colonoscopy done regularly. Thank God I haven't had any incidents like this though. Way to put a humorist twist on it though. Big Thumbs up