Why You Need to Carefully Prepare for a Colonoscopy: Embarrassing Misadventures
Holy Crap, Batman!
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
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
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
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
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.
What would your reaction have been?
Help! Send in the Reinforcements!
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
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.
Have you ever had a colonoscopy?
There's a Superhero in All of Us
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
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.
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!
Go Find the Superhero in You
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.
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