Home Commentary & Short Stories Fun At 45! My First Colonoscopy

Fun At 45! My First Colonoscopy

by Dewan Gibson

I’m almost 45. Such a big age comes with new responsibilities. One of which is making sure a camera explores your butt every 10 years, also known as a colonoscopy. 

Scheduling the colonoscopy was simple enough. I called the doctor’s office and answered a series of questions. The rep was focused on why I wanted the visit. I was thinking, “Well, it’s winter and there’s not much to do anyway. Your gastro center is new and just down the street. The screening could save my life. And it’s free.” So yes, with all due respect, I’m asking you to take a look at my ass.

It turned out she was asking for insurance purposes. If it’s a preventive colonoscopy, you can just show up to the office cheeks out and insurance will cover the visit 100%. If it’s diagnostic, meaning you’re having issues like blood in your stool, you need a referral from your primary care provider and there could be costs. 

The gastro office sent the prep prescription to my pharmacist and mailed instructions to my home. Day before the screening: Clear liquid diet all day. Two Dulcolax laxatives at 5 p.m. Drink eight ounces of “bowel formula” (potassium chloride) every 15 minutes until you’ve finished two liters. Set up a cot next to the toilet cause you ain’t going nowhere else the rest of the night. Day of the screening: Finish the jug of bowel formula. You will go to the bathroom at least 15 times in two hours, continuously spraying highlighter-yellow electrolytes into the toilet. Enjoy! 

As much as I’m pro-colonoscopy, prep was miserable. I probably made it worse by eating too much beforehand. You never know what could go wrong during a procedure, so I figured I’d go all in for what could have been my last meal. I ate drumsticks (of both the chicken and ice cream variety), an arugula and cabbage salad topped with smoked salmon, steak and mushrooms, and drank a beer. I was stuffed. Until I wasn’t. 

Whatever. I fought through massive outflows and mentally locked in for my colonoscopy. I was supposed to arrive at the doctor’s office an hour before the screening. Unfortunately, I spent so much time on the toilet that I was running out of time to take a shower. Forget that. Imagine being under anesthesia and the doctor’s like, “Yo! This ni&&a’s funky!” Like I said, the clinic was down the street. The doctor could be my neighbor. I jumped in the tub. 

My wife drove me to the clinic, and man, the office was efficient. I was checked in and wearing a hospital gown within 15 minutes. Of course I had to leave the back of the gown open.

Doc explained the procedure. A thin tube affixed with a camera would provide a livestream of my asshole, to be shown on the monitor next to my bed. Polyps or any items I accidentally left up there as a child would be removed. 

I was drugged with fentanyl and versed via IV. Doc mentioned, with enthusiasm, that some patients manage to stay awake and watch their anus on TV. That’s too freaky for me, so I drifted off to sleep. I woke up what felt like hours later, though I was actually only down for about 30 minutes. 

I’ve been on a high fiber diet for years and can boo-boo with the best of them, so I wasn’t too worried about the results. Still, you never know until you’re screened. Colon cancer incidences are increasing in people under 50, especially black folk. But if you catch it early the survival rate is 90 percent. 

Doc said everything was good. No polyps or signs of cancer, though I did have a small hemorrhoid. I’m not sure why he didn’t remove it. Maybe he thought it was cute? He left me with a few printed pictures of my digestive system. I gifted these to my kids. “Look at Dad’s butthole!” they screamed. 

I’ll let you know how my next colonoscopy goes, in 2034.   

-Dewan Gibson

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