A reader joins the TMI:
Sleeping through a colonoscopy is a missed learning opportunity, as Martha Nussbaum notes. My experience last month was even cooler. I got to learn a bunch of new vocabulary in Japanese as I live in Tokyo. The doc here was also surprised that I declined sedation, and kept asking if I felt any discomfort. Nothing more than a tweak here and there, on the corners. What was wonderful was to see how tiny the tools have gotten. The snake cable is amazing how it can be directed; how it can change tools from camera to irrigator to clippers. That last tool came in handy when we discovered a polyp. She spent about 5 minutes isolating it, dousing it with an antibiotic fluid, and using a small wire loop to clip it, all included in the cable. Then she inserted five tiny staples to suture the cut, and then irrigated again. She even gave me a picture at the end of the procedure.
At the risk of winning guffaws from the back of the class, I didn’t feel a thing. Many readers, however, disagree with Nussbaum:
I just subscribed this month, so I guess it’s time to start participating.
The statement that a colonoscopy is painless is pretty misleading. Some people may be lucky enough to have a painless one, but the one I had without functioning sedation was pretty excruciating. And I say that as someone who once let her parents drive home for four hours on a windy road before letting them know I broke my collar bone.
Well, good for Nussbaum. It may be painless for her, but I’ve had five colonoscopies and the first one was very painful, and I have a pretty high pain threshold, or so I’ve been told. I think her comment is misleading and comes off as bragging.
I could not disagree with Nussbaum more strongly about foregoing anesthesia for a colonoscopy! I had one almost 10 years ago (yay, it’s almost time for my next one!) and the VERY BEST PART of the whole procedure was the Propofol to put me under. Now, I understand that this is the drug that Michael Jackson overdosed on, so too much is not good, but for someone who has long struggled with insomnia and fitful sleep, it gave me such a heavenly experience I’ve never forgotten it. It’s positively delightful, a sweet and yet deep unconsciousness, and when it wears off, you are not the least bit groggy or hung-over, totally unlike any of the anesthesia cocktails used for major surgeries. I was only upset that the nurses would not let me sleep a little longer. If I really wanted to see my innards, I’m sure they would be happy to provide me with a DVD or digital recording to watch later with my loving family and friends …
Not to over-share – hah! It’s Friday night on the Dish! Time for over-sharing – but not all colonoscopies involve blackout sedation. When my partner had hers, she was put out like a light. My first, at a different hospital and after hers, I expected to also be put out, but I just had that “twilight” thing going on. I was awake but not all there, the doctor was talking to me, I declined the offer to see what was up in there.
When I want to watch highlight films of my body, it won’t involve those interiors. Straight guy panic, perhaps, but also just the Ick Factor. I don’t even like looking at my x-rays or MRIs. We all have our boundaries …
Another points to a set of colonoscopy jokes:
The all-time best: “So doc, can you get a picture? Just to show my wife that my head is NOT in there.”