Thursday, August 13, 2015


So, I had my first ever colonoscopy this week. One of the perks of turning 50.

Actually, I was supposed to take care of this last year, but I chickened out and cancelled my appointment. Last month at my annual check up, my regular doctor chastised me for bailing. She scheduled another appointment with the gastroenterologist this year, and then told me sternly to get it done.

In honor of my amazing brother, the procedure was scheduled on his birthday...sort of a celebration of our both getting another year older.

Without going into any graphic or nauseating details, here are a few things I learned leading up to and going through the procedure:

I eat a lot and I often eat without thinking. Okay, for the past year, I have been very deliberate (for the most part) about eating less. What I have not been aware of is the number of random bites I consume during a day. The last bit of cheesy scrambled eggs left in the skillet after cooking breakfast for the kids. A spoonful of Spanish rice when packing leftovers into a storage container. A couple of potato chips while packing lunch for Helen. Having been instructed to eat NO solid food whatsoever, I was suddenly aware that my hand moved reflexively toward my mouth with amazing frequency.

I am a rebel at heart. So, Day 1 of the prep program, I was instructed to eat no raw fruits or vegetables, no red foods, and nothing containing nuts or seeds. My favorite breakfast in the world is a toasted whole grain English muffin spread generously with crunchy peanut butter. My favorite lunch at the moment is a fresh tomato sandwich. No garden-fresh tomatoes?! No crunchy peanut butter?! Those were the ONLY things I wanted, all day long. Inside my head, I was growling like a grumpy cat all day long.

Water is the elixir of life. On my regular doctor's advice, I drink a lot of water each day. A LOT of water, usually a gallon before noon. Amazingly, this "therapy" has eliminated the terrible migraines I used to battle regularly. Day 3 of the colonoscopy process:  no water. Only that nasty, super-sour Intestinal Drano. I felt parched and found myself saying "Hello" to a headache. When the going got tough, I didn't crave diet-Coke, coffee, merlot, or Corona - nope, I was desperate for some life-giving water.

I am very thankful for modern plumbing. How many other ordinary, seemingly-insignificant things do I take for granted in a given day?

A sense of humor is a good thing to have. "The last time you had a bowel movement, what color was it?" asked the nurse processing my admission paperwork. "Ummmm, brown?" I guessed. "Well, was it a dark brown, or a paler mocha color, or was it more of a light tan?" Let me tell you, folks, when you are dehydrated and hallucinating about crunchy peanut butter, there is nothing like an earnest conversation about the color of poop to make you realize that life is often very, very ridiculous.

I think I'm in love with the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist lifted my arm and examined my wristband. "Name?" he asked. "Camille Kendall," I answered. "Date of birth?" Next thing I knew, I was waking up from the best sleep I've had in years. Years. Forget the crunchy peanut butter. Never mind dehydration. Forget the pitchers of nastynastynasty stuff I had to drink. It was all worth it for those few minutes of incredibly sound, restful sleep. I woke up feeling like Super Woman (sans cleavage).

There sure are a lot of nice people in the world. When it seems like your whole life is going down the pipes, when you are fighting back tears because you feel weak and tired and you just don't think you can swallow one more galling mouthful of nastiness, it's amazing how God puts someone sweet, kind, and gracious in your path. I can't say enough good about Dr. Nuako and the incredible staff at Summit Endoscopy Center in Union City, Tennessee. You guys are wonderful.

Oh, and David - you are pretty terrific, too. Happy Birthday!

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