Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

June 9, 2013

HOPKINS: A life-saver, no butts about it

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — As we get older, there are certain things we must do in life to ensure good health. Some of these things we don’t necessarily want to do. We put them off as long as we can but in the end, we get it done.

Friday marked one of those occasions for me. When I went to see my doctor last November he directed me to see a proctologist after learning that my mother had colon cancer. I didn’t go. He scolded me during my visit to him in May, especially in light of my mom’s passing.

So, I dutifully scheduled an appointment with the specialist. First it had to be cleared through my insurance because I’m only 42. Once I got approval, I was mailed instructions on how to prepare for my exam.

Five days prior, I was to stop taking certain medications. No problem. The tough part started the day before, on Thursday. I was restricted to a liquid diet all day, then nothing after midnight. At 4 p.m. Thursday I was to take two Ducolax tablets. Two hours later I was to mix the entire contents of a 238-mg bottle of MiraLAX into 64 ounces of Gatorade, then drink three-quarters of that; I was to get up at 4:30 a.m. Friday and finish off the rest of the Gator-lax concoction.

I was also advised to stay near a bathroom.

Before I continue, I’d like to say I was amazed at how many people readily volunteered tips or stories about their own colonoscopies. It was a little bizarre but also comforting, in a we’re-all-in-this-together type of way.

Both of my sisters have had them recently. One stayed awake through it, and watched the proceedings on a screen. Some people said they felt nauseous afterward. Others were tired the rest of the day. Many said that the Gatorade version is much easier to handle than a nasty prep drink most doctors used to prescribe.

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