So, my husband (51) had his first colonoscopy today. He is concerned about my preserving his dignity, but I’m not actually intending to write about anything that would threaten it in any way. This post will, it goes without saying (so why say it?), be given his stamp of approval before being posted.
I’m not really interested in discussing the enormous quantity of laxatives consumed in preparation for this procedure, nor the specifics of their effect. It was mildly amusing in a gallows-humor sort of way that some of my piano students were arriving yesterday for a group class, as we mixed the 5-year supply of laxative powder with the 64 ozs. of non-red gatorade, and some seemed quite interested in what we were concocting. There were a lot of jokes made about the potential reaction of parents if their children drank that “juice” by mistake, rather than the apple cider that was intended for them.
The gallows humor continued in the prep room this morning as the nurse described both the procedure and the “recovery” process, the results of which were audible from previous patients in the curtained areas 3 or 4 cubbies down from ours. We looked unsuccessfully for the opportunity to use Bertram Pincus’ line regarding chaos and screaming. Suggestions were made for the manufacture of buttons bearing the logo “toot for fluids;” followed by discussion regarding the implications of my eliciting promises for undying love and devotion, gifts of jewelry, and a trip to Tuscany while he (my husband, not Bertram Pincus) was under the influence of anesthetic and advised not to make any legally binding decisions for the next 24 hours.
No, what really struck me was when he was wheeled back out to me and the curtained cubbies afterward. This is a strong, virile, intelligent man, and the anesthetic had rendered him as helpless as a baby. He kept telling the nurse that he was supposed to be somewhere else, that the doctor needed to come and “do something.” Then he’d curl up on his side and fall back to sleep with a little pout. If I touched his arm he’d reach for and clutch my hand, and open his (bloodshot) eyes just enough to squint at me and ask me if the doctor was going to come for him soon.
Eventually he came to fuller consciousness, although much of what happened over the next couple of hours is only “remembered” upon my prompting. He had trouble getting feet into pant legs, may or may not have fallen asleep in the bathroom before we left the hospital, and once we got home, bobbled around, bouncing off of door frames, insisting that he could deliver luggage to the basement and wondering if he should do his routine workout while having trouble maintaining vertical as he walked across the kitchen. I worried about having to leave him home alone for a few hours.
He has never been so grateful for the 36-hour-fast-breaking brunch of scrambled egg whites, 7-grain porridge, toast, coffee and pineapple, nor have I that I could make it for him.