With a family history of colon cancer, a 40th birthday, and scary statistics from the American Cancer Society (136,830 predictions of colon cancer in 2014 and 20,310 deaths), I made an appointment to see a local gastroenterologist. After visiting with the doctor, it was advised that I get a colonoscopy.
I know several friends and family members who have received colonoscopies, and the comments they made were all pretty similar. “The day before is horrible, but the procedure itself isn’t that bad.” And I concur with those remarks. The procedure is alright. In fact, it was one of the best naps I have had in a long time. I would go through another colonoscopy just for that chance for another amazing nap. Unfortunately though, the day before the procedure is, in fact, a rough day. After taking a stool loosener, you drink a concoction every 15 minutes that clears out your system. Not to get overly gross here, but it does indeed clean you out. As a result, the day before the colonoscopy is spent in the bathroom or walking to the bathroom.
So, if you are planning on having a colonoscopy any time soon, I am here to help. Here are my 11 tips for spending time in the bathroom in preparation for a colonoscopy.
- Watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix: This, I’m sure, is an odd way to start out the list, but let me tell you there is no better way to spend time on the toilet than watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Before my colonoscopy, the show had recently come out on Netflix and all the world was talking about it. I kept my iPad in the bathroom and every time I went in, I turned on my iPad and watched the show. Of course this also applies to other shows that you can find on Netflix. Binge watching a show is high on my list of ways to spend time in a bathroom.
- Knit: I didn’t try this, but I am sure if I was a knitter, I would have created a nice afghan by the time my Colonoscopy rolled around. I would have even used it for a cover as I waited for the procedure.
- Read War and Peace: Are you one of those people that have always wanted to read the long novel, but were too intimidated by the size? Well, the porcelain throne is a great place to start your reading.
- Write the Great American Novel: Again, have you always wanted to accomplish something that requires you to sit for long period of times? If so, the bathroom seat would be a nice place to get some writing done. I was able to write a few ideas for some future plays that I’ll probably never finish. Anyway, it was nice to dream for a bit.
- Read some One Good Dad: I’m sure most people would love to spend time reading through my vast library of inspirational and intelligent posts, but find that a lack of time keeps them from accomplishing this feat. My posts are short enough to get in a few stories during visits to the lavatory. And it is completely fine to reread a post after you have read another one. Make sure you close out though and then reopen it. It is fine to do this several times an hour, or as many as you can.
- Contemplate a bathroom renovation: Have you ever wondered what it would look like if you switched the toilet and the tub? Well, now you can plot out the switch as you stare for countless hours at your vanity. This also works if you want to think about painting the bathroom, because after the amount of time you spend in there, you’ll be sick of the walls.
- Draw: If you are an artist, then keep a drawing pad near the tissue paper. Don’t get your types of paper mixed up though.
- To do lists: Have you got a lot of projects that you want to plan? Then make up a “to do list.” Do not, however, make a “doo doo list.”
- Get caught up on emails, Facebook, and Twitter: The long periods of loneliness within the solitary confinements of the bathroom may cause you to get a little stir-crazy. Keeping in touch with others during this time can help the time pass. Don’t overshare though. Such as coming up with a post about passing time in the bathroom.
- Arm Curls: Have you been wanting to pump up those biceps, but haven’t had the time to hit the gym? Keep a few barbells nearby and you’ll have arms ready for a bodybuilding showdown. You could easily squeeze out 50 reps a sitting.
- Fasting: Many religions call for a time to fast. Since you are already not allowed to eat, consider spending time praying, meditating, or whatever. It may seem sacrilegious to say, but hope can be found in prayer, and since you are about to undergo testing that could show cancer, hope is a good thing. So, pray and poop away.
While I’ve made light about preparing for a colonoscopy, colon cancer is no laughing matter. Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer. Colon cancer is serious and it is usually silent. If you or a family member is experiencing pain or discomfort in places that you know you shouldn’t, or something is just “off”, then get it checked out. There are people that love you that need you to be well.
And for those wondering, I was given a clean bill of health and the instruction to eat more fiber.
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