Last week I saw a consultant as I’ve been suffering with IBS-type symptoms for a few months. After reassuring me that he wasn’t overly concerned that there was anything sinister going on – phew! – he went on to say that, just to cover all bases, he would like to do a colonoscopy. He gave some dates that worked for him (as if we were arranging a trip to the cinema or a coffee morning) and told me he would get the nurse to give me the stuff I would need to get me prepped for the procedure. I didn’t give this a second thought as I was still coming to terms with the prospect of the actual procedure. As it’s not in my nature to be graphic, suffice to say the examination at the doctors was enough for me to need counselling so the idea of this latest appointment was not sitting at all well with me (even though I had had a sneaking suspicion that this may be on the cards…)
The nurse gave me my pack before I left the hospital with a sympathetic grimace (worrying) and the sage advice to “read all the information carefully” when I got home.
I got home and went straight out to Book Club. Lots of sympathy and words of reassurance from the ladies. A few glasses of wine. Some chocs. Lovely. Next day I was working and sorting out authorisation codes from the health insurer and then making the appointment.The medical secretary asked if I had been given my “pack” and echoed the nurse’s advice to read it all through carefully.
So, I read it all through carefully. And again. Just to make sure I had read it right. Because there surely must be a mistake, a printing error. But the use of bold typefaces and underlining made me think that someone was determined that this message should come across loud and clear. The message was this: I was not allowed to eat ANYTHING from 9am the day BEFORE the procedure until AFTER the procedure had been performed. I repeat – do not eat ANYTHING for 24 hours. 24 hours!!!! No food! For 24 hours.
Suddenly, the idea of the actual procedure (you can Google it if you like ) seemed a distant hurdle that I would need to cross once I had traversed the chasm of hunger and starvation. I have fasted before. I am not unfamiliar with the Fast Diet and have quite happily restrained myself from eating until around 2pm in the quest for weight loss and health. But never have I not eaten for 24 hours. Ever. Even when struck down with a stomach bug I have always managed to force something down. I just don’t do not eating. I have never been prime material for an eating disorder.
Today is the day before the procedure (I know I keep using that word but it makes it less daunting somehow than using the actual word) and it is 11.45am. Due to the restrictions on what I could have for breakfast – oh yes, not only was it to be my last meal, I couldn’t even have whatever I wanted – I have had 2 croissants and a cup of tea. And that’s my lot until about this time tomorrow. I am already peckish. I would normally have a banana or pear around now. No great loss – I don’t eat them because I love them (I like fruit but I would prefer chocolate to contain the same vitamins) – but it seems cruel to even be deprived of this mid-morning ritual.
I am making this sound dramatic, I know. I should “man up” and just get on with it. And I am really; I know it’s only a day and I know it will be good to have this box ticked and for the symptoms I’ve had to be 100% confirmed as nothing to worry about. But I reserve the right to make a bit of a fuss. I have asked K to cook spag bol for tea as it is one of the few meals that I do not eat and therefore won’t be looking longingly at their plates or trying to stop my mouth watering at the smells of something tasty cooking and making it unpleasant for all concerned.
I am going to squirrel myself away upstairs once I have logged off for the day and can “rest” as instructed in the booklet. I have to drink a couple of litres of “preparation fluid” to clear my system out (sorry there is no more pleasant way to explain that) and stay near a toilet at all times. This worries me the least of all the aspects of this whole thing as I have been dealing with this sort of situation for a few months! I’m going to make the most of the evening off of cooking duty and plan to have a bath and shave my legs. Don’t want to look like a gorilla tomorrow for the procedure.
In the meantime, I will try and ignore the call of my hunger. I will go for a walk if it all gets too much. Perhaps I should turn the TV off – it seems to be constant food adverts or cooking programmes. Not helpful people.
See you on the other side