Preparing for a Colonoscopy (Re-Issued)

[I wrote this two blogs back… Even if I abandon the blog: this post gets hit almost everyday from Google searches for colonoscopy and one or two other words like phoso-soda or preparation. If you not going in for the procedure: Don’t read further.]
People say that the worst part of the colonoscopy is the prep and it’s quite true.I think it’s mostly true because no one tells you what to expect and you may do what I did and think it’s no big deal.
It is a big deal. Here’s the skinny.Here’s the routine for my prep:

No solid foods all day. Just clear liquids and no caffeine. No foods colored red, yellow or green (dyes that will
cause a false positive for colon problems, I suspect).

No caffeine part was a shock for my system… a headache all day. But that’s NOT the problem.

At 3PM and 6PM I was to take 1 1/2 oz. of an oral saline laxative mixed with 8 oz. of fruit juice (I used white grape juice).
I purchased an generic version of the market leader: “Fleet Phoso-soda” oral saline:

Active Ingredients:
Monobasic sodium phosphate (is this NaPO4?) – 7.2 g
Dibasic sodium phosphate (is this Na2PO4?) – 2.7 g

Now, here’s where the problem starts. They didn’t prep me for what my body was going to do. I assumed I’d get the
trots… fair enough. I decided to work the day before the procedure and save my precious days off.
In retrospect that was a bad idea as you’ll soon learn… if you have the need to know what happens.

I took the first dose while at work and decided that 3PM would be too late to handle drive home contingencies so I pushed it forward to 1:30PM. After taking the phoso-soda laced cocktail I learned what this stuff does to the stomach. In 15 minutes I was I visited the bathroom for the first of what was likely a dozen visits over the next few hours. I kept forcing water and juice to clean out the ol’ septic tank. With each visit the experience became more and more hydrolic. I was becoming a high-powered squirt gun. After a few runs I was shooting pure liquid. Good. I’m clearing out the tank of any debris.

Now here’s what they should have told me:

Your going to shoot out a lot of stomach chemicals. They are quite caustic to the skin. Try to take care of the
skin down there.

1. Use the most gentle toilet paper you can find. I think those medicated facial tissues would be the best approach. Save the skin from excess abrasion. This is going to be a long day.

2. You may need some lotion to soothe the affected area.

OK… so at 5PM I’m ready to make the 1 hour commute home. The volcano below seems stable and I start the drive home.
20 minutes later I’m searching for a pitstop. I find a fast food place and take care of pressing needs. I continue the trek home and start to feel an intense burning in the affected area. I get home… It’s not just after 6PM and I take my second dose of the laxative mixed with apple juice down 48 oz. of water to prime the water cannon that I will be in another 10 minutes.

Organic chemistry proceeds as anticipated and when I clean myself with a better brand of toilet paper I see some redness on the paper and the skin is terribly sensitive.

Here’s my solution for the next two hours.

I get in the shower and wash the affected area for a few minutes… dry off and visit the toilet. Then right back into the shower to rinse… to avoid repeated wipings and wash the stomach acid from the affected area. My wife brings me a bowel of soft wipes soaked in lotion. I add that to this recipe:

1. squirt.
2. wipe with lotion soaked towelette.
3. rinse off in the shower.

Repeat until the volcanic action stops. Rest.

No one told me about the burning and how to deal with it. Too sensitive a subject, I guess.

Be forewarned. Plan accordingly.

Take 1/2 of the prep day off and go home before taking the laxative.

Use the shower or a warm bath if irritation justifies this approach.


Scruncher (which is really micro-folding… huh?)

UPDATE: I tried folding and found it to be an improvement.