Colonoscopies Are Easy! Colonoscopy Prep Is Hell on Earth!

Illustration for article titled Colonoscopies Are Easy! Colonoscopy Prep Is Hell on Earth!
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The tragic death of Chadwick Boseman has inspired increased conversation about the importance of colonoscopies to catch colon cancer and other colorectal disorders. The CDC recommends that you wait until you’re 50 to start screening. But, since Black people are 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and 40 percent more likely to die from it, it’s prudent for us to go sooner if possible. I got one at 39. I was having some digestive issues, and I wanted to make certain there wasn’t some sort of blockage (or worse).

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The anxiety people have about this procedure is understandable. They’re basically putting a whole ass camera up your ass to view your colon and intestines and all the other shit that’s in a pot of chitlins. But trust me when I say it’s as easy as taking a nap. Cause that’s all you do. You’ll go to some gastroenterology facility. You’ll take off your clothes, put on a gown and lay on a hospital bed. They’ll tell you to lay on your side. They’ll roll you to the room where the procedure happens. They’ll put you to sleep. And then you’ll wake up in the room you got changed in. You’ll be groggy and maybe a little gassy, but you won’t be sore. Just hungry. And then you go home. (Or you’ll do like I did and go to the Whole Foods hot bar a quarter mile away and eat 17 plates of pasta.)

Unfortunately, the process of preparing for the colonoscopy is not as quick and easy. It is the opposite of quick and easy. It is long and hard. And it requires an act that is not quite waterboarding but is not quite not waterboarding either. For the procedure to work, your system needs to be clear. And not the sort of clear that happens after a sizable bowel movement. But whistle-clean clear. As clear as an infant’s credit report. A clear that only happens with an evil intentionality.

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It begins a week before the procedure when you have to bar high-fiber foods from your diet. And then, a day before the procedure, no solid foods or even thicker liquids like a smoothie or milkshake. So that’s water, clear Gatorade, and maybe some chicken broth.

And then the evil happens.

The evening before the colonoscopy, you have to drink a 16-ounce cup of water mixed with this racist bowel cleansing solution. And then, over the next 90 minutes, you have to force 32 more ounces of water down your throat.

And then, six hours before the procedure, you have to repeat the entire process. If your colonoscopy is scheduled for the early morning, this means you’ll have to get up at 2 or 3 a.m. and waterboard yourself. Note that I said “get up” and not “wake up.” Because you won’t be sleep. You’ll be shitting. And not even quite “shitting” but “releasing.” And not even quite “releasing” but “eradicating.” From the time you start the prep from the time you leave the house for the procedure, every 15 minutes you’ll be a fire hydrant, blowing streams of water out your ass that could feed plants and fill inflatable pools.

But when it’s done, your insides will be fresh and clean as a motherfucker. So fresh and so clean that you’ll want to put them on a billboard and display them like they’re a pre-owned Audi.

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Anyway, if you’re able to get one done, get one done! You’ll feel magical afterward, and you might even extend your life. You’ll just have to meet the Devil first!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

And then, a day before the procedure, no solid foods or even thicker liquids like a smoothie or milkshake. So that’s water, clear Gatorade, and maybe some chicken broth.”

Mine was three days. I could have Jello, but no red Jello. And since I’m diabetic, Gatorade Zero or Powerade Zero.

The evening before the colonoscopy, you have to drink a 16-ounce cup of water mixed with this racist bowel cleansing solution.”

Miralax. God, I hated that stuff. I was on the hopper within an hour. Talk about miserable. Whoever created Miralax should be shot.

You’ll feel magical afterward”

No you won’t You’ll still be sore from the Miralax punishment.