Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Lovely Weekend

What a lovely weekend it was.

The temperature Saturday officially topped out at less than 100, but the heat index rose well above that. My wife was gone to Iowa for the weekend with the Girl Scouts, camping. (Well, they had air-conditioned cabins, thankfully, but it was still "camping".) She had our daughter, and two granddaughters with her. The two grandsons still left home went with the Boy Scouts to Kansas City to Worlds Of Fun for the day, so once I dropped them off at the collection point at 7:00am, I didn't have to leave the house again until I had to pick them up 15 hours later. So I buried myself in the barely adequate air conditioning, did some laundry, fixed a child's wooden rocker for a friend (a little wood glue can work wonders ;)), watched some movies, etc. Nice and quiet, even if too hot.

Sunday, the fun began. First, no solid food for the next 24+ hours. Clear liquids only. And nothing with red/purple food dyes. Lime Jello was as solid as it got. At 9:30 I had to leave for the nursing home to supervise the Community Service kids. Hungry. And it looks like rain. I check the weather radar. Sure enough, a line of thunderstorms less than 10 miles away. Sorry, Cocoa and Cleo, I'll put you dogs out after I get home at lunchtime. You won't like it out there pretty soon. Sure enough, less than 3 miles down the road, big, fat raindrops start splattering the windshield. By the time I get to the nursing home, there's lightning all around, and the rain is pouring down. The storms continue off and on all day.

By quarter to twelve, I'm done at the nursing home, so I drive up to the 72nd Street Flea Market to pick up the bed rails for a bunkbed we bought for the grandsons a couple weeks earlier. I had put it together, and found three of the four rails were missing. We informed the lady we bought it from, and she had called back to say she had found them. But the Flea Market is only open Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. I picked up the rails, dropped them at my daughter's and headed home. It had stopped raining for the moment, so the dogs went out back. By now I was starving. Broth was on the list of allowed liquids, so I heated up a can of beef broth and drank it down. By now, it tasted delicious. I went upstairs and killed time waiting for my wife to get home by installing KDE4.3 on my computer. About 3:00pm, I noticed I was getting quite a headache. I went back downstairs and checked the beef broth can. There it was, the 3rd ingredient was salt/sodium. I went back upstairs, relaxed a few minutes, and checked my blood pressure. 156/103. Not high enough to go to the ER, but high enough to give me a good headache. And I couldn't take my medication until Monday.

Finally, about 5:00pm, my wife got home. She's exhausted. Since the thunderstorms are rolling east, she had to fight through them all the way home. Plus, between sick Scouts, arthritic knees, and an uncomfortable bed, she figures she only got about 4 hours of sleep since Friday. During a lull in the rain, we bring in what has to be brought in from the car, and I let her lie down on the bed. Then I tell her it's time I started. She agrees, and reminds me I have to drink the whole gallon in three hours.

GoLitely is a special electrolyte mixture designed to clean your gastro-intestinal system of anything more solid than water. And not leave much of that, either. You drink an 8-oz glass every 10 minutes or so. Chugging is preferable to sipping. And it tastes awful. Like glass after glass of salty water. The instructions say you should notice the effects within an hour of the first glass. They are correct. After that, keep a clear path between you and the bathroom. If there is a second bathroom in the house, so your family can use one while you have complete access to the other, so much the better. GoLitely works by causing a massive influx of water from the rest of your system into your intestinal tract, which then gets flushed out. Repeatedly. "... until the watery stool is clear."

I managed about 3 liters before nausea wouldn't let me swallow any more of the stuff. My "stool was clear", so I decided that was enough. It turns out that most people don't finish a whole gallon. If you have less than a quart left, before you quit, you're doing good.

Monday morning, 7:00 am, my wife takes my to the endoscopy clinic. A pleasant nurse greets us, makes sure I'm the person their records show, that I'm there for a colonoscopy, etc. She has me change into a hospital gown (open to the rear, of course), and gets me situated on a gurney. Then she tries to start an IV, for administering the sedative and any other medication during the procedure. Now, I've never had a problem with giving blood, or having IVs started. Wrap the rubber band around my arm, pump my fist a couple times, and the veins stand right out for easy access. Not this time. After trying and failing, she apologizes, and says she will have the anesthesiologist do it, since he's more experienced. "It's really unfair. First, we dehydrate you, then we stick you in a cold room, and then we expect your veins to have blood in them!"

A little later, I'm in the OR, lying on my side, and they push the sedative into the IV. Next thing I know, it's a couple hours later, and I'm in Recovery. After I'm sufficiently functional, I get dressed and my wife drives me home, where I spend most of the rest of the day in bed.

Diagnosis: slight diverticulosis (common in over-50s -- a high-fiber diet keeps problems at bay), prostate looks normal, and a polyp was snipped out for biopsy. We'll get the results of that in two weeks.


  1. Sounds like a blast. That's not something I'm looking forward to.

  2. Sounds like you are your father's son. He's had trouble with diverticulosis or diverticulitis the past several years.

    Sure am glad my wife keeps us on a high-fiber diet. I imagine, though, that I should have a scoping done sometime in the next few years now that I'm in my 50s. Joy.

  3. Travis: Don't worry too much. You've got a few more years before the doctors will insist you have one. ;)

    Mike: Yeah, half the population over 60 has diverticulosis. That just means they have diverticula (pouches) in their lower intestine. There are normally no symptoms. Diverticulitis means one or more of these pouches has gotten inflamed/infected, causing pain, possibly bleeding, and can lead to serious complications. A high-fiber diet keeps things moving through the system more smoothly, with lower pressure, so diverticula are less likely to be formed, and even if they do, things are less likely to take a detour into one of them, but instead, continue on the "straight path".

    And, yeah, I got one because I'm over 50, had never had one, and went in for a general "wellness exam".