After scheduling, the first part of the colonoscopy, and in many ways the hardest, are the days prior to the procedure itself. The instructions for this prepatory period ran three pages, and the prep process will interfere with your life, particularly on the day of and before the procedure. The prep does make one wonder whether a virtual colonoscopy would have been a simpler place to start.
Tomorrow is my procedure, here's what I've been asked to do so far:
Four days ago (five days before the procedure), I needed to stop taking aspirin. The colonoscopy comes along with bonus possible polypectomies, if polyps are found in the colon they may be biopsied and/or removed at the time, this can lead to bleeding, and aspirin can keep the body from stopping that bleeding naturally.
Two days ago the first real dietary restrictions started, I was asked to stop eating "nuts, seeds and foods with a peel." A list of examples was included (e.g., popcorn, fennel seeds, grapes, beans, raspberries." The restrictions go on to note that "Fibers, seeds and peels" can clog the colonoscope. Fair enough, in practice this gets a bit ambiguous. Whole ginger is fibrous, so is bok choi. Rice is a seed, is cooked rice okay? (As it turns out, cooked white rice without other additives is apparently okay, that one I asked.) It becomes tricky to think about eating at a restaurant, so I've mostly ended up eating primarily at home.
Starting yesterday, anti-inflammatories became part of the "don't consume" list, again this relates to reducing the risk of serious bleeding.
And now we get to today, the "no solid food or dairy products" day. Now, instead of a list of things not to eat, it becomes much easier to talk about what one's allowed to still eat. Many liquids are still on the list--clear broth, black coffee or tea, soda (although see the color restrictions below), water, white grape juice, apple juice, lemon jell-o. Things with red, green or blue dyes are complete no-nos, the dyes will persist in the gut and make it more difficult to see what's going on in the GI tract. No orange juice or dairy, either, whee. I'll be allowed all these things until about 2am tomorrow morning, then nothing, not even significant amounts of water, until the procedure six hours later.
That's the restrictions, there is another process that will be happening today that I'll cover in another post--that's the process of really flushing out my gut prior to the colonoscopy. But that's the subject of a post later today.