“A garden hose with a camcorder” – WTF???

I’ve never had a colonoscopy in my life.  However, now that I’m in my sixties, my medical practitioner is making meaningful noises at me that it’s long past time I did.  I keep protesting that everything feels fine, but my quibbles are falling on deaf ears.

That being the case, I thought I’d try to prepare myself by learning from the experience of others.  This guy isn’t helping.

“A garden hose with a camcorder”.  Eeewwwww!



  1. Nope, you can shit in a box and overnight it to a lab. They will examine your shit and will know more about what is going on with your digestive track than a camera on a water hose will ever tell.

  2. Meh, not that big a deal. I'm 63 and have had four in my lifetime; the first being in the mid 80's when I was 30. Back then, where I lived at least, you were awake the whole time (and took your 'prep' meds at the hospital). Nowadays, you do the 'prep' at home the night before and they have to put you under. Again, depends where you live. My brother lives in France and over there you have one about every five years as mandated by the government health system. He doesn't get put under and can have an egg the morning of! (where I live where not allowed to have anything other than water after 6pm the night before).

    Whenever you do go, hopefully you'll have some funny stories to tell like Bob in the video. 🙂


  3. The procedure isn't half as bad as the prep, even though the prep has improved since my first one 20 years ago. I'm on the 5 year plan based on polyps found in the initial one, and my 4th rodeo is in a month or two, Wuflu allowing.

  4. You are lucky! I'm only 53 and my doctor (I live in Germany) keeps pestering me I should have a colonoscopy since I'm already in the high-risk age group…

  5. It could be worse. They could be doing a cytoscope on you. Feels like the same garden hose, with a full-sized 1990's style video camera on the end, climbing up your ureter. They 'prep' the area by shooting a huge syringe full of lidocaine up Mr. Wiz-wang, waiting a few moments and then it feels like they are shoving said camera on a cable up into you much like a gang of swabbies cleaning out a 16" cannon on a battleship. Ask me how I know.

    As to colonoscopy vs pooping-in-a-box, the box will show trace amounts of blood or cancerous stuffs, while the colonoscopy will show any malformations of the bowels. A good doctor will do a colon-probe and take samples of any stuff left in the system.

    Modern preps aren't bad. Just don't be too far away from the toilet once you start the process. And if your system is 'active' the prep will make jello hurt.

  6. I’ve had 2,, due to family’s history.DO IT…The consequence can be deadly…An hour or two of the brown water two step is worth it if you’ve got cancerous polyps and they’re found early..Pay now or pay later..Both times w/out anesthesia,,,is like a big fart bubble churning in your gut.And you can watch it on the monitor too.

  7. I have had several and they saved my life. My father died of colon cancer and I would have too if I had not caught it in time. I too felt fine. As others have said the prep sucks but the procedure is a breeze if they knock you out. It is called twilight sleep and is not really deep anesthesia. Colon Cancer is a lousy way to die.

  8. Yeah, generally speaking by the time colon cancer is symptomatic your life calendar had gotten very short. Get scoped.

  9. I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at age 14, and had my 1st colonoscopy then. I've had one about every 2-3 years since then, and I'm 47 now, so… 12-15 of them, I suppose.

    You're under general anesthesia while it's happening, so that's not actually a problem. The prep for it with the fasting and slamming laxatives though…. that's not fun. As others have noted before me here — it's a lot better now than it used to be, but it's still not great.

    You want a bad procedure? Do a Lower GI. I had 1 of those while during the diagnosis phase those 33 years ago. Haven't had one since, and I am *very* grateful that that's the case. All the same prep as for a colonoscopy with fasting and laxatives, but then you're awake for it and they're literally pumping air up your butt, but giving you the conflicting directions of "don't tense up" and "don't fart the air back out." Yeah… pick one Doc, those are mutually exclusive. And then the next several hours afterward you basically just live on the toilet becuz *everything* is a shart. And painful. And uncontrollable. Ugh!

  10. Oh Yeah! The first colonoscopy.

    For my first one, they gave me a gallon jug of this brown liquid they called "Go Lightly", and two pills each about the size of a tic-tac. I had to drink the entire gallon, but not all at once – over a period of a couple of hours. And then, when that was gone, I had to take the two pills. My wife, who had had this procedure before told me DO NOT get more than a few feet from a bathroom. My wife is a wise person. But my living room chair is only about 30 feet from the bathroom door. What could go wrong?

    Well, I downed the "Go Lightly", (which I now call "Step Lively"), and took the pills, and nothing happened for about an hour. I was sitting there watching the TV when suddenly… A twinge. Then… Another twinge. I got up and started for the bathroom. I got about ten feet from the chair when…

    GONG! GONG! GONG! Battle Stations!

    You could say I "Stepped Lively", but it was more like "run for your life!" I was undoing my belt the entire way across the living room and when I dove into the bathroom, I slammed the lid open, dropped my drawers, and practically fell onto the seat.

    I barely made it.

    I had just touched the seat with my backside when it felt like everything inside of me from my breastbone down, had suddenly fallen out into the commode.

    I spent the next hour sitting there while my insides sporadically spasmed. It took about three more hours with intermittent trips to the john before I was completely cleaned out.

    Now, mind you, none of this was *painful*. It was just like having a world class case of the trots – which, of course is precisely what it was.

    Later, I was able to sleep the night through with only one middle of the night trip back to the loo.

    I had to get up at o-dark-thirty for the procedure, but it went without incident. The anesthesia is called "waking anesthesia" because you're not totally down. For me, it was like I was dreaming. …of getting a colonoscopy.

    It turned out, my colon was completely benign – thank God. The Doc said: "See you in ten years." and that was that.

    Now, on a more serious note. As others have already said, colon cancer symptoms usually do not show up until the disease is well advanced. A timely colonoscopy could save your life and indeed saved my brother-in-law's life. He went in for his 50 year checkup, had one done, and they found an active cancerous tumor. He lost about a foot and a half of his large intestine, but that was 16 years ago and he is still cancer free.

    Get it done. You'll be glad you did.

    Besides, think of all the funny stories you'll be able to tell.


  11. It's unclear why you're putting it off. My first one in 2012 found several polyps that were about 4 years out from become cancerous. I had my second last year. It's nothing but a nap. No pain at all, although say goodbye to any shred of dignity you might have had. I see celebrities dying of prostate cancer, and I say too bad; it could have easily been prevented.

  12. Oh, just do it. My last one was not the horrible big deal it was a few years back. The prep is the worst part — chugging the foul kool-aid and your aft parts emptying and emptying and emptying….

    Then you'll be able to make self-deprecating jokes about how you've been doctor certified a "perfect a**hole".

  13. If they see anything, they will want to do a full 'scope of your bowels. Ask them what their batting average is on doing damage. perforation of the bowel is an emergency procedure situation, and has some fatality statistics associated with it. So, don't schedule this procedure at the end of the day, or even worse, late Friday afternoon. You want good, non fatigued surgeons available if things go pear shaped.

  14. Just don't do it on a Friday.

    My doctor went on a trip, starting Friday, and no one could contact him for 2 days after.

    The hospital staff refused me any food and only a few cups of water until they got his okay.

  15. I took a ride on the Silver Stallion years ago, and it was… pretty bad.
    My wife got a 'welcome to 50' look up her wazoo, and things have gotten civilized. The prep isn't bad. 3 trips to the head the night before, very light cramping, and they knocked her out before heading up the Servant's Entrance on the day of.
    She woke up and immediately wanted a 24oz steak at the local steakhouse, ate every bit of it, too, and her 120lb petite self isn't a big eater.

  16. Not going to criticize other people's tastes in humor, but I strongly dislike comedy about colonoscopies and prostate exams. They are medical procedures. The reasons for doing them, as others have pointed out here, are no joke! Ask your wife about mammogram jokes. The few women I've asked about humor on the subject of pelvic exams or mammograms have all answered with a wry smile and a shake of the head. They know. As I said, I'm not knocking anyone else's enjoyment of such jokes, I just can't share it. My only beef about all these tests is that we need better tests; but, until we have better ones, these are way better than nothing.

  17. Peter,

    You can ask for a copy of the full video, or just photos of areas of interest. If you add narration to the video, you will monopolize after the after dinner conversation at the next North Texas Writers, Shooters and Pilots Association.

    Glen in Odessa

  18. One side note: the whole procedure exposes the frequent lie "you have 5 pounds of rotting meat lining your colon"…

    My last one came back pink as you please and I didn't lose a pound.

  19. Mine was "Nothing bad, but see you in 5 years instead of 10". The mental imagery is the worst part, followed by the prep. But I have no memory of the procedure–I was talking to the doctor and then I was in recovery.

  20. They knock you out like most have said, cleaning the body the night before does suck but I'll bet that's not as bad as dying from a something easy to cure when they find it early.

    After my last one the doc said see you in "10 years", it's that time.

    Good luck!

  21. I’ve been having them off and on since 1973. The procedure has definitely gotten better, outside of the purge the night before its no big deal.

  22. beats the hell out of colon cancer. a buddy got it, lost about a foot of his colon, chemo almost killed him, infection from the colostomy almost killed him, humiliation of walking around with a shitbag attached to his belly almost killed, and almost bankrupted him. prep is worse than the procedure by far.

  23. Having my second one in less than two weeks. These fun part is my wife is having her first, right after mine. I am glad there are two bathrooms in the house. We just have to warn the grandkids.

  24. Had one at 60. They said come back in 10 years. I said not likely and left. Get one. If you are clean, I was, you can die happyr

  25. If it makes you feel any better. Once you are in your 80's the docs often tell you that you don't have to endure the procedure any more.

  26. I'm not a physician; this is not medical advice.

    The prep for a colonoscopy is pretty annoying. Stay near a bathroom.

    The procedure isn't too bad, although there is a slight risk of complications.

    The Cologuard screening is almost as good at not showing false negatives for average risk people. But if it shows positive, then you'll need a regular colonoscopy, since one of those, besides making the problem visible, allows the polyps to be removed. And the false positive rate for Cologuard is significant, although not overwhelmingly so (a bit over 10% false positives).

    If you're higher than average risk, the colonoscopy is the way to go. If not, the Cologuard is not as good as a colonoscopy, but is still reasonably good for a screening test (and should be done more often than colonoscopies — current recommendations are every 3 years for Cologuard vs 10 for colonoscopy, after a negative result).

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