My uncle has IBD, and now I have symptoms, so I’m having a colonoscopy next month to confirm whether I have it too. I’ve heard about the best foods and supplies for pre-colonoscopy and after, but I’m wondering what kinds of activities I’m likely to feel like doing. I know I’ll be going back and forth to the bathroom a lot and a little woozy, so this might make my normal habit of reading long nonfiction books a little impractical. What should I have ready to entertain me while I drink the prep and/or while I wait for the procedure?
-Macon, GA, Mom
Dear Macon Mom,
First of all, I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling well, but kudos to you for being proactive and getting checked out. My number of colonoscopies is now in the double digits, unfortunately, but I’ve found that preparation can make prepping a lot easier.
Your normal attention span and patience will be cut in half, and your time will be split in half between the bathroom and the couch or bed, so don’t expect too much of yourself. Prep time is a great excuse to catch up on whole seasons of TV shows, through services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, or iTunes. Or play some video or computer games you haven’t played in a while. I have fond memories (my only ones of the night) of playing Nintendo’s Contra while prepping for my first colonoscopy.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I bring my phone into the bathroom. I refuse to be ashamed. We spend a lot of time in there.
There’s also your phone or tablet. Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I bring my phone into the bathroom. I refuse to be ashamed. Apparently 80 percent of people bring theirs into the bathroom, and I bet it’s like 95 percent of IBDers, because we spend 95 percent of our time in there. Just like how I bring my clothes and the hair on my head into the bathroom, I don’t dunk them or my phone into the toilet, so I don’t consider them to be “tainted” from the experience. What people should really be worried about are bathroom doorknobs and paper-towel dispensers with the hand crank, the bottoms of their purses, and … a lot of other things that aren’t my phone or yours. So, all of that to say: If all else fails, bring your phone into the bathroom with you, and play Tetris Blitz or Angry Birds, or watch TV shows or movies through the Netflix app, or listen to music, or type a shopping list of what you’re going to eat when this is all over with, that WON’T involve lime gelatin or beef broth.
On procedure day, most of these same guidelines apply. But nurses might not want you to bring your phone or tablet back to the pre-op area, and you probably won’t get cell reception. So, just in case, also bring:
Author Katie McLendon is a CCFA support group facilitator in Atlanta who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2005. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University, and works as an editor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Follow Katie on Twitter: @katiefmclendon
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