Patient Testimonials - David's Story

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David Mossner shares the story of his colonoscopy.


It took several months, but there was one more rite of passage that arrived with my 50th birthday. A test.


Through my life, I've been blessed with good health. Most of my visits to the doctor have been for relatively minor things: a fall from a tree, chicken pox, vaccinations, regular physicals, and a surgical procedure small enough to not require any anesthetic. (Although on the last one, I think I would have preferred to have been "out.")


It was time for a little "look-see" to make sure there was nothing lurking to do me harm down the road. Thanks to encouragement from my spouse and friends who had the experience and lived to tell the tale, I made the appointment. (I don't know about you, but the fact that the screening is covered without deductible or co-pay by health insurance is a difference maker for me. I might not have been as willing to take this test otherwise.)


UW Health Digestive Health Services patient DavidThe test was this past Friday at 12:40pm. (Editor's note: February, 2014.) That meant I started preparing Thursday at noon. Only clear liquids to drink after that - very thankful Mountain Dew was on the OK list - but no solid food. At 6pm, I had eight eight-ounce glasses of "stuff" to drink. Flavored with Crystal Light Lemonade, mix and in the fridge all day - it wasn't as bad as I expected.


The papers from the doc suggested removing the four-liter jug from the fridge a couple hours before drinking, but my advice would be to keep it cold. It was easier for me to drink that way. Oh, and use a straw, which exposes less of the flavor to your taste buds. I had a "bendy" straw, which seemed appropriate!


The effects kick in an hour or so after starting, and you want to be close to home. Buy the softest toilet paper in the world and flushable wipes - likely the best advice on the clinic's prep list. I had some gum and root beer barrel hard candy to suck on between glasses, which helped me cope with the taste.


Since my appointment was in the middle of the day, it was an early-morning wake-up call to drink the last eight glasses. Left in the fridge overnight, the colder "stuff" was easier to power down, leaving me clean and ready for my up-close-and-personal camera encounter. At the clinic, getting ready for the exam, the doctor and nursing team were welcoming and each had a sense of humor (a requirement for this field, I would guess, and lots of jokes ready to "go").


A nurse told me I already finished the hard part, and once I was given an IV and wheeled to the procedure room, I don't remember much of my visit to the Digestive Health Center. When I woke up, I was dressed and helped into a wheelchair to get to the car for the ride home.


They tell you to take it easy and not make any decisions the rest of the day. I didn't have much choice on that, other than sitting up for a small bowl of soup (after 5pm - first food since Thursday morning) and a small chocolate shake from McDonald's. I slept until 5 Saturday morning. Saturday was an easy day to relax and I'm thankful to have had my test on Friday and no work the day after, so I think my advice would be to go that route if you are able to do so.


It's a test no one looks forward to, but it's important to talk about it. That's why I thought I should share this with you, like my friends did with me. The discomfort and embarrassment you might feel is outweighed by getting a preventative test. Caught early, colorectal cancer is curable. It's not found early often enough, as in cancers affecting men and women, it is the second biggest cancer killer. I took the test and preliminary indications are good. If you are 50 or older and aren't scheduled yet, let me add my voice to those of your friends and family and telling you to get your gown on. It's worth it.