(You’ve been warned – this contains butt stuff – and not the fun kind.)
As a person of a certain age (that age being OLD AF), every year my HMO (Kaiser) asks me to dip a stick into my poop and mail it back to them. (For this, I deeply and sincerely apologize to the people at the USPS – which should not mean United States Poop (delivery) Service.)
This is called the FIT (fecal immunochemical test) test (and yes, I realize calling it the FIT test is calling it the fecal immunochemical test test) and mostly they are looking for blood in your poop.
Well, ding, ding, ding. This year, we have a “winner”. My test came back “positive” – which means, they positively found blood in my poop.
Now, before you get your panties in a twist and think that this fat old lady is knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door – I have a history of polyps in the colon; and from time to time these fuckers burst and I end up with blood gushing out; so it is not unreasonable that if a smaller polyp burst at the wrong time, I ended up with some unnoticed blood in my poop. So I’m not all that worried; but I’m not ignoring it either.
Any one still reading this?
Well, apparently, the first thing after a positive FIT test is they schedule a colonoscopy (or as I like to call it “Bend Over and Say Ahhhhh”).
This is not my first ride on the air hose up your butt. This will be my third colonoscopy. (The first being in my 30s when I found out about my polyps, and the second being when Kaiser wanted me to have the usual – you’re old-as-fuck colonoscopy screening.
So Kaiser calls me to schedule. Fine. I’m talking to some sweet young thing and she’s getting me all set with the appointments (which also includes a COVID test – thank you – nothing like getting poked from both ends of the rainbow!)
She’s about done, when I say, wait a minute. You do know, I’m fat, right? Really really fat? Does this change anything – because if you have read my blog, you know that somehow my HMO stays steadfastly in denial that I am a FAT old lady.
Sure as shit. She pauses – and then I hear that disappointing and aggravating, “Oh.” And I realize she has just read, for the first time, just how fat I am. (As I have mentioned, time and time again, I don’t – hell, I cannot – hide the fact that I am fat. Every time I walk into Kaiser they want to weigh me (even for treatment for cat bites), and I have always assumed they write that down somewhere. And YET, every fucking time being fat really makes a difference, Kaiser fails to pick up on that fact – and then they want to know why I’m such a cranky fat old lady.)
Sooooooooooo. Here we go. I cannot have the procedure she has scheduled. They require me to have the procedure on a Thursday, because they insist I will need an anesthesiologist present.
Why do I need an anesthesiologist present?
Then they tell me because I will be put under for the procedure.
I inform her that this is my third colonoscopy and to my recollection (which is admittedly iffy) I have never so much as taken a calm-the-fuck-down pill beforehand. Why is this necessary? She has no answer for me, she just says its what they have to do when someone has a BMI (bad mother-fucking information) as high as mine.
So we go through and reschedule everything.
Now, I’m concerned. Why do they have to put me under? It’s been awhile since I’ve had a colonoscopy – just how big are the cameras they’re using nowadays – are they using Polaroids now? What kind of air hose are they using? Are we talking dryer vent size? Are they planning on just turning on their industrial vacuum in reverse? What kind of attachment are they planning on using? WTF?
So I do that one thing all healthcare professionals hate – I go onto the internet and do some research.
And I end up with a LOT of questions.
So I call the number Kaiser has given me if I have any questions about the procedure. The first person I talk to has no answers. The second person I talk to has no answers, but is willing to set up an appointment with a doctor, if I feel that is necessary.
The first video conference appointment was at 5:30.
Then I get a call, can we change that to 4:30? Sure.
I call in at 4:30 and no doctor. I get a call from Kaiser telling me the doctor is running late (of course he is), and do I want to keep waiting or call back. I tell the person, I’ll just keep waiting. I have the health app (video conference) on my laptop and I can still work on my desktop.
Finally, the doctor comes on. I start asking questions. And I finally get some answers.
I don’t need any kind of sedation if I don’t want it. The doctor seemed actually surprised I had to ask. In fact, by not having anesthesia, it means an anesthesiologist will not be called away from ICU (during the COVID surge) to oversee my ride on the airhose. Also if I don’t use any sedation, I don’t have to get a ride to and from the procedure. I can just go in, do it, hang out for a half hour (just to make sure everything has settled back into place, I guess), and go home.
I also read that in a study even though most people having an unsedated colonoscopy did have some pain (of varying degrees) almost all of them would do it again without any sedation.
So I now have to decide – risk some discomfort (and if it’s too bad, the worst that will happen is I’ll have to reschedule this and go through all the prep needed to make my intestines clean as a whistle); or do “deep sedation”. (Yes, it turns out they were never going to do a general anesthesia – but nobody could tell me that beforehand; but rather a deep sedation – which, like any kind of anesthesia, has risks including breathing suppression.)
So now I have to call back Kaiser and let them know I won’t be using any sedation.
This is so fucking frustrating. Not only didn’t Kaiser not take into consideration my BMI (and their own procedures concerning same) before calling me to schedule the procedure; I couldn’t get the information I needed from anyone except a doctor. Nobody lower than that could tell me that no sedation was an option. The doctor was like, “No sedation? Sure, no problem! In fact …” Not only didn’t the people before I spoke with the doctor offer me the option of no sedation, they inferred that this was NOT an option for me and that I was in for a big snooze.
How appropriate that my message to Kaiser is – GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!