“Right now, I’m about as hungry as the person who discovered snails are edible.”
Last week, I was welcomed to Planet Colonoscopy, a world I discovered isn’t as crappy as I thought it might be. In fact, most of the process was actually rather painless, even the drinking the medicine and pooping your brains out section.
But the part that got me?
The not eating bit.
I woke up Monday morning knowing that I would not be able to eat for the next 28 hours. The night before, I’d gone to town in preparation for the fast. I made spare ribs, kale, cornbread and white rice and, baby, I didn’t look back. In fact, around 10 p.m., I heated up more rice and then sprinkled on soy sauce and a nice hunk of butter, something I haven’t done since I was about 11.
All the while, I counseled myself about the fact that I wouldn’t be that hungry Monday because of my binge and then had another helping of white rice to convince myself.
But when I woke up Monday, I was as hungry as ever. The reality that I actually wasn’t allowed to eat anything but liquids, and not even the good colors, sunk in, which ended up being a far more surreal experience than I thought it would be. Even when I have spent days not eating, it’s only because I was feeling sick and so electing not to. The choice and power were still mine.
But this was a different ballgame, and quickly, I actually became afraid that I might eat by accident. One, by just forgetting I wasn’t supposed to eat, and, two, because I didn’t have the discipline to stick to this. In fact, the only thing that stopped me from digging into the leftover pot of bowtie pasta with fresh peas, lemon and ricotta is that I would then have to start the whole thing over at some future date.
Still, for a few minutes, as I scanned the fridge, zeroing in over and over on the leftover ribs (had I been crazy not to eat them all when I still could?), I did briefly consider just cheating. I mean, would the doctor really know that I’d had some cheddar cheese? Would I really get kicked out of the exam for having some scrambled eggs with cream?
Then I reminded myself that I don’t even have the gumption to talk in anything but a tiny whisper at the movies for fear an usher might kick me out, never mind risk the results of a health test and get in trouble with my doctor.
Of course, like I said, I was allowed to eat liquids. I’d made myself some homemade chicken broth in preparation the day before, dumping in about $10 worth of chicken to make sure it was extra flavorful. By noon, I was poring over the big, cold pot of grey gelatin and actually licking my lips.
Broth, as you might already know, isn’t the most satisfying of meals, however, and I quickly chased it with one of the only other things I was allowed to eat: a popsicle.
Now I’m not sure how you feel about them, but, to me, a popsicle isn’t really a popsicle unless it’s red. Or purple. Even blue, whatever that flavor is, I’ll take and say a pretty heartfelt thank-you. But I had the option of orange, yellow and maybe green, but who cares because I wasn’t ever going to eat green anyway.
I’d chosen orange and sucked on that thing like I was draining all the joy in the world out of it.
The popsicle tasted rather festive at first, but then when I got to the end, which is always a little stressful because you wonder if it’s going to fall off the stick and drip down your wrist, a sort of depression sunk in. I had now eaten all of the variety that I was going to get that day.
Of course, I could have had yellow, orange or green Jell-O, but, gah, I hate Jell-O anyway, and in those colors? Can I say it? Fuck off.
So, I focused on the clock and the fact that I didn’t need to feel guilty about not working out because, I mean, you can’t work out when you’re fasting. I also peptalked myself about how I would never, ever again take for granted the pure pleasure of being able to eat when I want.
Then I went and got a manicure and pedicure because this basically sucked and I deserved it.
That was another thing I hadn’t anticipated about colonoscopy prep: Expect to spend some dough. Your desire to go shopping will skyrocket in direct proportion to your hunger. By the end of the day, I had inexplicably bright pink nails and I’d dropped $500 at Saks Off 5th, with the faulty plan of returning $400 of it.
But by 10:30 a.m. the next day, I knew I’d made it. Like I said, the test was absolutely painless (and very important because I have a family history), and afterward? Wendy’s combo No. 1 and a Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar never tasted so sweet.