Just do it

I celebrated President’s Day by having a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. Sure, there were plenty of pleasanter things I could have planned. But the appointment was available – and so was I.

I write about this to assure nervous patients that these procedures are more anxiety producing than they really need to be. Preparation for the colonoscopy is far from pleasant. It is what it is and demands a “just do it” philosophy. And the procedure itself is not really a big deal. If Katie Couric can have a colonoscopy with millions watching, I can certainly have one in the relative privacy of a doctor’s office – and be cool about it.

There is no really unpleasant preparation for an endoscopy and the beauty of doing them together (I’m not encouraging this…just observing)is that what I consider the most unpleasant part of an endoscopy – getting by the gag reflex – occurred while I was sedated and not even aware of what was going on, at least in this case. In fact, I thought I was just lying there listing to the doctor and assistants chatter as they got started when I realized it was all over, seemingly without my participation. And that was fine with me.

I had brunch when I got home and wished I’d thought about something a bit more exciting beforehand. I warmed up two slices of bread, covered them with cottage cheese and salt and had fresh strawberries for dessert. It was not a meal to remember but at that point, I was starting to feel hungry so it was just good to eat. On the plus side, the strawberries were a lot better than I would have anticipated at this time of year. That could be one of the keys to enjoying the gluten-free life – anticipating and appreciating the good things we do have to eat. Strawberries are supremely gluten free and one of the finest fruits available on this green earth.

If you are facing either of these procedures, don’t worry. Just do it. But plan some nice meals around the event, especially for afterwards, so you will have that to look forward to. And bring a good book. It will give you something to do while you are waiting besides noticing how silly everyone looks in the skimpy hospital gowns.