The Colonoscopy Scale

“This shouldn’t be too bad.” The dental assistant said as she put a bib on me while the dentist prepared his first syringe full of whatever they use to numb you these days.  I was yelled at by a dentist, a “friend” not my personal dentist, when I called it Novocain.  Apparently Novocain went out with Tab Cola and non-cable television.

“It’ll be fine. It’s not like it’s a colonoscopy,” I replied.  We both laughed and the dentist looked a bit uncomfortable, and kind of like he was going to tell me that he doesn’t work at THAT end of the body.

The name of this "prep" is funny, if you know what a "prep" does.
The name of this “prep” is funny, if you know what a “prep” does.

“No prep,” I said, and everyone laughed uncomfortably.  Leave it to me to make poop jokes in the dentist’s chair.  I’m always making people cringe.  It’s my best skill.

As the dentist began giving me the first of what ended up being 4 not-Novocain injections (Lidocain, I’m guessing), I had to remind myself that this was NOT as bad as a colonoscopy.  I could handle this, right? I had to ask myself that again, when I could feel the drill after 3 shots.  This is when shot number 4 happened.  Still, no prep and no twilight anesthesia to deal with, though that can be fun for whoever is in the recovery room with me.  The twilight anesthesia, not the prep.  The prep is not fun for anyone, especially anyone silly enough to be in the same room with the person who is prepping. Please see the second to the last (or penultimate, as fancy people say) paragraph from this blog:  Twilight anesthesia experience.

Ever since I had my first colonoscopy, way back when I was 21, before the Internet and flat-screen TV’s, I’ve been comparing things in terms of better than or worse than a colonoscopy.

Um, people who are lucky enough, or phonetically challenged enough to NOT know what a colonoscopy is, read this before you continue.  Be sure to read more than the first two sentences.  Get to that “prep” part so you can really get an understanding for my comparison scale.

I usually state the comparison by saying something like, “I’d rather have a colonoscopy than go to a family reunion.”  This is pretty much true as I am not really close with most of my family.  Most things are pretty clear-cut, like this one.  I would always rather have a colonoscopy than do anything that required me to be outdoors for extended periods of time, and I would rather go to the dentist than have a colonoscopy.

Some things, on the other hand, are not so black and white.  Flying (on planes, not my broom) varies.  I’m a nervous flyer.  So, medical procedures and flying cause me the same level of anxiety, depending on the length of the flight and where I am going.  Shorter flights over land are better than colonoscopies because they are over quicker and have no prep.  Long flights, and any flights taking place over the ocean, is much worse than a colonoscopy.  I would truly rather do the whole prep thing, and blabber in the recovery room, than imagine crashing into the ocean and surviving long enough to drown in a plane.  The ocean is softer, so you obviously survive longer than if you just crashed in to the good, dry, hard earth.

OK.  I have given myself sweaty palms now.

If you haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, you are really missing out on a great comparison tool, and a lot of good stories that would make your friends cringe .  You can use whatever tools you have though. If you have had a root canal, use that as a comparison tool.  Anything surgical will do, really.  Let me know what your “colonoscopy” scale is in the comment area.

8 thoughts on “The Colonoscopy Scale

  1. I’ve had kidney stones; eight years ago. That pain must be similar to child birth – not that I have experience with that; because I’ve had a kidney infection and a ruptured ovarian cyst two weeks apart from each other AND I still think a colonoscopy prep is way worse.

  2. I measure everything on a scale of better or worse than childbirth. My son was 9 lbs. Since then, I’ve had two major surgeries, colonoscopies, endoscopies, dental procedures, and long flights over the ocean at night. The childbirth always wins. It’s even worse than hiccups, public speaking and frogs that boing.

    1. Childbirth is torture. I had 17 hours of labor with a malfunctioning epidural, followed by an emergency c-section. This is why I only have one kid.

  3. No colonoscopy but I just had an abelation that was pretty bad. The doc actually came in at hour five and said “95% of people walk out of here twenty minted after the procedure.” Or so I’m told. I was still screaming in pain.

    1. THIS is why I HATE all of these in office procedures. My doctor wanted to do a uterine biopsy. I informed her she would be knocking me out and doing a D and C. I refuse to be awake for torture.

      Oh, and now I’m never getting an ablation.

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