The colonoscopy was no big deal, seriously. Aside from the fact that they had to try both of my arms in order to find a vein, to put in the IV for the sedative drugs, and aside from the fact that there was a scheduling snafu that required me to just sit with an IV dripping into me for almost three hours, it was truly not a big deal. Getting the IV put in was the most uncomfortable part of the day of the procedure, and that was about as painful as a bee sting.
Once the sedation drugs were started, I was pretty much out. They call it “conscious sedation,” because you can breath on your own, and you’re apparently still conscious enough that you are able to answer questions. It’s about as deeply as you can be sedated apart from general anesthesia. I do remember answering a question from a nurse at one point during the procedure, but that’s about all I remember from the time I went to sleep until the time I woke up in the recovery room. I think she was telling me that they were “making a turn” and that I might be experiencing some cramping, and she asked me if I wanted more medicine. I was feeling something that was probably painful, and I truly didn’t care, but I answered yes, and I don’t recall anything else about the procedure. The procedure itself (including snapping some photos of the inside of various sections of my colon) took no more than half an hour, and I woke up maybe another half an hour after that, so an hour passed in what seemed like two or three minutes to me. I was told in the recovery room that everything was great, no biopsy was needed, no polyps had to be removed, and I don’t have to do this again for another ten years.
I went home a bit drowsy from the drugs, took a nap, had a light meal, slept like a baby all night long, and was up early this morning riding my bike again. (And no, it didn’t hurt to sit on my bike saddle.)
Seriously, if you’re due for a colonoscopy, don’t be afraid of the procedure–just go get it done. Every person I know who has had one has told me exactly the same thing–it’s really no big deal, and the prep work the previous day (clear liquids only, plus a powerful laxative that cleans you out in an impressive way) is really the worst part of the whole experience, in terms of discomfort.
Chances are everything will be fine, and if not, better to know sooner rather than later.