So, I'm fifty. That means I had a colonoscopy, which occurred on Tuesday. The prep was the worst part. No, I mean it. The prep was nasty-tasting and did what it was supposed to do, I'll spare you the details. Lucky for me, I showed up for my test and was met by a smiling greeter at the door, a friendly receptionist, and then, wonderful nurses who took all my information and confirmed my identity and made me feel at ease. Then, best of all, two amazing people that I know were at the hospital to help me with my procedure. The first nurse I saw was a friend, we had run races together and I trusted her. She smiled and chatted while she popped an IV in me on the first try, and made me feel at ease.
The second amazing person, a CRNA, was there because I had asked her, my friend, to do my anesthesia. I trust her, literally, with my life. We are also good friends and have been there for each other through happiness and sorrow, worked many shifts together, practiced yoga together, celebrated special occasions together, and text back and forth frequently just because...life. I had never seen her at work in her advanced practice role, and the medical geek in me just went nuts in the procedure room. My fear was totally gone, replaced by awe and love for a phenomenal human doing such cool work. She played some soothing music for me, and squeezed my hand before we started. Then she gave me propofol. I don't remember anything else. When I woke up in recovery it was like nothing even happened. Thankfully it went exactly how it was supposed to go.
I think for those of us that work in healthcare, any procedure, even the most mundane, can create anxiety because we know what can go wrong. Even a quick trip to the CT scanner can end in a code. The thoughts that we create can be much worse than the events that may occur. An acronym I try to remember is FEAR: Few Ever Are Real. This helps me when my mind runs away and I start to worry about things that may never happen. "What we think, we become", says the Buddha. I am so grateful for my friends, for the skilled people and medical care that we have access to, for the ability to be mindful in my daily life no matter what is going on. Don't put it off, if you're fifty, go ahead and get your colonoscopy, it's not that bad, and it could save your life. I know for me, I am going to continue to try to focus on love, not fear.
By DiverDave - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19899416