One Glass at a Time

I’m a member of “The Half Century Club.”  It’s not a club I really wanted to join.  ’50’ just sounds so much older than being a cool ’40-something.’  As soon as you hit that milestone you are bombarded with letters from AARP.  And as if being referred to as a “Retired Person” isn’t insulting enough, when you go in for your 50k mile tune-up your doctor will inform you that it’s time for Your Colonoscopy.

Yeah.  Nice little club you got here.

I successfully ignored both the AARP mail and the doctor’s advice until I was recently diagnosed with an iron deficiency.  At that point, a colonoscopy was more strongly recommended to rule out possible blood loss.  So, with a December 30th appointment on the calendar and a gallon jug of Colyte in hand, I set out to complete this rite of passage.

Something you need to know about me is that I have trouble finishing a glass of anything.  In college, when my sorority sisters were making “7-11 Runs” to get their “Big Gulps,” I was the one with the “Gulp.”  A two-cup pot of tea lasts me all morning.  So you can understand that when my assignment was to consume a half gallon of nasty tasting liquid–twice, in about a twelve-hour period–I was in over my head, so to speak.

Seeking help and commiseration, I turned to the Internet.  The best advice I could find involved holding one’s breath while chugging an entire eight ounce glass, followed by a big swig of a strong tasting beverage (clear liquids only, mind you) of one’s choice.  I knew this would never work for me, being of the “Gulp” variety.  I had to come up with another way to navigate these waters.

On the day before my procedure, I snacked on a cup of chicken broth while the rest of my family enjoyed their various lunches at the mall food court.  The broth was surprisingly satisfying and comforting.  I had my inspiration:  I would try tricking my taste buds by alternating the Colyte with sips of chicken broth when the evening’s “festivities” commenced.

When we arrived home from the mall, I prepared the broth and let it cool on the counter while I poured eight ounces of Colyte into a pretty crystal glass.  (A girl can pretend, right?)  At the appointed time, I took a spoonful of the broth, then the biggest mouthful of Colyte I could muster, followed by a chicken broth chaser.

Not bad!  I can do this! I thought.  The Colyte tasted like salt water, and the chicken broth was pleasant enough.  A few minutes later I had emptied the first glass.  Now all I had to do was repeat this.  15 more times.

About halfway through the first half gallon, I started to feel ill.  My stomach was bloated.  My head was pounding.  I was tearful, discouraged and completely daunted by the task at hand.  I did not see how I could possibly drink another drop, much less down another quart!

I attempted to pull myself together as I recalled the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  My mantra became:  Just do the next thing.  I wouldn’t let myself think about the amount I had yet to imbibe, but would instead focus on the glass in my hand, as if it were the only one.  During the ten-minute intervals between Colyte cocktails I would try to be “in the moment,” enjoying my time “off.”  I tried to stay positive and maintain an attitude of gratitude–for medical technology, for the time over Christmas break to schedule the procedure while my husband was home, for our amazing digestive systems, modern plumbing, and anything else I could think of!

And I prayed.  A lot.  I knew I could only do this with God’s help.

Well, I managed to consume the first half gallon, spent some casual time in the little girls’ room, and retired to sleep off my Colyte binge.  The next morning I awoke, hung over with dread, knowing I had to deliver an encore performance.  My plan was to tackle the second half gallon with my own ‘Special Breakfast Blend’ of apple cider and Colyte.

And you know what?  I. DID. IT.  One sip, one glass at a time!  The colonoscopy went smoothly and the results were negative.  The doctor even commented on his report, and I quote:  “Prep–Excellent!”  I was so proud.  Best of all, I don’t have to go through this again for another decade!

In the meantime, I hope my experience is helpful to those of you staring down your own personal jug of Colyte, who may have stumbled upon this site.  Perhaps some of these principles might also be useful whenever any of us encounter an obstacle in our path which seems insurmountable.

Just take the next step.  Live in the present moment.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Be thankful.  Trust God to make a way.

And know that with His help, even a “Little Sipper” can become a “Big Gulper!”

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