Before Your Colonoscopy, Read This

“You won’t remember a thing,” the nurse told me.

What I do remember is hell.

You’re about to hear my story. Not because I want to tell you, but because I wish someone had told me beforehand. Before I share my story, I want you to know a little bit about what to expect here.

1. You will hear a story, and every word is true. It’s not pretty. But it’s not gory either.

2. You’ll hear about medications. And possible abuses.

3. You’ll hear about my plan for the next colonoscopy. I won’t let them do what they did to me again. But there is a way to get through this.

And maybe I’ll tell you about the psychologist who counseled me after the depression that was brought about when I realized what I’d been through.

In other articles at this website, you’ll learn about medications, modern techniques, and monetary incentives that work against you.

There are a lot of reasons to have a colonoscopy. What we’re not told is what options we really have, and how abusive this process may be if we don’t do it right.

My story is not unique. What is unique is that you have the opportunity to hear about it before you go for a colonoscopy.

A taboo subject

Frankly, my friends don’t talk about colonoscopies. Maybe yours do. (My wife knows some people who do.) When I needed to know a specialist who could do the work, I asked one of my best friends, my neighbor, Ken, who he went to, and he told me. When I asked, I didn’t even know he’d ever had a colonoscopy. The question was a shot in the dark.

Because of my age (57) and a few minor medical concerns, my primary care physician advuised me to have a colonoscopy. In fact, my wife was counseled the same thing, so soon we were off, together, to see the specialist.

At the initial consultation, I asked the doctor about an anesthesiologist and Propofol. I’d read in The Wall Street Journal that Propofol was being increasingly used for colonoscopies, providing greater confort for patients. The doctor said insurance companies wouldn’t pay for the anesthesiologist (not true for my insurance company, but true for some), and that the drugs they used were quite adequate, I’d be comfortable and “wouldn’t remember a thing.”

That should have been my first alarm.

A month or so later, we did our due preparation: No food for a day and a half, plus laxatives to clean the bowels before the procedure. (That part wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated.)

Bright and early Friday morning, we checked in at the hospital for our “outpatient” procedure.

As I was prepped by the nurse, she told me they would be using two drugs, one to alleviate pain and one that would induce amnesia. “You won’t remember a thing,” she said.

I should have listened to those words more carefully. I heard them repeated to other patients.

I heard another nurse tell the patient in the bed next to mine, “It induces a kind of ‘conscoius amnesia.’ You’re drowsy but conscious during the procedure, but you won’t remember a thing.”

It’s probably 20-20 hindsight, but now, as I hear those words echo in my mind, I have a question:

“If one drug takes care of the pain, why do I
need another drug to forget everything?”

That would be a critical question, I realize today.

Off to the operating room

Soon an orderly came to take me to the operating room. I was wheeled into what seemed like a surprisingly small room. Two nurses were there waiting, and they proceeded to get things ready. They had me roll onto my side and started the medication.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room.

Except for one thing.

I had this slightly groggy memory of excruciating pain, and a feeling of being disembowled, and trying, but being unable to do anything about it. This memory lasted only a minute or so before I blacked out.

At first I wasn’t sure about the memory. Over the next couple of days, it grew.

I became angry. I felt violated, like something really bad had happened to me, but I had repressed the memory.

It was all I could think about. I became obsessed with the fact that I had a doctor who would choose to subject me to that much pain, and choose to make it “okay” by giving me drugs to make me forget.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Yet, I know I’m lucky. No perforated bowel, no long term hospitalization. No cancer.

And the treatment I got was no different than most folks, except I happen to remember some of the pain.

That makes me even angrier. The long line of victims, probably thousands every day across the country, people herding themselves in for painful procedures, doctors giving them meds that make their brains forget (repress) the memory of those experiences.

I was further depressed and felt guilt at the thought that I’d located the doctor through my friend’s referral, and my wife was also subjected to similar treatment (though she doesn’t have any memory of the procedure).

I was exhausted but didn’t sleep well that night. Or the next. Or the next. And I was unable to concentrate on anything else at work.

I looked into the medications

My hospital discharge papers told me what medications had been used. Demerol was given for pain and Versed to provide the amnesia effect.

After I found I was losing sleep I started searching the internet for information about the drugs. Here’s what I found:

Versed is given for colonoscopies and a number of other procedures. It’s also known as a “date rape” drug; used illegally it can make people forget things.

I thought that was interesting. That’s pretty close to my feelings about it.

Some people who were given Versed had memory losses that were longer than the procedure… extending to more of the day.

I even saw one report from a man who said he was an engineer and after the Versed treatment he was no longer able to remember key processes that he used daily at work. I don’t know about that, but if it can mess with the brain to make you forget an hour, or a day, it sounds like potential trouble to me.

I also learned that about 10% of Versed patients have varying degrees of memory. Some say they remember the procedure and there wasn’t much pain.

Others reported intense pain, which doctors and nurses did little to alleviate. One patient reported dreaming extreme pain and screaming for them to stop, but they wouldn’t stop. After the procedure, he asked a nurse about that. She said, ‘I thought you wouldn’t remember.”

If you doubt any of this search Google or Yahoo! on colonoscopy versed … you’ll find stories of both happy patients, and angry patients.

I also learned that some doctors use Versed alone, without an accompanying narcotic to reduce pain. This strikes me as even more cruel, only relying on the drowsiness and amnesia so patients don’t remember the pain. I guess I was extra lucky there; at least my doctor did something for pain reduction. I just can’t imagine any doctor not being sensitive to this pain issue, or nurses putting up with the situation.

Maybe I just don’t understand medicine.

And I kept coming back to the big question.

“If one drug takes care of the pain, why do I
need another drug to forget everything?”

What’s next?

My colonoscopy revealed a polyp; it was removed. As a result of this finding, I’ve been advised to repeat the procedure in two to three years.

“I’m not letting anybody do that to me again! Ever!”

But I know I’m going to have to do something.

After all, a colonoscopy is the best procedure for protection against colon cancer, a much bigger threat than most of us know. You need that test. But there are risks, discomforts, and sometimes excruciating pain.

‘A colonoscopy is the best procedure for protection against colon cancer…’

Here’s my plan, one I’d recommend to anyone:

1. Get a virtual colonoscopy. It’s more like a cat scan… less invasive. My primary care physician says that eventually, they’ll be very popular, but for now most insurance companies won’t pay for them. It’s worth the money. You shouldn’t be paying someone to hurt you.

And lobby your insurance company now to pay for virtual colonoscopies.

2. If the virtual colonoscopy shows polyps or something needing attention, get that done but insist on an anesthesiologist and Propofol. Insist. It’s your right.

Insurance company bean counters take note: If my wife and I had followed this procedure, It would have saved you money, even though I still would need a regular colonoscopy.

How can doctors do this to us?

When did doctors decide it was okay to hurt people if you could give them a drug so they wouldn’t remember it?

I just do not understand how doctors (or nurses) can subject patients to unnecessary pain. They call it discomfort; that probably helps their conscience. Have they just become numb to their patients’ feelings?

Somehow it seems dishonest. Or cruel.

I wonder about the mental state of the doctors and nurses that do this… are they just so cold or blind to the pain they cause that they don’t care, or do they actually get their jollies doing this?

Probably some of both.

I’d suggest to anyone who finds that Versed is going to be administered, get dressed and get out as fast as you can.

There are alternatives that actually reduce the pain, but they cost more, and it’s likely that your colo-rectal specialist who is doing your procedure won’t like having another doctor on hand. Hospitals and specialists seem to favor not having the anesthesiologist who will get paid instead of the fee for your specialist’s or hospital’s nurse who administers the Versed.

You may have noticed that I have not shared the name of my doctor. That’s on purpose, because it could be your doctor. You see, what my doctor did is what most doctors are doing; it’s the accepted medical practice.

There’s a serious point here. Your specialist will never tell you that you should get a virtual colonoscopy, because that’s just sending business to the competition. You’re going to have to manage this yourself.

To get better treatment, you’re going to have to find an exceptional doctor who sees his or her patients as people rather than as slabs of meat lined up for a medical procedure.

I’m also willing to admit that I blew it… and I’m hoping that by sharing my story, I’ll save you the immediate pain and the pain and depression of repressed memories that I’ve experienced.

If you’d like to read The Wall Street Journal story, check these reprint links:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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34 thoughts on “Before Your Colonoscopy, Read This

  1. I feel obligated to inform you thst you are being EXTREMELY irresponsible by posting this website when you clearly have not done your homework. Colonoscopies are our only way of preventing colon cancer. Because of this procedure, it is one of the only easily preventable cancers. You mention that virtual colonoscopy is a less painful, less invasive way of screening. When a colonoscopy is performed, it is not the colonoscope or the passage of the colonoscope that causes pain. It is the air that is introduced to expand the colon that causes pain. During a virtual colonoscopy, the colon is insufflated with air as in a traditional colonoscopy. However when a virtual colonoscopy is performed, pain medications are not offered. The patient will experience all of the pain associated with a traditional colonoscopy without being offered pain meds to help alleviate it. Now, on to the meds. Propofol is a fine drug when used appropriately. Don’t tell people to only accept propofol. It still is not widely available and what we are starting to see now is that insurance companies are starting to deny payment for propofol/anesthesia services. This means that sooner than later, it won’t be available for colonoscopy anywhere. Do not scare people, who are already scared enough, into refusing traditional meds. There are too many people who are afraid to have screenings done. They don’t need 1 person such as yourself, who had a bad experience telling them how horrible it will be. The fact is that most people have a fine experience with Demerol and Versed. Occassional, a person has a bad experience and as much as we like to avoid that, it happens. Unfortunately, people who have a good experience tend not to talk about it as much as the people who have a bad experience. Versed is not given because of it’s potential for amnesia. This is another point on which you are misinformed. Versed is a relative of valium. It is given for it’s sedative effect. Valium has more potential side effects and as such is not the best choice for sedation. This is why we opt for Versed rather than Valium. Not because we want to make people forget. Short-term amnesia is a potential side effect of Versed and, for most people, not a bad one. As a GI nurse, I’ve been involved in thousands of colonoscopies. I’ve used Demerol and Versed and I’ve had recent experience with propofol. In my experience, most patients are pleased with the effects of Demerol and Versed. They are pleased immediately after the procedure and they continue to be pleased with the results days later. We contact all of our patients days later to check on their status. The one point on which you are correct is that propofol needs to be administered by qualified personnel. States vary on who can legally administer it. Patients can call their gastroenterologist to find out what the laws are in their state. Most of us are not looking to induce pain or scare our patients. Colonoscopies are not supposed to be fun. There are some unpleasntries associated with the procedure. How could something of this nature be pleasant? Most of the professionals who perform colonoscopies, however, are trying to make it as easy and as pleasant as possible for our patients. When our patients have pain, we give more Demerol to control the pain. A small minority still don’t resond to even increased doses of sedatives and pain meds and we can only administer so much before we reach unsafe levels. We have to juggle comfort with safety. Again, the very large majority of patients respond nicely to the average doses of Versed and Demerol. Propofol is a nice option, when available, but it remains controversial and it’s future in the world of screening colonoscopies remains questionnable. Encourage people to lobby their ins. companies to pay for it. But stop scaring them.

  2. I have to agree with the original post. I have also had a severe mental reaction to Versed. While the people that like it think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, the people who have had a bad reaction to having their brain tampered with HATE it and it causes long term anguish. A colonoscopy should not include this type of mental pain. Decline the Versed if you have any control/trust issues. There are other meds that can be used which are not only better for this personality type byt are CHEAPER to use as the patient does not have to be monitered so closely. Your brain does not have to be assaulted as it is with Versed.

  3. I also agree with the original post. And I agree with Jackie’s post. I am most likely the engineer the writer referred to. I had a lot more issues with Versed than the problems at work I mentioned on askapatient.com. Your statement that “The fact is that most people have a fine experience with Demerol and Versed” is ridiculous – since most people simply can’t remember if the experience was “fine” or not. The amnesia is more than “potential” – it is probable. Also, from what I’ve gathered, there is a consistent pattern of deception about the amnesia. Common sense alone should make anyone question the use of an amnesia causing drug. Your rant is so full of holes, time does not permit me to pick apart everything you said here. I will close by mentioning another engineer I know who also had a bad experience with Versed. So, when he finally had his colonoscopy, he did so without versed or any anesthesia. He had some Demerol, was awake and fairly comfortable during the procedure, he got to watch the images on the screen, and was satisfied with the procedure. He says that removal of a polyp was not a problem either. So I hope I’ve managed to knock Versed down a few notches here while at the same time calming any fears people have about the actual procedure.

  4. One more thing about Versed. As you can see by the post above from the nurse, the medical professionals are not telling the truth about Versed. The nurse states that the Versed amnesia is not the main reason that they administer Versed. If you will check protocol for this med, it will clearly state that AMNESIA IS the desired effect, not merely sedation. They (falsely) claim that patients heal faster if they can’t remember what happened, so they use Versed. I have also seen other medical posts that claim that a patient does not feel pain, that Versed is an analgesic. This is also not true. Versed is used to gain compliance and to create amnesia. Period. A lot of people adore this drug, they don’t want to remember what happened and for them, this drug is fine. For those of us who prefer not to be treated as if we are too juvenile to accept an unpleasant colonoscopy (or any other medical procedure) without having our brains disconnected, this drug Versed is not a good choice.

  5. First, let me state that I am the person Tim referred to who had his colonoscopy with pain med only. There are several reasons for this. One is a real unpleasnat association I have with all forms of ‘sedation’. This started when I was 5 and was sedated to have an infected primary tooth removed. With I am sure the best of intentions I was tricked into the whole thing and never told what was coming. I could go on, and on, but the worst part was being semi conscious with my eyes covered, and feeling like I was trapped in a centrifuge.

    Secondly, I am an engineer and I was really interested in the colonoscopy technology. The procedure was uncomfortable, but not excruciating. However I can imagine that it would be awful if one were semi conscious and only the pain came through. I was able to breath at the correct times, and knew what was happening. Also watching was fascinating. I learned a lot. So my memory is not just some foggy memory of pain only.

    I should state that I have been ‘put to sleep’ a couple of times for oral surgery. In this case the dentist used some fast acting drug that really put me out quickly (and totally) and I woke up quickly.

    Lastly a few weeks after I had the colonoscopy I had a laparascopic hernia repair. I presummed I would be wheeled into the OR and put to sleep quickly when the prep work was done. Wrong! I fell for the anthesiologit’s ‘something to relax you’ line, and was without my knowledge given Versed, which I would have refused. After that I was wheeled into the OR – seeing it was something I had been looking forward to – sort of a reward for going this. Well to my utter dismay as soon as I got on the table I started to have trouble staying awake, and blacked out soon after. I didn’t even have a chance to scream at the anesthesiologist. It like a repeat of my 5 year old experience.

    After my surgery I called the anesthesiologist. We did not have a pleasant conversation. He keep trying to talk to me in platitudes. I had to ask him point blnak if i had been given Versed. He insisted that ‘all patients were treated with respect’. I pointed out that withholding information was not treating a person with respect.

    There is a lot more I could say – about the whole process, except to say that it is a shame – the actual hernia procedure was amazing, little post op pain, fast recovery etc. and yet due to the ‘attitudes’ I was treted with my overwhelming sense of the whole thing is ngative.

    So, I must conclude that I agree with Jackie and Tim, and the original poster about the utter arrogance of much of the medical (especially surgical) profession. There are also some very nice folks, such as the fellow who did my colonoscopy – who was not afraid to work with me instead of against me.

  6. At last I have found other people who feel the same way about Versed that I do. I was beginning to think that I was crazy. From what I have found out about Versed, it has only been around since 1986. It was initially used in pediatrics. Touted as a wonderful new drug according to pediatric nurses. It was given to children when their parents were still by their side so that the last thing they remembered was being with their parents and not suffer later on from separation anxiety. Now it is being used (or should I say misused) for other reasons. I believe that adults should be given an informed consent to sign before they are given Versed. Also, any adult whose child might be subjected to it should also have to sign an informed consent. To the anesthesiologist who gave it to me before I went to surgery: Do me a favor and don’t do me any more favors. We don’t all like being deprived of our memories and we don’t all want to be treated like children. Stop assuming that we want this drug. I also was disappointed after a colonoscopy to find that I had been given an anterograde amnesia. I was told that I would be given a twilight drug that would cause a conscious sedation. Nothing was said about amnesia. I think if more people knew more about what it was that they would refuse it. I suspect that’s why we’re not told. I thought that I would just be groggy and relaxed and not care. For months afterwards I kept having a weird, nagging feeling of trying to recall something and not being able to. After I found out more about Versed, it made sense to me why I was feeling that way. It took at least six months for the feeling to start fading and for me to stop obsessing about it.

  7. Had a Colonoscopy on the 8th and this is the 10th. I know I had the drug Versed, what others I haven’t any clue. I do not have any memory of going to the hospital leaving or even at least two weeks prior. I am not sure as I don’t remember untill someone brings up a subject.
    Please if possible, let me know how long I can expect this.
    Thank You,

  8. Joan, I think you should go immediately to a Doctor who can do some testing to find out if you have any permanent damage. Versed should not be retroactive, it should only involve the time that you are under the influence of the drug. The drug has been known to cause everything up to and including death. Go now and then get a lawyer!

  9. The information included here about Versed explains a great deal about older people who have had surgeries and then don’t remember things for long periods thereafter – often then being misdiagnosed as mentally incompetent and put into nursing facilities – sometimes permanently. [Edit]
    We need to take responsibility back from our medical providers and the drug manufacturers for our own health and well-being.And thank you for this very informative site!

  10. i have had colonoscopy 2 times not one problem beats suffering from cancer and dying of cancer like me dad did and you will die

  11. History: As I’m over 50 my Dr. wanted me undergo a flex-sig, which I did, or rather I tried. The PA who attempted it could not get beyond 40 centimeters. But believe me it was not for lack of trying on his part. For over 20 minutes he tried to get beyond what he called a curve or a loop. The entire time I was fully awake and in absolute agony. Major abdominal surgery & three births without so much as Tylenol pale by comparison. I finally threw in the towel & he stopped and so did the pain. But for 48 hours afterward I bled-no tissue samples taken, along with diherria(sp),& was so light-headed I fell twice. “Some blood loss is normal” I was told. More than a third of a cup-call your Dr. Just how in the name of all medical practices can you “measure” blood loss when, you are soaking in a tub and all of a sudden the water is pink, or you’re expelling liquid fecal matter and blood at the same time?? I finally called my Dr. & was told half of Denver had the “trots”-not much comfort there. NOW because of the limited range of the flex-sig I’m about to undergo a colonoscopy and I’m terrified of a repeat performance. Is there someone out there who can tell me: Will the sedatives/drugs ward off the pain? Will I bleed again? Will the dizziness be worse? If I ask, ahead of time will they tell me which drugs they will be using? My memory loss does not need a booster. I think it fair to mention my insurance, it is Kaiser. With Kaiser the professionals are stellar but the over-riding factor for these people is cutting costs, not patient comfort as you can tell by my experience. I hope someone who makes decisions for Kaiser reads this and realizes they may get us hood-winked once or even twice into submitting to this procedure but in the long run they are scaring us away. I wish I could afford a better insurance coverage. Thanks for letting me express my experience & I hope some knowledgable soul can answer my questions.

  12. After reading the above letters, I want to thank you very very much for the warning !
    I, for one, will NEVER EVER GO TO ANY HOSPITAL AND HAVE a COLONOSCOPY ! And to all of the doctors promoting this, I just want to tell them, “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS”

  13. l smith,

    You missed the point. Read the article again.

    The colonoscopy is the absolute BEST way to protect yourself against colon cancer.

    The challenge is the use of versed. Not all doctors use it, though it is common.

    The educated patient will know that there’s a problem with versed and deal with this with the doctor in advance, or find a doctor who doesn’t use versed. The article points out preferable drugs (propofol).

    Maybe you should do the virtual colonoscopy first. Then you’ll KNOW if you need a full procedure. And if you do, you can find a doctor who uses propofol and IT WILL PROBABLY SAVE YOUR LIFE!

  14. One of my friends is a nurse in a convelescent home. She will not allow Versed to be used on her or any of her family. She states that each time one of her old folks is given Versed a little less of them comes back. It is tragic. This Versed is absolutely a BAD drug. There are way too many extreme reactions to it that are being ignored.

  15. I agree with the original post; Versed is a terrible drug; and it is definately given for the amnesia effects..patient abuse in my opinion..let the poor patient writhe in agony (they won’t remember a thing! problem is: a lot of them do). My profession has allowed me to see more than a few colonoscopies; when I have mine, it will be with fentanyl on demand as a solo agent and I will notate on the consent: no Versed or propofol or any other drug…just like my doctor does when she has hers done…..

  16. Good grief! if you want to have a chemical lobotomy; them by all means have your colonoscopy with Versed or a similar “amnesic” sedative…..run like hell when a nurse comes at you with a syringe and says: “here is something to relax you”.if it’s an umcomfortable procedure, insist on fentanyl only, write on the consent that they ask you to sign “no sedation, analgesics only”………….protect yourself unless you are willing to undergo a chemical lobotomy with versed (or propofol)……………..

  17. Thank you Steve, I had to have an additional surgery to repair the surgery I had while under Versed. It is my belief that the reason the first surgery was so poorly done is that they were rough with me due to the Versed and GA. This time I too INSISTED that I not receive ANY sedation at all, and Fentanyl for the pain in moderate amounts as requested by me. Fentanyl itself acts as a (very light) sedative. No Versed, Valium, no GA, no Propofol, Demerol etc. Some people have an adverse reaction to Propofol as well, but not to the extent of Versed. I too will continue to insist on Fentanyl only in the future. The hospital (not the original one) respected my wishes and I had a superb outcome without the associated problems I had with the first operation. I too can highly recommend Fentanyl for any painful procedure where the desire of the patient is to remain awake.

  18. I appreciate your website, it gives me some questions to ask my gastroenterologist when I talk to her tomorrow for my lab results. Colonoscopy is scheduled for 2 weeks from now but as a type 1.5 diabetic I’m doing the research now. virtual colonoscopy is not the thing because they are not looking for polyps they are looking for celiac disease and or scarring.

    BUT you need to also know that Propofol is not without its side effects. It is considered to be the premier anesthesia and it was used for my benign breast lump surgery last year. But it had a bad effect on me causing nightmares, hallucinations and adrenaline surges and blood sugar spikes and drops. The breast surgeon wanted me only slightly sedated for the surgery so that she could talk to me about what she was finding, but the anethesiologist knocked me completely out. I came out of it with a startle minutes after they stopped the drip and scared out of my mind. I felt like hell for week. The anethsiologist was given a dressing down by his boss and my breast surgeon for not listening to me about my problems with anesthesia or to the surgeon as to the level of anesthesia wanted.

    Now I am planning to give written instructions for the propofol sedation and to not allow them to do the procedure if I am not “awake”.

  19. Versed is a really bad drug…..just remember; even Katie Couric had her first colonoscopy with painkiller only (demerol)………..do you really want to roll-over and let them dose you with a date-rape drug so you “won’t remember a thing”??????? this is why they use Versed and Propofol………..wake up an think of what you are consenting to……..wroite on the consent form: :no versed or propofol….

  20. I had no idea what I was in for prior to this procedure. I had a upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. I was concerned about not receiving enough pain meds, but was told I would be “out like a light, we will take good care of you”. I remember putting in a bite guard, lying on my side, and beginning to cry as I fell asleep. I woke up gagging, choking on the scope, was given another dose, woke up mid colonoscopy, bawling and in horrible pain. My regular doc (who was with another patient, came into the room and talked to me to calm me down (which didn’t really do much at all). I was wheeled out of the room, screaming and bawling. I tried to tear my IV out, and attempted to wheel myself out of the hospital, I thought I was being attacked. The nurses said they had never given that much medication to a patient ever (Fentanyl and Versed), and yet nothing helped, that they were sorry they could not control my pain. I was driven home by my husband and cried for the next 5 hours in my sleep.

    My advice to others: be prepared for the possibility of a bad reaction to a drug. My doctor said next time there will be an anesthesiologist there to give me another medication (our hospital uses nurses to adminster meds during colonoscopies) and not to worry, it won’t happen again.

    My advice to those who are considering a colonoscopy: GET IT DONE!! This is a procedure that saves lives, and with the help of a caring medical team, you can be sure this will not happen to you. I just wish I had known about this medication, I would have asked for something else. Take care of your health, and be sure to be your own advocate!!!

  21. I’ve heard nothing but horror stories about Versed affecting your equilibrium after the procedure sometimes for a few weeks. My mom had it with her first colonoscopy and it made her sick as a dog for two days vomiting, nausea and dizziness. She opted to have her next one without ANY drugs. She stated that if you’ve had natural childbirth, this is nothing compared to that. She stated that the air pumped into the colon was slightly uncomfortable, but when she adjusted her position a little everything went fine, and nothing was found in either screening.
    I plan on doing it w/o any drugs too, I have an extremely high tolerance for pain, and I don’t see any reason to be drugged for this. If you surf the web there are alot of articles in FAVOR of no sedation, it’s better for the patient (and not that anyone cares… but saves the insurance companies money which may/or may not keep our rates lower.)
    I’d like some comments on people that have had this w/o drugs. One doctor tried to scare me saying “Oh I doubt highly that any doctor in Florida will allow that, you’ll have to be knocked out.” My response to him was “Oh I guess that cuts down on the malpractice suits when the Dr perforates the patients colon, like they do all the time here in Florida, and the patient isn’t a witness to it, huh?”

  22. So many horror stories! Why don’t you all name names? I, for one, want to know who to avoid (and who is good). If you aren’t willing to do so publicly, are any of you willing to tell me via e-mail?

    • These stories can apply anywhere. Check with your friends, neighbors, family, and learn your local experience.

  23. Just so people know, not all experiences with Versed have to be bad. Tomorrow, I go in for my 3rd colonoscopy in two years, due to some bad after effects from c. diff. toxin which left me with chronic colitis. I remember nothing from my previous 2 colonoscopies, and that’s the way I like it. The medical staff fully informed me of the amnesia effects, and described the “twilight sleep” I would experience. For both, I remember being in the procedure room, laying on my side, then a shot being put into my IV. The first time, I remember waking up and them telling me I was done, then some patchy memories until I was back in my hospital room. For the second one, my first memory was back in recovery, fully dressed.

    I admit, if you’re not warned before, the effects could be very traumatic, but if you realize it’s coming that way, it’s actually a relief.

  24. I’m glad that for many Versed apparently works as desired, but I for one do not plan to chance being the one that has a bad experience.

  25. I had an endoscopy done w/Versed in 1991 and it was the worst experience I ever had. The Dr was trying to break up a large gall stone unsucessfully and I ended up having major surgery. I was told “I wouldn’t remember a thing” (is that like a buzzword or something?) Well, I woke up at least 5 times during the procedure with the tube down my throat choking and gasping for breath (I’m a bad asthmatic on top of it all,) I have permanant throat damage from this procedure and I refuse to let the Dr “fix” what he messed up,,,,do you think I trust him after this? I also developed severe anxiety attacks after this happened and they’ve haunting me for the past 16 years.
    I had some bleeding, and after speaking to my primary care Doctor, he recommended that I go for a colonoscopy, and recommended a Dr that has an excellent reputation (In Florida that is almost impossible to find,,,they have the worst healthcare system in the country..bar none!!)
    Dr Mitchell L. LeVine in St Petersburg was wonderful. My original consultation was a few weeks ago, and he let me bring my girlfriend with me (She is at a very high risk for colon cancer due to family history, and she had alot of questions too.) He spent over two hours with us, explaining everything and also did an exam for hemorroids that have been bothering me for 25 years (which I had a rubber band ligation on last week.)
    He gave me the prep instructions and they were very different from anything I’d ever seen. You could eat breakfast and a light lunch (it outlined what you could have) then had to have clear liquids throughout the day and for dinner. Then you drank a bottle of Magnesium Citrate at 8pm (I got cherry flavored and got it very cold, it tasted like cherry soda..not bad at all.) You start going to the bathroom about 30 mins later and this stuff really works. Then at 10pm take 3 biscotyl pills. In the morning a biscotyl suppository. The whole prep wasn’t bad at all, I just stayed close to the bathroom, nothing was nasty tasting and I kept drinking as much water as I could not to dehydrate.
    I had the procedure done at BayFront Medical Center in St Petersburg. Everyone there was wonderful. I wrote on EVERY sheet of the consent form “NO sedatives, Analgesics only if needed.” I also told every nurse I came across and reminded Dr LeVine. (we had discussed this at legnth and kind of compromised with a little demerol only.) I really wanted to go w/o any drugs, but the nurses practically begged me to at least have a little demerol, so I caved and let them push a very small amount into my IV. The Dr began the test and I was wide awake, talking and watching the whole thing on the monitor. The test itself felt kind of weird of course, but he uses a pediatric scope which is alot smaller and thinner and goes very slow. The whole thing took about 30 minutes, and there was only one time that I felt some MILD discomfort, for about 2-3 seconds when he reached the transverse colon. Other than that, it was virtually painless. It was certainly nothing I couldn’t handle and on a scale of 1-10 as far as pain goes..it was a 1. I don’t see why all these doctors scrare the crap out of you telling you that you must be knocked out and that you’ll be writhing in pain. This is NOT true.
    I’m glad I went because he did find one large polyp which he thought was nothing, but turned out after the biopsy results came back to be pre-cancerous. Had I let the bleeding continue another year or so it would have turned into cancer. Now I’m considered a high risk, and have to go back next year for another “C-Word” but at least I caught it early and heeded my body’s warning signs and DID something about it.
    If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.

  26. I just had a colonoscopy and had a bad experience all the way around. First, my appt was for 1230pm but it was 2 or more hours later that they wheeled me in. (THE doctor was complaining she hadnt had lunch yet too.) I dont know what medication I was given to knock me out, BUT, I remember the room/ceiling spinning out of control, then blackness. I remember hearing myself screaming out in pain twice in the middle of this procedure. Then I was in recovery. I couldnt sit, stand or walk and my brain was fuzzy. I was wheeled to my van. I got home, and I puked several times violently and peed my pants outside my front door.
    MY lower abdomen felt like it had been ripped out, stomped on, beat up and then put back into the body. IF A woman has ever been violently raped..she would understand what I mean when I say..this procedure is as bad as getting viciously/violently anally raped.
    IT has been almost 4 days since this procedure..and I find I have no energy, I feel weak..like there is alil weight on my chest and alil hard to breath. IM depressed and find myself crying for no reason …AND I still have alil lower abdominal pain …AND my vertigo I cant get rid of now.
    AS for the prep part of this test..NO matter what they give people, it ALL has a bad down side, for each person, AND their inner bodies (after affects..).

    THE problems with the medicals..is they are so greedy, they double book appts, do it like an assembly line situation. THEY run late, have no food in them, and they are tired by noon.
    ADD onto that, that doctors today dont care. THEY often times arent trained properly, and have a lousey bedside manner because alls that counts, alls they care about is, the more bodies they do, the more money they get.
    I believe 12 noon any serious medical procedures and/or operations should be stopped. ANYTHING after that should be banned/against the law.
    There are way to many mistakes, and seriously bad out comes long term from doctors that are nothing more than greey quacks that dont give a darn!’

    Will I ever had a colonoscopy done again? NO way..I dont ever plan on letting anyone anally rape me again..NO WAY!

  27. I forgot to say, a virtual colonoscopy. is indeed not has harsh on ones body, but its also half the price of a regular colonoscopy. Its done in 15 mins and alot easier on ones body/system. NO medications required.

    IF insurance companies refuse to pay for this procedure, ask them why they would refuse a medical procedure that is HALF the price?

    I wish the medical professionals would see, realize that not everyones body, is the same. This is NOT a one body (or size) fits all thing. Unforunately, they dont think (at all) of that!

  28. I had a colonscopy in December, 2006. I was given versed only and reassured as many haved posted here that I would not remember anything. The entire procedure was a nightmare. I was mentally consious, but could not communicate in any way. I was told later by the RN who attended the procedure that she knew something was wrong, but as I could barely moan, did not know what was happening. This hospital did not routinely use an anesthesiologist for colonoscopies in an effort to save money. RNs are not trained in anesthesiology and cannot administer many types of drugs. The versed rendered me physically incapacitated, but left me mentally alert. I remembered the procedure, pain, and exactly how many times the doctor indicated that I should be given more versed. With each dose I became less able to move. It was a horrible and frightening experience to be trapped in a body that could feel, but not communicate. The effect left me barely able to speak for the rest of the day so I could not tell the doctor at the time what I was feeling. I had nightmares for weeks and resorted to taking anti-anxiety medication and sleeping pills just to be able to function. I did protest to the hospital the use of versed only for colonoscopy and they have since changed their procedure. I know I will have other colonoscopies as that is a fine screening tool and I care about my health, but I will NEVER consent to being given versed agian.

  29. If you think a colonoscopy with Versed is so bad, don’t do it again. You have a choice with your medical care. Of course, you may be taking a chance of colon cancer, and I guarantee you’ll pray for the day all you had to have was a scope. Get a grip, quit being babies, and do what you have to do.

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