Midlife health, regular checkups, and Corona virus prep

Let’s talk about something a little less pleasant for a change.

Let’s talk about colonoscopies.

First point I’d like to make: I am not doing it.


Honestly, the whole procedure is a pain in the…well, you know. 🙂

But since early detection for this type of cancer has a very high survival rate, you can’t really get around avoiding it forever.

On my partner’s side of the family there is colon cancer, so I have peripheral experience with the prep etc…He’s been through it a few times and considers himself an ‘old pro’ by now.

I’ve never had one done.

My doctor however recommended a few years ago that it is a good idea to get one done along with some of the other standard tests, which women should technically do regularly. Pap smears to detect cervical cancer, for instance, is one, and mammograms for breast cancer detection.

When I saw my doctor recently he once again mentioned the colonoscopy. He said since I was considered low risk, I had a non-invasive option at my disposal, if I preferred not to go through the standard form of invasive testing.

Apparently, there’s a kit. In my case, being Canadian and having provincial health insurance coverage called OHIP, this kit (as well as the standard method for testing) is covered by OHIP, so regardless of my preference, it would not cost me anything out of pocket.

I opted for the kit. All I had to do was submit a poop sample, and drop it off at a blood lab.

Considering the alternative, which includes drinking a disgusting drink and spending at least 12 hours sitting on a toilet, never mind having a scope pushed up my butt (regardless whether I would be awake or asleep for that part of the procedure) I really didn’t even spend much time considering which route to take.

Send me the kit, I told my doctor, and he did.

These are the instructions:

The non-invasive option for colonoscopy

Since I had to get a blood test done anyway, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and do everything on the same day. This was today. I drove to the blood lab earlier and dropped off the sample and got blood drawn.

And this is where I saw the whole Covid-19 thing in person. All the nurses at the lab had face masks on. None of the patients did.

Did you know that face masks are supposed to be worn by people who have symptoms, or are coughing or sneezing? I don’t know why the nursing staff had them on, perhaps all health workers are wearing them now. (When I saw my doctor two weeks ago he wasn’t wearing one…but since then Corona virus had spread further and landed here in Toronto as well, so that may have played a role).

Anyway, it got me thinking. I’m not panicked about this thing (yet) but I do realize that many people, especially those who don’t inform themselves from reputable sources, may panic and cause all kinds of friction/disruption within their communities. I think I will take a couple of precautionary steps today as I head out to the store, just in case.

Frankly, all it’s gonna take is for a single kid in a school to be tested positive (or a member of his family) and the entire school system will shut down. Which will shut down all the associated kid activities like gymnastics, hockey (due to the tight nature of the dressing rooms) and all the rest of it.

That’s when the real panic will set it. (Ugh.)

So, what I’ll do today is pick up the following (if there’s still stock, which I’m hearing is dwindling in some places):

  • toilet paper
  • soap and hand soap
  • a few non-perishables (I have plenty in the house already)
  • a few bottles of ethanol alcohol to wipe down the phones and door knobs
  • a few sanitary items (for me mostly)
  • some extra toiletries

Did anyone here watch Fear the Walking Dead? This was a spin-off from the Walking Dead TV show and they addressed the breaking down of society at the very beginning of the whole zombie scenario. I thought it was relatively well done (despite the obvious Hollywood embellishment), and certainly made many people think about situations such as pandemics (or even localized epidemics).

This article is a level-headed approach to the Corona virus madness at the moment: You’re likely to get the Coronavirus (The Atlantic)

So that’s what’s on the plan today. In between dog walking, that is. I have an extra dog here, crashed on the pillow beside me now, and I just got back from walking my client dog Marshie, in the drizzly, wet, muddy conditions that is March in Canada.

Which brings us to the end of this post. It’s Monday, again. Yippie doo. Hope everyone is having a good day.

34 thoughts on “Midlife health, regular checkups, and Corona virus prep

  1. A colonoscopy found my cancer. In the nick of time. It was stage 3B small intestinal cancer and metastatic (14 tumors had to be removed) , but allowed them to find an immunotherapy that has kept it at bay for 5 years. If I had passed on the rectal violation, it would have made it to Stage 4. Much more difficult to treat. I am a STAUNCH advocate for getting colonoscopies early and every 3-5 years.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Confession time: I have one of those poo kits. In Belgium, they are sent out to everyone when they reach 50. I can’t say it was the best birthday present I ever received.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. More than one probe here so to speak. I have done these tests and none of them are that bad, you just get them done and over with. I think with respect to the virus, stay tuned to the local news about outbreaks, keep yourself as healthy as you can right now, sleep, use precautions like wear gloves (this is what my wife does) and wash regularly. I know you got that one down pat. At the first sign of anything, get checked out, be a proactive advocate for yourself, no John Wayne syndrome for anyone in the household.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I just found it was a sensible article to read, unlike a lot of what’s out there. As you are in a big city with a lot of people and an airport, it’s wise to be cautious and prepared but not panicky.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If you meant did I blog about H1N1 no, I wasn’t blogging then….I think it was 2010? but I remember catching it from a patient who coughed all over me – it was droplet borne. I remember her as she was in her PJ’s. As I worked one block from a very busy ER I was surprised none of my co-workers got it esp as we dispensed and made tons of Tambiflu Suspension for kids (the companies had run out). So my impression of it was that it was not that easy to catch, ie not from just handling a prescription vs someone coughing over you and then you inhaling the droplets. Only one ER doctor caught it too. I was sick, as in like the worse case of the flu ever, but never felt I was in danger of dying, no respiratory problems, it just took a long time to get over. I was off work for 2 weeks, and it took me a good six weeks until Xmas before I felt normal. The week after I got it, the vaccine came out, but I don’t think there will be a vaccine for COVID-19 any time soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh wow…yes, coughing and sneezing is the way Covid-19 is transmitted. Touching things someone touched after coughing in their hand. Ugh.

        That’s an interesting experience. 6 weeks of feeling sick not so much.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. WHAT??? There’s a poop kit???? So why in the world is ANYONE still getting a colonoscopy???? I’ve never had a colonoscopy and will insist upon the kit.

    I kept seeing tweets about empty shelves so I was expecting to see empty shelves at Walmart yesterday when I did the grocery shopping. Nope. Shelves are well stocked here in Arkansas. LOL

    I read on the John Hopkins website that I’m more likely to get the flu than corona so I’m currently not a bit worried about it. Knock on wood.

    If I do suddenly get panicky, I will stock up on snicks and snacks: chocolate, chips, Famous Amos cookies, Cokes, and the ingredients to make many batches of Chex Mix.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The kit is cheaper for the insurance companies and it may be the reason they’re promoting it instead of a colonoscopy. I have a friend whose life was saved by colonoscopy and she was in her early 30s so I’m not sure this is in anyone’s best interest.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My doctor specifically said I was a candidate because I’m low risk. He would not have promoted to my partner who has colon cancer in his immediate family. He does the regular procedure. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not second guessing your doctor or your decision. I only worry that some people who need a colonoscopy will end up delaying a necessary test for the easy option. It’s an unpleasant prep day for sure, but once every ten years if you’re low risk doesn’t seem like too much to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. True. Early detection is key for survival and that procedure has the best outcomes usually.

        We’ll see what my test results say. If it’s inconclusive or otherwise questionable I may very well have yo go through the prep.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. The invasive procedure is here to stay as people prone to get polyps, where the cancer seems to appear, can get snipped off right away. This has happened to people I know. 🙂

      I bought a bit extra at the grocery store, mostly snacks like you say and pastas, etc. It’s more about isolation then illness for me. Stuck indoors with hungry teenagers? I’ll lose my mind. 😛


  5. The poop test is so easy and I for one would avoid the whole colonoscopy thing as well…

    Here in WA we have the greatest number of deaths so far I believe–what a distinction. Schools are closing faster than you can turn the channel on the TV for updates and I expect that soon enough there will be armed militias walking the streets.
    While I can understand the young and elderly or those with compromised immune systems should certainly be cautious, I find the panic among everyone else to be way over the top.
    But then, having worked in healthcare for so long, and having been exposed to any number of things, perhaps I am a bit jaded by this whole thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know that, the scene in your State. Hm. I’m just watching the news here and they reported that the Costcos in Markham, a borough of Toronto to the north with a very large Asian community, has sold out of toilet paper, among other things…

      My partner teaches college in Markham. A large percentage of the student body is visa/international students. He says it’s just a matter of time and we should look to stockpile a few things…


      Liked by 1 person

  6. 7 out of 10 people will be affected by corona. Do what you can to keep your immune system as strong as possible. Rest if you get a cold. Fluids. Sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

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