life with an ostomy. candid, not sugar-coated. empowered, not embarrassed.

May 27, 2006

The Oral Fleet - It ain't so neat

I've had enough of these salty piss beverages to last a lifetime. I don't care if it cleans out every nook and cranny of my bowels leaving them with a photogenic gleam. I don't care if it facilitates the diagnostic process. Some day someone with some spare time and a righteous attitude should take the medical community to task on why they subject patients to this utter oral hell.

I recently had an ileoscopy. Before my GI had even completed the sentence suggesting I should have one, I was in full self-protection mode, ready to go to battle to ensure an oral fleet was not in my future. Fortunately, he understood the look of total abhorrence on my face when I asked if what kind of prep he wanted for the scope, and said not to worry about it and that he could clean me out when I was under.

Although I have never investigated this fully, I have the feeling that the oral fleet is not always necessary and more of a hellish-prep-at-the-expense-of-patients in order to make doctors' lives a little more efficient. After my ileostomy surgery, I laid down the law on this bullshit. There would be NO MORE oral fleets fleeting down the throat of one miss mypinkbutton. ever.

One time I was getting prepped for a resection. I was very happy that I had a naso-gastric tube in at the time. I'd been in this situation once before, and it allowed me to slowly but surely shoot the fleet through the tube and into my stomach using a big ol' syringe. Bypassing my taste buds like that sure made me feel lucky, although it was no picnic as I still felt the raunchiness rising up the back of my throat with the accompanying nausea. Anyway, so I had the tube in again, and the nurse on duty that night had never heard of anyone shooting the oral fleet into their naso-gastric tube. It was a very busy night for her and she was skeptical about my plan; it was almost as if she felt it just wouldn't work if a patient didn't experience the displeasure of having the fleet pass over their taste buds. She decided she couldn't let me do it myself, and so she very hurriedly pushed the entire load of oral fleet into my tube all in a matter of two or three minutes. It was too much, too fast. My body couldn't take it. I wretched the whole load up in repeated convulsions. The most disgusting part of this is that the barfing was involuntary and so I was forced to taste long streams of oral fleet barf as it past over the length of my tongue.

The next time I had to have the fleet was in preparation for my ileostomy surgery. A few hours after having taken it, my surgeon came into the hospital room to talk before the operation. He had a look at my fistula, which had formed between my intestines and the skin of abdomen, and saw that it had stopped leaking- an indication that I would be okay, at least for a time, without the ileostomy. He actually had the nerve to say, "are you sure you really want to go ahead with the surgery?"

What the fuck?! Can you imagine what was going through my head? After fighting against the operation for weeks, telling all the doctors I didn't want one, and having them tell me I didn't have a choice?! After all the mental and emotional preparation I had to undergo to prepare myself for the surgery, I was now being given an out?

But in all honesty, that's not what was going through my head. In that very moment after he asked, all I could think was good fucking god - but I already had the oral fleet! ...and so, I said yes, and I went ahead with the surgery.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to take a while to get a message on this topic...

In Canada we have Fleet. (Ack!) I found two ways to drink it. The first was the plug the nose and gulp it one part Fleet to three parts water. The second was to mix it with apple juice liberally and choke it down. Apple juice is a 'clear fluid' and thus acceptable. Neither way was ideal, just better than shooting it like some obscure liquor. My immediate family got the pleasure of having a colonoscopy, thanks to me (FAP), and I got to relish/sympathize with each as they had the same pleasure. I wonder if battery acid is much different.


5:16 a.m., June 02, 2006

Anonymous Texazgal said...

I had the "pleasure" of the fleet cleanout 3 times in 2 months during my cancer ordeal leading up to ostomy. Learned that the flavored fleet, mixed with ginger ale was just tolerable. Mixed it double strenght and choked it down, then chased with the rest of the required liquid. The taste was ikky but the worst was the butt burn near the end. Even a spray of water instead of paper was agony. At least butt burn will be history, wonder if there is such thing as stoma burn? hmm, haven't let them back in there yet.

9:43 a.m., June 08, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's me again, student nurse.

last year, i developed c. diff (bacterial infection, really bad) after being sick a trillion times and taking some antibiotics.

it made a tiny perforation in my terminal ileum (which is odd, because normally it happens in the colon, not small intestine) --- enough to cause insane amounts of pain, like 8 or 9 out of 10 --- but luckily i didn't get extensive periotonitis or worse.

my hubby (as usual) tried to tell me there was nothing wrong with me. i was in pain for 2 days or so, and it was scary pain, getting worse, so i insisted on seeing the doc. i was close to going to the emergency room, i had a fever, etc.

the doc was confused by me. i thought it might be appendicitis, but it was too high up. but there was something obviously wrong.

i had to go for a full abdominal and pelvic ultrasound, which was inconclusive ---

so the next day, i had to get a CT scan (barium prep) --- where they discovered the perf. and sent me to hospital immediately.

the way they described it to me at the CT scan place, i was just going to need antibiotics.

oh, no. i spent 3 days in hospital, not allowed any food or water, just IV fluid. they stuck something up my bum to get a stool sample. they took blood a trillion times.

they didn't know what exactly was wrong with me. appendicitis? crohn's? colitis? they were considering giving me an exploratory surgery and maybe a colostomy. the one doc was saying maybe it was cancer. WTF??!?!?

it came back as the bacterial infection, so i had to be on IV meds for a few days, and then oral meds for weeks.

i had to get another CT scan after that, and also a colonoscopy --- i hear you on the FLEET hell!!!! not to mention, barium hell ... although the fleet makes the barium seem downright tasty!

so ... lots of time and money ... luckily i was fine.

i still get pain in that area periodically, mainly it seems to happen when i'm stressed. maybe it's scar adhesions? they don't really give me very definitive answers.

i've only had a taste of your health struggles, and it was hard as hell.

props to you for hanging in there and writing this awesome blog.
i have tons of admiration for you.

11:45 p.m., March 01, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevention is the key. All of this needless pain and suffering would be totally avoidable if only people knew about the health benefits of eating raw foods, sunbathing (for optimal vitamin D levels), exercising, and supplying their bodies with all 84 trace minerals and omega-3 fat found in seaweeds such as kelp, dulse, nori, etc. as well as other seafood such as tuna, shrimp, and salmon. These trace minerals are required by your body on a daily basis for perfect health.

You can read more about it here:

I hope this information was of use to anyone fortunate enough to have stumbled upon and read it.

11:04 p.m., February 24, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to go out an buy 2 fleet to have my first colonoscopy tomorrow. at 55 i think its about time
After reading this I will try to apple juice route

I have been a veg for 3o years so i do not anticipate trouble
but I am still nervous

8:43 a.m., July 12, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any idea how credit crunch affected porn?

7:46 p.m., January 04, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

is porn the only winner during credit crunch?

12:14 a.m., January 08, 2010


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