Surgical Cleanse

*****WARNING: Proceed with caution. Not for the stoolphobic*****

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The other day, in a casual conversation with a colorectal surgeon (was it a non-sequitur? I can’t remember.) I said, “I’m a surgeon. I have been constipated for over a decade.” This colorectal surgeon (who one would expect to have a real handle on this maintaining one’s bowel regimen thing) responded in an exasperated tone “It’s true for all of us.”

When you operate for hours at a time or get caught up in a long resuscitation, you (umm, how shall I put it?) build up sphincter tone both literally and figuratively. Busy work days also often preclude the time to grab water and so you tend to always be leaning toward dehydration even though everyone in your profession knows you need to stay hydrated to ward off constipation. And, to top it all off (or more appropriately plug it all in), the skeezy hospital bathrooms sometimes make you hold it in even if you have time to sneak away to answer nature’s call.

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So, though we may know what we should be doing to avoid the scenario pictured below, we surgeons are pretty bad at walking the bowel regimen talk so to speak.

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Now, the urban hipster answer to this would be some kind of a 30-day cleanse. But (see paragraph 2), I don’t know any surgeons who have that kind of time? When you lack time to grab water or consume any semblance of a balanced meal (it seems that Lorna Doons, Peanut Butter Packets, and Popsicles on the run are a poor substitute for a high fiber diet),  it is exceedingly unlikely that you will be able to comply with the correct order of juices at prescribed times.

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What to do? Is there a solution to the Surgeon Back-up?

Luckily we have been schooled in bowel preps. We routinely cleanse our patients for surgery starting at 4pm the night before. We don’t need a fancy month-long cleanse replete with pulverized carrots and kale in mason jar after mason jar. All we need is shot of polyethylene glycol packaged into a cocktail of MagCitrate or Sodium+Potassium Sulfate+Bicarbonate and voila the one-day surgeon’s cleanse.

Just make sure you do it on a day when you have some options other than the skeezy hospital bathroom. That is not where you want to have an grown up category poonami.

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