my first colon hydrotherapy experience

I’d bought the groupon for the colonic (colon cleanse/hydrotherapy) in 2014, and it had expired in 2015. So of course, nothing was more exciting than finally deciding to schedule the damn thing and seeing “Did you forget to use this? Never fear! You can still redeem your Groupon at K Body Cleansing for the $75.00 you paid, from now to eternity. All other terms still apply.”

OMG, yes. I want to redeem this right frigging now. That’s when I called them to schedule my appointment, and a very friendly lady on the phone told me that I needed to fast for 24 hours from meat, bread, and dairy products before coming in for a cleanse. At that moment, I was clutching my stainless steel coffee travel mug and talking in between urgent gulps of my homemade version of café con leche. Is there anything more delicious than organic half and half with organic cane sugar? Well, that’s debatable, but at that moment I would have said, “No, there is nothing more delicious on earth than gourmet coffee with organic half and half and organic cane sugar. Nothing.”

So I said fine, I would schedule it for the next day (so I could do the 24-hour fast), but when the time came to leave this morning, I cheated and had my beloved café con leche on the way. If loving cream in my coffee was wrong, I didn’t want to be right. (That is, until I actually underwent this procedure.)

Well, I won’t lie to you and pretend it’s something easy and pleasant. It’s not. But it’s totally worth the temporary discomfort when you get such obvious results. And by obvious, I mean you can lie there and watch the junk that’s probably been up there for way too long on its way out of your body and to God only knows where, but I’m sure it’s just the sewer. And this is going to get graphic, so if you’re not up for it, I strongly suggest you stop reading now.

I warned you. So the stuff that comes out is broken up and floating in the stream of water that’s irrigating your colon. It looks like the debris after a hurricane, including miniaturized twigs, tree branches, and clumps of dirt.

For a long time, nothing came out except the water she’d put in there, even though she’d just spent about five minutes pumping water into my rectum. She’d told me the water would be warm (about 110 degrees F), but that if it was too warm, I could tell her and she would decrease the temperature.

Okay, you know what. Let’s go back to the beginning.

You know what’s amazing? How you can go from being casual strangers in a doctor’s office one minute, to discussing the frequency of your bowel movements in the next.

You see this lady. You know she does this every day, and you honestly don’t care because you know it’s her job to talk about it and irrigate people’s bowels and it doesn’t bother her, so why should it bother you? You don’t think this out, but it all happens in your brain in about ten seconds, and you find yourself saying, “I was having three bowel movements a day, but here, lately, I’m having one, or even less. I’m very concerned about compacted waste.” Maybe you feel so comfortable telling her this because she’d exclaimed, “Aw! This is your first colonic!” after she’d looked over your new patient paperwork, like you were a baby taking her first steps.

And you think nothing of it when she tells you to go into the far back room and take everything off except your bra and socks and to put on the gown with the opening in the back. Obviously. I mean, the opening would obviously be in the back, but it’s good to say these things to make sure everyone is on the same page, am I right? So you strip, you sit on the table, and she comes in and starts lubing up a tube that she’s about to stick up your rectum.

She kind of seems like she’s enjoying it and you can see she likes her job and this sets you at ease. And you’re a little concerned about the size of what’s about to be shoved in where stuff normally only comes out, but then, as she’s trying to put you at ease about it, you find yourself casually confessing something like, “Oh, I’ll be fine,” because you point out that, uh, let’s just quote Iggy Pop here: “Well, I’m just a modern guy / Of course I’ve had it in the ear before.” Except that I’m a girl, and yeah, it’s totally no big deal. I’ve had it in the ear plenty and liked it just fine. (Ahem!)

I warned you! I’ll try to wrap this up.

She tells you to roll onto your side and curl up into the fetal position and she sticks the tube up there and then you roll onto your back and wait. This is when she says that she’s filling you up with water, and it will take about five minutes, but if you get the really strong urge to defecate, to warn her and definitely don’t push, because then you’ll just make a total mess. This image sticks with you and you make a mental note to not push, no matter what, because how disgusting.

So this (filling up) is happening, but you don’t feel it. And then she says it’s been three minutes and you’re doing great and you follow her advice and close your eyes and just try to relax, which is easy since they have such great folk rock music playing. Later, you find out it’s The Lumineers. Huh. Good to know. You might need to download some of their stuff. You thought it was Mumford and Sons. (By the way, I highly recommend folk rock while having this procedure done.)

So then you’re filled up just like a water balloon, and you don’t even realize it until she says she’s shutting off the water and now (apparently) it’s irrigation time. Then she starts pushing your organs around and massaging your abdomen and that’s when you realize your gut is distended and you’ve been turned into a huge water balloon.

And you can see the irrigation tube, and she encourages you to watch, but really, you’re only halfway interested because you’re pretty damned uncomfortable at this point and just want all of this shit out of you as soon as possible. And your insides are cramping and churning and you’re glad you can finally “push,” but really, the water does all of that for you, and all you do is kind of grimace the way you do when you have bad gas.

And in a silly way it feels like childbirth, because these waves are coming on you like contractions, and you find yourself saying, “Oh, yeah, that’s stuck. There’s a lot of pressure. Okay, there it goes. Or maybe it was just gas.”

And she points out the air bubbles in the tube and literally shows you that it really is a lot of gas, but then she casually mentions that she saw a parasite and holds her fingers up to indicate the length of it and that’s about five inches and you’re really grossed out and you kind of doubt that was a parasite because you haven’t eaten pork in over 25 years, or even beef, and what kind of parasites do you get from eating chicken?

So we’re back to this point of the story: For a long time, nothing came out except the water she’d put in there, even though she’d just spent about five minutes pumping water into my rectum. Just crystal clear water. And I thought, this can’t be good.

But then after a few minutes, you get that familiar cramping and churning, and right on cue, the debris shows up in the tube. She informs you that there’s a lot of mucus in addition to the gas, and this is all good to get out. Also, she used an infrared lamp a few times—a kind of heated dome that curves around your midsection, and apparently this is of great benefit on the cellular level.

The thing is, you have to let the water do what it needs to do, but then you still feel like you need to use the toilet. When it’s over, she asks you if you can do another round. It’s like a bonus round. And you tell her you think you need to have a bowel movement, but she says if she lets you use the toilet then you’re done with hydrotherapy for the day, so you decide to grin and bear it. I mean, it’s like getting two for one. You’re not turning that down.

But you’ve been through a lot, and you’re like, “Okay, but maybe not so much water this time,” and she assures you that this will be much less, but you can tell she obviously wants some better results. Again, you’re glad you got this lady because you can see she’s really into what she’s doing.

So it’s time to fill the balloon (read: your gut) with water again, and really, you’re just going along with it because it feels worse to have all this stuff in you than to go through this ordeal of getting it out.

After this second treatment, the results seem to be better. There’s more cramping and churning, and more debris. You really don’t want to hear anything more about parasites, and you mention that you periodically do cleanses with diatomaceous earth. Plus, you take a high-quality probiotic. Could your gut be accustomed to those bacterial strains? She suggests you need more, or perhaps some different strains.

She asks you to let her know if you start feeling nauseous, and you’re glad that you don’t and hope she doesn’t bring it up again because then you probably will start to feel nauseous. And she’s pushing your organs around and massaging your belly and it’s all a bit strange and reminds you of what it must be like to have a midwife. But there’s no baby to be born; only backed up shite from twenty years ago and what appear to be parasites that you’re sure are also from twenty years ago and are probably not parasites but if they are then good riddance. So gross.

Can you get parasites from eating runny egg yolks? Even from organic eggs? She doesn’t seem to know right off. Maybe you should just eat hard-boiled eggs, or fully-cooked eggs. You’re not quite sure.

While the irrigation is taking place this second time, she tells you, “I’m going to go clean the bathroom,” and leaves the room. And you wonder why she’s just told you this and then you think, “Oh.” And she comes back to report that both bathrooms are still in use and it’s kind of hard to think about anything other than using the bathroom, and you kind of want to say “Becky, let’s just tell each other things on an as-needed basis from now on, okay?”

Anyway, finally it’s over and she tells you that you were a real trooper and you say, “Well, I definitely want to get rid of this stuff,” and she says everyone says that but when it’s time to do the hydrotherapy they tell her to stop everything and take it out. This puzzles you, but you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about why other people give up so easily, or can’t bear with being uncomfortable for thirty minutes so they don’t end up with colon cancer someday.

She takes the tube out of your bum, hands you some paper towels and directs you to the newly-cleaned and vacant bathroom, and you awkwardly make your way down the hallway, one hand holding the paper towels to your butt and the other hand trying to keep the back of your gown together.

And you’re glad when you can finally use the toilet because the shite is flowing out just like pee because after all it’s all that water still up there. Later, you’ll feel the really strong urge to pee and when you go pee it’s the pee and water shite simultaneously and you kind of wish you’d gotten a head’s up that this would be going on for what may be the rest of the day.

But, guess what? Your stomach is flatter than it has been in years and—just like that, you’re hooked, because of a combination of health consciousness and good, old-fashioned vanity.

She tries to sell you a package, but you’ve redeemed your groupon and now three more treatments cost the same as six treatments you can get for the same price if you buy someone else’s groupon. You know you will miss her and you’re glad she was your first.

And just like that I’m off of dairy and my beloved café con leche. For the moment. Green and herbal tea it is. I’ve got guacamole and organic tortilla chips, Larabars, roasted seaweed, trail mix, dried figs, organic rice crisp cereal, and organic coconut milk.

I feel so much better already.

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