Humorous Side of Colonoscopies
by Irwin Lengel
For those of you that do not know it, March has been designated as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. While I am not one to jest about the seriousness of any type of cancer, as many of you reading this post know, one of my favorite things to do is to bring a smile to people’s faces whenever they read one of my rants and raves.
Having said that, allow me to present to you the “Humorous Side of Colonoscopies.” Seeing that most health commercials today indicate that this procedure should be done once we reach the ripe old age of 50, and seeing that ours is a 55+ type community, well – you do the math. My educated guess is that most everyone in our community have already been checked out. Fact is, many of us that have been through the process did so without any permanent psychological or emotional damage……………I think!
That being said, while this isn’t a topic most of us want to read about, press on as it does get better…. Trust me (and you all know what you get when someone says “Trust Me!”)
Okay – what do we know about colonoscopies – well, for one thing we always hear that the actual procedure isn’t the bad part – it is the preparation. Sort of like buying a car, except when buying a car, looking at them, driving them, and agreeing on the color (the preparation) is the easy part. The negotiating (when the salesman has to leave the office and talk to his superior who, further down the line during the process, also has to speak to his boss and so forth and so on) – is the worst part. But I digress.
Getting back to the preparation process – did you know that scientists are always on the look-out for ways to make this process easier – yeah, right – believe that one and I will sell you some land in Florida that is only under one inch of water and that is during the rainy season. As many of you know, the usual routine is: one day before the procedure we are to embark upon –we must prepare ourselves. The Preparation as it is called, begins 24 hours prior to the actual procedure. Yup, one whole day before the colonoscopy. Can you picture it now – you are asked to take three of those wonderful tablets called “Poopalax” with water (bourbon would work better), and then one hour later we are asked to drink half the Monkeyade/Runtothebathroomelixir.
Before I go further, one might wonder – “Gee – seeing that the world has miniature cameras that can rotor-rooter their way into this maze of the human intestinal system on a flexible tube, why not attach a miniature vacuum cleaner to the same tubing (does the name red devil pooper scooper ring a bell) and suck out all that gobbly-gook we allow to build up in there ahead of the camera – you know – a clean as you go type procedure? Walla – we just eliminated part one of the preparation process!
But again, I digress. Having begun the preparation process, guess what, you will now become on a first name and quite chummy pal of …..you guessed it……your toilet, lavatory, loo, wc, john, privy, latrine, shithouse, or crapper. As a matter of fact, be prepared to look at him/her as your closest friend and confidant. You will or might even give him or her a name. Why not, you ask? Well, believe it or not you will have many conversations with him/her over the next 24 hours.
Who knows, between the two of you, you may discuss how to bring about World Peace, what it is like to look out over the Grand Canyon, how cool it is to ride the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls, etc. One thing is for certain though - by the end of the day, he or she will tire of hearing your rants and raves. Me, being a fan of the old “Rockford” shows, well my empty stomach had a craving for two Crunchy Tacos from Taco Bell. Going through this procedure of getting ready for the actual colonoscopy, one might say that we are part of the Space Program. You know the part that says: “We have lift-off!”
Okay, time for phase three.
We have emptied ourselves out and feel like the roto-rooting worked. Hungry as hell and having a desire to eat everything in sight, now for the journey to the hospital. Chances are, you will be too weak to drive so your significant other will have to be your chauffeur. And depending where you live – my thoughts wander to New England where there is a Dunkin Donut shop on every corner, your spouse will drive pass each and every one of them on the way to the hospital while deep down inside grinning from ear-to-ear, knowing that you HAVEN’T EATEN IN 24 HOURS! As a matter of fact, you silently say to yourself: “I could eat the south end of a north bound bear!”
Okay, you have arrived at the hospital and you are given that wonderful paper tablecloth with the slit up the back and as if you didn't already know - they remind you to get out of your clothing and oh, by the way, the slit goes in the back. Just maybe they will also give you a pair of hospital socks – you know those ones with rubber soles so you won’t fall should you have to visit the – guess I’ll go British here – loo in a hurry. It could happen, especially if you've drank all the Monkeyade/Runtothebathroomelixir!
Next comes the hard part – you know “I want to suck your blood time but with this tiny sharp metal tube that I will sink deep into your veins as opposed to my sucking it out like the vampire I am.” You hope they will find a vein but then think to yourself – normally before drawing your blood, they tell you to be sure and drink a lot of water beforehand – but wait, they just drained me dry with all that Monkeyade/Runtothebathroomelixir! As they drill into my hand and wrap the needle secure with Duct Tape leaving me with a claw to use when the procedure is over, I wonder if I could get used to dictating into my computer when this is over versus using the mouse or keyboard.
Fortunately, I do not have a vindictive wife because if I did, I could just picture her saying – go ahead – “Stick him, stick him hard – he can take it!” I am so glad she is not because some of those nurses had some really weird smirks on their faces as though I was their own personal human pin cushion. Okay, they were just about ready to roll me to the procedure room when this really old nurse stopped by my gurney to check and make sure all the tubes were connected right and that I was hooked up properly. Having checked everything, she started walking away at – fortunately for me a very slow pace, when I felt something tug at my hand.
Her feet had become entangled in the tubes leading from my IV – you know – the one burrowed deep into my hand and I thought she was going to pull me right out of the bed. “Wait, I hollered,” which caused everyone on the floor to look in my direction. You are caught in my tubing! She slowly meandered back and got untangled while I lay there saying “Where is that happy juice, where is that happy juice?”
Next on the agenda is entering the operating room where your doctor (you know which one he is because he would be the one smiling and holding that flexible tube called a colonoscope). Who thought up that wild and crazy name? Someone that used to work in old submarine movies? – I can see it now – coming soon to a theater near you – “Run Silent, Run Deep – now in COLONOSCOPE!”
This time only a colonoscopy was being performed but I have been in the situation where both an endoscopy and a colonoscopy was being performed during the operating time. And knowing that one goes down the throat and one goes, well you know where, before being given the happy juice, I just had to inquire as to not only how many times it had been used before but also that if the same tube was being used for both procedures – that they made sure that they entered the front door before heading to take a peek in the back door.
The good news for me was that my procedure was early and so I was first on the list – but … you know if there was good news, there had to be bad news as well, didn’t you? The bad news was that being the first one on the list to have the procedure done, I was not so sure that the doctor and staff were as appreciative seeing that I made them get up at 6 a.m. just to get a good look at my butt.
Shortly after entering the room though they give you the happy juice and tell you to count backward from 99 and you go off into la-la land dreaming of your gorgeous beach house overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a Bailey’s Irish Cream in one hand and well……..being a happily married man, Dolly by my side just marveling about how far we have come.
Before you know it, you are at Fat Jack’s eating a Fat Jack’s Special. Oops – not just yet. You wake up feeling somewhat refreshed but also somewhat violated – just how big was that colonoscope? Hopefully, you received a clean bill of health (like I did). Your next biggest decision is to decide if the slippers that were on your feet when this started go on your hands or in the trash (just how much anesthesia did they give me?).
Okay, now that it is all over and the wife is outside with the car, you think about that Fat Jack’s Special as you speed away asking yourself the question – now when was that endoscopy scheduled for?