I caved into pressure from family and reluctantly had a colonoscopy. I had the probing procedure done at our local infirmary. It’s actually a hospital of sorts, but I’ll be nice and just say it falls a wee bit short of let’s say, Johns Hopkins or Mayo Clinic. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that I was donating my A+ blood for some routine lab tests. I, as usual, had turned my head away from the phlebotomist, but I couldn’t help but notice what seemed like an unusual amount of confusion on her part. I glanced over to my right arm only to see a few drops of blood. I must mention here that I can paint a fire truck with other people’s blood, but the sight of my own freaks me out. About that time, she put something in her mouth and, having apparently run out of hands, said to me, “Hold this.” Well, we, and I do mean we, finished harvesting my red fluids, but it left me a little short of confidence in our local infirmary.
Well, back to my butt. If I didn’t mention it, this was my second such trip down garden hose lane. I vividly remember how relieved I was during a routine physical at Mayo Clinic when my doctor informed me that I only needed my colon checked every five years. Hallelujah, Brother! My local physician had said every three years so I was really grateful for the extra two years reprieve.
As anyone will tell you, the worst part of this hole thing is the day before, fasting and drinking that nasty swill. But, at 4PM, I began partaking a glass of swill every ten minutes as ordered. Buddy, stay close to the “oval office” or you’ll wish you were sporting a Depends! My wife, Pam, gleefully used her I- phone alarm to alert me every ten minutes. She has a wide selection of alarm sounds that, at times, are amusing. This day she was the only one laughing. Quack, quack, quack. Submarine dive alarm. Police siren. Every time one of her alarms went off she’d giggle and say, “It’s time, Honey.” Her time will come. Payback is hell.
We arrived at the hospital around 7AM to check in. That went smoothly except they all kept asking my date of birth. For heaven’s sake! Write it down or remember it! If they can’t remember something so small, are they dumb or just forgetful? Of course, living in a small town, some of the nurses in pre-op knew me. They took some cheap shots at my expense, but by now the Valium had kicked in so I was egging them on with my own anal quips.
At this point, they started my IV drip and whisked me down the hall to “the room.” As they rolled me in, I was aghast to see hanging on the wall that gargantuan black hose they were getting ready to insert in me. Oh My God! Is this a bad dream? I’m in a Turkish prison! I quickly turned my head away preferring denial to reality at this point. For Pete’s sake folks! I know you see that probe every day, but for us, please, until I’m asleep, throw a sheet over it. Hell, keep it in the broom closet until I’m in La La Land.
Next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room. Pam said, “Doctor said everything looked good. It’s over.” Yeah! I need a Starbucks and some food. What I didn’t find out until later is that the doctor had come in and explained to Pam what he had done and seen in pretty graphic detail. She stopped him in the middle of his spiel and said, “Sir, we’ve only been married a year and I’m not quite ready for this much detail. It’s a good way to take a little luster off our newlywed magic.”
One more thing. My doctor and I didn’t share a cigarette afterwards. He didn’t send flowers or take me out for a candlelight dinner, but get your colonoscopy done! Colorectal cancer is very treatable is discovered early. If you wait for symptoms, you’re probably a goner.