Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are You Over Fifty?

Everybody says that today's 50 is really yesterday's 30. Do I have that right? Maybe not - but anyway, the idea is that people are acting younger than they did previously. I remember that Ole's folks were in their early 40s when we got married and they acted SO old. Maybe that was just my perception at that time, but gosh, all they did was sit around and watch TV and go to bed by 9 o'clock. When Ole and I were 40 we were still out prowling around half the night.

Well, anyway, the years go by and as you get older there are certain things in the health categories that the doctors like to see you do. All kinds of tests and things that are supposed to keep you healthy or find your problems at an early stage. Now one of them is the colonoscopy. This is really a very serious thing as finding issues at an early stage can certainly save your life. Ole's Mom never had one of these things - ever - and guess what - she died from colon cancer. She had numerous surgeries that only prolonged her life. We watched her die for five years and it was horrible.

Now I'm truly not making light of this issue, but sometimes you just have to laugh, right? I received the following in an email this afternoon, and just had to pass it along. If you've ever been the victim on the receiving end of a colonoscopy you'll know exactly what this is all about. Be prepared to laugh.

Dave Barry on his Colonoscopy:

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'

I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it it fall into the hands of America's enemies. I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation.

In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this is, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' has to be the least appropriate. 'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade.

If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like. I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, Feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors.

I have never been prouder of an internal organ.


~ Sil in Corea said...

Heheheheh! Yep, I had one of those, except my doc didn't knock me out (us women are tough) and I got to watch the monitor showing the movement of the little camera sliding along in my bowels. It was a lot like that movie "Fantastic Voyage." The pre-voyage drink, laughlingly called Da Bomb by my med tech, was just as horrid. (I think it's calcium citrate.)

I needed a good laugh today, and I can identify with that guy.

harrietv said...

When I underwent colonoscopy, they were looking for other symptoms than colon cancer. I had not only the lower endoscopy but an upper one as well, which was annoying because I couldn't join in the conversation with a tube in my mouth.

As always, the prep is far more difficult than the procedure. And they didn't find a thing, as I was sure they wouldn't, but now I had proof. Nothing but an "American colon."

Still, I didn't find Dave Barry as humorous as I might. My little sister has Crohn's disease, which has meant regular colonoscopies for the past twenty years. Poor kid!

~ Sil in Corea said...

How I Ended Up In Korea
http://www.xanga.com/sillama1 is up. It's a condensed autobiography, lol. At the end is a link to the first entry after I arrived in Korea. That's on diaryland.

Shear said...

I got a copy of this in my email. I forwarded it to my Dad. He said the MoviPrep sounded like candy compared to what he had to drink. Ewwww.