Moving adventures in colon country

It’s a darned shame the indignities a person must suffer as one
gets older. Talk about no respect!
It’s a darned shame the indignities a person must suffer as one gets older. Talk about no respect!

Yes, I knew I’d reached “that age” when I should be seeing medical professionals about what was happening in those nether regions that folks avoid discussing in polite company. Nothing squelches cocktail chatter quicker than, “Good evening, George. How’s your colon health these days?”

I believe it’s safe to say most folks aren’t wildly excited about the prospect of visiting a physician dedicated to the goings on of functions below the neck. I mean, I’ll visit my ophthalmologist anytime, no problem, but most of us just aren’t that comfortable with parading about in any state of “frontal” nudity before strangers, even the sorts wearing white jackets (hello, we aren’t Europeans after all!). And “backal” nudity? Well! That certainly doesn’t make things any easier, does it? And did I mention five-foot long tubular scopes? Yeah, let’s not even go there.

But finally I decided it was time to pull up my big girl panties and get this thing over with. And the doctor, a highly respected gastroenterologist, was just the nicest man, never mind why he decided to get into THAT profession!

Twenty-four hours before the exam I began the preparation, which is your basic starvation diet. Think “super model” and eat accordingly. I diligently shopped for the items I COULD consume at the supermarket. Moving through the aisles, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my cart was simply screaming, “COLONOSCOPY APPROACHING!” I surreptitiously attempted to avoid anybody I knew. I feared at any moment large red arrows aimed directly at me and my shopping cart would drop from the ceiling in a blaze of phosphorescent neon.

I managed to get through the market undetected, but then came the challenge of checkout. Yes, when you’re loading up on Jell-O, Gatorade, clear chicken broth, white grape juice and Popsicles (no reds or purples allowed), you want to sidle up to the least brainy-looking clerk at check-out, hoping that this person has never HEARD of colonoscopies and the pretend nutrition one consumes beforehand.

Leaving the supermarket and its traumas, I headed for the pharmacy where I picked up my prescribed “MoviPrep.” The instructions said to drink eight ounces in four 15-minute intervals the evening before and early morning of exam day. I have just a couple of things to say about “MoviPrep,” a thermonuclear laxative, besides the fact that compared to this stuff a tall glass of sewer water sounds enticing.

A clever (albeit unsavory) person could make a bloody fortune selling this stuff outside the door of those weight-loss places. Trust me, I know how desperate one gets prior to weigh-in.

To say this material “cleanses” your system is like saying swallowing a box of rocks might give you a belly ache. Without getting into the gory details, I am confident in saying this stuff will unquestionably eliminate any colon-lingering cheese doodles you consumed back in 6th grade. You’ll spend hours in the powder room, and when nature calls – RUN – don’t walk to the nearest facility. Suffice to say you’ll get a LOT of reading done.

My friend Linda had a great suggestion for getting colonoscopies: make it a party, and by gosh, I think she’s on to something. Let’s plan a “Let ‘er Rip Colonoscopy and Pasta Party!” We’ll rent a fancy limo for afterward (complete with decorative pillows for potentially tender bottoms). The limo is necessary, of course, since the heavy meds administered during the procedure render you, well … loopy (a highly technical medical term) for the rest of the day.

I’m happy to report that I made it through the procedure just fine, even engaging in small talk during the process. The doctor told me things “looked good” although one small item, possibly a Snickers I ate in the ’60s, is still pending a pathology report. But the process was painless and brief, and I highly recommend it.

So please check in with your doctor, friends – he will be thrilled to hear from you. And – hey – take a friend and make it a party! A colonoscopy might just save your life. No joke.

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