Sunday, June 3, 2018

Most people don't get to write about their colonoscopy

There may be five syllables more dreaded in the English language than “colonoscopy” (“Honey, I’m pregnant,” perhaps?), but personally I think “colonoscopy” is king. After you have one, they usually say come back in 10 years, but if you have polyps in your pooter, they suggest an earlier return visit. Apparently my colon is to polyp production what Henry Ford would have referred to as “whizbang.” 

So this was my second excursion in six years. 

If you are reading this, it probably means you are old enough to know the process, because it you weren’t you would be playing “Fortnite” online right now. And if you don’t know what “Fortnite” is, you’ve definitely had a colonoscopy.

My last colon exam was pretty blissful in retrospect, which is the best spect to use when it comes to anything below your waist. I remember being covered heavily in warm sheets. True, I probably hallucinated the whole chocolate chip fairy thing because of the meds. But it wasn’t terrible.

The prep is the worst, everybody says. The purging of your system, and when I say system, I mean everything south of my Detroit.

At 6 the night before, you start drinking eight ounces of the lemony purge fluid every 15 minutes. After two hours I had drunk a half gallon with no effect. I was bulging. This matched my imbibing record from Oktoberfest in 1984, except for the "no effect" part. 

I felt like a pregnant woman. Fit to burst. Then at about 8:00 I was reminded that fit to burst beats the alternative. I do not want to be graphic, so let me just give you a visual aid.

I began to project my own emotions onto the TV. Watching “Bosch,” it really bothered me that nobody on the show was ever looking for a bathroom. 

I got to the clinic early the next morning. I had to sign pages and pages of forms and waivers basically agreeing that if they turned my colon into an Airbnb I would not sue them. 

The nurse called me “Mr. George,” which made me feel like somebody else, but not for nearly long enough. She handed me a paper shower cap and paper booties to wear so that, I guess, if I wanted to make a run for it I could pass for staff. 

She piled a few warm sheets on me, but they cooled quickly, and she couldn’t get an IV port into my right arm, so I got poked twice as many times as I would have liked. Is your second colonoscopy typically as disappointing as your second trip to the Louvre?

Eventually they rolled me in for the main event. Heavy metal music was playing. I asked if that was the colonoscopy station. They are probably so tired of that line.

My friend had a colonoscopy recently and he said he wasn’t zonked out at all. He watched the whole thing on the little TV. I got the good stuff, the “twilight sleep,” and the twilight lasted about 10 creamy seconds before I was out. Just long enough for me to totally understand the opioid epidemic. Wow.

I don't remember waking up in the recovery room, but I remember the nurse handing me my clothes and pulling shut the privacy curtain. I put my clothes back on while lying flat on the gurney because I knew if I woozily stood, my obituary would read, "Well, he got one pant leg on, at least."

They wheeled me out all the way out to my wife and the waiting car. I took the day off from work, and sat around eating solid food and surfing Facebook. 

I await the results from Polyp Analysis 2018. They gave me color photos of what they found on their expedition, which look like a page from the worst pizza menu ever. 

I realize these are First World problems. I only hope some day we find a way to export them.

. . .