Okay . . . I am “man” enough to admit it . . . I wimped out of my colonoscopy. According to the Mayo Clinic staff a colonoscopy “is an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon. If necessary, polyps or other types of abnormal tissue can be removed through the scope during a colonoscopy. Tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken during a colonoscopy as well.” Just the way I envisioned spending a Friday afternoon . . . being probed by an invasive tube up my bum while it is all being recorded by a mini-video camera for future prosperity . . . well, at least I hope it is a miniature video camera as a full-sized one would really, really hurt!
The suggestion is that starting at age fifty a person should get a colonoscopy once every five years . . . I am nearing the age of 57. I have yet to have my first colonoscopy despite the annual grilling by my doctor to have it done. I must admit the doctor is pretty persistent . . . pretty patient, too . . . while calmly suggesting it each time I pop in for my annual check-up. It is working as I have been weakening over the years and actually agreed to schedule one. It was scheduled for the end of this week . . . on a Friday afternoon. I canceled it . . . I mean, I postponed it . . . for late July. I was not ready for the gut check!
For the most part, I have to admit that I did not give the colonoscopy much thought . . . until the last two weeks. In the last two weeks it had become a growing concern taking up more and more of my free time. Shoot! It is practically springtime here in Montana and instead of thinking about all the wonderful activities I could be doing in the nearby mountains, I was thinking about a procedure to my body where no person had ever gone before. Any sane person would have to honestly admit that the mere mention of “colonoscopy” sends shivers up one’s spine from the portal entrance in the southern hemisphere of the body. I know it did me. The more I thought about the more I began to regret that the doctor had caught me in an agreeable mood . . . I didn’t want anybody—especially a stranger—probing me with a mini-video camera no matter how much they assured me that it was for the good of my health. It sounded invasive . . . uncomfortable . . . and, even painful. It struck me as undignified and embarrassing. Struck me as being dirty in more ways than one.
So, I wimped out. Well, not completely . . . I did reschedule for late July.
The wife was sympathetic . . . at least she respected me enough to not snicker and laugh in my presence. No, she waited for me to turn my back. She had one done a little over a year ago. Claims that it was not that bad. I am not sure who she is fooling. I was there . . . well, I wasn’t actually there for the actual colonoscopy . . . but, I was there for everything leading up to it and after it. It was not a pleasant time.
I witnessed the pre-colonoscopy ritual of depositing the suppository to get things moving. I watched as she drank the wonder drink that set the bowels in motion. I saw how as the evening progressed she moved closer and closer to the bathroom and the throne. I remember being woke up all through the night as she hurried to the bathroom . . . the sighs of relief . . . and the cacophony that created a new name for the bathroom—Thunder Dome! It was not a walk in the park. The wife was not a happy camper especially when this all took place after spending a day fasting.
One doesn’t easily erase such memories from one’s mind.
Besides the invasiveness of the procedure, I was not too thrilled with giving up eating for a whole day. Yes, I am sure that I have an ample supply of nourishment stored on my body that I would easily survive a 24-hour period without food . . . my body would survive; but, my mind thought otherwise. Such thoughts were not bolstering my will to get on with the procedure. It made me hungry just thinking about it. I hate being hungry even for a good cause like my health!
Then after a day of fasting the only thing that I get is a suppository . . . and, lots of yucky fluids to drink . . . all for the purpose of creating a riot to get my bowels moving. I have heard my bowels when they are not happy . . . it is a scary sound that rumbles out and often signals bad things. This part of the pre-procedure is meant to waken these sleeping giants to expel all that waste. It is an endless parade of farting and pooping until a person can no longer fart or poop. Well, I have never had much trouble with either one . . . I can do it with the best of them. But . . . NO . . . the doctor wants to help clean out the ol’ pipes. Charmin tissues ain’t even going to bring much comfort to this scenario . . . hungry, farting, and pooping . . . sounds like a Saturday morning from my college days living with five other guys.
That right there was enough to bring apprehension towards my waning willingness to go through with the colonoscopy. Yet, everyone kept telling me that it would be okay because they put you under for the procedure . . . a person doesn’t remember anything. A little gas and the next thing you remember is the nurse encouraging you to pass a little gas before you can go home. I do not do well with anesthesiology. In previous surgeries I have caught pneumonia, near-pneumonia, and extra time in the hospital. Plus I have had to endure the stories about the silly things that I have said to the doctor, the nurses, and my wife . . . seems I am quite entertaining when knocked out. Going under is not one of my favorite things . . . and, who knows what they do when a person is knocked out. Makes me shudder whenever I think about it.
So, I wimped out . . . called and rescheduled. The wife understood, despite trying to keep a straight face and suppressing her giggles. The nurse on the other end of the line understood even though I could hear her muffling the phone to hide her laughter. The doctor probably figured that it would get him out on the golf course that much sooner . . . and, that he would eventually get me . . . somewhere down the line, he would get me. At this moment it is a relief for me . . . a huge pain in the rear removed for the time being. I am sure I will be embarrassed about wimping out down the road . . . probably even feel guilty about not taking it like a “man”. But, for me it made sense . . . it was a relief.
I can joke about it. I have been told that a person has to have a sense of humor about colonoscopies. Others before me have. Here are a few of the things they had to say to their doctors about the whole procedure:
- · "Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone
- · "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
- · "You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married."
- · “You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out..."
- · "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"
- · "Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."
And, my favorite one:
- · "Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up
Confession is good for the soul . . . this confession was good for my rear . . . at least for another couple of months. So, bring it on. All of you colonoscopy veterans, bring it on. Hit me with your best shot . . . I can take it. It beats starving one’s self for a day, planting a suppository, drinking yucky stuff, and spending a whole night worshiping in the Thunder Dome farting and pooping before being abruptly probed in an invasive procedure sure to bring nightmares in the days and weeks to come. Go ahead, I can take it.
Besides the day is coming. I can run, but I cannot hide. I told you, the doctor is patient and persistent . . . he almost got me this time. He senses the kill . . . my time is coming. Shoot, I feel a bilabial fricative even now! And, I ain’t tooting my horn. The guts know that they will get me in the end!