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Ode to a Colonoscopy

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  • Ode to a Colonoscopy


    Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

    This is from newshound Dave Barry's colonoscopy journal:

    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 to 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 yo u 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' had 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.

    On the subject of Colonoscopies...

    Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous..... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

    1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!

    2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'

    3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'

    4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'

    5. 'You know, in Arkansas , we're now legally married.'

    6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'

    7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'

    8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'

    9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!

    10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity. '

    11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'

    12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'

    And the best one of all.

    13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'

    Having gone through this experience myself years ago I can totally identify with what Dave Barry is saying.

    However, I was awake for the whole procedure. You go in there in your little paper gown and a blanket. The blanket is so you can pretend that you are not naked and that your nether regions are not completely exposed. It is good as well if you can bring in a sense of humour cause your dignity gets checked at the door.

    I lay on the table with only about 50 feet of tubing up my nether regions and the technician explains to me they will be pumping air in. Duh, is that what that is?

    Tech: Please turn over on your side
    Me: (I turn over)
    Tech: Not that way, the other way
    Me: (How would I know - to me one side is as good as another)
    Tech: Please turn on your back
    Me: (I comply)
    Tech: Please turn on your side
    Me: (nothing)
    Tech to Nurse: I don't think she heard me, can you tell her to turn on her side?
    Me: I heard you, I'm just waiting for you to tell me which side.
    Tech: I'm pumping in more air now
    Me: Do you think I can't tell?

    And so on.

    Believe me, you might think the cleanse was bad. Wait until you try to eliminate the barium they also squeeze up there.

  • #2
    Re: Ode to a Colonoscopy

    I'll have to copy this for DH. He had the colonoscopy Tues and next Tues is the barium. That's just to make sure there are no narrowings in the small bowel so the following Tues DH can swallow a camera!! Thanks for posting this.
    Mary Ann in Wisconsin
    "A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that is unlocked and opens inwards as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein


    • #3
      Re: Ode to a Colonoscopy

      Tell him to bring his sense of humour. The nurses will help - they were wonderful with me. The procedure is just emBAREASSing and uncomfortable but not painful in anyway.


      • #4
        Re: Ode to a Colonoscopy

        I received this recently in an e-mail....
        Hilariously Funny!
        Have you made time to listen to the birds today........


        • #5
          Re: Ode to a Colonoscopy

          Having had a colonoscopy, I can so totally identify. Funny, I am laughing so hard, I am crying. Hilarious, so funny.


          • #6
            Re: Ode to a Colonoscopy

            I have had 4 colonoscopies in the past and have another one coming up soon. There's a history of colon cancer in my family. The worst part for me is always the prep. I've seen this before, Rube, and laugh more each time I see it.
            Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.


            • #7
              Re: Ode to a Colonoscopy

              It's more true that funny - don't they say true life is funnier than fiction ?
              I don't want buns of steel. I want buns of cinnamon !!!