Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Colonoscopy: The Sequel

You want to know how long this blog has been around?  

Almost as long as one of these contraptions that get shoved up your ass.

In the early days of Len Speaks, I did a piece on my very first colonoscopy.  Well, here we are, six years later and I'm a bit...ahem...behind.  My first exam revealed a polyp and my doctor wanted me back in three years.

Well, that didn't happen as scheduled.  Back at the three year mark, I had heard that my doctor was sidelined due to a hand injury.  Apparently, something had happened in a fight with a dog.  

I didn't ask for details.  Nevertheless, if my doctor was less "handy" at the time, the last thing I wanted was him trying to insert a Kodak Instamatic up my...well....up me.

But everything healed on his end.  So to speak.  And I couldn't wait any longer.  Polyps take five years to grow back.  Mine have probably already returned and was snacking on some cancerous nitrates that I had gleefully ingested with my last grilled Taylor Ham sandwich.  I needed to go.

There was a lot of symmetry this time around.  I like consistency.  I went to the exact same place for the procedure.  And, in a fashion, so did my doctor..  Everything was the same.

Except for the night-before prep, which is what scares most people from ever having a colonoscopy in the first place.  My doctor told me to get a two quart bottle of apple juice.  I mixed that in a pitcher with a bottle of Miralax.  I drank half the pitcher around 6PM.  Yes, by 7PM, I was.  Meanwhile, the concoction was pretty tasty.  I won't be ordering it at cocktail parties but, for the purposes intended, it could have all been a lot worse.

The next morning, I drank the other half of the pitcher.  But, by this point, my insides were dryer than the Gobi Desert.  I was as clean as a whistle and it would be a shame to eventually put food down and dirty it up again.  Like when you have your carpets cleaned and you then try to avoid walking on them.

Meanwhile, the hardest part of any colonoscopy is the waiting once you get called in from the reception area.  Donning the gown that opens in the back.  Wondering if the personal training has paid off in that area of the body.  Getting the IV put into your arm.  And then stretching out on a gurney to await your close-up with Mr. DeMille.

And await and await and await.

I amuse myself by listening to all the conversations going on behind other curtains where patients are in varying depots along the Colonoscopy Express.  I hear them wheel an old lady next to me.  She's done and just coming out of the anesthesia.  

Lady:  "Nurse, I have a question."

Nurse:  "What can I do for you, dear?"

Lady:  (SHEEPISHLY)  "I have a little gas."

Nurse:  "That's very common."

Lady:  "But what should I do?"

Nurse:  "Let it pass."

Lady:  "But how do I do that?"

Nurse:  (A BIT ANNOYED)  "You fart!!!"

Lady:  "But I don't know how."


Somehow, I'm sure this lady knows how to fart.  Especially if you're sitting next to her on the bus.

I'm ultimately saved from this non-Neil-Simon-like banter when my anesthesiologist Lisa arrives to take me for a ride.  She's cute and I'm sorry that I am meeting her for the first time without any pants on.  That view should be reserved for our second date.  Nevertheless, pending dinner plans not withstanding, I am shuttled into my private soundstage.  My doctor is on his laptop.  I asked if he was Googling "colonoscopy."

Yes, when I am faced with a medical procedure, I always resort to humor as a means of calming myself down.  The Reader's Digest is right.  Laughter is the best medicine.

I asked the attending nurse how many of these procedures are done in a single day.  She replies they do at least 30.  I remark that I used to see that many assholes a day in my last job.

I announce to all assembled in the room that it's the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death and I want to honor him by taking a shot of propofol myself.  Big laughs ensue.  But, as usually happens, the medical staff gets tired of me and can't wait to administer the knock-out drops.  Lisa, my future wife, taps me on the shoulder.

"Okay, turn on your side and look at me before you go to sleep."

I say "gladly."  I think I ask for her phone number but I only get to hear the area code.


At least, for a little bit.  

I'm suddenly in a daze.  I'm still on my side.  Lisa's finger is holding my IV in place.  And there is a conversation going on.  My doctor, the nurse, and Lisa are discussing baked goods.  Most notably, the return of Hostess Cakes to store shelves.

The nurse, however, counters that she's not a fan of Twinkies.  Growing up in Philadelphia, she's a fan of Tastykakes.  

Ah, but my doctor reveals himself to be a child of Southern Boulevard in the Bronx.  In his childhood, Drake's Cakes were all the rage.  

Meanwhile, I can feel something going on inside me.  Did they screw up my procedure?  Was I going to be awake for it all?  I finally had to speak out.

"You do realize that I can hear your entire conversation.  And, oh, by the way, I used to love Drakes' Yodels."

My doctor said that he knew I was awake.  The hard part of my procedure was over.  Since there were no polyps and everything was, as they say, "unremarkable,"  they brought me out early.

I glanced up at the flat screen monitor on the wall.  Wait!!!

"Is that me?????"

It was.  I got to watch the last five minutes of my own colonoscopy.  And, if you think that sounds gross, it really wasn't.  Heck, if you could look at Katie Couric's insides, mine were a lot cleaner.  I was super-impressed.

Sadly, I did get a Starbucks Java Chip Light on the way home so the carpets weren't pristine for long.  I was given photos of my innards and I refrain from using them as illustrations here.  The good news is that, with a great bill of health from this procedure, I don't have to do this again for five years.  

That, however, will likely not help me to forge a lasting relationship with Lisa.

Cute anesthesiologists not withstanding, a colonoscopy is a painless and easy way to safeguard your long term health and well being.  If you're due, go.  If you're overdue, you really should go.  

Of course, nobody can make you go.  You'll need the Miralax for that.

Dinner last night:  The salad bar from Gelson's.


Anonymous said...

Did anyone sing Robert Klein's "Colonoscopy Song?"

Puck said...

Sounds like your apple juice/Miralax cocktail was better than my Powerade/Miralac concotion. At least you didn't have to sit and watch family and friends chow down on a chicken parm feast. That was a lot harder than the colonoscopy itself. Glad yours, like mine, came up clean.