I’ve never had a broken bone or any other malady that required anything other than a trip to the ordinary doctor’s office.  And I thank God for that.  I’ve taken Melissa a number of times unfortunately for one thing or another but I’ve never been behind that big set of doors they always take the patients through.

Until now.

Fortunately for me, it was only a colonoscopy which my doctor ordered because I turned 50.  I put it off for one year since the last time he mentioned it, I was only 49 and 11 months old but this year, there was no putting it off. Thankfully it passed (HA!) without incident.  Of course, the classic description of the colonoscopy procedure was written by  Dave Barry and this was my only source of information on the whole thing before I went in.  Perhaps I should have researched it more but the gastroenterologist didn’t give me much more than that; preferring to simply tell me that it was no big deal and just enjoy the day off.

I won’t say that it was a barrel of monkeys but the worst part was the prep which took the form of choking down about half a gallon of thermonuclear laxative and then spending the rest of the day very near the master bathroom.  That stuff didn’t taste all that bad but it was nasty enough that it was really difficult to get it down especially considering what it was.  I knew its intended effect and so was not enthusiastic about it at all. Plus it was slightly salty and slippery which made it remind me very much of snot.  I researched the active ingredient and indeed it is sometimes used as a lubricant such as in inkjet printer ink cartridges.  It is also used to preserve wood that has been submerged such as sunken ships that are raised and restored for museums.  Woodworkers use it to replace the water in green wood to reduce warpage.  And of course the extreme laxative characteristics are the primary use.

I guess I now have a hint of what cholera must be like.  At times, I felt like my eyeballs were drying out and I would then go get some water to drink.  That was Halloween and so I was not called upon to service the many trick-or-treaters that rang the doorbell. 

The best part of the whole thing was the anesthetic.  I was worried about this since I have never had anything other than the face-numbing stuff you get at the dentist.  I was told that I would not remember a thing and indeed the last thing I remember was a nurse saying something like “OK, you’re going to sleep now” and that was all I remember until somebody said my name and I realized I was in a different room.  I also had to think long and hard to respond.  I slurred the response like I was drugged – which of course I was.  I’m actually happy to learn that my body’s response to this is absolutely classical and that I don’t have any weird allergy nor do I get nauseous from it.  I just go to sleep which is what the doctor wants in that case.  I kept going back to sleep and they kept saying my name which I guess at some deep level is really important to me because that always woke me up. 

I also expected there to be some residual sensation from having someone drive a hose up my backside but there was none.  I don’t like to think of the fact that I was lying there with my ass exposed to strangers but it’s something they do every day and for them it’s just another day at the office.  *shudder* What a job!

The thing I really disliked about the entire experience is entirely my fault:  I didn’t like being out of control of the situation or at least fully aware.  I didn’t like taking my clothes off and laying there in a gown with no backside to speak of.  I hated being wheeled around through a labyrinth of hallways in a bed and did not like being in a wheelchair at the end.  I didn’t like being wheeled into a holding area surrounded by (but separated by privacy curtains) other people who were waiting on surgeries and who were all old, sick, and miserable.  I didn’t like the possibility of being drugged and incoherent.  I make a living with my brain and don’t like slowing it down or stopping it with chemicals.

Having said that, I must say that everyone at the hospital was super nice and had made every effort to preserve as much privacy and dignity as possible.  The doctor who drove the hose was incredibly chipper considering his job.  I’m sure he makes a great deal of money but I don’t begrudge him a penny – he deserves a fortune for dealing with colons all day every day.

I was only there for a couple of hours and when I left, I felt fine and was able to go eat anything I wanted and do just about anything although I was told not to drive and not to make any important decisions or any large purchases (Ha!).  Too bad; Evan just lost his iPod touch and that would have been his chance to hit me up to replace it.  Of course, Mel was there and it was her job to have the common sense for the day.  I ended up napping a lot the rest of the day.

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