I recently turned 50, and I just had a routine medical procedure done. I don’t want to gross anyone out, so I won’t say what it was. Suffice it to say that they stick a tube up your ass and look around for half an hour. If they like what they see, they invite you back to do it again over and over. The tube has a camera in it, and they take pictures that you can post on Facebook if you like. If you are on Assbook, so much the better. They print the photos out in color, and they are really quite beautiful. Mine had a thing on it that looked like the Sea of Tranquility. I looked at it with a magnifying glass, and I thought I could make out a little American flag that someone had planted there years ago. It turns out that eating more fiber will get rid of the Sea of Tranquility.
The better your medical coverage, the more painless the procedure is. Working as I do for the television industry, my basic plan covers a colonoscopy that utilizes not exactly cutting edge technology. They took an actual VHS camcorder from the 1970s and barged it right in there. When it came time to change the tape, enough said.
First the nurse subjects you to a battery of questions, most of them “true or false,” relating to your medical history. She asks you if you have any allergies. And I told her yes, I am allergic to people sticking anything up my ass. And also, cats. “Are you on any medications?” Yes, I am currently on a prescription called cyclobenzazoxlazone. It doesn’t say on the bottle what it’s for, but I have been taking it since 1987 and I haven’t had whatever it cures since then. They ask if there are any medical problems in my family, and I tell them my parents are both dead so I would say a big YES on that one. They ask if I have any diabetes, and the answer is never even ONE diabete.
Then the anesthesiologist waltzes in and asks the exact same questions, and just for fun, I mix up the answers. He doesn’t even notice. But I feel like he knows a lot of personal information about me, and I know nothing about him. So to even it up I ask him some questions: Who was the 27th president? (Taft) What is the capital of North Dakota (Bismarck). He got them both right so it was time to begin.
This isn’t one of those deals where they ask you if you want to watch the procedure on TV, like my knee surgery. I didn’t want to watch that either, so I asked him to flip to The Price is Right, and he totally agreed. The anesthesia is very fast-acting, so he asks you to count backwards from one. When I woke up, the damn thing hadn’t even started yet- turns out I had fainted from him putting the IV needle into my arm. This is an unpleasant examination, and I don’t think it’s any less unpleasant for the doctor either.
The preparation is the annoying part. You can’t have breakfast the day before the procedure for instance. I got around this by delaying my dinner from the night before until 7AM the next morning. You are not allowed to eat any foods in a solid form the whole day. So instead I cooked my hamburger so well done that it ended up in a gaseous state, then I just inhaled it. You can eat Jell-o, and it didn’t say you couldn’t have Jell-o shots, so I did plenty of those. In fact I had a lot of intake in liquid form. Then starting at 6PM you have to drink this stuff that gives you diarrhea. Obviously it also gives me diarrhea of the mouth.
The anesthesia wears off quickly, but you are still not allowed to drive or use heavy machinery- anything over, say, 15 pounds. The doctor also told me not to sing, but I think that was unrelated to the procedure.
Incidentally, March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Hopefully it also the month of something less ridiculous-sounding. The colon is 5 to 6 feet long, which means it can probably dunk a basketball. If you have a semi-colon it’s about half that; the semi-colon is the one that winks at you at the end of cute emails.
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