Friday, June 15, 2012

A Moving Experience

On Wednesday I went through a rite of passage: my first colonoscopy. This is something that we are supposed to do every ten years starting at age 50. The purpose of a colonoscopy is to check for undesirable things that lurk in the dark recesses of our bowels, such as polyps, cancer, and Newt Gingrich. The medical community does this by inserting probes into our posteriors, which is completely normal when you consider that aliens have been doing it to rednecks for decades.

By the way, don’t fall for “alternative” colon treatments. For example, have you ever heard of colonics? Charlatans try to convince us that everyone has “deposits” in their colons and that a colonic is necessary in order to flush this material out. Years ago I tested their claim by actually going to a colonic “specialist”. I stopped eating and took castor oil 36 hours beforehand in order to make sure I eliminated everything that would eventually have come out on its own. I paid the $40 fee, got undressed, put on the hospital gown and sat back on the procedure table. There was a machine with a little window and a hose attached to it. The “specialist” lubricated the hose and, um, inserted it. Water was injected into my colon, making it expand and causing moderate discomfort. Then the water was sucked back out, with the contents passing by the machine’s window. Nothing but water. She repeated the process a few times, and each time all we saw was water. I said, “Looks like I don’t have any deposits.” She said, “Yes you do. Sometimes it takes several treatments to dislodge the material.” Obviously she was more full of poop than my colon was. But I wasn’t gonna tell her that. At least not while she still had that hose up my ass.

Anyway, before doctors can look inside you, the area in question needs to be cleaned out. This is accomplished via the ingestion of an intestinal scrubber called MoviPrep. It is done twice: the day before, and the morning of, the procedure. I took my first dose on Tuesday. I had heard that it tastes terrible, but it was actually not bad as long as you enjoy drinking salty lemonade. In retrospect I should have added tequila and made a margarita.

I went about my business. Within an hour the first runnings started to appear. And believe me, “runnings” is the correct word. Now, I didn’t care to see what came out, but in the interest of accurate journalism I forced myself to look. Let’s just say that BP and the Exxon Valdez had nothing on me. The liquid in my toilet bowl was so black that my bathroom actually darkened.

“Okay, that’s that,” I thought. I flushed, washed, left the bathroom and OH MY GOD ran right back in, sat down and exploded. Repeatedly. I swear that if I weighed just a few pounds less I would have wound up in my attic. I couldn’t believe so much “stuff” had been inside me. I looked down – again, for the sake of journalism – and what I saw could be best described as a fecal terrorist attack. It looked like a poop bomb had gone off. I couldn’t fathom how it was even possible for my body to spray at such impossible angles, but I was too busy unrolling toilet paper to think about it.

After what seemed like a week and a half of intestinal blasts akin to a sawed-off shotgun, I set about cleaning up. Let me give you some helpful advice, okay? If you ever drink MoviPrep, you will need to bring the following items into the bathroom with you:
  • an industrial vat of Formula 409
  • 8000 rolls of paper towels
  • a copy of War and Peace
I don’t think I need to explain the first two items. The third is to give you something to do because you sure as hell won’t be going anywhere for a while.

I finished cleaning just in time for the next ass-ault. It started with another Bouncing Betty but then changed over to Stream Mode. Now I know how women feel when they pee.

Eventually the agony ended and I got to clean up again. Then I soaked my hindquarters in a bucket of Clorox.

Here’s some more advice that I highly suggest you follow when using MoviPrep:
  1. Cancel all social plans.
  2. Notify next of kin.
  3. Resign yourself to the fact that you will poop out everything, including your spleen.
  4. Remove all clothing and dentures.
  5. Turn on the bathroom fan and do not turn it off until Halley’s Comet returns.
  6. When finished, shower. Twice.
I had to get up early Wednesday morning for another round of MoviPrep. This time what came out was yellow liquid. Not having learned from the previous day’s experience, I flushed, washed and left, only to make a hasty return to the perch. A while later the coast seemed clear, but this time I hadn’t even finished washing my hands when the urge to purge returned. The watery discharge was accompanied by an intestinal symphony that sounded like a sink backing up. I had never gone to the bathroom in C minor before.

Several hours later I had a friend drop me at the gastroenterologist. The secretary informed me that the doctor was running about an hour behind (har!) schedule. As I waited I noticed a sign that said, “If you have advanced directives, please see the receptionist.” At first I thought that “advanced directives” was an intestinal disorder. The secretary told me that it is instructions on what to do if you become incapacitated from the procedure and have to be put on life support. Which was encouraging.

Eventually they brought me into the prep area where they checked my pulse and blood pressure and inserted an IV line. Then they wheeled me into the operating room where they had me lie on my side and the anesthesiologist injected a milky white fluid into the IV line that made me feel...

Nothing. I was out for the entire procedure. The next thing I knew a nurse was pushing on my belly and making me toot. You see, in order to get a good view of your colon, they fill it with air. Well, that air has to come out. I hadn’t expelled so much intestinal gas since my last trip to Mexico.

Still tired from the anesthetic, I got dressed. My girlfriend had arrived while I was unconscious, and since I had not eaten solid food since Monday, she drove me to the nearest Chinese buffet.

So that’s it. That’s all there is to getting a colonoscopy: poop your brains out, go to sleep, and then fill your empty digestive system with shrimp.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my results were stellar. No polyps. No cancer. And no signs of Newt Gingrich. At least until the 2016 election.


At 11:45 PM, Blogger Anne Beggs said...

Good grief. I have anesthesia envy, I was NOT unconscious for the ass-ault. At least you are good until 60, amigo.


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