Friday, March 20, 2009

The Humorous Side of a Colonoscopy

Before I get into the humorous side of a colonoscopy, first let me explain:

What is a Colonoscopy?
A gastroenterologist evaluates the appearance of the inside of the colon or large bowel. This is done by inserting a flexible tube into the anus and then slowly into the rectum and through the colon.

Why is a Colonoscopy done?
A Colonoscopy is known for its use to screen for an early detection of colorectal cancer, but it also used to investigate other diseases of the colon as well. It can be used to check areas for irritation or sores in your colon.

A colonoscopy is performed when you experience a change in your bowel habits, have pain, diarrhea, blood in stool, weight loss. These symptoms can be caused by inflammation of the bowel (IBS), Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

If an abnormality is found on colon x- ray or a CT scan or if there is a history of polyps, colon cancer or malignancies or other colon problems, a colonoscopy is performed.

Before I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, I needed to have this procedure done. Many unpleasant thoughts crossed my mind, but I knew the test needed to be performed.

So if, like me, you have experienced the colonoscopy procedure, you may relate and enjoy this humorous side. This article comes from Dave Barry, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

He writes:
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

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

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

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

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 you 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, 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.

1 comment:

suZen said...

HYSTERICAL! I'm sure this makes everyone jealous of you and they will all rush out to have one! haha! I've had dozens, plus colon surgery, and it was good to have a laugh, albeit at a "rookie's" expense! Ya gotta love those bowels!