Get R Done

A colonoscopy.

Who wants to read about that?

Well, since you’re already into the third paragraph of today’s blog, I’ll take this as an indication you’re either innately curious, or sick enough to wallow in the joy of my misery.

At age 52, I’m told that puts me at higher risk for colon cancer. It would really suck to be diagnosed with any form of cancer.  But if I do get such a scary diagnosis, I sure as shit don’t want it in my ass.  

Excuse the pun.

Most of us put off unpleasant procedures like this until — sometimes it’s too late.  Especially men, like me who often feel invulnerable.  Since I don’t feel any pain down there, why worry about it?  That’s the all too familiar tune.  Sure, I get annual medical checkups.  I visit my dentist regularly.  I go through a vision test and get new glasses whenever I can.  So, why would I voluntarily subject myself to such an intimate intrusion by undergoing a colonoscopy?

A recent diagnosis of colon cancer with a friend.  It is really that simple.  Greg was diagnosed in the early weeks of August.

I called my “friend” GI Bob, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, I get a letter in which, GI Bob’s staff 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 and Chicago.

The letter explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and professional manner. I shook my head, but I didn’t really read anything he sent, because my brain was shrieking, quote, ‘HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR ASS!’

So, I had those written instructions, and a prescription for some Dulcolax, Zofran (so you won’t puke your innards out) and  a product called ‘Nulytely,’ which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss Nulytely in detail later; for now, suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America’s enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being slightly 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 beef broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor and Jell-O

Then, in the late afternoon, I took the Nulytely. You mix water into the powder in a four-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with 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 500 hours (actually only 5), because Nulytely tastes – and here I am being kind – like a mixture of goat spit, camel urine and salty pondwater, with just a hint of lemon lime.

The instructions for Nulytely, 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. Also, I want to meet the sadist fucker that thought, “Let’s watch what happens when we mix Sodium Chloride, Sodium Bicarbonate and Potassium Chloride and make some poor unsuspecting asshole (pun intended) drink it.”

Nulytely 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 Nulytely experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt or eject button. 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 keep drinking more Nulytely, 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. No, I was not worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of Nulytely spurtage. I was thinking, ‘What if I shit on GI Bob?’ How do you apologize to a person for something like that? Flowers and chocolate would not be enough.

At the hospital 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, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by skinny perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse, Stephanie, put a little needle in a vein in my right hand and started IV fluids. Great, not only was a peeing out my bung I was now gonna have to pee the natural way as well!

Darci, another Nurse then wheeled me into the procedure room.

When in the ‘torture room’ the Nurse Anesthetist told me that some people put vodka in their Nulytely.

At first 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. Shit everywhere!

You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When in the procedure room, GI Bob was waiting with a couple nurses and a nurse anesthetist, Jason. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew GI Bob had it hidden around there somewhere.

I was seriously nervous at this point. Jason had me roll over on my left side, and he 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 remember thinking, ‘Dancing Queen’ has to be the least appropriate song for this occasion. When I got back to my room they denied playing this song. Ha!  I know otherwise. 

And then it was time – that 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 shrieking ‘Dancing Queen! Feel the beat from the tambourine …’ and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. GI Bob was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when GI Bob 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.  To quote Larry the Cable Guy ‘Get r Done!’

In all honesty, the process is not that bad. Get it done folks – it truly can save your life.

*- One Liter is actually 33.81 ounces.

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