Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Guess what I did today?

This is actually what inspired me to go ahead and make the appointment.  I'm sure Barry would be pleased.  Maybe I can still get the certificate he promised.

BYLINE: By Dave Barry,
>>> McClatchy Newspapers
>>> OK. You turned 50. You know you're supposed to get a colonoscopy.
>>> But you haven't.
>>> Here are your reasons:
>>> 1. You've been busy.
>>> 2. You don't have a history of cancer in your family.
>>> 3. You haven't noticed any problems.
>>> 4. You don't want a doctor to stick a tube
>>> 17,000 feet up your behind.
>>> Let's examine these reasons one at a time.
>>> No, wait, let's not.
>>> Because you and I both know that the only real reason is No. 4. This is
>>> natural. The idea of having another human, even a medical human, becoming
>>> deeply involved in what is technically known as your "behindular zone"
>>> gives you the creeping willies. I know this because I am like you, except
>>> worse. I yield to nobody in the field of being a pathetic weenie medical
>>> coward. I become faint and nauseous during even very minor medical
>>> procedures such as making an appointment by phone. It's much worse when I
>>> come into physical contact with the medical profession. More than one
>>> doctor's office has a dent in the floor caused by my forehead striking it
>>> seconds after I got a shot.
>>> In 1997, when I turned 50, everybody told me I should get a colonoscopy.
>>> I agreed that I definitely should, but not right away. By following this
>>> policy, I reached age 55 without having had a colonoscopy. Then I did
>>> something so pathetic and embarrassing that I am frankly ashamed to tell
>>> you about it.
>>> What happened was, a giant 40 - foot replica of a human colon came toMiami
>>> Beach. Really. It's an educational exhibit called the Colossal Colon,
>>> and it was on a nationwide tour to promote awareness of colo - rectal
>>> cancer. The idea is, you crawl through the Colossal Colon, and you
>>> encounter various educational items in there, such as polyps, cancer and
>>> hemorrhoids the size of regulation volleyballs, and you go, ' Whoa, I
>>> better find out if I contain any of these things, ' and you get a
>>> colonoscopy.
>>> If you are as a professional humor writer, and there is a giant colon
>>> within a 200 - mile radius, you are legally obligated to go see it. So I
>>> went to Miami Beach and crawled through the Colossal Colon. I wrote a
>>> column about it, making tasteless colon jokes. But I also urged everyone
>>> to get a colonoscopy. I even, when I emerged from the Colossal Colon,
>>> signed a pledge stating that I would get one. But I didn't get one.
>>> I was a fraud, a hypocrite, a liar. I was practically a member of
>>> Congress.
>>> Five more years passed. I turned 60, and I still hadn't gotten a
>>> colonoscopy. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got an e - mail from my brother
>>> Sam, who is 10 years younger than I am, but more mature. The e - mail was
>>> addressed to me and my middle brother, Phil. It said:
>>> Dear Brothers,
>>> I went in for a routine colonoscopy and got the dreaded diagnosis: cancer.
>>> We're told it's early and that there is a good prognosis that they can get
>>> it all out, so, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that. And of
>>> course they told me to tell my siblings to get screened. I imagine you both
>>> have.
>>> Um. Well.
>>> First I called Sam.
>>> He was hopeful, but scared.
>>> We talked for a while, and when we hung up, 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
>>> 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
>>> enemies. 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
>>> flavor. 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
>>> lemon.
>>> 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 h**ll 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" has 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 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. 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.
>>> But my point is this: In addition to being a pathetic medical weenie, I was
>>> a complete moron. For more than a decade I avoided getting a procedure that
>>> was, essentially, nothing. There was no pain and, except for the MoviPrep,
>>> no discomfort.
>>> I was risking my life for nothing.
>>> If my brother Sam had been as stupid as I was, if, when he turned 50, he
>>> had ignored all the medical advice and avoided getting screened he still
>>> would have had cancer.
>>> He just wouldn't have known.
>>> And by the time he did know, by the time he felt symptoms, his situation
>>> would have been much, much more serious.
>>> But because he was a grown - up, the doctors caught the cancer early, and
>>> they operated and took it out. Sam is now recovering and eating what he
>>> describes as "really, really boring food." His prognosis is good, and
>>> everybody is optimistic, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that.
>>> Which brings us to you, Mr. or Mrs. or Miss or Ms. Over - 50 - And - Hasn't
>>> - Had - a - Colonoscopy yet...
>>> Here's the deal: You either have colorectal cancer, or you don't. If you
>>> do, a colonoscopy will enable doctors to find it and do something about it.
>>> And if you don't have cancer, believe me, it's very reassuring to know you
>>> don't.
>>> There is no sane reason for you not to have it done. I am so eager for you
>>> to do this that I am going to induce you with an Exclusive Limited Time
>>> Offer. If you, after reading this, get a colonoscopy, let me know by
>>> sending a self - addressed stamped envelope to Dave Barry Colonoscopy
>>> Inducement, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132.
>>> I will send you back a certificate, signed by me and suitable for framing
>>> if you don't mind framing a cheesy certificate, stating that you are a
>>> grown - up who got a colonoscopy!
>>> Accompanying this certificate will be a square of limited - edition custom
>>> - printed toilet paper with an image of Miss Paris Hilton on it. You may
>>> frame this also, or use it in whatever other way you deem fit.
>>> But even if you don't want this inducement, please get a colonoscopy. If I
>>> can do it, you can do it. Don't put it off. Just do it.
>>> But be sure to stress that you want the non - Abba version.


Mrs. Spit said...

Is holy crap a bad pun right now? ;-)

Wordgirl said...

Hooray for taking care of yourself!

I'm always terrible about that preventative stuff...


Aunt Becky said...

Aw. I had my first when I was 23. It was awesome. But that reminds me, I need another one.


I want the good drugs.

excavator said...

(shaking head sadly): oh, Mrs. Spit...how could you?

Pam--at least you're years away from having to think about it!

Aunt Becky--how come you had to have one so young? (You don't have to answer that...borders on being an inappropriately personal question)

Yes indeed, I wanted to be sedated. And I was; though it occurred to me: they could have done anything to me in there. they could have just let me lay there asleep and had a little party, then gave me a picture of a colon out of a medical school textbook.

For all the effects I had afterward, they might as well