Turning 50...

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by Schaden, Jul 26, 2011.

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  1. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    And things to look forward to...

    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 butt.

    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 to Miami 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 email 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 TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BUTT!''

    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2009/02/1...#ixzz1TA5fk6yk
  2. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    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 hell 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

    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2009/02/1...#ixzz1TA67ZUDu
  3. Uuuummm "You turned 50. You know you're supposed to get a colonoscopy" Where is this written down? I'm 54 and my Dr is very good at taking care of me i.e. Blood Pressure, cholestorol etc. but no mention of having a look up my bottie. Is this an American 'Blue Shield' type insurance thing?
  4. This, however is England. We have the NHS...
    My first colonoscopy was at about 25 years old. I was emitting large quantities of claret every time I had a shit. Went to the local hospital where they just bent me over and it all started going wrong. I was, in their words a 'nervous patient' and that damm finger wasn't going up my arse while I still had breath in my body. So they called me in for a proper colonoscopy with a sedative. The process was much the same as the Yank suffered, but when I woke up I felt like I'd done 5 rounds with Tyson. The Dr finally got round to telling me that "the operation failed because you fought 3 of us off". They hadn't, despite drugging me, got the black mamba anywhere near my arse and they'd suffered for even trying. Some weeks later they repeated it, using a GA or general anaesthetic and finally broke my duck. The good news, it wasn't cancer it was farmer giles, which they had 'banded'.
    10 years later, time for a re-match. 125 miles away from the first struggle, they didn't believe me. Eventually they got hold of my previous notes and noting that they were at personal risk repeated the procedure with a twist. They did both ends at once. I believe footballers call this a 'spit roast'. I can't recommend it when you're the male victim, even if you are unconcious under a GA. Once again it was piles and a banding at one end and a hiatus hernia at the other. Anti-acid tablets and a higher bran diet followed.
    This year, after a trip with blues and twos in December because I'd been daft enough to turn up at my Dr's with both a stomach ache AND blood flowing everywhere when I sat down for a crap. they finally got round to spit roasting me again. Apparently it's now a lot more difficult to arrange this because it 'should' be done as a low cost sedation in theatre X instead of a much more expensive and higher risk GA in theatre B at the other end of the 1930's hospital. Hence why it took them from December to June to organise (is that legal?). They tried to persuade me that I should just stop eating for 24 hrs beforehand. I explained I was type 1 diabetic and this would kill me. They called me back for another pre-op and gave me some pink crbohydrate drink for the day before. I stopped eating after breakfast and i had 'shake' for lunch. I went to bed hungry, knowing I was first on the list the next day. I got up at sparrows fart (5.30 a.m.)the next morning, removed all my valuables and checked my blood sugar was OK - it was at about 6, which is 'normal'. By 7 a.m. I was in hospital, where I was prepped and then told there would be a 'bit of delay whilst they readied the theatre'. By 9 o'clock my blood sugar was higher than it should be with a level of 10, despite me not eating solid food for 25 hours and my last milkshake 21 hours previous. By 10 o'cloch my blood sugar was 12 and I felt ILL. They operated at about 11 and I woke up, covered in grease and shit (how?) at about 12. Now they'd been very keen to establish that I had somebody to assist me when i was discharged. My 17 year old was volunteered and had arrived at the hospital at 11.45 to help me out. They sent him home, saying I was still in theatre. He doesn't drive so had caught the bus down. He went home by bus again, and as soon as he walked in the door had Dad on the phone asking where the hell he was as I was going home NOW. To cut a long story short I tidied myself up, stormed out of the hospital by myself after signing a note discharging myself against their orders (they'd screwed up by sending my 'carer' home, not realising he didn't drive himself and was understrict orders to get me into a taxi) and I caught the bus home. The next day I found out that 'biopsies' seem to involve using pliers to pull bits of your insides out, it really, really hurts. Not only that but my rising sugar levels had been my liver going into meltdown and releasing all the 'emergency only' sugar. Now it gets really scary - it took them 4 weeks to tell me they'd found something on the endoscopy. Being the NHS they haven't yet told me how they're going to monitor this Barratts stuff in my oesophagus, but I suspect that'll be because they're dreading how they're ever going to get me to come back after they've messed me around so much.

    My Mum worked for the NHS - she doesn't belive how bad it's got.