|Stupidman Gets Colonoscopied
Other than being Stupidman, I am probably a typical 50 year old male. By that I mean I have a strong preference to avoid personal medical issues.
My philosophy is if I feel ok I am. If I have a headache I take something, if the headache persists I take more until the headache goes away. If I get a sinus infection or strep throat I go to a clinic, pay cash, get some antibiotics, take them, get well.
Until two weeks ago I had perfect cholesterol (never tested), a fine prostate (never checked) and was quite content in relying on the premise that ignorance is bliss.
On the horizon, storm clouds were brewing, soon to impact my sunny disposition.
Women are much more accepting of the poking, prodding and various tortures that are administered behind the closed doors of medical institutions. It starts when they are teenagers and never ends. Men, on the other hand, are low maintenance. Women are envious of the male circumstance and patiently wait until we are either struck down by a freak occurrence like illness or we turn 50.
Fifty is one of those magical years like 18, 21, 30, 40, or 62 but the only thing positive about turning 50 is the alternative of never becoming 50. Health and life insurance go up, you become eligible to join AARP and the medical community says you are no longer on warranty.
Mrs. Stupidman not only undergoes regular maintenance checkups but she is also a nurse and a respiratory therapist. She constantly harps over my occasional cigar smoking but increased the pressure after I turned 50 by bringing up the subject of a colonoscopy. What?!?! No way!!!
Three months into the colonoscopy harangue a younger, male in-law (a fireman, no less) finally went to see a doctor about the red liquid that kept appearing in the toilet prior to flushing. Turned out he had cancer of the colon and currently carries a portable toilet in his pocket.
Knowing that he and I share no genetic material I was prepared to dismiss this as a freak occurrence. Unfortunately, I am married to a pit bull who ultimately wrests a promise out of me that if I observe red fluid I will submit to the physical abuse inflicted by the appropriate specialist.
My promise was made in good faith but subject to interpretation. Everyone knows that ingesting a red food or drink item during the previous week could manifest itself in the toilet and should not be counted towards the promise.
All was well until I was sharing liquid libation with my brother-in-law and we somehow started making drunken jokes about our perception of the invasive nature of the procedure. We agreed that occasional coloration was no big deal and that anything less than a pint was no cause for alarm. Unfortunately, our conversation was overhead and my life was permanently altered.
Divorce is expensive and I can't afford to do it a second time so I made an appointment to see the doctor listed for me on Mrs Stupidman's medical insurance. The doctor thought he should meet me before he referred me to the actual perpetrator. As I still had hope that the initial appointment might not result in a referral I took a gift of a bag of home grown tomatoes.
The doctor thanked me for the tomatoes, advised me that he had a colonoscopy recently and was clearly not sympathetic to my plight nor amused by my clever answers to his questions. "How's your cholesterol?"
"Perfect." "Huh?" "It's never been checked." "Oh, Nurse Ratchett will draw blood after I'm done with you."
"Have you had your prostate checked?" "Only by attractive women, ha ha." "Drop your pants, bend over, the further you bend the less discomfort you'll feel. Feels okay to me." Well, that made one of us.
I found this back door examination of my prostate to be very unpleasant and it did nothing to improve my attitude about having a colonoscopy. After I gave a blood sample I went home and took a long shower.
I guess many potential victims change their minds. I base this on the speed in which I was scheduled. I was on the table within ten days.
The day before the "invasive procedure" I had to drink a gallon of "Go Lightly" (what a misnomer, Go Explosively would be more accurate) and avoid solid foods. During a six hour period I drank and discharged the gallon plus the contents of my gastrointestinal system. After the first half dozen visits to the bathroom (there were a total of 23) I would drink the evil potion within a few feet of the bathroom door. (Don't plan on any other activities while drinking this stuff.)
I was emptied with twelve hours to go before my appointment at the hospital. Continuing the fast was no problem as my soreness had convinced me I never wanted to eat again.
No liquids after midnight. No coffee in the morning! Lost 8 pounds and had to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. The hospital requires you to bring an adult, ostensibly to drive you home, but I suspect it's really so you'll show up. (Mrs Stupidman, happily, volunteered to accompany me.)
Every nurse, receptionist, orderly, armed guard and doctor assured me that the purging was much worse than the procedure. It might have been more convincing if one of the nurses had not asked me about my religious affiliation (last rites).
Sat around for an hour before changing into one of those stupid hospital gowns. An I.V. was stuck in my hand, an oxygen tube stuck up my nose and sensors stuck on my chest. The doctor walked in and talked to me for a minute or two. I opened my eyes and was in a different room.
That was it. It was over. I had no pain. I was a little groggy and had missed out on two hours of my life. I was told I sang a song or two during the procedure but I don't remember anything. They said they found a polyp and cut it out (polyps sometime become cancerous but mine turned out to be benign). I got dressed, went home, watched part of a movie then used my riding lawnmower for two hours.
The only evidence I had that anything happened was my butt was greasy.
Because they found a polyp I'm supposed to go back in three years. Big deal. The worst part, other than the first doctor giving me the prostate exam, is cleaning yourself out the day before.
From what I understand, colon cancer is very preventable but pretty incurable if you ignore symptoms and let it get a big headstart.
With hindsight (I can joke about it now), I probably should have done it a couple of years ago when I first rationalized the occasional redness in my stool. I know my niece, the fireman and their children wish he had it checked out a few years earlier.
If you want more information, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Stupidman's 50 year good health warranty expires.