Getting Through the “Procedure”

“I want to make something clear,” I told my husband and our son, who had joined us for dinner.  “This bathroom” — I nodded toward the downstairs bathroom — “is mine.  You need to use a bathroom, you go upstairs.”

They both nodded silently.

God, you’ve got to love moments like that, when you finally get the respect you deserve.  When you’re doing your — how to put it delicately? — preparations for a colonoscopy, nobody messes with you.

Which is fortunate, since your body is messing with you for hours at a time.  You have to fast the entire day, feasting on chicken broth and white grape juice.  Then the laxatives — and the onslaught begins.

“Remind me I told you the procedure isn’t bad,” I said to my husband in one of my few unrushed moments.

“The procedure isn’t bad,” he echoed.

“But this part sucks,” I said.

“This part does suck,” he said.

It didn’t help that we’d seen a very good movie, Ghost Town, a few weeks earlier, in which the main character has a near-death experience on the colonoscopy table.  He survives the ordeal, but finds himself surrounded by dead people who need messages taken to their survivors.

Great.  I would get through all of this — the indignities!  the sprinting to the bathroom!  the growling stomach! — just to be hounded by dead people I don’t like, such as Roy Cohn or Spiro Agnew, both of whom needed to make lots and lots of reparations.  Terrific, just terrific.

Or maybe I’d just die, ignominiously, during the colonoscopy.  If I have to die, I always argue and bargain in my head, let it be in a way that at least has a little dignity.  Not run over by a messenger biker in New York or squashed by a refrigerator falling from a high-rise or slaughtered on the colonoscopy table.  Just something with a little verve and class and poignancy.  Not like Isadora Duncan and her scarf, though; that’s a little too verve-y for my taste.

But, anyway, today, life went on and so did my colonoscopy.  I can now lecture you that, if you’re over the age of fity, you need to have one of those suckers pronto.  The preparation sucks, you blessedly sleep through the procedure, and you wake up a little addled, but smug.  You’re also the recipient of some swell technicolor shots of the interior of your digestitive system. 

I’m now looking around and I don’t see either Roy Cohn or Spiro Agnew, so the whole thing must have been pretty uneventful.  But even if they’d begged me, I wouldn’t have carried any messages for those two creeps, anyway.  I hope they’re sweating, wherever they are.

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

1 comment… add one
  • Ah, like I said, there are advantages to living in a land where there isn’t a lot of preventive medicine.

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