It's that time again...
I remember those PSA's with Meryl Streep happily warning us of the dire consequences if we don't get one;
We're inundated with plenty of data indicating that at our age it's needed every few years;
I have a family history of colon cancer and;
I've been feeling a bit, well, rumbly in the tumbly;
So...I am soon to succumb to another...
You know you're supposed to get a colonoscopy. But you haven't.
Here are your reasons:
- You've been busy.
- You don't have a history of cancer in your family.
- You haven't noticed any problems.
- You don't want a doctor to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your butt.
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. Five more years passed. I turned 60, and I still hadn't gotten a colonoscopy.
Then 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:
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.''
A few days later, in Andy's office, he 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 he 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!''
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; suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America's enemies.
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.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic.
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.
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...'' (Andy's choice not mine...)...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.
So, to all who have gotten their first or next recommended colonoscopy, all of us here are just so damned proud of you!
For all who have not, take it from Dave and me; it's far better than the alternative.
You have been officially alerted...