I have reached that age when my body gets bored with getting me about and being the locus of pleasure. It is now figuring out ways to kill me if I let it. At my recent check-up with the internist, I crossed the bridge guarded by the insidious Prostate Cancer Troll. That was easy; a simple blood test screens as well as a digital rectal exam. My heart still loves me. My blood pressure has settled down. I don’t piss high fructose corn syrup or its equivalent, just yet. Lung Cancer might be lurking, but I don’t smoke, even though a fine cigar tempts me like The Whore of Havana. Skin cancer seems to be on hiatus. The last of my body’s hit men, colorectal cancer, got the once-over this morning.
The screening colonoscopy was scheduled for 0800 hours. Those of us who know the drill know that the actual test is like a vacation in the Caribbean compared to the preparation for said test. That prep is no fun. First, one (meaning I) must secure a four liter plastic jug with some innocuous white powder in the bottom, plus a lemon “flavor” packet glued to the outside, from one’s(my) friendly pharmacist ($15). This is the infamous PEG3350 mentioned in the title. On the day before, one (I) dilutes this mysterious powder in four liters of tepid water, adds the “flavor” and refrigerates. At 1600 hours, I begin drinking this stuff, an 8 0unce glass at a time, until I begin expelling something most indecorously. And I keep drinking it until the ,uh, “output” is clear with a yellowish tint from the bile my body still produces. ( No wonder my body wants to kill me. To him, all he would be doing is evening up the score.)
Last night I go to bed, a dehydrated wastrel, and attempt sleep. No such luck. Morning comes, I shower, dress, and Mrs CorC? drives me to the hospital. I show them my insurance stuff, sign the electronic form, go in the back where I undress and put on the accursed gown and wait on a fairly comfy stretcher while my vital signs are continuously taken in what sounds like a perpetual game of Pong.
Who appears, to me, to be a teen-aged girl comes in the room, introduces herself as Doctor Mc***h, and informs me that she is my anesthesiologist. ( Yes the years have passed me by). Later Dr.T*****n enters the room. He is the Boy-Gastroenterologist. He apologizes for a slight delay, stating one of the other doctors had a longer than usual procedure. I suspect, however, that his mother was late dropping him off at work. ( He can’t possibly be old enough to drive.) This is like a Doogie Howser, MD. episode brought to life and on steroids.
As they wheel me into the room, I notice that the nurses and technicians aren’t at all uneasy around these young whippersnappers. I fully concede to my innermost self, that these children really are adults and I am the one whose perceptor needs adjusting. Before long, they knock me out, insert the appropriate pieces of fiber optic cables and such into the temporarily pristine reaches of my rectum and colon, do their probing and snipping.Then they wheel me out. I wake up, barely a half-hour later.
I learn I have one polyp. (Just one, for all this?), some diverticuli, and, ahem, internal hemorrhoids. Said polyp appears to be noncancerous, but they have to biopsy the little bugger. So I get to wait three weeks til the pathologist offers a diagnosis. OK. Things look good. I’m probably fine, but, worst case scenario, they caught it in time. At least, I hope
Tomorrow I get to see my family, including my sons, my daughter-in-law, niece, her husband, and my adorable 10 month old great niece, named either for our 40th President or a character from King Lear. It is my sister’s, stepmother’s and daughter-in-law’s collective birthday celebration, all falling within a two week interval. My stepmother is 91. The other two birthdays, you don’t need to know.
Life is good.