Warning: Graphic content. This is a story about my butt and the contents thereof. Viewer discretion is advised.
Editor’s note: This actually happened in December, 2009, but was not posted on my regular blog as originally intended. Since then, the story has always sat in the back of my mind waiting for the right time to be shared.
Editor’s note: I do not have an editor. I just like to write things in italics.
Back in October of 2009, my doc said to me some words that immediately frightened me and sent a shock down my spine: “Jeff, you’re getting old.” After I finished weeping, she told me she felt I should go for a colonoscopy. After she revived me with smelling salts, she told me she thought it would be important as part of my “thorough exam”.
Apparently “thorough exam” means they check every hole your body has to offer to see what’s inside. Thank goodness she forgot about one, otherwise I likely would’ve lopped the thing off and said “Here, it’s yours. Look at it all you want.”
For those of you who don’t know, a colonoscopy is where they take an instrument approximately three times wider than the diameter of your anus and attempt to shove it up your butt while telling you to relax so they can see your colon – because apparently the colon is a very exciting thing to view for some people.
After getting the appointment set up for mid-December, I wanted to know more about the procedure, so I started asking around. But it’s a little difficult to say “Hey, Frank. Yeah, how are you? How’s the wife? Oh that’s cool. The kids? Oh that’s awesome. Listen, Frank, you have had someone shove a tube up your butt before? Frank? Frank, you there? No, no, don’t get the wife, it’s not a threesome sort of thing. I meant at the doctor’s office. No, no, don’t tell your wife to put on a nurse’s uniform, you’re not understanding me…”
I ended up having two “assessments” prior to the actual procedure. The first one was a little unnerving. I was first greeted by a lovely nurse who asked me about my height and weight – why, I’m not sure. “Oh, you’re 200 lbs? Ok, so you have a big butt. And you’re 6’0”. Ok, so we’ll need a longer tube…”
After she got my measurements, I was shuttled off to a doctor who essentially asked me how I was feeling – only it took him 20 minutes-worth of questions to ask me. He filled out a form while I answered his questions. After completing the form he told me to take it to another doctor who welcomed me and asked me why I was there.
I was a little stunned by the question and silently handed him the form. He read it over, smiled, and told me I’d made the right decision. I didn’t realize I had a choice! He also seemed a little too happy that I’d chosen to go through this procedure.
He then explained how the procedure would work and if I had any questions. I did ask why I had to see a nurse, two doctors and it would be performed by yet another doctor. He stared at me blankly and wished me luck. You know when you accidentally insult your waiter and you wonder if he’ll spit in his soup? At that moment, I was very concerned the doctor would spit in my soup.
The night before I had the pleasure of having to clean out my system. Now let me explain to you what this meant. It meant trying to get rid of any type of food or liquid that might be lurking in, oh, I don’t know…your entire digestive system? Before they shoved a scope up my butt, they didn’t want to encounter anything coming towards them in the opposite direction. Apparently, even a low-speed collision in the lower intestinal tract would be dangerous and lord knows you can’t send in a mechanic for repairs on the probe. So I had to do a few things to wipe out any evidence of sustenance.
I had to take -- I hope you’re sitting down for this, as I had to – four Dulcolax pills up front. Give myself about 30 minutes for those to kick in and then I had to make these wonderful shake-like drinks using a system called – wait for it – Klean-Prep. Seriously. Now If you’re not sure what Klean-Prep does to your system, imagine taking one of those high-pressure power washers – you know, the kind you’d use to clean dirt off of bricks? – and shove it down your throat. And turn it on.
I’m quite sure Klean-Prep was some concoction invented by some sadist during a play session. First, it allegedly claimed to have a flavour – vanilla. Let me tell you, if this is what they call vanilla, they could have used it to torture the intimates at Guantanamo Bay and gotten Osama bin Laden about 10 years earlier than they did. Secondly, I had to drink 4 litres of the stuff over the course of 80 minutes! Four litres of any liquid is not a good thing. Hell, my car doesn’t go through 4 litres in 80 minutes.
Let’s just say I sat comfortably on the toilet seat for much of the night while about a year’s-worth of food came jettisoning out of my body at speeds that caused a sonic boom as it entered the toilet bowl. I’m pretty sure stuff came out that I hadn’t even eaten yet. I tested the capacity of the neighbourhood’s sewer system and while I can say it passed with flying colours, I think the bathroom fan gave up trying to clear the air within the first 10 minutes. Finally, 80 minutes and about 10 pounds later, I declared myself done. Unfortunately, it took my bowels about 3 more hours to reach the same conclusion.
Finally, the day arrived. I actually had to bust my butt to get there (pun intended) because of a bad snow storm. A friend travelled with me since there was a possibility they’d have to knock me out for the procedure. As she parked the car, I went up and got situated.
I was actually nervous, but not nervous about the procedure itself. What if there’s still stuff in me? What if my colon isn’t truly clean? I’ll be so ashamed! My family will disown me! Yes, we used to have a son named Jeff until that shameful day where the doctor found a half-eaten grape in his colon. That was the last straw!
I was ushered into the office by a beautiful nurse who explained to me who sat me down on a bed in front of a monitor where apparently I’d have my own, wonderful view of my colon. I had a choice of being given a light sedative, being knocked out, or nothing at all. If I was given nothing, I could leave right after the 15 minute procedure was over, otherwise I’d be in recovery for an hour and then I’d be let out. I opted to try it without any form of anesthesia. I figured, hey, if I can stay up and watch the Colon Channel, starring me, I should. How many times can a person say they got to see their own colon? Then again, how many people would actually care to?
While she was explaining this to me, I noticed a sudden wave of pressure forming in my bowels. I panicked. There was something left inside of me! The doctor will see this! I will be an outcast. I began forming my plans of moving to Lithuania. I meekly mentioned to the nurse that it felt like I had to go to the washroom and she calmly told me it was normal and not to worry, the unit had “powerful suction” to take care of any remaining liquid inside of me. This was likely the first and only time to think of “powerful suction” and “my butt” in the same thought and actually be excited about it.
The doctor wandered in at this point and without introduction he casually told me to take off my pants, underwear, lay on my left side and to curl up my legs and at which time, he’ll start to insert a rubber-like hose up, into my colon. Without missing a beat, I replied with: “Whoa! Flashback to my last date!” The nurse laughed. The doctor stared at me. My thoughts of him spitting into my soup came back.
To make what’s turned into an extremely long story short (too late, Jeff!) I did not need to be knocked out. I got to see my own, clean colon as the doctor gave me a tour of my insides. While I was trying to breathe through the relatively light discomfort, the doctor kept asking me questions, breaking my concentration. I seriously wanted strangle him, or in lieu of that, fart on his probe. I suddenly felt like I was in labour and he was the husband pestering me with comments like “its ok, honey. I’m sure the pain isn’t that bad.”
He declared my colon to be clean and tidy. Gave it a buff and polish while he was at it and told me I was free to go and reminded me to wait until he removed the probe first. I wasn’t concerned I’d forget.
I walked out to see my friend had just sat down after taking 15 minutes to find a parking spot. Boy, was she pissed! She told me to shove it up my butt. I told her it’d been done.