Being the Butt of a Bad Colonoscopy Joke
They say the best humor is found in the most serious of situations, and for once I have to agree with the all-knowing THEM. Before we get off the subject of the colonoscopy I had last Monday, I feel the need to come clean about it, so to speak. True, there were no scary results, however, the procedure itself did NOT go well. I had a weird reaction to that lovely cleansing cocktail and had to be rushed to the hospital just hours after I took it.
Upon the first sip around 6:00 p.m. Sunday I immediately felt nauseous. But I’d been warned that it’s nasty stuff, so I went ahead and powered down three more rounds of that poo juice every 15 minutes as instructed.
By 7:45 p.m. the only noticeable result was that my abdomen was so distended, not to mention excruciatingly painful, that I looked like the bottom layer of a Krispy Kreme wedding cake. Normally, I have the constitution of a teenage rooster, so this agonizing backup was a new experience for me.
Thinking things just needed a little encouragement I decided to go for a walk. But by the time I got back I was so bloated and in agony that I couldn’t take a deep breath and I was sweating like a JP Morgan trader who’d accidentally flushed $2 billion down the crapper.
Last Time I Was This Big I Delivered a 9-lb. Baby
At about 8:30 p.m. I crawled into the ER delirious with pain. They took x-rays right away and determined what I could already tell them, which was I had some sort of blockage. (Really, you think so?) This is where the fun kicked in. The only way they could get that mess out of me was to have the ER doc (who thankfully was a woman) give me a “northbound exam from the southbound exit” (please don’t make me say “rectal”). Apparently the result was guaranteed to cause an explosion not unlike Mt. St. Helens. She brought in two nurses dressed in what looked like military-issue hazmat suits, who then proceeded to drape the room in protective shields that resembled giant feminine napkins. If didn’t know better I’d swear they thought I was about to spew radioactive waste.
Losing my last shred of dignity, I turned over and let the doctor do her job. Needless to say, I now know what a Thanksgiving turkey feels like as it’s being prepped for the oven. And I’m not sure, but I think the doctor’s pinky finger grazed my tonsils. After about 30 seconds of this medical speed dating, she confidently retreated behind the cloaked nurses and said, “Okay, she’s going to blow…” They all eagerly stared at my rear end like they were waiting for it to hit the high note in The Star Spangled Banner.
But… Nothing. (Or butt nothing, depending on how you want to look at it.) So we waited…and waited…and waited… With everyone still diligently focused on my full moon.
This uncomfortable silence offered a new level of embarrassment. Hating to disappoint people by not meeting their expectations I said, “I’m sorry, but I feel like you’re all hoping to see the face of the Baby Jesus, but it’s still just a grilled cheese sandwich.”
“I don’t understand,” exclaimed the doctor, “you should be redecorating this room in Earth tones by now!”
“I got nothing,” I deadpanned.
“Maybe we need a longer probe,” said the doctor, thinking out loud.
“You mean longer than your arm?” I asked apprehensively.
“You’re right,” she concurred, sensing my anxiety. “Let’s go with suppositories.”
For the next half hour she administered a parade of little gel caps that went in as solids and then moments later leaked out as liquids, as if even the suppositories couldn’t take the evil that lurked within my haunted hiney.
Colonoscopy Aborted, Now What?
The situation was getting serious. The doctor was worried my colon would tear or that I’d have a bowel perforation. She brought in the on-call surgeon and as they pow-wowed in the hall about what to do next, I suddenly erupted like a Mentos candy dropped into a bottle of Coke. Fortunately, they had brought in a commode on wheels (which actually would come in real handy the next time I have to wait in line at the DMV) and as luck would have it I pounced out of that bed just in time to make a whole in one.
By now it was 11:30 p.m. and I’d had that waste in me since 6:00 p.m. It doesn’t take a math major to figure out that the poison I drank overstayed it’s welcome in my body by about five hours.
After that they admitted me to the hospital, where they proceeded to give me tap water enemas all night (lovely). And at the butt crack of dawn I finally did get my colonoscopy, but now they were looking for immediate life-threatening things like tears or a kink in the hose.
However, they found nothing but a healthy (albeit a little stretched) colon. No kinks. No rips. No blockage. No polyps. No cancer. My colonoscopy was successful (sort of).
In the end the doctors think the rapid cleanse was too rapid for my system. (And yes, I followed the instructions perfectly.) The cleanse worked in that it quickly shoved all the waste toward the back door, but then the back door was so overwhelmed that it just slammed shut and refused to cooperate. I’m sorry, but that’s just crappy teamwork on the part of my colon and bowels…metaphorically speaking.
I bring this up, not just because you and I have all become such great friends over the last few months, but because I’ve since found out that when you prep for a colonoscopy you have choices when it comes to colon cleansing. I’m certainly not going to give out medical advice but I urge you to talk to your doctor about alternative prep options before you have a colonoscopy. Most doctors assume you want the quick fix, but there are colon cleanses that you can do slowly over days prior to your colonoscopy. It’s just that most people don’t have the patience for such a regime.
However, in my case I don’t have a choice. Although I will continue to get colonoscopies as scheduled, I will never take that prescribed colon prep again. Because in the second act of my life the only constipation I’ll put up with is that of my memory-lapsing, middle-aged brain. I’m counting on the rest of my organs to remember what they’re supposed to do.
Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention the coup de grâce…this all started on Mother’s Day.
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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.
For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.