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May 18

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.

 Being the Butt of a Bad Colonoscopy Joke

Me AFTER I drank that nasty stuff

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.

 Being the Butt of a Bad Colonoscopy Joke

Fortunately, this was NOT my doctor

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.

 Being the Butt of a Bad Colonoscopy Joke

Stating the obvious

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.

33 comments

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  1. Doug's BoomerRants

    I can understand you getting a bit anal over this colonoscopy thing, but it’s only a Kodak inside your digestive tract (just imagine if it were a Hassleblad, or an even longer name). They say you only need these things once every ten years. Maybe next time they will have little nano-bots that can meander about your nooks and crannies… that will take all the crap you can dish out.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      You’re absolutely right, Doug, in that regardless of how bad the procedure is you have to do it because it’s a better alternative than treating late-stage cancer. And I will continue to do it, hoping that by the time it rolls around again they’ll have a better system. Unfortunately, my doctor wants to see me back in five years, given this weird experience. He’s sadistic. I forgot to mention that part. ;-)

  2. stompingeggshells

    That was very funny – well, not really funny for you, but funny for me to read!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Yes, it’s funny now because I lived to tell about it. The thing that kept crossing my mind all evening is how undignified any kind of colon or rectal treatment is. That alone is a good reason to get a colonoscopy. I can’t imagine having to go through similar circumstances on a regular basis due to a disease I could’ve avoided. The actual colonoscopy is easy. It was just getting to that point that was as hard as moving mountains (literally).

  3. DefiningMotherhood

    Just about wet myself laughing at your expense. Thank you!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      You’re welcome! Glad I could be of service! :-D

  4. Phillip

    I had such high anxiety that there was the thought of another heart attack. The Doctor called “it” off and rescheduled. Sometimes I think that Doctors deserve the money, but other times I think that no one should get paid so much for having such fun. Maybe they didn’t laugh in your presence, but they are laughing now. Just file it away in case you go back to “stand-up”. Perhaps your “World Win” for the Toastmasters trophy could turn this “shitty” experience to gold???

    Phillip aka eggsuckingpup

    PS Ask to see the bill. I sure hope that you don’t have to pay it.

  5. Stacy Dymalski

    You’re way ahead of me, Phillip. I AM trying to figure out how I can turn this into a Toastmaster humorous speech. At the very least I will use this as a bit when I return to stand-up in the next few years, and something tells me it will only get funnier with age.

    On the cost front, as you know health insurance is tricky. My colonoscopy ended up being the result of an ER procedure, but I was supposed to have the procedure later in the day anyway. Technically insurance pays for all ER-related stuff, but something tells me the insurance company is going to try to get out of paying for the colonoscopy. I’m sure I’m in for an uphill battle, which definitely sucks.

  6. Dee Macaluso

    Thank you for that ‘in depth’ report. Maybe you could become a drug mule since your colon is already distended. Might as well make some money off it. Glad you’re around to joke about it!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      A drug mule? Now that’s just ridiculous. Why risk tangling with the law when with this new roominess in my colon I could simply rent it out as a studio apartment during Sundance. I’ve already got it listed in the Park City rental pool. I’m really looking forward to the extra income.

  7. Barbara Backer-Gray

    Oh my gosh, how horrible for you! And how totally hilarious!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Barbara! It’s even funnier to me now that it’s over. However, I still found the humor in it at the time. It’s just so surreal, not to mention ironic, when you have to have a serious conversation with another human being you JUST MET, while she’s examining you in the most undignified way possible, all in front of a cast of thousands (in terms of nurses and medical staff). Not my idea of the perfect Mother’s Day.

  8. Dee Macaluso

    A studio and free transportation and heat! Who could ask for more?

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      You’re right. Come to think of it, I need to charge more!

  9. davidvbullock

    Do you remember my speech on my Colonoscopy? I never got so many bad reviews from so many so called supporters. One told me they had never heard such a terrible speech. I wasn’t there to make anyone comfortable. All I did was report on the discomfort I experienced at a brand new hospital where rest rooms should have functioned properly. If you will recall, I was in quite a rush to “hit the head” and the first restroom toilet was overflowing with grossness that made me turn around and ask the receptionist where the next restroom was. Upstairs was the response. I ran as fast as I could in such tremendous discomfort only to find an out of order sign on the door. Well, if I didn’t find a restroom within about 20 seconds I was going to have an “Out with the Odor” experience. I did make it only to find that the automatic flusher didn’t work leaving me to cause someone else a bad moment when they were experiencing the same problem. Then, to top it all off they put me in a waiting room bed, rails up, IV inserted and no way to call the nurse because the call box was hanging on the wall out of my reach. I went through excruciating discomfort for almost two hours before an aid came in to tell me it would be soon. I practically screamed at her telling her, if she didn’t get me out of that bed and into a restroom right now, it would be much sooner than they would like. Seems everybody was so uncomfortable with my report at the toastmasters club they damn near banned me for making such a simple procedure sound so horrific and that doesn’t even take into account what happened while I had that big long fire hose up my (I wont say it). Let’s just say my talk did no good to convince anyone to go get the rear door checked out. Don’t even think about truth in “Backdoortising” to any one who might look upon bodily functions as un naturally gross. Everyone does it, everyone has it, everyone lives it, no one talks about it………………………except u and me

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Yes, Dave, I DO remember your speech about your colonoscopy and the kickback you got for it. I guess the difference is people don’t mind reading about rear end procedures, but they don’t want to “hear” about them. Either that or you and I are just a couple of sick, twisted cranks. Glad to know I’m in such good company!

  10. parkcitytoastmasters

    Did you lose any weight? That’s really the most important thing.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      No! They gave me a ton of IV fluids in the ER (because the prep was dehydrating me by the second and they wouldn’t let me drink anything, even water). That combined with all the waste I had stuck in me I weighed 9 lbs more than usual when they officially admitted me to the hospital at midnight! I looked like a friggin’ Rottweiler! I’ve since lost it, but it was freaky.

      Plus, I kept thinking “I can’t die now! I just won the District Toastmaster International Speech Contest. I’m going to the semi-finals in August! This is really bad timing!” But I was a little delirious at the time.

  11. creatorofstuff

    Well, one good thing came out of it. You didn’t have to cook or clean while you were in there!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Ironically, my kids didn’t think THEY had to cook or clean while I was there, either. Therefore I came home to a fine mess. Oh well. It wouldn’t have been “home” otherwise.

  12. thelaughingmom

    OMG, how hideous and hilarious at the same time! Now I’m scared to go in. Good to know about the gradual cleanse.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      I hope this doesn’t scare people away from getting their colonoscopies, because honestly this bump in the road is still minor in comparison to dealing with late-stage cancer. It’s just that I like to whine and complain a lot…and try to be entertaining when I do it. ;-)

  13. Ruth2Day

    I’m sorry, but this was really funny! Not your discomfort of course, but the way you tell the story. I could well picture the nurses in suits and masks and taking cover…LOL! so very glad that all is fine now though :)

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Ruth, I actually think it’s pretty funny, too, now that it’s all over. In the end (so to speak) all turned out well. And the really good news is that I got a great blog post out of it! ;-)

  14. MJ, Nonstepmom

    speechless…. I can only think “you poor poor thing !”

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks Yes, it was a weird experience. However, I wish you could have been privy to the running commentary in my head. If you think this blog post is funny, you should’ve heard my politically incorrect thoughts as this event all actually unfolded!

      1. MJ, Nonstepmom

        perhaps you could sell the rights …..I”m betting it has the makings of the next great horror flick !

  15. Sandra Parsons

    What is it that makes potty humour one of the most hilarious things in the world? Mind you, I am neither a 6-year old nor a male, still…

    I credit it all to your awesome comedy and writing skills. I would have loved to see you in your haydays on stage!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thank you so much, Sandra, for you flattering words about my writing! I really appreciate your comment. I’m not sure why we laugh at potty humor either, however, I do think it’s even more funny when we simply elude to it or describe it in metaphors, rather than just come right out and say it. I also think that having raised two boys has sharpened my potty humor muscle. Nothing gets a bunch of little boys laughing harder than just the mention of some bodily function that makes a noise. I swear they never really outgrow that.

  16. Food Stories

    I have enjoyed reading your site so I’ve nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award for illuminating, informative blog content. You can check out the details at my site … http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/ … (btw, I’m a nurse so I really enjoyed this post and subsequent comments) … Have a great holiday weekend!

  17. Dial

    Your poor lady! How awful for you, but I’m so pleased it all turned out well ‘in the end’!
    I’m reading this 30 mins before I leave for hospital to have my first colonoscopy, so I’ve been on the toilet most of the last 16 hours. How can I feel sorry for myself now? Thank you for restoring my good humor!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      OMG, Di, how funny that you’re reading this RIGHT BEFORE YOUR COLONOSCOPY! Don’t let it scare you. The colonoscopy itself is nothing. If you’ve made it this far that you’re reading a blog post before you have the procedure done, then you’re golden. Or rather, your rear end is golden.

      In any case, I’m sure all will turn out well. Colonoscopies are just one of those many middle-aged annoyances that we have to put up with…like bad knees and unwanted chin hairs (on women, that is). The good news is you don’t have to have it done again for another 10 years! Woo-hh! That’s reason enough to go out and celebrate by eating a fatty steak!

      1. Dial

        Thanks, Stacy. Yes, I am one of the very lucky people who passed with flying colors, and I don’t need to go back for 10 years!

        Also, it is not really a coincidence that I read your blog right before the colonoscopy, I googled ‘colonoscopy jokes’ to make me laugh – and up it came.

        In fact, I found the preparation and toilet visits a bit of an ordeal, but it was made much easier by leaving a good joke book in the toilet, and even drinking some of the preparation in there, so that I could relax for the spare moments I wasn’t in there! And yes, you were right, the actual procedure was nothing. Waiting around to be taken into the operating theatre had my blood pressure rising, but it was soon all over.

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