Eight days before that, I started the ball of negativity rolling by not following my impending colonoscopy directions properly, (due to the graphic nature of the subject matter, younger or less mature readers might want to step away from their computer, I'll understand).
These difficuties were discussed in last week’s blog. They centered on the fact that in addition to a twenty-four hour fast, I was supposed to drink a ton of laxative. Powdered Miralax is an over-the-counter, scentless, tasteless treatment designed to gently purge the intestines of its bowels. Miralax dissolves well when poured into 64 ounces of an approved, clear drink, (I chose Crystal Light lemonade). Stupidly, halfway through the regimen, I got bored of drinking this tasty, non-gritty golden ticket to a shiny clean intestinal tract.
The next day, like getting slapped in the face with a flounder, my failure to follow directions caused my procedure to be stopped...because…in the immortal words of Larry the nurse, “Put yourself in the doctor’s position. Would you drive if you had a muddy windshield and your wipers didn’t work?”
Larry a true New Yorker, (from Yonkers) was doubly cool because he maintained his professionalism with a great gurney side manner as he insulted my poor judgement, attitude and laziness, in regard to the colonoscopy preparation. But inside, I knew I screwed-up…so whatever Larry was dishing-out was nothing compared to what I was screaming internally at myself.
The result was a re-test. For my Colonoscopy Part Deux, I vowed to be the best direction follower…EVER! That meant regardless of the boredom and starvation, I would be the model patient. But the doctor slipped in one little caveat that I wasn’t expecting…a two-day prep!
I was so pissed off at the prospect of the forty-eight hour starvation period that I think I accidentally activated one of my three, genie in a bottle wishes. Because when I called to set-up another appointment, I identified myself to the representative as having failed and that the doctor was putting me on a two-day prep. She said, “I have your file but the doctor is recommending just a one-day prep.” I was pleased to have dodged the bullet...massive quantities of Crystal Light, here I come.
|I'LL LET YOU IN ON THE SECRET TO MY WEALTH, COMIC GENIUS AND DROP-DEAD GOOD LOOKS, ALWAYS REMEMBER TO SAVE YOUR THIRD GENIE WISH FOR...THREE MORE WISHES. I'VE BEEN GETTING AWAY WITH THAT SCAM FOR FIFTY YEARS.|
Unfortunately, sometimes the old adage; careful what you ask for...because you just might get it; jumps up and bites you in the ass. It happened to me when the doctor mailed me new and improved twenty-four hour colonoscopy prep instructions. The major bugger-boo included a prescription for a more heavy-duty (pun intended) laxative. And this time…I was required to drink slightly more than double the previous amount, (134 fluid ounces). And, and, and I would discover the day before, the drink had to be water AND, AND, AND…this stuff would stink to high hell and have a putrid taste.
On the Sunday between failing the first colonoscopy and finding out I was being put on more potent meds, I went to a party. The Mac Family are great friends and wonderful people. The most unique thing about them, (husband, wife and two sons) is that their extended family which might add-up to fifty that I’m acquainted with (parents, siblings, children, nieces, nephews, cousins etc) are ALL the nicest people. There isn’t a head-case, crab-apple or drama queen in the whole clan, (believe me, nobody’s ever made that observation about my extended family).
During the festivities, several folks approached me and asked about my hernia surgery. Two others noticed my chipped tooth was repaired. Unlike teasing New Yorkers, I was the brunt of NOBODY’S stale humor. Everything was purely sensitive caring about my well being. Later, grandma and one of her son’s came by. The son wished me well on colonoscopy #2 before adding, “My mom just had one done.” She said, “The medicine tastes like sea water with a hint of effervescence.” I figured she was prescribed something else and said, “Oh.” She added, “It’s the most revolting thing I ever put in my mouth.” Her son said, “Mom said it was like drinking the crap she soaks her dentures in." She nudged his side with her elbow, "I'm sure you can express yourself without using such bad language." After he apologized he said, "I packed the 'stuff' with ice. My mom was a champ, she downed the whole mess in two hours.”
OUCH! I wound-up with the same medicine as grandma. The day before my procedure, my rough day started at 9:00AM with my first four, (of twelve) Dulcolax tablets, (the first colonoscopy prescribed only eight). Dulcolax acts like a sand blaster and is designed to rid the system of whatever the Miralax missed, (only this time to avoid coming up short, I was using an industrial strength counterpart to Miralax that was called Electrolyte with a bunch of numbers after it).
At 2:00PM, I had my first sip of the new electrolyte concoction. The directions suggested drinking eight-ounces every ten minutes until the enormous plastic container was empty. Between gagging and seriously doubting that I could persevere, I convinced myself that this was indeed, the worst shit I ever intentionally put in my mouth, EVER! Even before taking my second sip, I knew I was going to struggle to complete this horrible ordeal.
While trying to psych myself up to continue, I got a calculator and figured out that I had to consume sixteen and a half glasses of this poison. Considering, I hadn’t even had one, one-thousandth of the half glassful yet, ripping my own head off seemed like a reasonable way out.
In two hours, I had knocked-off five glassfuls. But according to my math, I should have already had twelve. I felt nauseous and just looking at the imposing glass of cloudy nastiness made me feel worse. Complaining to my wife was a dead-end. Instead of sympathy, I was reminded that I put myself in this position and that if I wanted to avoid a third colonoscopy, it was time to buck-up. Then as if I needed more cajoling she added, “Grandma Mac was already finished by this time.”
That was all the motivation I needed. I started sucking those babies down. I was helped by the old trick of holding my nose while drinking. It might sound silly…but I think it did help. Still, I thought I was going to puke the whole time.
Talk about the ultimate appetite suppressor. To prove how awful I felt, I was allowed to eat Jello. I made five boxes and had them ready to get me through the night. But in the midst of my predicament, the thought of eating ANYTHING was ridiculous!
All was quiet on the western front until 6:00PM. Then moments after taking four more Dulcolax, I recalled the song lyric, "I've got something inside me," from Harry Chapin's 1972 hit, "TAXI." When this sense of dread became more acute, I quoted Winnie the Pooh, “I have a rumbly in my tumbly.” Except Pooh’s gurgling stomach signaled it was time to make a deposit but mine was a warning to the world that an explosive withdrawal was imminent.
|POOH CRAVED HONEY. THERE WAS NOTHING SWEET ABOUT WHAT I WAS ABOUT TO GO THROUGH. IF THE CUDDLY CUBBIE PREPPED FOR A COLONOSCOPY, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN RENAMED "WINNIE THE POO."|
Once my hydrogen-bomb-scaled discharge started, it seemed like they would never end. Soon my movements evolved to mostly liquids. While sitting there, more tunes came to mind when I was reminded of the Doobie Brothers 1974 song lyric, “Oh black water.”
In deference to the black waterworks, the object of the game is to “clear” everything out. So until everything was “clear” that meant there was more work to be done. But whatever momentum I had...drinking that heinous mixture was long gone.
We all know the saying; a man is the king of his castle. Well that night, in my living room, in a seat as close to the bathroom as possible, I watched a ball game. My frequent mad dashes reminded me of the baseball term, “A no doubles defense.” That meant, I wasn’t taking any chances by staying too far from my throne.
I guess with all the music I was making, another song lyric came to mind during my tribulations. This one was, “Oo-oo that smell,” from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 song, “THE SMELL.”
At nine, I took the last four Dulcolax tabs. By this time my butt was so sore that this new electrified stinging pain was worse than anything else I had experienced all day.
I was expecting that last dose to cause a “coup de grace” but to my dismay, at 10:00PM, I wasn’t ready to give the all “clear” signal. I traced my lack of progress, (back-up) to be linked to the end of my nausea. Then I realized I stopped drinking the laxative two hours earlier. I had downed ¾ of it and couldn’t face another drop. But the harsh reality was…to avoid another muddy windshield and thus a third colonoscopy, I was forced to endure chugging more swill.
The big ending of my rough day started almost immediately. For the next ninety minutes, like timing a pregnant woman’s contractions, I was spewing every four minutes. By 11:30PM, I was reasonably certain that I had achieved enough clarity to get through my procedure that was only eight hours off.
Before bed, I showered for many obvious reasons. I used plenty of baby powder in strategically selected areas and got temporary relief from that burning, rusty razor blade sensation in my hinterlands.
Still, it felt like suicide to lie down, close my eyes and risk what might happen in my sleep. It was my crowning achievement that I hadn’t soiled myself all day. So with that nasty thought dangling over my head, the last thing I expected was to actually dose off. I did wake-up twice during the night. I’m happy to say, neither time did I find a drowned facsimile of miniature Oh-Henry candy bar in my shorts.
In the morning at the medical center, I was asked all the same inane identification questions. I was sent inside and met all new staff members. I was disappointed that Nurse Larry wasn’t there but like the extended Mac family, every single person I came in contact with was professional, supportive and upbeat.
Afterwards, I woke up and I was greeted by a smiling stranger. Nurse Nancy was friendly and full of boundless TLC. I asked the inevitable question and she said, “The doctor was able to complete the procedure.” However, she added, “He’ll be in to give you the results soon.”
Sure enough the doctor said, "Other than some minor hemorrhoids caused by so much straining everything is fine. You won't need another colonoscopy for eight years."
The anesthesiologist dropped by to say hi. To further de-fog my head, she recommended some coffee. Nurse Nancy brought me some with graham crackers. A minute later, woozily, I hustled to the crapper because nothing was left inside me to slow down the impending avalanche. On behalf of me and the custodian, "YEA ME!" I made it in the nick of time. After a small amount of solid waste, plenty of hot air bellowed from my innards.
I returned to Nurse Nancy. She said it was okay to get dressed. I waited to be released into my wife Sue’s care. Before that could happen, I was forced to sprint again.
Sue was there when I got out from my second visit with the toilet. I told her that the doctor gave me a clean bill of health. Her response was, "You do look thinner."
Our house is fifteen minutes from the medical center. We were in the car three blocks when I felt that familiar rumbly in my tumbly and said, “Quick, pull into Wawa (convenience store).” Sue said, “Really, you just went?” “Yeah, please don’t make this emergency into life’s ultimate embarrassment.”
While scurrying into the store, I reminded myself that their restrooms were “one-holers.” That meant that disaster was looming if the single stall was “occupado.” Luckily, the only person inside was using the urinal. So without losing stride, I was able to get in on the fly, (to avoid wasting precious seconds, I didn’t even use the mandatory sanitary seat cover).
A colossal concert of trumpeting farts buffered the erupting sounds of my volcanic splatter. If I was alone, I would have laughed because my rear-end sounded like a perfectly tuned Whoopee Cushion.
|IT IS BELIEVED THAT A PROTOTYPE OF THE WHOOPEE CUSHION GOES BACK TO ROMAN EMPEROR ELAGABALUS WHO USED THIS CLASSIC NOVELTY STORE PRACTICAL JOKE, THE SAME WAY WE DO TODAY.|
A second person came in and bore witness to my incredible, continuous ode to gaseous emissions. After a high-octane start, I was only blowing immense volumes of trapped gas. During a lull, I was thinking about the Guinness World Book of Records when I realized, to placate my audience that a courtesy flush was in order. Seconds later, a new chorus of flatulence reverberated through the fine acoustics of the intimate venue. Then one of the men broke the unofficial "silence in the men’s room" rule by calling out to me, “Lucky stiff!”
Wow, some constipated guy was applauding my work. But the real prize was appreciating that I had survived such an unnecessary rough day. I had avoided the heartbreak of another muddy windshield, was pronounced healthy and therefore was indeed, a lucky stiff.
If you want to be a lucky stiff too, make sure when you're getting a colonoscopy, to insist on, the tasteless, grit-free Miralax, in your favorite beverage. Even if you have to crawl over burning charcoal or walk bare-footed on broken glass, avoid the electrolyte- prep at all cost!