My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.
Saturday, October 25
We arrived at 9:00, thirty minutes ahead of her scheduled time. Got to be sure to be there on time because heaven forbid they should give her time to someone else. They sat us in a small waiting room with five or six other people, some of whom were other colonoscopy patients and others were their designated drivers. One very large fellow could hardly wait for his audience to pay attention to his repertoire of jokes, and he seemed to have an endless supply. He was almost bouncing and humming with joy as he told them. I simply shoved my ear buds in tighter and turned the music on my iPad up higher. Nothing worse than someone who finds a captive audience for his really tired jokes and then pins them all to his conversational wall. Finally, after half an hour, they came to get Rosalie and told me I could come sit with her until she was prepped. And then the really slow process of the prep. It seemed to take longer than I remembered from my previous colonoscopies. One of the prep nurses, Doogie Dugan, regaled us with a story about her hearing problems and how she found a really cheap item in the drug store she could hardly wait to try, only forty bucks instead of the several thousand for hearing aids. The story went on for way too many minutes. Then the countless questions about medication and allergies and surgeries and ailments. And then the anesthetist came in to ask the same questions. Then the surgical nurse to ask the same questions. A good example of bureaucratic redundancy. After all the questions and answers and the taking of blood pressure and temperature and insertion of iv needle, Doogie came in to tell us that they were backed up a little in the operating room and that Rosalie might not get in for another hour or so. Meanwhile, both of us are freezing in the frigid air. I guess the hospital didn't want anyone to feel feverish. Doogie, noticing our blue complexions, brought us each a warm blanket. Rosalie's procedural appointment was for 10:30 and they finally wheeled her in at noon. I found my way back to the waiting room and discovered that the large joke teller was no longer there. Good. I had the room essentially to myself. I thought about colonoscopies and the oddity of the procedure. A bunch of years ago I had a sigmoidoscopy during an office visit to my doctor. It was called a “rigid” sigmoidoscopy, and I shudder to remember the rigidity of the instrument. It required a laxative followed by an enema some time before the appointment. Then the left-side lying, then the inserting, an exam that took only about twenty minutes. I learned that this procedure was primarily for checking the rectum for signs of cancer or excessive hemorrhoidal bleeding and that it didn’t go in the rectum very far. A “flexible” sigmoidoscopy allows the instrument to go in further, then take a peek or two right and left in the alleyways just off the main drag. And a colonoscopy allows the doctor to look all the way up to your tonsils. Just before my last colonoscopy, someone sent me a funny item by Dave Barry, and I just had to share it with my nurses. And now I’d like to share it with my readers:
“I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!' I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough. At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts; the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked. Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate. 'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time; the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.
Dave Barry, one very funny fellow.
At 1:00 they called me back to the recovery cubicle where a drowsy Rosalie was just coming back from colonoscopy heaven. Dr. Gordon explained to us what he’d found, what he’d done, and what she needed to do for the next few days before resuming normal activity. And then finally, finally, we got out of there at 1:30, almost five hours after our arrival. Both of us are hoping that’s the last that either of us have to go through this procedure.
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