I have now had three intrusions into my most private personhood. The third was just yesterday. There are several thoughts that come to mind at a time like this.
My first experience with being completely exposed to the medical world happened in 1995. My daughter was having her wisdom teeth removed which gave me a perfect opportunity to go visit a local hamburger place. Very well known, by the way, which will remain nameless, a place to which I have not returned in twenty-five years.
I purchased a hamburger deluxe, fries, and a shake. (No, not McDonald’s). Everything was fine until later that night. Just before bed I began feeling minor cramps, didn’t think much of it, and went to bed. An hour later I woke up with the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. I will spare you the details of the next three hours, but I assure you I had never experienced anything like that before nor have I since. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
We called our physician the next day and described what was happening. I met with him a few days later and discovered he intended for me to go to the hospital, a detail I somehow missed. He ordered something I had never heard of, and if I never hear of it again, I will be thankful. He said I was going to have an air-colon-contrast. Okay, no big deal. Yeah, right.
My impending excursion into ultimate transparency meant that I had to drink three quarts of what can only be described as gag-me-now.
I tried to maintain a positive attitude, which required that I find a happy place to ingest the disgusting concoction. I went to the train depot so I could watch trains while I choked it down. It’s amazing I still like watching trains.
It’s difficult to describe what came next after I actually swallowed all of the sludge that tasted like a mixture of three-month-old yogurt chunks, goat meat, and sweaty sock fuzz. The expulsion of everything I had eaten since the previous Christmas and things I had only thought of eating was indescribable. That experience could only be outdone by the procedure itself.
At the hospital I was invited to lie down on a table. “You’re going to do what?” I thought, as the doctor approached me with what looked like a bicycle tire pump.
After my inner parts were rudely awakened by the air hose, I was asked to roll around on the table so the air would distribute evenly. Rolling around on a narrow table would be difficult enough even without a contraption connected to my posterior.
The test revealed nothing. What a relief! I had endured incredible pain at home, cleansed myself of everything that wasn’t attached, been probed, filled, viewed, scanned, and cleared of anything troubling. Fantastic!
Now it was time to rid myself of enough air to fill the tires on an eighteen-wheeler. I slowly walked, back parts in the breeze, to the bathroom. Nurses outside the door were discussing their anticipated evening plans.
As hard as I tried, nothing happened. Nothing. Not even a squeak. I moved, pushed, squeezed, lifted, turned, and finally gave up. I opened the door and told the nurses of my dilemma. I was invited back to the table. With great difficulty I lay back down. The doctor prepared an injection to help with the needed release. He asked me to roll over from my side which was the only position in which I could continue to breathe. When I did, my hand was impaled on the needle and it immediately went numb. (I’m not making this up!!). The doctor yelled at ME even though I was the one with the needle stuck in my hand!
He injected me with whatever it was and I went back to the bathroom. What happened in that bathroom was not unlike a whole team of horses lifting their tails to express the joy of having eaten an entire wagon-load of corn. It was explosive.
What inspires a person going into the medical field to want to specialize in those parts? Obviously, we need them and we’re thankful for them, but how does one come to a decision like that?
Age does many mean things to us. Strength fades, memories aren’t as sharp, and all of sudden we need our doctors to do things they didn’t do before. Reaching the golden age of fifty which happened to me many years ago, ushers in the era of recurring colonoscopies.
Yesterday I experienced my second. The most remarkable improvement has happened in the last ten years. Instead of the preparatory cocktail being a combination of sun-dried tapioca mixed with oatmeal and sour milk, it tastes like Kool-Aid. Seriously! Of course the Kool-Aid is mixed with a powder that guarantees nothing will cling to your inner parts ever again.
I was almost disappointed it was over so fast. Anything that requires that kind of preparation should last more than a second. I was wheeled in, the room began to spin, and I woke up not a second later in recovery.
Everything’s good. The doctor said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. See you in ten years.”
No explanation needed.