Sunday, June 27, 2010

On a Clear Day...You Can See Forever

Warning* This subject is NOT for those that don't fair well hearing about internal examinations.

I saved this blog for June as I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Steve's third colonoscopy appointment. My first experience with this procedure was in December and the reasoning "behind" sharing this with you is two fold:

A) I just have to and...
B) I think I just have to

With each passing year it seems that more inspections are needed on my aging body. The standard tests such as "shmears" and "boobagrams" have just become "routine" at this point. Once you hit the magic number of five oh you are a candidate for an examination that exceeds your expectations. When I accompanied Steve for his "first" ever viewing I followed him through every step complete with instructions. The prep for this exam is one of the highlights. Here's what you need to do:

1. Eat a light meal around noon the day before your appointment
2. Follow the directions on the laxative box
3. Drink 20 gallons of water
4. Wait

Wait for what? I think you know. A totally uncontrolled environment where your body no longer takes signals from your brain. Or in other words "the shit hits the fan". (A chemically enhanced production of violent flushing as a result of the consumption of man-made explosives). There is nothing quite like the feeling of this utter exuberance with the exception of standing at the lookout point on the edge of the Hoover Dam. Oh and just when you think you are're not. This "cleansing" becomes a part of your existance for the next 24 hours. And the point of all this vacuuming?.....your highway needs to be pristine because tomorrow you are about to become a televsion personality.

When Steve went for his appointment he was told that he could opt for the "viewing" with or without sedation. Since he didn't want to travel to the land of the "unknown" in pain he chose to take all the drugs he could get a hold of. My opinion on this option to sedate? Big chicken. I do sympathize with the fact that he has an aversion to items such as three foot long garden hoses being threaded through his intestines but what happened to "taking it like a man"? Personally, I think he was being a bit "anal" about the whole deal. As we pulled into the parking lot of the Clinic I noticed that the office was in a strip mall and unmarked. Somewhat comparable to those cool downtown clubs or restaurants that only are known by their addresses. Neither the Doctors name nor the Clinic name were posted on the outside door. Why? Well, think about this for a second. A dentist's office has a big neon tooth in the window. A general practitioner's office may have a large stethoscope sign. What would a doctor who performs colonoscopies have in his window?  Enough said. We made our way into the waiting room and Steve checked in. It seemed like only a minute had passed when the doctor cheerfully came out to call him. Why was he so happy? Would you be looking up people's butts all day?  What a shitty job.

I kissed my husband goodbye, wished him lots of luck and went to the conveniently located Winners across the street. Yes, I went shopping.  What else was I supposed to do while I was waiting? Overwhelmed by guilt and the new Spring Fashions I tried to focus but felt the need to rush to Steve's backside. I ran out of the store holding the only purchase I could manage... a cute little swimsuit for my collection.
When I returned....there was Steve, lying in a La-Z-Boy Recliner in a dark room - looking how shall we say.... a  bit "probed". You have to know that Steve is the epitomy of a gentleman. He never, I mean never releases any combustible noises from his body unless he is under the effects of drugs, falls asleep accidently or is with his "sports" buddies. Due to the process of this type of procedure by medical law you are allowed to pass as much air as you wish. And so, after spending a half hour of my time waiting for him to "deflate" (when I still could have been at Winners) we made our way to the parking lot to go for brunch. Everything checked out well and from that day forward for three years all I heard was this.... "it's your turn next when you hit 50 na na ne na na".

I anxiously awaited my next milestone birthday. So much so that a minute after I HIT the magic number, I booked my colonoscopy nine months in advance and called the clinic everyday to see if there was a cancellation. There are three things you may not know about me:

1. I like to organize things way ahead of time
2. I don't like waiting for the things that I have organized
3. I don't like sedation (comparable to my airplane shtick - I need to always be aware of what is going on at all times)

My "examination" was scheduled for March 22nd but my persistant badgering allowed me to be the lucky winner of a spot on December 16th. (more than likely because the receptionist could not deal with seeing my phone number come up on her call display anymore) 

Although I have had three children and dispensed any further thoughts of regaining my dignity I was fully psyched to enter the seedy world of Dr. Byrne's Live via satellite broadcast up my Wazoola. I was finally getting my first shot on being on THE VIEW.

The day prior to my big debut I left work around noon to begin the preparation. I had studied all the notes the clinic sent me on the how to's, when to's, don't do's and what to expect regarding the um.. poo poos.

Before I arrived home I stopped at the local Walmart to stock up on my colon necessity kit. Here's the list:

1. Picosalax

2. Lemon Jello (I bought 4 boxes)

3. 2 Campbell's Clear Chicken Broth in the gallon size boxes (any leftovers could be used in future recipes calling for chicken stock)

4. Popsicles in a clear flavour (I may as well have just eaten ice cubes)

5. Glamour Magazine

6. I contemplated purchasing War & Peace for the last few rounds in the front line bunker but opted for Danielle Steel's Five Days in Paris instead.

I set out my artillery on the kitchen table and was ready to report for duty. Suddenly I had a feeling of remorse sweep over me. How could I possibly go without solid food for over 24 hours? (I only do this once a year to cleanse the sins from my body on Yom Kippur...the colon sweep was a different matter) Seeing as I live to eat and not eat to live I became agitated at the thought of downing see-through items of food.

The instructions state that once the prep begins you must remain stationed near "home base". The process started at 14:00 hrs. The effects of the potion were scheduled to arrive at mission uncontrolled at 18:00 hrs. My brain was telling me to take advantage of an all-ya-can eat Jello fest. Only problem was the jello was still not set and firm. Have you ever tried just drinking it straight? In desperate times you do desperate things. It was now approaching the dinner hour. A huge chicken casserole was bubbling in the oven. The whole house was enveloped in the heavenly smell of baked cheese crusting beautifully over a mixture of chicken, mushrooms and sauce. While the boys chowed down on the meal I was pacing in circles with a white popscicle, ready to hibernate in the master washroom. The only issue was this....all systems were not GO. I waited patiently but nothing. The temptation to eat that casserole and throw away the clear foods grew closer and closer when suddenly my perserverance paid off. I bid a fond farewell to my family and sequestered myself with my reading material.....for the next 8 hours. Yes folks, at 3 a.m. I was still wondering what else could possibly be left inside my body. I was also recalling what the instructions said: Start preparing yourself at 2 p.m. the day before in order to ensure a restful nights sleep. LIES. What was restful about sitting on a porcelain bowl until the wee hours of the night? NOTHING.

After this type of grueling (toilet) training I felt strong enough to enlist with the Israeli Defence Forces. Perhaps after the cavity check at the clinic I will sign up for active doodie. Steve was prepared to drive me to the unmarked office. In the car, he was trying to be as supportive and positive as he could. I was trying to remain optimistic as well while picturing myself wolfing down a gigantic bagel from Kiva's Bakery afterwards....  rock salt, butter and poppyseeds getting stuck in my teeth...a big round taste of heaven. So worth the starvation diet and the 24 hours of purifying my guts.

Steve drove around the parking lot to find an END spot (to avoid dings in his doors) and I slowly walked towards the door with no name. The same doctor with the same sunny disposition called my name. As I stood up to go in Steve asked if he could come in and observe. Observe what? An eclipse of my moon? I figured like this....Steve is my husband, he has seen me at my best and at my worst and now he will know me "inside out". What's the harm in him co-hosting on The View? I had debated the option of sedation and came to the conclusion that I would try to go through this WITHOUT any drugs. If I couldn't take the pain, Dr. Behind could soup me up during the space probe. He went over the standard medical history with me and suggested he hook me up with meds. I said,"NO THANKS, let's just get this show on the road". I was instructed to lie down on the examination table on my left side. Steve was seated directly behind my behind. In front of my head was a large T.V. screen. Dr. B. was very calm as he yelled "lights, camera.......ACTION"!  He carefully began the antiques roadshow ....there were organs to the right and to the left. Lamaze breathing came into play as I watched a camera light up my DO NOT ENTER sign. Throughout the procedure I turned to see if Steve was fairing well. He now only had one thing on his mind.........competition. If his wife could go through this without any sedation he was now expected to do the same thing. Once Dr. B. completed his tour and went out the emergency EXIT sign I was relieved. The good news was I don't have to be on THE VIEW again for another four years. The bad news was I had to watch the entire show over again 2 weeks ago when "Steve the Competitor" managed to capture the coveted lead role in BraveFART.

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