Make your colonoscopy fun
Are you over 50 and want to make your few remaining decades speed by?
Remember that your next decennial colonoscopy is coming up soon.
Being despicably violated every ten years by essentially a tiny iPhone on a rubbery selfie stick is a lot easier than dealing with colon cancer. I get that.
What I don’t understand is: Scientists in the 1966 science fiction film “Fantastic Voyage” could shrink a submarine crew to microscopic size to get into and blast a blood clot in a U.S. secret agent’s brain to beat the Russians in the Cold War and save America.
But 50 years later, my gastroenterologist can’t shrink down and put on a wet suit and miner’s helmet to spelunk my colon for polyps. Huh?
For that matter, if John Cusak could portal into John Malkovich’s brain, then why can’t my PPO specialist find a hole behind a filing cabinet in his tiny office and tumble up my tuchas? That movie was 20 years ago!
Why, in the 21st century, when Elon Musk can put a man on Mars while not delivering the affordable Tesla Model 3 — in a wondrous time when Jeff Bezos, the World’s Richest Man/Captain of the Internet posts naughty selfies on the internet — do I still have to drink four litres (75 U.S. gallons) of Polyethylene Glycol-Electrolyte Solution Prep and tear up the facilities all night?
Setting aside these imponderables and facing gritty reality, as I prepare for my now second procedure, I’ve learned a few hacks to make your flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography, or homeopathic home version involving elderberry tincture and the HP OfficeJet Pro printer/scanner fun for you and your loved ones:
What to drink.
During your cleanse day, you may only have clear liquids such as water, broth, or Crystal Lite powder to make your 75 gallons of solution prep taste less like end-of-days stale bio-hazard dumpster ass with a hint of kale.
Remember that vodka, gin and Everclear 190 proof grain alcohol also are clear liquids. They will make you care less about what is happening and the concomitant condition of the facilities.
Another clear liquid is Sambuca, the Italian liquor that — bonus — is anise-flavored. “Heh heh, ‘anise’ sounds like anus,” you say in your prep delirium like I do writing this piece.
What to eat.
Technically, nothing. During the prep phase, solid food requiring chewing is a big no-no.
But smoothies aren’t solid, and you can put anything in a Magic Bullet.
So stop by and ask the chef at Ruth’s Chris to smoothie the 40-ounce Tomahawk Ribeye with grilled shrimp and bacon-wrapped scallops and side of lobster mac & cheese, with amuse-bouche of mushrooms stuffed with crab meat.
You’re going to lose a lot of nutrients and a ton of weight during the 24-hour prep cleansing, so listen to your body and stock up.
How to act.
Friends and family care deeply about your Herculean struggle during the prep phase, and also the deteriorating condition of the facilities.
Your job as a clinically diagnosed pleaser: Try to act normal to make loved ones feel comfortable.
That’s easy if your normal is incessantly whining for attention and sympathy, complaining about every last jot and tittle of any physical or emotional issue you might have or anticipate, such as a sneeze that might be Zika or sensitivity to pepper.
If any loved ones complain about the unspeakable condition of the facilities requiring a Hazmat team to rappel in, assess, contain, control and stabilize the situation, then point out that you’re starving, weak, writing incoherent Medium pieces like this one and need to be brought a Ruth’s Chris smoothie, stat.
What to wear.
During the cleansing phase, a disposable tarp surrounding the body and a larger one for the upstairs area of the home can come in handy.
For the procedure itself, arrive in loose-fitting clothing such as sweatshirt and pleated dad chinos. Or perhaps a flowing, ankle-length Arabic thawb or thobe, kandoora or disdasha, preferably not white given anything that might happen.
If your procedure is in Trump Country, however, prepare for other patients to fear your thwab because it could mean you’re a Muslim terrorist who wants infidels to have polyps for it should please Allah.
What to do during procedure.
Relax and enjoy. A colonoscopy is one of the few times in life when you invite people to violate and humiliate you, so wallow.
Similar situations include job interviews; client pitches; first and disappointing meeting of Match.com dates; Ivy college fraternity hazing rituals; getting on stage at the local comedy club open-mike night to test your “material”; and, being married.
What to do post-procedure.
Enjoy! Embrace life. Be you because you are the only awesome you.
After my last colonoscopy, as I emerged from anesthesia and was shown pictures of my healthy, pink, glistening colon, I asked the medical assistants, “Is it just me, or does anyone else have a taste for fresh calamari?”
I’m not kidding. I said this. They cracked up. Great feedback. If I went directly from colonoscopy anesthesiology to open-mike night at the Comedy Cellar, I would kill even better than Louis C.K., albeit without any sick #MeToo and other off-putting stuff.
In my trained medical opinion and experience, when you rise from the procedure table, first apologize for any awkward jokes, then gather yourself, re-don your flowing Arabic thawb, and happily move on with your life.
Most of all, eat, drink and be merry.
And take care of your colon. Listen to your colon.
Put your ear up to it, or if you can’t reach because you always skip yoga, ask a friend.
Hear it? Do you hear your colon’s beautiful song? That’s right — your colon is singing that it wants you to be happy. The colon knows.
Heed the colon. I saw this embroidered on a throw pillow at a gift shop in Bar Harbor, Maine, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Finally and by the way, also feel free to use your latest, best colonoscopy shot as your new Facebook profile picture. Your Facebook friends and “friends” will love you more. Because there’s no way to be more you.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer