I RECENTLY CALLED MY gastroenterologist, Andy, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. And a few days later, in his office, he showed me a colour diagram of the colon – a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through South America. He explained the procedure in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner, and I nodded thoughtfully. But I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, “HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 3000 METRES UP YOUR BEHIND!”
l left Andy’s office with some written instructions, plus a prescription for a product called MoviPrep, which I will discuss later. (For now, let’s just say we must never allow it to fall into the hands of our enemies.) I spent the next several days productively sitting around feeling nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation …
In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavour.
Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-litre plastic jug; then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a litre is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here I’m being kind – like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic here, but: have you ever seen a space- shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. And there are times when you wish the toilet had a seat-belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, eliminating everything – including food you haven’t even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. And, next morning, my wife drove me to the clinic where I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. They led me to a little curtained space where I 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 put a needle in a vein in my left hand, and wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with an anaesthesiologist. I didn’t see the 3000-metre tube, but I knew he had it hidden there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.
Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anaesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realised 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?” asked Andy, from somewhere behind me.
“Ha ha!” I replied. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare your- self, because I’m going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.
I have no idea. Really! I slept through it! One moment, ABBA was yelling “Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine…” and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.
Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colours.
I have louder of an internal organ!
© 2008 DAVE BARRY, PULITZER-PRIZE-WINNING HUMOUR COLUMNIST FOR THE MIAMI HERALD & AUTHOR OF COUNTLESS BOOKS – INCLUDING “I’LL MATURE WHEN I’M DEAD.”