I’d put off the inevitable colonoscopy for a few years. I’ll be 54 in May so the referrals were ironically crumpled up beside empty McDonald’s bags on the floor of my car over some time. I don’t know what made me decide to finally go this year other than I’m trying to start making more adult-like decisions.
This is a boring process, but I can’t live like a reckless twentysomething forever. My joints are starting to catch up with me—just ask my orthopedic surgeon, whom I affectionately refer to as the “tin man can” in reference to The Wizard of Oz and my recent constant need for injections of cortisone into various places of my body similar to the application of oil from a can into the Tin Man.
Figured I’d put it off long enough, sucked it up like a buttercup and headed off to what I learned a few gastroenterology clinic workers may refer to on a stacked mid-week full of these procedures as an “Ass Wednesday.” I was correctly warned that the prep is 100 times more cumbersome than the procedure itself. I never got the email instructions on what to do, so I called 24 hours before the event and was told they’d have to check if I could still come in. Turned out I could, but had to get a prescribed version of what I couldn’t help but compare to the long-ago SNL skit “Colon Blow.” One of the longest nights of my life, drinking that awful concoction and suffering through its aftermath.
The highlight of my ordeal was when I tweeted in the morning about going, using a retweet from Katie Couric, as I’d remembered her advocacy and losing her husband at a very early age (42) to colon cancer. She retweeted me and it made me smile.
I had a splitting headache before, during and after the appointment, but I sort of go through life with a headache anywhere between a four and an eight on a scale of 1-10 and pray for the days when it’s not a level 10 migraine, so that didn’t really mean much. The anesthesia moment was nice, man that rush when you’re about to check out feels great. Two weeks ago I was strapped head down to a board getting a spinal injection and getting old isn’t fun.
The other day I went kayaking on the Chesapeake for the first time this year and I’m not sure I’ve ever appreciated the experience so much. The water, the air, the beach, all of it—I was just so happy to be out there in the kind of way that only someone starting to worry that every time they experience something could be the last can do. Overly dramatic for a 53-year-old? True, but I had relatives who were dead by my age, and you never know what’s going to take you out.
They found a polyp and an ulcer and took multiple biopsies yesterday, so since it’s Colon Cancer Awareness Month it’s a good time to be reminded we need to look out for these potentially life-saving screenings. The meal afterwards is something you really appreciate.