Will I get a souvenir DVD?

It was perhaps foolish to take a weightlifting class on the same day I’m restricted to a clear-liquid diet, but oh well. I’m already hungry, and the zero hour isn’t for another 20. Sigh. Gonna be a long day.

I briefed Kate on mom’s upcoming procedure, and she thinks it’s simply hilarious. “You have to drink ALL THAT? And it has LAXATIVES in it?” Then she falls out laughing, perhaps at the joy of being 11 years old and 39 years away from her first routine colonoscopy. Who can blame her? And speaking of being 50 and having an 11-year-old daughter, thanks to LAMary for passing along some handy visual aids to show why Hollywood stars keep Photoshop geniuses on retainer (and why the paps work so hard to get the unguarded shot). Jesus, cheek implants, Madge — whose idea was that?

Well, I hope she enjoys her colonoscopy.

As you can imagine, I’ve been thinking a lot about bowels today. (And I haven’t even started with the magic drink.) They really are a mystery to too many people. One day when Alan’s mom and Aunt Dorothy were still alive, we went to Defiance one day, only to be told, “Dorothy’s bowel is dead.”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“The doctors say it’s just dead. Everything she eats, it just goes straight through her.”

I can’t recall how close this was to the decline and fall of my own parents, but it must have been close, because I snapped a little. I’d grown a little tired of calling mom and dad, asking about their latest medical appointments, and being told, essentially: [Shrug.] I don’t know if they didn’t know the questions to ask or failed to remember the answers, but their attitude was always, “Ah, well. There’s nothing to be done.” It was like living in a 19th-century novel, where people were always “in a decline,” after which they’d either take to their beds and die or visit a sanitarium and recover, but there was rarely anything more to be done.

“Well, if Dorothy’s bowel is dead, you’d all better say goodbye, because the rest of her will soon be following,” I said, a little sharper than I’d intended. “You really can’t live without a bowel.”

We saw Dorothy later that day, and while she seemed to be in some pain, her color was good and she didn’t look like a person who wasn’t digesting anything, although, once again, she claimed that anything she ate would come out the other end, more or less untouched, within minutes. I kept my self-control this time and settled for muttering, under my breath, “That’s impossible.”

Dorothy lived another decade at least. I meditated on the subject for a while. The mysteries of what happens below the navel have been a source of fascination — and money-making opportunities — for as long as we’ve been self-aware. (Warning: Much grossness at that last link. Best leave it untouched. You’ve been warned.) Dogs just sniff and, occasionally, taste. We analyze.

A couple years ago, we had a marvelous discussion here about the 37-pounds-of-impacted-feces urban legend, which is said to be the postmortem fate of either Elvis Presley or John Wayne, and turns up from time to time in places it shouldn’t. Not the celebrity angle, but the standard line peddled by the colonics industry, which I still find in publications that should know better. A few months ago, a medical magazine asked me for story ideas. I replied with a few, and added a P.S.: “By the way — the colonics story in this issue? Where the writer says that all meat eaters carry three to five pounds of mucous-covered decaying meat in their intestines? That’s not true.”

I never got an assignment from the magazine, although one of my ideas turned up under a different writer’s byline a few months later. The secrets of my success, revealed!

Anyway, here’s a line I’ve been waiting my whole life to write: By the time some of you read this, I’ll have a 17,000-foot-long tube up my butt. Try to contain your excitement.

I’ll be back when I’m able, but I don’t think I’ll be able to improve on Dave Barry’s account (HT: Jen), so let’s leave it at that, eh? Fingers crossed for pink and healthy, and a 10-year break before the next one.

Posted at 4:07 pm in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

29 responses to “Will I get a souvenir DVD?”

  1. LAMary said on July 29, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Because my mother died at 50 of colon cancer, my siblings and I all get scoped every two years. It never gets any less of a drag.

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  2. coozledad said on July 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Sheesh, Nancy. I nearly pass out while I’m getting blood work after an 8 hour fast. Go get yourself a burrito after they let you off the rack. But do be careful.
    I had a super breakfast burrito with egg, cheese, fried potatoes and green sauce the last time I finished getting my cholesterol checked, and I swear it emerged unchanged from my gut in about two hours. I almost called the local paper.

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  3. Dorothy said on July 29, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    My maternal grandma died at 71 of the same thing, Mary. So far, so good with the rest of the family: no recurrences. Good luck, Nance, and keep the A&D ointment handy for later on tonight. Believe me, you’ll need it.

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  4. Mindy said on July 29, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    A friend had major bowel surgery last week. She was born with three extra feet of it and has tried everything imaginable to avoid going under the knife. The surgery was scheduled five years ago but she chickened out and canceled. Serious problems arrived two months ago. Denial was no longer an option for her. She’s a lively person who has difficulty waiting in line at the grocery store, much less staying in a hospital bed for a week before heading home to six weeks on the sofa. I’ll go for a visit when she’s allowed to have coffee again in the interest of preserving my own life. No coffee for the owner of a coffee shop is another tall order. She’s more unpleasant than most people denied the daily grind.

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  5. Dexter said on July 29, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Hoping for a colon so perfect that a ten-year reprieve is in order? I admire your optimism! I have 3 years, one month, and 20 days to go before my next one. My younger brother is 52 and I prodded him (sorry about that!) yesterday about going in for his. He won’t even get his B/P or cholesterol checked, let alone his colon. He doesn’t believe in doctors and the only medicines he approves of are gulps of cherry juice for his gout and jeroboams of beer for his feel-good.

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  6. Dexter said on July 29, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Old news: Seacrest bitten by shark. News: VIDEO just in.

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  7. Colleen said on July 29, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    I had one in my 20s, and mmmm yeah, demerol and versed rock. The last thing I remember was thinking “hey, get away from me with that thing”, and then they were waking me up.

    And you’ll be sent home with doctor’s orders to rest and belch and fart for the rest of the day. Nice work if you can get it….

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  8. joodyb said on July 29, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    I am so glad you are trying to debunk the colonic bunk, nn. it’s as entrenched as Obama’s Muslim past in some parts.
    i like the lemon drink, btw. and do eat gingerly folo’g the procedure.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    And i thought the headline was “Seacrest Jumps Shark.” Should read more carefully.

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  10. moe99 said on July 29, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Nancy, the last two glasses of that lemon crap was coming out of both ends for me (sorry to say). I didn’t stop throwing up until 12 hours past the colonoscopy, of which I recall blessed nothing. But that drink was murder.

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  11. Dexter said on July 30, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Jeff…I thought THIS ENTIRE BUNCH jumped the shark but Idol rolls on.

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  12. Linda said on July 30, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Re: Madonna shots. The cheek implants lead to what has been called the Madamism of celebrities:
    that is, looking like the puppet Madame of Wayland and Madame fame. Check it out if you don’t scare easily.

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  13. beb said on July 30, 2008 at 8:08 am

    For my colonoscopy they gave me a small bottle of something vile to drink instead of the gallon’s worth of that other stuff. You were supposed to drink a couple glasses of water afterwards, and I needed it to wash the taste out. On the whole I think the little bottle was easier, and either preferable to the enima I got when I had my tonsils removed when I was a child.

    Prior to the colonoscopy I had a sigmodoscopy (sp?) which was done without consciousness-lowering drugs. That was a nightmare. The colonoscopy was as nothing in comparison. And when you wake up it’s as if nothing happened. I need to do it again sometime this year.

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  14. Kirk said on July 30, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Colonoscopy: a breeze. Sigmoidoscopy: no fun, especially as the doctor, viewing the poopchutecam, repeatedly orders the nurse handling the hardware, “More. More. Farther.”

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  15. Crabby said on July 30, 2008 at 10:03 am

    The UK Dailymail had some much less flattering versions of the Madonna pics.

    Good luck on the plumbing check, nothing to it, I’ve had two.

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  16. LAMary said on July 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Demerol makes me sick for a good 24 hours after the procedure. After the last one it was noted in my chart to not give me demerol next time. I can’t wait to see what cool drug they will use.

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  17. derwood said on July 30, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Having had 2 of these in the past 4 years (all clear btw) I can’t hardly resist not posting my picture again. I posted it a while back but think it was lost in a long thread of comments or ignored; which is okay too.

    I turned my little photo into a Christmas card insert and titled it Happy New Rear.

    enjoy and good luck Nancy..you’ll do fine!

    Happy New Rear

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  18. alex said on July 30, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Not sure “Madamism” is such a good description for Madonna. She doesn’t have the Madam’s wry wit, for one thing. (Or a fag’s hand up her coochie all the way to her tonsils.)

    My fave Madamism: “Can you believe the obscenity on television these days? I was watching last night and couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that June Cleaver. ‘Ward,’ she said, ‘You’re being way too hard on the beaver, dear.'”

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  19. whitebeard said on July 30, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Demerol is cool, royally loosens my inhibitions. The first time I was given it was before ingrown toenail surgery, following by a general sleepytime drug. When the doctor came back after I woke up, he said I had set their whole schedule back 20 minutes because they couldn’t stop laughing about the demerol-induced tag I had put on my good big toe saying “Not this toe, the other one!!”

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  20. Hattie said on July 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I’ve been through this twice. It is not much to endure compared to full on bowel cancer, as I have seen it experienced by several friends and relatives of mine.

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  21. brian stouder said on July 30, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    derwood – lest I fall behind (barump-bump!) –

    and a Happy New Rear to YOU, too!

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  22. Halloween Jack said on July 30, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    The Daily Mail is also good about publishing pics of former 80s pop stars who haven’t been under the knife and have the bad taste to go out in public without makeup or having their hair done–in other words, looking their age. You can’t win.

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  23. brian stouder said on July 30, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    The power of books! Last night, when I was watching Olbermann, Chloe (our 4 year old) wanted me to read “Miss Nelson is Missing” to her – which features a character that Chloe finds terrifying – Miss Viola Swamp! The book is a hoot, and we’ve read it many times before, but the power that the book exerts over Chloe’s imagination has grown right along with her……

    And I think Madonna Un-Plugged (et al) look like the mysterious substitute teacher, Miss Viola Swamp

    (scroll down to see)


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  24. Terry WAlter said on July 31, 2008 at 2:16 am

    I’m afraid to take general anesthesia. Last time I did, I almost got killed. I went under for an endoscopy. The attending nurse was attractive,though nothing special. When I was waking up, so I’m told, I reached up and patted her on the cheek and said ,”You’re charming & beautiful”. You think that was enough to get me in hot water with the wife? Now for the good part. I looked in her direction and said “And then there’s HER”. Damn truth serum.

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  25. Connie said on July 31, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Brian, we used to have t-shirts that said “Viola Swamp is watching you and don’t you forget it.” With Viola’s lovely face of course. Always funny when out in public to notice who got it.

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  26. del said on July 31, 2008 at 8:23 am

    THAT was funny, Terry.

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  27. brian stouder said on July 31, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Connie – You know those pages where you see the silhouette of someone, through the frosted glass of the classroom door? Chloe always shudders on those pages, fretting that it’s Miss Swamp; and then she giggles and laughs when we turn the page and it is the principal or the Miss Nelson-imposter….but when you turn the page and it IS Miss Swamp – Oh My!!! fuhgetaboutit!!!! She howls and cringes and says she’s a witch!!

    I suppose it doesn’t help that we tend to read the book in an animated way…and when I got in trouble with Pam the next day (Chloe was up in the middle of the night!) I pointed out that her brother and sister were NO HELP (to no avail)….and now we have put that book away. (Chloe has been asking – full of foreboding and trepidation – where the book is, and I feign ignorance…which I’m good at!)

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  28. Danny said on July 31, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Wow, Terry. Very dangerous them there words!

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  29. Mary T. said on August 7, 2008 at 3:37 am


    I clicked on that link (the “warning” link, not the Madonna one).

    Is someone training those people to use the toilet with one of those things you use to train a cat? Because…they appear unclear on the concept of where stuff should go.

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