The colonoscopy

Farm Forum

The twin Pratt & Whitney turbo ramjet engines on the SR-71 Blackbird produce 34,000 pounds of thrust apiece, enabling the spy plane to blast through the sky at speeds in excess of Mach 3.

This and other useless factoids tumbled through my brain as I languished in the loo at 2:30 a.m., conducting the “cleanse” that one must endure to prepare for a colonoscopy. It may have been sleep deprivation, but the bathroom ceiling sometimes seemed awfully close.

If caught early, colon cancer can be over 90% curable, so everyone who has had more than 50 birthdays should be screened. For the past several years my doc has been strongly hinting that I should take this test, implying that it’s my duty to let them peek up my booty.

Plus, my grandpa Nelson passed away from colon cancer. It did not look like fun.

I finally yielded to my doc’s advice and called to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. I was told that it would be more than a month before they could fit me in! One would think that there wouldn’t be any waiting list for such an unappealing event.

I was issued a prescription for the colonoscopy prep solution. This consisted of a gallon (37 liters) bottle which contained some white powder. You fill the bottle with water, shake it and – ta-da! – you have the runs in a jug.

The prep mixture tastes approximately like warm snot. Drinking it is a form of torture and should be declared cruel and unusual, on par with waterboarding. I was given a lemon flavoring packet to help with the taste, but this was akin to using a toy squirt gun of flavor to fight off a flamethrower of ick.

The first half gallon went down without a hitch. Nothing was happening and I was beginning to think (and hope!) that my prep mixture was a dud. Then came rumblings similar to those that preceded the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Things soon began to move quite rapidly. I learned several lessons during the course of that long night: 1. It’s never just gas; 2. Your best friend is super-soft toilet paper; 3. Two words: diaper cream.

My intestinal discomfort wasn’t all that bad. Certainly it was no worse than the gut bug that tried to kill me some months ago. One of the hardest parts of the prep was the not eating. You have no idea how many advertisements there are for food until you’re told that you aren’t allowed to eat!

The next morning my wife drove me to the medical facility. There, a nice nurse named Janae instructed me to disrobe and don a hospital gown. This was the first time that the rear opening feature made any sense.

Janae started an IV drip in my arm. I chatted with her and hung out with my wife until another nurse arrived and announced that it was my turn.

I was carted to the procedure room where it was explained to me what would happen next. My perception was that a two horsepower DeWalt air compressor would be used to inflate me to 85 PSI, after which a periscope salvaged from a WW II German U-boat would be used to “take a quick peek.”

No, that’s not true. What happened next was…

ATTENTION KIDS: Don’t do drugs! Drugs can wreck your life and can cause infinite amounts of misery! Just say no!

ATTENTION PARENTS: Don’t let your kids read the next part!

Drugs are wonderful! I have no idea what happened after they explained what would happen! I don’t know what they slipped into my IV, but it must have been the same stuff they use when they perform prostate exams on grizzly bears. I woke up in the recovery room and my wife was at my side telling me that it was all over and I was being plied with orange juice and cookies. Thank goodness for modern pharmaceuticals!

In the end (ha!) I was given a clean bill of health. No polyps, no weird-looking spots, no trace of Jimmy Hoffa.

It appears that I have gotten away with a slew of dietary sins. The carnivorous habits, the predilection for all manner of charred meats, the fact that it’s been a long time since I’ve received Communion. All that worry about all those trespasses seem to have been for naught!

It’s also great to have the peace of mind. And best of all, I won’t have to endure that ordeal again for some while. That is, unless SpaceX calls to say that they need an extra engine for their Falcon rocket.

If you’d like to contact Jerry to do some public speaking, or just to register your comments, you can e-mail him at: