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Tuesday, April 26, 2011


If 50 is the new 40, why do we need to get colonoscopies at 50? Can't we just wait until 60 - which is, after all, the new 50? Okay, I hear a rational voice saying that the reason we're living longer is that we DO have these great tests to detect the early stages of disease (like colon cancer which this test is used for), and early prevention allows us to live longer. Right? Right! But just wait until you need to prep for this "procedure" and you may - like me – become irrational and argue the insanity of preventative medicine. If you haven't had a colonoscopy "yet", stop reading now. It's just not worth getting all bent out of shape about it. (no pun intended) And if you're still reading and you haven't had a colonoscopy yet, I just want to say that it's really not the actual procedure that sucks; it's the prep.

Try drinking a gallon of slimy, salty solution and you'll know the meaning of hell on earth. Some people claim that it's just unpleasant, but don't believe them. After a few 8-ounce glasses, you feel like Sisyphus, as you realize that there are only around 11 glasses to go. 

If you try to be a "good patient", as I did recently, you will attempt meditation, deep breathing and lemonade chasers to help you complete your task. But nothing – and I repeat, nothing – makes it any better. Ultimately, I failed at completing the task. This is what I said to the nurse on the phone, the morning I was supposed to report in for the procedure. 

As I held my breath, waiting for her to reply with annoyance or disdain, or even worse, tell me that I was a sissy for giving up, she kindly said that this happens sometimes. Why didn't they tell me?! 

Of course, if you know what might happen, the suggestion may become a reality. (So I guess I shouldn't be writing this post in the first place, for fear that I may be biasing the uninitiated!) In fact, a little Internet search for "can't drink the preparation for colonoscopy" let me know that I am, in fact, far from alone in my failure to cooperate. And that there are some better alternatives, or so people claim...

I will try again, this time with one of those other concoctions. As you might imagine, there's a lot of chit-chat on the web about which ones are better and worse. Personally I would go for the horse pills, but my doctor doesn't use them. Darn. As Bette Davis said, "Old age is no place for sissies." And getting there isn't either...

1 comment:

  1. I've questioned preventative medicine when I'm frustrated with trying to get an appointment to fit my schedule . . . a procedure and prep like this would take my excuses to a whole new level!