It’s not like I haven’t had adequate introduction to the indignities of aging. I look into the mirror each morning, the blur of sleep not entirely gone, still half expecting the well-coifed, well-muscled Adonis of my youth and instead I’m looking at the bald fat guy who stole Dean Rusk’s glasses. (One of the advantages of age, though, is you can make cracks about, say, Dean Rusk, and your fellow AARP members chuckle along whilst the whippersnappers stare at their shoes, embarrassed by their ignorance. Until one of the AARP guys thinks it’s funnier than it ought to be and spits out his bridge. Then the young punks are reminded that youth trumps all.)
Still, I’m not like Francisco Franco old, right? Not pulling some kind to two-wheeled clown car act balancing on the edge of the grave. (That’s right, young punks – Francisco Franco’s been dead since before you were born, so look him the fuck up, OK? What do you think this is? History class?) I’m still feeling, well, spry ain’t exactly the term, but I can still work a heavy bag pretty good, so if one of you twenty somethings wants to lace ‘em up, bring it on. Make it a small ring, though, OK? I’m not chasing your skinny ass around.
Anyway, passed the half-century mark over the summer, and the wife says it’s time to get my fat ass back in to the Doc’s office. I know what’s she’s hoping. She’s looking for a warning shot across the bow. She doesn’t want me dead exactly, but she’d have no problem with Dr. White Coat looking at the blood test results and clucking his tongue and telling me it’s time to trade in the bourdon and red meat for tofu and Metamucil. But I freakin’ aced it. BP normal, cholesterol normal, blood sugar normal – and it’s pretty much a miracle on the order of the loaves and fishes, ‘cause I’ve got a family history festooned with type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure and strokes and just garden variety dropping dead.
Oh, and colon cancer.
And that’s when the doc hits me with it. Part of the standard mid-century mark maintenance package includes a colonoscopy. Swell.
So yesterday morning, I picked up the colonoscopy prep kit from the local pharmacy, mixed up the do-it-yourself pooh juice and slammed the first liter right about 6 PM. Sure, it tastes bad – like some kind of toxin-tainted, lemon-flavored, Made-in-China kid’s candy had been melted down and sprayed with WD-40. The WD-40 is meant to lube up the insides of your GI tract so all the shit comes out.
And come out it does. The first wave was just your garden variety diarrhea, but within the hour the pooh juice changed my rectum from a low-velocity device into the business end of a power washer. Turns out, when someone tells you you’re full of shit, that’s not figurative. You can do that for hours. And you will. It’s all coming out – the undigested tire from that Hot Wheel car you ate on a dare in 1968, every little piece of whatever that’s wedged itself into every little nook and cranny in your intestines – and there are lots of nooks and crannies, I’ve seen the tape.
So after you’ve shit out two times your body weight, what do you do? You mix up batch number 2 and you do it all again. That’s just mean. There’s nothing left. But you spend another six hours blowing tea colored water out your ass like someone’s shoved a fire house down your throat – all the way down your throat.
The procedure itself? Not so bad – they give you drugs for that, although there is that moment when they roll you into the endoscopy suite (love that euphemism, by the way – suite? Do I get turndown service? Mint on my pillow?) but they roll you in and you SEE the thing they’re planning on shoving up your ass, and it’s like the scene in those Spanish Inquisition films where they show you all the bad shit they’re going to use to disassemble your person ‘cause they figure it’s gonna freak you out enough that you’ll confess. Thankfully, they shoot whatever into the IV at that point, and it’s pretty much lights out. I’m told you’re not really out, and I do remember coming to at one point, seeing my innards on the TV, and having a feeling in my gut like somebody decided the sofa was in the wrong place, and they’re just gonna horse it over to the other side of the room.
So I come to, and they send me home. Now, they warned me that I’d likely have some gas – that “some” air typically gets trapped in the colon during the procedure, and, of course, that’s gotta come out. What they didn’t tell me was that, when you ease a cheek up to let that sucker slip out, what you’re gonna get its 10 solid seconds of full-volume ass trombone – and you’re gonna do that maybe a dozen times before it gradually backs down to the ass trumpet, the ass clarinet and finally, the Orc-ish ass flute (little shout out to my peep Shannon there).
They did give me a print out with some nice snapshots, though. I’d like the JPGs — I could use some new profile pics for Facebook.