Tuesday, August 10, 2010

thoughts on a colonoscopy...part 2

6/27 wednesday morning............

5:30 am. i'm awake. i need to pee, but that's about it. my insides are completely empty. i can thump my stomach and hear an echo. (you know, like when you're in the grocery, picking a watermelon and it makes that sound?)


i've been eating watermelon as long as i can remember. summers, in belmar, new jersey, since i'm 5 years old. it's been so long, that i actually remember watermelon when seeds were not an option. it had seeds. period. you ate the fruit, you spit. (unless of course you were educated at miss muff's academy, or the marcia blaine school for girls (a jean brodie reference). there, you held the pits in your mouth and slid them delicately on to the front tip of a teaspoon and laid them down on the edge of your plate, very ladylike, as you ate your melon with a knife and fork.) i actually knew people, mostly girls, who did that. in jersey city, we just spit them out. not only that, there were often contests involving the spitting. distance contests. (well, i said it was jersey city). i rarely won. i was more like the jean brodie girls, than the spitting boys. but we've covered that already.

for most of my life, picking out a melon has been a pig-in-a-poke kind of thing for me. i had no idea what a good melon vs. a bad melon was, picking one. it's a talent, a gift, or a farm knowledge thing, but we jersey city boys didn't get that gene. (certainly got the spit gene, but not the other). then, one day, about 8 years ago, i was in a produce store trying to decide, and an old black man was loading watermelons into the big bin in the center of the aisle for customers. (oh god, another cliche`. a black man and a watermelon. (a vietnamese guy that does nails. where does it end?). i swear, the old man wasn't tap dancing too, just moving the melons. sometimes the things you see in a normal day are funnier than the walmart people). so i stopped and i asked him to pick one for me. (i realize now, how completely politically incorrect that was, but it didn't dawn on me at the time, because he was, after all, an employee, and i needed help). so he picked one up and thumped it, set it down, picked up another, thumped it, set it down and so on, until one made a sound he liked and he handed it to me. curious was i, so i asked why this one? he put the melon in my right hand and balanced it, then he took my left wrist with his hand and smacked the melon with my open palm and we both heard a particular sound. he said, that sound is what you're looking for. just like that. that simple. and i've been an excellent melon picker ever since. (again, this is not all that important, like finding a cure for cancer, but it is one of life's little lessons along the way, and i'm very happy to have learned it.)


sorry, but that was a nice reminisce about the melons.

so there i was, empty, with a very hollow feeling at 5:30 am and my procedure was not until 7:30. what to do for 2 hours? well, obviously, EATING WAS OUT!!!!!, so i showered, husband roused and showered and we both shaved and he had coffee and toast as i glowered, staring at the food. (don't forget, at this point, it's been some 30 hours since i've eaten, save for the jello, broth, and of course the vodka). but i'm more nervous than hungry.

when we were ready, we headed out to the facility where, as i recall, they were all set to put a mile of black plastic tubing with a color camera and lights, where, as my mother used to say, the sun don't shine. (hence the need for the lights). ok, people, i'm trying to be delicate here.

so after appropriate paperwork, and insurance questions, they begin to prep me.

digress again............

at the time, i had really crappy insurance,if you'll pardon the expression. i had a $2500 deductible, like i carry that much cash around with me. so i asked the insurance nurse, how much is this procedure, and she said we bill the insurance company $2000. (which obviously is coming out of my pocket considering my deductible, and she adds, but it counts towards the $2500. oh goodie. lucky me.) but it's still 2 grand. so jersey city wise ass kicks in, and i ask, how much is it if i walk in off the street with no insurance at all and want my picture taken? her answer? $600, but it doesn't count towards the deductible. WTF??? so my choice is $2000. out of pocket, or $600. out of pocket. DUH!!! let me think a minute............

i flash my credit card, and a minute later i'm out $600. suddenly i feel like i want to say, husband look! i just saved $1400. but somehow it just doesn't feel right. so i hold my tongue. (and you wonder why the health insurance industry needs a little work.)


so having taken care of the distasteful money part, they proceed to prep me. they give me a little oscar de la renta gown, you know, the kind that fastens in the back? or not? and the whole world gets a gander at my derriere, like i give a rat's ass, considering what they're about to do to my derriere? oh, the indignity of it all. and again, i'm not afraid of the procedure, only of what they might find. and i'm trying not to be too upset, ($600 gone, my ass catching a breeze, and i'm starving). but i've never done this, even though they've done it a million times, and i would have been scared shitless if i had any left, so i kind of go with the flow, even though flow has left the building sometime yesterday.

they put me on a gurney, and try to soothe me with just try to relax. yeah, that'll happen. next thing i know, they're putting a needle in my arm with a drip attached and they tell me, we're going in to the procedure room now, so just try to relax. count backwards from 100, and they turned on the drip. i have to add here, that i saw one drop fall, then another, and then i started counting backwards. i must say, i was hugely proud of myself. i started counting and almost made it to 98. i kind of nodded right after 99. (i don't think the drip was quaalude, because it no longer exists on earth, more's the pity), but whatever it was, i'm not complaining. (i wonder if anyone has ever made it to 97. guess i'll never know.)

in the end, so to speak, it all went very well, no problems, they found nothing, come on back in 10 years and we'll play again, thank you very much. that sort of thing. again, to quote tangina from poltergeist, this hole is clean. but the sad truth is, i remember nothing. they told me i'd have amnesia from the drugs, and i said HA!!, an old drug pro like me? amnesia? that only happens in the movies. well, the cheese stands alone, one more time, because i truly remember reaching 99 and not much after that. husband said i spoke to the doctor at length after i came out of the anesthesia and he related the procedure, the results and more, very enthusiastically. there were no issues, polyps, or scary stuff. and i remember nothing. nada. like i wasn't there. i called the doctor's office the next day and the nurses told me all over again. (god only knows what went on in that room, because i sure don't). wish i could tell you more, but hey, sorry. (i do, however, remember just simply loving that drug.... until i hit 99. very nice indeed.) can i get a to go cup, please?

that's about it. i'm due again in about 5 years and i have a checklist before i go next time.....

1. i'm going to try to make it to 97. (99 is for wimps.)

2. i'm going to ask husband to bring a recording device to the after party, so i can hear what the doctor actually says.

3. i'm going to have better insurance. (did that already....check).

4. i'm going to have a laptop for the night before, so that while i'm on the crapper i can share. (did that already too.........check).

so, if you haven't had this procedure, and you're over 50, you ought to. if you're over 55, you must. and if you're older than that, shame on you. you've read my experience. didn't sound so bad, did it?

hey, if i can do it, you can do it............

the preceding has been a public service message......brought to you by phillips milk of magnesia

smile please...................

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