My New Year’s resolution is to bring more humor into my life and into the lives of others, to try not to worry about things I can’t control (Donald Trump), and to take control of the things that are mine to master (i.e., my ass). As a 70-year-old celiac disease patient, periodic maintenance is a must and not to be ignored, if I don’t want to be wearing Depend’s diapers any time soon. Therefore, The Donald goes on the back burner this week while I devote a post to my sorry ass as I march off to the gastroenterologist’s office singing to the tune of “How do you solve a problem like Maria,” from the Sound of Music.
How do you solve a problem like my bottom?
How do you sneak a pizza without pain?
How do you find a cure that gives you bread?
My gut is really-a-bitch! A pain-in-the-ass—a drain…
C O L O N O S C O P Y D I S C O V E R I E S T H I S T I M E A R O U N D
~~THERE ARE THINGS CALLED COLONOSCOPY FACTORIES~~
This is my fourth colonoscopy. Given my gastro problems, it probably should have been my tenth, but I really, really hate doctors, so I avoid them as much as possible because they have often been wrong in diagnosing my health issues. Case in point, it took twelve years to discover that the gastro issues I had been suffering with were all celiac related. Why? Because supposedly Black people don’t get celiac disease. Don’t even get me started about how often White doctors misdiagnose African-Americans’ health issues. That’s a blog for another day. In the meantime I keep looking for a doctor who looks like Denzel Washington, has the intelligence of Stephen Hawking, and the bedside manner of Jesus.
Well, I’m in a new town now and need a new butt doctor. I thought I’d go with an Asian woman this time since my last three White male doctors were nothing to write home about. The last one made me so angry with his rudeness, inability to answer my questions, and lack of kindness (he barely knew my name, never smiled, had a disdainful air bordering on racism, and explained absolutely nothing to my satisfaction). I almost gave him a colonoscopy right then and there in his office with my golf umbrella.
In my search for a new butt doctor, I have discovered that many colonoscopies are no longer done in hospitals, but most of them are done in doctor-owned and doctor-run assembly-line factories. In other words, they line patients up by the hour, roto-router their asses in less than 30 minutes each, move them though like an “in and out” burger-type joint, and then send them home with a bill that is about the cost of a Caribbean cruise for two (unless the butt patient is lucky enough to have insurance). According to some sources, gastroenterologists (on average) earn $380,000 per year. (I was definitely in the wrong profession.)
~~THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE A PERFECTIONIST’S NIGHTMARE~~
My doctor seemed fine enough this time. She was personable, seemed to know her stuff, and was very respectful. But it was her butt factory that caught my attention and spawned this post for my blog. After my consultation with my lovely new doctor, I was handed off to an office manager (not even a nurse—what happened to all the nurses?). I was given a colonoscopy packet which contained what seemed to be 100 pages of instructions, looked like a dissertation, and I was convinced there was a pass/fail test at the end of it. The problem with me is that I’m a perfectionist and a colonoscopy is like the test of my nightmares—miss one step and you’ll a) shit all over yourself during the prep or b) shit all over the doctor during the procedure. There are so many obstacles that if you trip up on any one of them, you’re toast. I can’t take that kind of pressure—especially at my age.
AUTHOR’S DIARY: RECAP OF BUTT FACTORY AND COLONOSCOPY
As I pulled up my chair in front of the office manager’s desk, she began reading me my prep package while highlighting the pertinent aspects with a highlighter—which turned out to be every line in the instruction packet.
“The following instructions are VERY important. Please read thoroughly and follow instructions as outlined. If you have any questions, please call our office. NOTE: PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOUR ARRIVAL/PROCEDURE TIME MAY CHANGE DUE TO REASONS BEYOND OUR CONTROL.”
ME: Excuse me, excuse me, Nurse, I mean office lady, if I have to wait for my procedure to start, does it mean the doctor has punctured someone’s colon or perforated someone’s bowel and they are outfitting her with a colostomy bag?
O. MANAGER: No, it doesn’t mean that. Where on Earth did you come up with that?
ME: I googled “what’s the worst thing that can happen when getting a colonoscopy” and almost didn’t show up today after I read the Google answer.
O. MANAGER: Do a favor for all the doctors in the world—stay away from the Google, Mrs. Tomczyk, when it applies to health matters.
ME: Can you guarantee the doctor won’t puncture anything once I’m conked out and she’ll be all up in my ass?
O. MANAGER: (Sigh) No, I can’t guarantee anything. I’m just the office manager. But if it makes you feel better, I had my colonoscopy last month and everything went swimmingly. I’m sure everything will be fine.
ME: Can you, Mrs. Office Manager—can you? No disrespect, but you’re not even a nurse. No offense—but I TRUST nurses even more than doctors.
O. MANAGER: Well, I’m not a nurse, but you can trust me. Let’s move on to the next section, shall we?
“5 DAYS PRIOR TO THE PROCEDURE STOP THE FOLLOWING MEDICATIONS: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, blood thinners. 3 DAYS PRIOR TO THE PROCEDURE: Purchase One 238 gram bottle of Miralax, two 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade (NO RED OR ORANGE), four Dulcolax tablets (laxative). 2 DAYS PRIOR TO THE PROCEDURE: Stop salads, fruits (raw, cooked, and canned)
“ON THE DAY BEFORE THE PROCEDURE, FOLLOW A CLEAR LIQUID DIET ONLY. You may have black coffee, tea, clear soups, clear fruit juices (NO RED), Crystal Light (NO RED), Jell-O (NO RED), Sprite, Ginger Ale, and Gatorade. DO NOT EAT SOLID FOOD. Do not ingest anything by mouth 4 hours prior to your procedure. This includes water, gum and hard candy. If you do, we may not be able to perform the procedure.”
At that point, Office Manager sent me on my way (I think I had gotten on her nerves) with the rest of my instructions highlighted in yellow, and a stern warning to do everything exactly as the instructions said. I could have sworn I heard her say under her breath, “and for God’s sake, stay away from the Google machine.”)
~~NO TWO COLONOSCOPY PREPS ARE THE SAME~~
I obeyed the Office Manager and followed the colonoscopy instructions down to a T. I made it through the first day of the two-day prep with flying colors. I was very hungry, but I got through it without a struggle. There are so many stored fat cells on my body that I could go without food for weeks and still function at full throttle, although I kept moaning to my husband (WW=”White and Wonderful”) about how hungry I was so that he would pamper me. It worked.
On the day before the procedure the games began. The last time I had a colonoscopy, the prep took all day, and the prep mixture tasted like cremated dead people ground up into Gatorade. This prep mixture appeared to be a newer method which required that I exist on clear liquids and Jell-O (no red!) until 4:30 p.m, and then consume the colonoscopy mixture starting in the late afternoon. (The green Jell-O is a bitch, by the way! Either they’ve changed the formula from when I was a kid, or I only ate the cherry flavor way back then.)
At 4:30 p.m. I took 4 Dulcolax tablets (laxative) with a full glass of water, and I felt nothing—not even a tummy rumble.
At 6:30 p.m. I mixed 119 grams of Miralax into a full bottle (32 ounces) of white cherry Gatorade. Still nothing, although the white cherry Gatorade was quite tasty. I was managing this colonoscopy prep very well, indeed. My husband kept telling me how proud he was at how my body was handling it all. (Still nothing but a urine spritz up until that point.)
At 8:30 p.m. I mixed another 119 grams of Miralax into a full bottle of lime Gatorade and went back to the couch to watch TV with WW. Our favorite pastime is to cuddle while we watch TV. I snuggle while he rubs my back and makes my life all right with the world. He kept reminding me to keep chugging my Miralax so that I’d be finished before bedtime, and I kept telling him that he need not worry because I was handling this colonoscopy prep like a boss! At one point, something hilarious happened in the movie we were watching and I laughed. I felt what I perceived to be a fart emanating from my body due to my spontaneous laugh. I had forgotten that when one is doing a colonoscopy prep, one should never, ever trust a fart….
My poor husband, my poor couch, my poor throw pillows, my poor rug… As to my clothes, they have been burned! No washing machine in the world could salvage those garments. As to my bathroom toilets and floors—let’s just say, hazmat suits were needed to clean them. I am spry for being 70 years old, but I don’t move as fast as I used to when I was a lot younger and a long distance runner. It really showed this time around. Out of twenty-two bathroom sprints, I barely made two of them. The rest I just let my ass explode at will.
~~YOUR ASS CAN MAKE YOU A VIDEO STAR~~
My check-in time was 9:00 a.m. the next day. I had explosive diarrhea until 8:45 a.m. By that time, all that was coming out of my butt was Miralax foam. I was so worried that I wouldn’t make it to the colonoscopy factory without destroying my husband’s new Lexus (which might have been cause for a divorce—I’m not going to lie) that I literally made a make-shift butt-plug out of tissue paper to try and put a stop to the onslaught. And then I prayed for God to have mercy on my sorry-ass.
Fortunately, God hears my prayers and everything stopped at exactly 9:00 a.m. (With the old system, all elimination stopped by midnight the day before. I think the colonoscopy people need to rethink this new plan. Just sayin’!) Nothing more came out of my body after I was told to strip off everything except my shoes and slip into a backless hospital gown. (Shoes—WTF!?) No one could explain that juxtaposition to me.
Everything from 9:00 a.m. became a blur because everything happened so fast: An actual nurse gave me a ream of papers to sign which basically said they could kill me, sell my soul to the Devil, and I could not hold them responsible. One of the pages required my permission for my procedure to be used for teaching purposes which seemed okay, at the time. (WW said, he didn’t see anything wrong with it—young doctors have to learn somehow, right?) The nurse hooked me up to an IV, the anesthesiologist explained he’d be putting me “under” with the drug “propofol” (the drug that killed Michael Jackson—oh my God!), and the nurse’s assistant explained that my intestines would be pumped full of air and not to worry if I experienced a lot of farts when I woke up after the procedure. The head nurse showed me the instrument they’d be using: something that looked like a garden hose with a GoPro camera at the end of it. Then the anesthesiologist wheeled me in my bed down the hall through a traffic jam of several beds coming to and from operating rooms to something that looked no bigger than a closet.
My doctor was there looking a little worse for wear. She had laryngitis, and she looked like she hadn’t slept all night. Apparently, she’d already performed two procedures before me. I wasn’t feeling confident in her, given her harried appearance. I really should have fled right then and there; after all, I still had on my shoes, but I was hemmed in by two guard rails and hooked up to a giant oxygen tank. The anesthesiologist announced that the “propofol” he would soon pump through my IV would sting “a little” just as I experienced a burning sensation in my veins so hot that it felt like someone was administering liquid fire through my IV. I sat straight up in the bed, reached for my IV to snatch it loose from my hand, as I shot the anesthesiologist a look that said: “If I come out of this alive, your ass is grass, Negro!” At that moment, I heard my doctor say, “Thank you for letting us film this procedure for classroom purposes—I assure you, your face will not appear on camera.” I screamed (or so I thought I did)—“NOOOOOO, WHAT? DOES THAT MEAN MY ASS AND MY HOO-HAH WILL BE ALL OVER YOUTUBE?” I collapsed without managing to rip out my IV and awoke 30 minutes later in the recovery room to the sound of a rather large Elephant farting with abandonment while a nurse called my name: “Wake up, Mrs. Tomczyk—it’s all over!”
All jokes aside, according to the American Cancer Society:
“Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. It’s expected to cause about 51,020 deaths during 2019. The death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. There are a number of likely reasons for this. One is that colorectal polyps are now being found more often by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers or are being found earlier when the disease is easier to treat. In addition, treatment for colorectal cancer has improved over the last few decades.”
My doctor found three tiny polyps in my colon. I am waiting to see if they are pre-cancerous or not. If you’re 50 years old and over, please get your colon checked out. It isn’t fun, but it may save your life. At the very least it will give you a story to regale your friends with for years to come.
I KNOW, I KNOW…I SAID I WOULDN’T POST ANYTHING ABOUT TRUMP, BUT I JUST COULDN’T LEAVE HIM OUT OF THE CONVERSATION WHEN TALKING ABOUT ASSHOLES!
IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ OTHER STORIES ABOUT MY PREVIOUS COLONOSCOPIES AND “LUCILLE BALL” ESCAPADES IN LIFE, CHECK OUT MY LATEST BOOK THE FETUS CHRONICLES AT AMAZON.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com
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