Ask Me About My Colonoscopy

When burying people up to their necks in sand and releasing ants to crawl all over their heads became passé, someone invented the colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are especially important for people over the age of 50 because it provides us with the need for something that no one ever told us about and which can't be spelled anyway. And like childbirth, scary stories circulate about what is involved. Several years ago, Katie Couric tried to demystify the procedure by having one on national television. Thanks to her report, many thousands of people had colonoscopies. Many thousands of others fled to the Ural Mountains.

The day before Life in the Boomer Lane was scheduled to fly to London, she had one. She knows what you are thinking: How come she has all the fun? There are, indeed, just a couple things that rival a colonoscopy prep. These include having one's eyeballs extracted by a nutcracker and wearing underpants made out of industrial strength sandpaper. For an entire day before the colonoscopy, only clear liquids can be consumed, along with pills and drinks that clean out one's system. Water must be drunk in copious amounts. The literature LBL was given said, "Stay close to a bathroom." This understatement was comparable to Napoleon being told to "Wear warm clothing" before he invaded Russia.

LBL felt that there was entirely too little fun in all that, so she managed to take the fun to the next level. She did this by straining her back the day before in Pilates class, but the pain waited until the afternoon of Prep Day to go into high gear. And, because Advil isn't allowed to be taken, the pain was able to run amok and all the little pain receptors allowed to multiply almost as fast as the Duggars. So, all through the night, one part of LBL's body was screaming "Hurry!" while another was screaming even more loudly "Don't move!" A third part was making periodic forays into the bedroom to shriek "I can't take this anymore!" at Now Husband. NH has the ability to remain sound asleep and still carry on intelligent conversations. So LBL heard a lot of "Oh, you poor thing," and "I wish there were something I could do for you" between snores.

By the time 6 a.m. rolled around, LBL began to obsess about anesthesia. At 8:30 a.m., when she arrived at the hospital, she was asked what procedure she was there for. "Back pain," LBL said. She had forgotten about the colonoscopy. Unfortunately, they reminded her. The anesthesia was administered and the deed was done. LBL awoke five lbs. lighter than she was 24 hours before, and her back pain had subsided. And she was euphoric that she had another 10 years before she had to go through this again.

LBL mentioned to the nurse that she was getting on a plane early the next morning. "You can't travel for three days," she said. "It was in the instructions." LBL told her she was getting on the plane. The nurse went to tell the doctor on her. LBL felt like she was back in elementary school and had just thrown a spit ball at Larry Harnick. The nurse came back. "The doctor said it was in the instructions. No flying." At least LBL wasn't told she would miss recess. LBL and the nurse negotiated back and forth a couple of times, until LBL felt like she was buying a used car. Finally, the nurse sighed audibly and gave up. She told LBL to drink copious amounts of water for the rest of the day, and then, when on the plane, keep drinking and walk around every 20 minutes. LBL agreed. She would have agreed to get on the plane in her surgical outfit ("Put this on with the opening in the back") just to get out of there.

LBL's flight was uneventful. She drank little and stayed in her seat the entire six and a half hours. She knows she didn't follow orders, but she didn't care. The last place in the world she wanted to see was the the inside of another bathroom.