Growing older -- "A Journey Into My Colon ... And Yours" by Dave Barry

This is a discussion on Growing older -- "A Journey Into My Colon ... And Yours" by Dave Barry within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; For those of us over the mid-life line and approaching official "older fart" status, I thought y'all might get a kick out of this. Dave ...

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Thread: Growing older -- "A Journey Into My Colon ... And Yours" by Dave Barry

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Growing older -- "A Journey Into My Colon ... And Yours" by Dave Barry

    For those of us over the mid-life line and approaching official "older fart" status, I thought y'all might get a kick out of this.

    Dave Barry has written a recent article about the wonderful process of ... uh ... er, gaining life wisdom. Yeah, that's it.

    Link: Miami Herald article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Barry
    Posted on Fri, Feb. 22, 2008

    Dave Barry: A journey into my colon -- and yours

    OK. You turned 50. You know you're supposed to get a colonoscopy. But you haven't. Here are your reasons:

    1. You've been busy.

    2. You don't have a history of cancer in your family.

    3. You haven't noticed any problems.

    4. You don't want a doctor to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your butt.

    Let's examine these reasons one at a time. No, wait, let's not. Because you and I both know that the only real reason is No. 4. This is natural. The idea of having another human, even a medical human, becoming deeply involved in what is technically known as your ''behindular zone'' gives you the creeping willies.

    I know this because I am like you, except worse. I yield to nobody in the field of being a pathetic weenie medical coward. I become faint and nauseous during even very minor medical procedures, such as making an appointment by phone. It's much worse when I come into physical contact with the medical profession. More than one doctor's office has a dent in the floor caused by my forehead striking it seconds after I got a shot.

    In 1997, when I turned 50, everybody told me I should get a colonoscopy. I agreed that I definitely should, but not right away. By following this policy, I reached age 55 without having had a colonoscopy. Then I did something so pathetic and embarrassing that I am frankly ashamed to tell you about it.

    What happened was, a giant 40-foot replica of a human colon came to Miami Beach. Really. It's an educational exhibit called the Colossal Colon, and it was on a nationwide tour to promote awareness of colo-rectal cancer. The idea is, you crawl through the Colossal Colon, and you encounter various educational items in there, such as polyps, cancer and hemorrhoids the size of regulation volleyballs, and you go, ''Whoa, I better find out if I contain any of these things,'' and you get a colonoscopy.

    If you are as a professional humor writer, and there is a giant colon within a 200-mile radius, you are legally obligated to go see it. So I went to Miami Beach and crawled through the Colossal Colon. I wrote a column about it, making tasteless colon jokes. But I also urged everyone to get a colonoscopy. I even, when I emerged from the Colossal Colon, signed a pledge stating that I would get one.

    But I didn't get one. I was a fraud, a hypocrite, a liar. I was practically a member of Congress.

    Five more years passed. I turned 60, and I still hadn't gotten a colonoscopy. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from my brother Sam, who is 10 years younger than I am, but more mature. The email was addressed to me and my middle brother, Phil. It said:

    ``Dear Brothers,

    ``I went in for a routine colonoscopy and got the dreaded diagnosis: cancer. We're told it's early and that there is a good prognosis that they can get it all out, so, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that. And of course they told me to tell my siblings to get screened. I imagine you both have.''

    Um. Well.

    First I called Sam. He was hopeful, but scared. We talked for a while, and when we hung up, I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, ``HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BUTT!''

    I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ''MoviPrep,'' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America's enemies.

    I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes -- and here I am being kind -- like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

    The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ''a loose watery bowel movement may result.'' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

    MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

    After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, ''What if I spurt on Andy?'' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

    At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the hell the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

    Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

    When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was Dancing Queen by Abba. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, Dancing Queen has to be the least appropriate.

    ''You want me to turn it up?'' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.

    ''Ha ha,'' I said.

    And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

    I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, Abba was shrieking ``Dancing Queen! Feel the beat from the tambourine . . .''

    . . . and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

    But my point is this: In addition to being a pathetic medical weenie, I was a complete moron. For more than a decade I avoided getting a procedure that was, essentially, nothing. There was no pain and, except for the MoviPrep, no discomfort. I was risking my life for nothing.

    If my brother Sam had been as stupid as I was -- if, when he turned 50, he had ignored all the medical advice and avoided getting screened -- he still would have had cancer. He just wouldn't have known. And by the time he did know -- by the time he felt symptoms -- his situation would have been much, much more serious. But because he was a grown-up, the doctors caught the cancer early, and they operated and took it out. Sam is now recovering and eating what he describes as ''really, really boring food.'' His prognosis is good, and everybody is optimistic, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that.

    Which brings us to you, Mr. or Mrs. or Miss or Ms. Over-50-And-Hasn't-Had-a-Colonoscopy. Here's the deal: You either have colo-rectal cancer, or you don't. If you do, a colonoscopy will enable doctors to find it and do something about it. And if you don't have cancer, believe me, it's very reassuring to know you don't. There is no sane reason for you not to have it done.

    I am so eager for you to do this that I am going to induce you with an Exclusive Limited Time Offer. If you, after reading this, get a colonoscopy, let me know by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Dave Barry Colonoscopy Inducement, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. I will send you back a certificate, signed by me and suitable for framing if you don't mind framing a cheesy certificate, stating that you are a grown-up who got a colonoscopy. Accompanying this certificate will be a square of limited-edition custom-printed toilet paper with an image of Miss Paris Hilton on it. You may frame this also, or use it in whatever other way you deem fit.

    But even if you don't want this inducement, please get a colonoscopy. If I can do it, you can do it. Don't put it off. Just do it.

    Be sure to stress that you want the non-Abba version.



    2008 Dave Barry
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    +1 to a long story. If you're over 50, male or female; just do it! The bark is much worse than the bite. They knock you out... 20 minutes later your up and down and feeling great! Really, I know.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

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    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    Yep. Been there, done that. They gave me drugs. I went to sleep. I woke up. Decided I really like drugs at times like these . . .
    Cheers,
    Rod
    "We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters

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    Good post, and good story, classic writing by Dave Barry. He pretty much tells it like it is. I had my first one at age 50 and had basically the same thoughts about the 17,000 foot tube. I finally relented after I thought about something so simple.........would I rather be lying on the table worrying about this colonoscopy or would I rather be lying on the table worrying about colon surgery?

    On a scale of 1-10 with 10 representing severe pain/discomfort, I'd say the colonoscopy is less than a 1........it's hardly anything, the staff makes sure you are comfortable and painfree. You take a little nap and it's over. The "worst" part, and it really isn't so bad, but you restrict your diet the day before and have to drink the clean-you-out juice. Not a great taste, but tolerable, and bathroom experiences that aren't as bad as Dave Barry described.

    I had a follow-up colonoscopy at about age 54 and it was the same deal, less anxiety on my part since I knew what to expect.

    BTW, the standard for screening is age 50, however if you are experiencing some problems don't wait until you're 50, go get it checked now, because you can have colon cancer before age 50 or you can have some other problem.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Almost sounds like some dates I been on
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    He has it down perfect! Did my first three weeks ago, and he nailed it. I have tears running down my cheeks and I'm still laughing.
    Richard

    NRA Life Member

    "But if they don't exist, how can a man see them?"

    "You may think I'm pompous, but actually I'm pedantic... let me explain the difference."

    "Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything."

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock and Glock View Post
    ... have tears running down my cheeks and I'm still laughing.
    Dave Barry kind of goes right through you, yeah? In this one, in particular.

    'Course, I'm steppin' up to the plate, soon. Got the physical in September. Just so's we don't have to get physical in October, I'll be fine. Now, about that "cleanser" drink ...
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Thumbs up

    Trilyte Sol.......mix the night before (lemon lime is less repulsive) chill well, and have a Seven-Up chaser....Call it the Rock and Glock Cocktail....
    Richard

    NRA Life Member

    "But if they don't exist, how can a man see them?"

    "You may think I'm pompous, but actually I'm pedantic... let me explain the difference."

    "Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything."

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    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    Ha ! Good story..... full fire hose mode...LMAO !
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

    Just call me a pessimistic optimist !

    U.S. Navy vet 1981-1992

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    The Dr's office mailed me all the instructions needed prior to my colonoscopy, along with an Rx for the clean-you-out juice called "Half-Litely". On the day of the colonoscopy there were about 3 staff members all at one time getting me ready to go. IV started, paperwork signed, etc. Another staffer was asking me a long list of prepared questions. One of the questions was what bowel prep did I use? I told him "Half-Deadly"............a giant laughter erupted thoughout the clinic, I think that was the first time they'd heard it called that.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Get-R-Done...I did, starting after 50, and every three years there after. Things were found and removed that would have turned to cancer in 3-5 years if left unattended.
    Quick, painless, and with insurance...very little cost.

    Can't afford to get it done? Well, you really can't afford not to...

    Stay armed...protect your colon...stay safe!
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    NRA Life Member[/B]

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock and Glock View Post
    Trilyte Sol.......mix the night before (lemon lime is less repulsive) chill well, and have a Seven-Up chaser.
    You know, some of the internet posts out there suggest that the lite-sol-chaser routine involves multi litres of liquid. That can't be right. (Though, perhaps it requires that much to wash the taste down, which despite the lemony-lime tang is not likely to win any recipe contests.)
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    You know, some of the internet posts out there suggest that the lite-sol-chaser routine involves multi litres of liquid. That can't be right. (Though, perhaps it requires that much to wash the taste down, which despite the lemony-lime tang is not likely to win any recipe contests.)
    The Trilyte Sol is Four Litres. Shake it every time, vigorously so the solution stays mixed. Follow each glass with sips of whatever (Seven-Up was yummy).

    You get very bloated....but that passes......
    Richard

    NRA Life Member

    "But if they don't exist, how can a man see them?"

    "You may think I'm pompous, but actually I'm pedantic... let me explain the difference."

    "Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything."

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    Senior Member Array jeephipwr's Avatar
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    Well my 50th BD is coming up. I guess I have some sort of intiation to look forward to. Thanks for the laughs. That was great!

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    I wonder if I could claim assault with a tubed and flanged instrument, chemical purging with gross intent to evacuate, and hence a response for cause. Hm. Mitigating factors would be the kicker: they're doctors, and (the biggie) I'm voluntarily doing this.

    Reminds me of the film Joe Versus The Volcano, with umpteen-million "satisfied" customers of the company's products. Oooof-ta.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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