Colonoscopy brings out the worst — in every sense of the word 7

Let me ask you a quick question – how did you spend your Sunday? Church, maybe, or perhaps you slept in. Could be you took the dog to the park, or met your old hippie friends to toss the Frisbee around. And maybe you topped everything off with a good, hearty breakfast. Mmm … I can almost smell the bacon!

And how, you might ask, did I spend my Sunday? Did I go to church? No, I did not – nor did I sleep in. No park, and no Frisbee, either. And for sure no breakfast.

None of that stuff for me, thank you very much. I spent my Sabbath trying to write a column while simultaneously prepping for a colonoscopy.

If you’ve never undergone this procedure (the colonoscopy, I mean), the drill is basically this: you fast for 24 hours, and then they sedate you and put a tiny camera in your colon for a look-see. I know all of this is for good cause, but if I wanted to be starved, drugged and anally violated I would have joined the Skull and Bones Society.

If you’re my age, you’ve probably had a colonoscopy; if you aren’t, you surely know someone who has. And no doubt that someone won’t shut up with the horror stories of having to choke down an enormous volume of noxious intestinal Drano, and being effectively chained to the commode for a day.

I can attest that those stories are true. Especially nasty is gagging down a gallon – and BTW, that’s a cup every 10 minutes for about three hours – of what goes down like refrigerated saliva but doesn’t taste nearly as good. Between that and a laxative taken earlier in the day, I felt like a can of beer that someone had dropped on the floor and slipped back into the fridge for a laugh. No kidding – about 8 o’clock I started sneezing, and was seriously afraid I might propel myself across the room like a very frightened squid.

It’s also funny (but not funny ha-ha) how hardships (and by “hardships” I mean “my problems”) can bring out the cruel streak in others (and by “others” I mean “my wife.”) On my no-solid-food Sunday, I broke my fast with a cup of broth; she had a couple of slices of toasted cinnamon bread. For lunch, I supped on another cup of broth; she had leftover porcini ravioli in pesto.  My dinner was – care to guess? Yes, a cup of broth but also a bowl of orange Jell-O (or at least orange-colored). My wife made bruschetta with fresh basil from the neighbors’ garden.

Like I said: cruel. And it didn’t stop there. I was whining to her about having to do double duty, and she went all Dorothy Parker on me. “Writing a column and prepping for a colonoscopy huh? Look at it this way – they both involve excreting large quantities of something unpleasant so, actually, you’re multi-tasking.”


  1. Look on the bright side. For the first time in years, you are not completely full of shit. The Skull and Bones gag was nicely turned.

  2. Look on the bright side. Some people pay big bucks to go to a fancy spa and get a high colonic and a cleansing fast. So the glass may actually be half full……oh sorry I guess your “gl’ass” is actually totally empty. But then of course that make for the clearest video (you did get the video right?)

  3. The best thing about a colonoscopy is the sedation. There are a few delicious moments before the lights go out when nothing much hurts. The drugs without the procedure would be even better.

  4. I didn’t get a video, but the doctor did position me so I could watch the whole thing on TV. Having never been all that curious about what my lower G.I. tract would look like from inside, I found the show pretty dull. Flat story arc; repetitious action; overuse of the cliched hand-operated camera style. It totally deserved cancellation after one episode. Maybe yours was better? At any rate, you got a great column out of it — even if Liz had the best line.

  5. Also, not apropos of this particular column, I’m very surprised to see that “sea lion porn” doesn’t show up more prominently in the graphical chart of your column themes. It’s always struck me as your dominant literary motif.

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