Tag Archives: Colon Cancer

A day in the life

And what a day it was.

The Event was scheduled for 1:00 pm, but for some reason they wanted me there at noon. After I sat down in the waiting room (emphasis on wait) I started talking to the guy beside me. (It’s around 11:30 at this point) His scope had been scheduled for 9:30. This made my 1:00 appointment look like a pipe dream. I counted heads in the waiting room, trying to sort through those waiting for their own Event or those waiting for other Eventees and it appeared like there might be seven in front of me. (I was to find out later it was only six)

So the wait began. I played games on my phone, counted ceiling tiles, watched the bomb house burn, eaves-dropped on the life and times of Oklahoma living from those around me, tried to nap, and thought about all the other things I’d rather be doing than sitting in that waiting room.

At around 2:30 they call me to the nurses station. I thought to myself an hour and a half late – that’s not bad. I had to completely undress, except for my socks and teeth, and put on one of those uber-sexy hospital gowns, open in the back – untied. On a side note, ninety percent of the patients that get a colonoscopy are men, so why do all the gowns have little pink and blue flowers?

Forty five minutes later they were still trying to find a vein. A side product of not eating solid food for two days and drinking the stuff designed to clean you out completely, is dehydration. And when that happens your BP lowers and your veins get somewhat deflated. I turned into a dart-board and for the next half-hour, every nurse in the department got their shot at the target. After four different staff members surrendered to their inability, they called in the resident expert. One of them said, “If so-and-so can’t hit him, nobody can.” I started praying for so-and-so. As it turned out, they were right – so-and-so found the sweet spot and I barely felt a thing. (it was 3:15)

Next they wheeled me into the procedure room where I finally saw it. You know, that long black snake looking thing that was going to go all Hollywood up my butt. For the first time I started getting nervous and expressed a need for Valium. “Oh, you won’t be needing any Valium, Mr. Mills,” was the expressive reply from the charge nurse. I questioned her sanity. A few minutes later the doctor came in with his own set of question for me. I don’t remember what he asked. I was still focused on the snake.

He told the nurse what drugs to administer. Ten something of this and fifty something of that. I know now he was just plying me with drugs. I looked at the clock – it was four in the afternoon. And then I fell down the rabbit hole. I can’t tell you much about the procedure after that. I felt pretty uncomfortable a time or two. I remember seeing that big high-definition screen showing the insides of Mickey Mills, but beyond that. It was all so anti-climatic and clinical. No dinner, no flowers, no candy, and the movie was about some tunnel.

Next thing I knew, I was coming to in post-op playing Seventy-Six Trombones, slightly out of tune, with my butt-cheeks. They let me get my clothes on and the nurse came in with the instructions for the rest of the night. No driving, watch for blood, and get something to eat. She also told me that they removed two polyps and could tell me more after they get lab tests. More waiting to be done. It was 5:45.

On the way home we got a pineapple shake and a large order of onion rings. Perhaps the best I ever had. (I wonder what I’ll have to write about tomorrow?

A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:
1. ‘Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before!
2. ‘Find Amelia Earhart yet?’
3. ‘Can you hear me NOW?’
4. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’
5. ‘You know, in Arkansas , we’re now legally married.’
6. ‘Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?’
7. ‘You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out…’
8. ‘Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!’
9. ‘If your hand doesn’t fit, you must quit!
10. ‘Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.’
11. ‘You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?’
12. ‘God, now I know why I am not gay.’
And the best one of all.
13. ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?’



Four hours to the event

I’m so dry I’m a fire hazard. My morning pee was a sandstorm. Camels are collecting in the front yard. The well has run dry. My mouth feels like the Fourth Marine Battalion has been doing maneuvers behind my teeth.

Get the picture yet? Yesterday’s preparation for “The Event” was everything everyone told me it would be – and then some.  Without being crudely graphic just know the worst part of the prep was this gallon jug of stuff that looked like water and tasted like WD-Forty. And I had to drink the whole gallon in three hours. Then the fun began – doing laps in the house the rest of the day until the only thing left was me.

In case you were wondering, The Scribe is Fifty-Six years old. Well past the age recommended for “The Event.” The thing is, a colonoscopy might save your life. If you are over fifty and haven’t had one, consider the following:

  • Each year, more than 50,000 people die from colorectal cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death due to cancer for men and women combined. (Lung cancer is the first.)
  • Someone dies from colorectal cancer every 9.3 minutes.
  • More lives are lost each year to colorectal cancer than breast cancer and AIDS combined.

A colonoscopy is the first line of defense. Now, I’m not saying I have colorectal cancer. That’s what this test will find out.  I’m just saying that early detection is key to nipping it in the butt. (so to speak)

Well, I’d better get my butt to the VA. More later…

“Could you write me a note for my wife, saying that my head is not, in fact, up there?” ~Anonymous colonoscopy receipient to his doctor after the procedure.

The eyes have it

It’s easy to take something as simple as seeing for granted – that is until you can’t. Many of you know that almost two years ago surgeons removed a cataract from my right eye. It was to a point where all I could see was a blur. The cataract was surgically removed and a permanent lens implant inserted underneath the cornea. Within days I was seeing better than I had in years.

So now, two years later, the same issue has attacked the left eye. It’s going to be the same solution. I would like to get in sooner, but they are backed up about three months, so I am probably looking at sometime late March or early April. I’ll have to struggle along with it until then. The downside is the headaches that comes from spending screen time. I’ll just have to deal with that as it comes.

On a side note, tomorrow I start a ‘liquid diet’ to get ready for The Event on Thursday. I’m looking forward to a short term weight loss in the ten pound range leading up to The Event. I have to check in at the VA this Thursday at noon for The Event. Until then, I’ll slowly starve myself and drink their vile solution. I’ll probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know about The Event. Until then it’s jello and grape juice – blech!

“He’s going to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your butt.” ~ Dave Barry – The Miami Herald