I wrote about my first colonoscopy three years ago — to the consternation of a few sensitive readers — and swore once would be enough on that subject, thank you very much.
Unfortunately, the highlight of my week was my follow-up colonoscopy, so I’m forced to revisit this old and, to some, distressing topic.
(For the distressed among you, please consider this a public service — my little way of reminding everyone over 50 to get their colon screened for cancer. It’s important, and it’s really not that bad. Honestly. Just do it.)
Colonoscopy No. 2 was similar to colonoscopy No. 1 in many ways.
The night-before prep was the low point, and the nap after the procedure was a heavenly high. (On what other occasion can you sleep for four hours in the afternoon, guilt-free, wake up at 5:30 p.m., and fall asleep effortlessly at 11 the same night? That’s what a Michael Jackson cocktail of Versed, Demerol and Benadryl will do for you, baby!)
Just like the first go ’round, I spent more time in the “pre-op” holding area — filling out forms, answering questions, listening to instructions — than in the actual procedure. At least, that’s how I remember it. That’s what Versed is for, my nurse said pleasantly, “to make you forget what happens to you in there.” (Everybody’s a comedian on the endoscopy floor.)
The pre-op drill was pretty much the same — temperature taken, medications and allergies entered into the computer, hospital bracelets attached, bar code scanned (yes, just like at the grocery store), I.V. started ...
Then came ominous post-op instructions I didn’t recall from before:
“After the procedure, you’ll have air trapped in your colon. Go ahead and let it out,” my prep nurse said, adamantly. “Don’t be shy. This is no place to be politically correct.”
The pep talk continued.
“Just let it go. Really. We encourage it. Sometimes we hear people all the way down the hall ...”
He was so enthusiastic, it made me wonder if the nurses stood around the desk, scoring patients like Olympic gymnastic officials: 9.7… 9.6 … 9.9 (that from the Russian judge) …
Then, it hit me. My prep nurse was a guy. Of course!
I’m not saying the advice wasn’t valid. It’s just that when it comes to — how shall I put this — breaking wind, men tend to be more into it than women.
After all, would your grandmother dream of trying the old “pull my finger” trick? Of course not. But, Grandpa? You bet your boots, by cracky!
My children’s grandmother (aka my mother) believes that the four-letter “f” word used in modern slang to describe the act of, er, flatus, is the most disgusting word in the English language. Even worse than that other four-letter “f” word… and that’s saying a lot!
I was raised to believe that — ahem — wind-breaking is something done discreetly in the privacy of your own home, with only your immediate family as witnesses, and where you can blame the dog. (“Lucy!! Bad girl!”)
Not everyone shares this point of view.
In my tailgate group, there are men (who shall remain nameless out of respect for their long-suffering wives) who take unbridled delight in the remote-controlled “wind” machine they bring to every pre-game gathering. They set up the “greatest gag gift ever made” next to the sidewalk and set it off every time an unsuspecting football fan walks by. The machine emits 15 different, er, human sounds (think: whoopee cushion symphony) that cause heads to turn, foreheads to scowl and the pranksters in question (remember, these are MIDDLE-AGED ADULTS we’re talking about) to collapse in hysterics … over and over and over again.
And the women? We just hang our heads in shame.
You see, we females are simply more refined. We have an innate ladylike sensibility that precludes us from enjoying crass acts like belching, scratching and, well, that.
When I woke up in the recovery room, uncomfortable and fidgeting, the post-op nurse (a female, incidentally) gently suggested I might want to create a little breeze of my own.
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly,” I said, according to my husband. (I have no memory of this, so I must rely on his eyewitness account.)
“Then what did I do?” I asked, later that evening.
“You let it rip,” he replied.
“Oh, no!” I cried. “I’m mortified! Humiliated! What would Mother say?”
“Don’t worry,” he quipped. “They hear it every day. Besides, the Russian judge gave it a perfect 10.”