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By Gary Atkinson

Today, I turned the other cheek, as it were, and submitted to my first colonoscopy. I know that we’ve all heard the stories, wisecracks and benefits of undergoing this procedure. Still, I thought I’d give you my own opinion on the matter. To wit, I’m desperately hoping that the government’s new health plan will include finding a different way to get this same information … a method that doesn’t involve wearing backless garments.

The whole process was pretty well laid out for me at the doctor’s office. They provided me with a cheat sheet and a lot of practical advice. For the last several days, I’ve been partaking in what they euphemistically referred to as a “low residue diet”. The last 24 hours this sumptuous meal plan has been replaced by “clear liquids only” regimen (the “no residue diet”?).

However, their plan left out a couple of crucial steps. For instance, I added an idea that was eminently practical. I called up Sheldon Farms in Ashby and had them swing by to empty my septic tank.

Inside the prep box, I found a blister pack of pills and a plastic jug. The two little tablets looked innocent enough, and I downed them with a glass of water, consistent with my present diet. My wife Kim mixed up the solution in the plastic jug supplied. Known as Halflytely, the recipe called for lots of water, cherry flavoring and what I supposed was a concentrated and powdered form of the Guatemalan Public Water Supply. Upon reflection, I am thankful that they didn’t prescribe “Fulllytely” as the Half version was enough to turn my colon into a disgusting Powerwashing machine. And, it is unlikely that I’ll ever again be able to eat a cherry cough drop without developing cramps.

I poured myself a glass of the Halflytely on the rocks, a routine that I would repeat every ten minutes until I polished off the entire contents of Kim’s infernal broth. I have to admit that by the time I reached the last couple of tumblers worth, my gut was a pressurized vessel and something deep within me was rumbling with seismic magnitude. I raced upstairs and made it to the bathroom just moments before my insides simply detonated. This process continued for the next several hours, with my derriere spewing like a “Crazy Daisy Lawn Sprinkler Toy”.

Eventually, after the Halflytely IED finished cleansing me of everything I’d eaten since sixth grade, things finally settled down. The lack of food, desperate stairmaster routine and involuntary ab workout left me completely spent. So, I fell off to a fitful sleep even though I knew that in a few short hours, I was going to lose my virginity.

Kim was “thrilled” that I had arranged the first appointment of the day, way too early for proper hair styling, make-up and such. Her dilemma left my concerns about being impaled by a 60-year-old doctor’s rectal camera seem rather inconsequential don’t you think? However, I preferred not to spend any more time dreading getting tubed from both ends like the main attraction at a pig roast.

My exam room was chilly, or perhaps it was nerves that left me shivering in my flimsy burnoose. Nurse Mary explained to me that they would do the endoscopy first. This consisted of sliding the camera down my throat and opening up my esophagus. I was thankful that they weren’t using the back entrance first before sending it down my throat. But before they turned me into Linda Lovelace, I wondered why they couldn’t just keep going rather than violating my nether regions at all. Mary answered, “Doesn’t work that way” in a singsong voice that left me certain she was related to my ex-wife.

Soon “Darlene” showed up to start an IV in my right hand. I don’t much care for needles of any sort and tried to distract myself by noticing the wall mounted flat screens arrayed around my bed that would soon be broadcasting a program featuring the biggest ass on TV since Jon Gosselin.

A few minutes later, Dr. Andreson appeared, a bit more chipper than I’d like under the circumstances, and gave me another rundown on what I could expect. I would be under conscious sedation, an oxymoron if ever I’ve heard of one. They gave me three injections, allegedly, as I clearly recall only the first one. I was out cold, slumbering more deeply than an evening when Kim has command of our remote control.

Thankfully, I was completely unaware of being violated in the name of preventive medicine. I awoke while they were wheeling me into another room. In my groggy state, I was informed that it was typical to have a lot of gas as the procedure involves introducing air into your colon. I was dimly aware of that familiar feeling and was encouraged to cut loose. I also sensed that there were other post-colonoscopy patients nearby as the nurses quickly vacated the place. Dr. Andreson dropped by and explained that he had removed three small polyps. The name sounds innocuous enough … like friends of the Teletubbies, or something. But I figure that anything continuing to grasp onto my innards despite the Halflytely tsunami can’t be very good for me.

He also suggested that I have my next colonoscopy in five years. That gives the U.S. government until 2014 to do something really useful with health care in this country.

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