09:16:17 pm on
Friday 21 Jun 2024

The Dreaded Event
Matt Seinberg

As I mentioned in a previous column, the time had comefor one of the most dreaded and invasive tests any man over the age of 50 has to experience, the colonoscopy. I know people who had it. All had a different take on the experience.

To a man, they agreed the time leading up to the actual test was by far the worst part. Humorist Dave Barry had written a very funny and graphic column on his experience that made me dread it even more. Thanks Dave.

My friend Steve, in Florida, had sent it to me, thinking that I would enjoy it. Are you kidding, Steve? The Dave Barry column made me not to want the test because of the preparation!

The doctor gave me a prescription for something called, MoviPrep. It sounds like something you would take before you go to see a bad movie. I only wish all MoviPrep did was make bad movies seem good. I would have rather gone to a movie than take this stuff.

As I looked at the ingredients, one stood out to me and that was Aspartame. This is NutraSweet. I am allergic to this chemical, as it gives me terrible headaches. When the product first came out that was one of the listed side effects. Well, lucky me, I get to have a major headache.

It was too late to call the physician and ask for something else. I read the instructions. I would have preferred to follow the directions on the box, but I had to do as told.

On Monday morning, I prepare this concoction for consumption later that night. The package said it had a lemon flavor. Hmmmm, maybe I'll get lucky and it will taste like lemonade.

I leave work early, Monday, and get home to this cold container of MoviPrep. I pour out the first dose of eight ounces, and give it a sniff. It smells okay, but that doesn't mean anything. I drink it. It's awful.

Every fifteen minutes I have to drink this medical swill and then make a new batch for 4 AM, as the test is at 9 AM on Tuesday morning and the instructions say I have to be done with it 5 hours before.

I warn you now, while I'm not going to get gross and disgusting, the following details may not be for those with weak stomachs. Let's pause for a moment, shall we?

The instructions state that within four hours, a "loose, watery movement," should occur. Oh joy, just what I hoped to experience. Four hours comes and goes, but nothing happens. So do I wait or call the doctor?

My wife says not to worry, something will happen. It does, about twenty minutes later, but not as the instructions described. It is what I would call a "normal movement."

My stomach is rumbling, grumbling and doing more flips and flops than does a trapeze artist at a circus. I am in much discomfort and finding it hard to sleep. My stomach feels like an alien is going to pop out of it at any time.

My wife says that if men had to give birth to children, they wouldn't. Can we compare the stomach pain I was in to childbirth? I don't think so, but then again my wife has yet to have a colonoscopy and I haven't given birth; let's just call it even right now.

At 1:20 am, I awaken, abruptly, to severe stomach pain and rush to the bathroom. What should have happened at 10 am is happening now and every twenty minutes like clockwork.

I was prepared to entertain myself just in case. I took my iTouch with me into the bathroom and started to watch the movie "Up." I also think I fell asleep on the porcelain throne, until cramps woke me up again.

My thought, at that time, was very simple: please, shoot me now. I wanted this to end and hurt whatever sadist invented this vile MoviPrep solution. Either that or make him drink it, repeatedly.

I wake up at 4 am and start the second dose. My stomach is doing so many flips I'm surprised I can stand up, much less walk straight. I chug the stuff down, cursing the entire time, wanting this done.

Marcy wakes me up at 8 am. I am tired from lack of sleep and bad dreams about the colonoscopy. We leave the house at 8:45 for the 9 o'clock appointment. We arrive on time. I am third in line for the test. I didn't realize colonoscopy was big business.

The physician brings me into the room, hands me a gown and introduces me to another physician, the anesthesiologist. This is the only part I enjoy, the anesthesia.

The last words I remember hearing was the physician saying he was going to "lube me up." Not the words any man wants to hear, no matter what the circumstances. My last thought before going to sleep was this: "What is he going to buy me for lunch?"

I wake up, groggy, an hour later, to find out he removed one polyp; still, he didn't have a clear view, as I wasn't "totally cleaned out." Are you kidding me? After what I went through, I wasn't clean. Then he tells me I have to do this again next year!

Well, next year, either let me have something other than MoviPrep or I'll use lots and a great many prunes. Then we'll see who gets the last laugh.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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