Medicine from the Bottom Up

There is a nasty little medical procedure out there, and it’s got your name on it. It involves a doctor, and anesthesiologist and a nurse, all conspiring to stick a camera in an inappropriate place and make a reality show out of it. You can try to avoid it for a while, and tell the doctor how busy you are, and that there’s a ping-pong tournament coming up, and your sister is going to be in town next month, not necessarily YOUR town, but the doctor is probably not checking on it or anything. And then your wife will chime in helpfully with some available dates, because she is concerned about your health, and because she is always telling you to store things where the sun don’t shine anyway.

We’re not talking about an operation or anything, let me stress that. This is a procedure. Anything doctors don’t want you to get nervous about they call a procedure, and if you’re still nervous, they go ahead and proceed with the procedure anyway.

My friend refuses to go in for this test. He considers the whole area a one-way traffic zone. He may have even put up a sign. I keep telling him you have to at least consider a yield sign, or maybe a four-way stop sign. And by the way, how come I have to do it if he doesn’t? I would ask my mom if she were still here, but I’m sure she would come up with some dumb reason like “he doesn’t know any better.” My mom always knew better than to not do something I didn’t want to do.

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The admitting process at the surgery center has been updated since the last time I was there. They fit you with a paper bracelet—I have my own hashtag! Then they take great delight in scanning you with a bar-code reader at every opportunity. I felt like a bag of potato chips, only with worse cholesterol numbers.

The nurse subjects you to a battery of questions, like your name, your birthday, nothing involving math. She asks you if you have any allergies, and more questions relating to your medical history. They asked if I had diabetes, and I scored big here—not even one diabete.

Then, the anesthesiologist waltzes in and asks the exact same questions, and just for fun, I mix up the answers. He doesn’t even notice. But I feel like he knows a lot of personal information about me, and I know nothing about him. So I ask him some questions: Who was the 27th president? (Taft) What is the capital of North Dakota (Bismarck). He got them both right so it was time to begin.

I don’t remember anything about the transaction since I was out like a light. They told me that as an option, I could remain awake and watch it on the monitor, but I figured I would Tivo it. I woke up 20 minutes later feeling like a new man.

The things I was saying as I was coming out of anesthesia caused them to want to keep me under observation for a little while longer, but my wife convinced them that I was making more sense than usual.

Afterwards they tell you not to operate any heavy machinery or make any important decisions. The nurse implied that I personally should never do either of those two things. She said I could make any important decisions that my wife normally lets me make, limited to buttons on the remote control, but nothing involving clothing.

Strangely, they present you with a contact sheet with color photos of your colon. Even weirder, the photos are wallet-sized. I imagine the ladies at the bridge club comparing them to see who wins the Miss Photogenic award.

Say hello at: And join Rick and the Trashcan Poets for some rock & roll at Lucy’s Lounge in Pleasantville on Friday, June 10!

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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