Begin With The End in Mind – Part 1

Begin With The End in Mind – Part 1

I decided at my last doctor’s appointment to agree to a barrage of tests.  Not only the normal ones that occur annually, but also the ones you dread   invasive  ones that are necessary  for old people  as one ages.  Sure, the ultimate reason for this is to assure I’m not carrying any life threatening, or communicable diseases.  But as the list grew longer, I started to see the potential humor in experiencing some of this first hand.

I had just started with a new doctor, who, I began to notice, had a healthy, if not unnervingly gleeful curiosity about  human medical experimentation  fixing what ailed me. And as I got to the end of my list (yes, I made a list) I realized there is plenty that ails me.  She made a few concerned doctor noises, scribbled some notes, looked some things up in a much-dogeared manual, scrutinized me over the top of her glasses, made some more concerned doctor noises, and scribbled some more notes.

Ultimately, she told me that 7 vials of blood needed to be drawn to test for everything from adrenal fatigue, to rickets.  4 vials of saliva needed to be collected in order to renew my hormone replacement therapy.  I’d need a full physical, a mammogram, oh, and a colonoscopy. All of which came with varying degrees of what I could and couldn’t  shoot up  smoke  eat, or drink, and when.

Great.  We all know what happens when I modify my diet in any way… my whole office, concerned for my well being of course, demands to know the reason why.  So, I figured since I’d be sharing the intimate details about my bodily fluid collection, and the exploration of my inner recesses with them, I might as well share those details here with the whole world!

Now, despite a couple of large bruises that formed on my inner arms where the blood was drawn, I really had little to talk about for the first couple weeks in September. And really, you can complain about inconvenience, or pain all you want, but there’s no one that actually wants to talk about spitting into a tube, or getting your boobs squished.  It’s not sexy, and it’s not funny.

But, (pun intended) then the time drew near for the dreaded colonoscopy.  You’d be surprised at what a bonding opportunity that turned out to be.  It’s like childbirth, every one who’s had one has a story. Even relative strangers, once they know you’re going to become “one of the club,” feel like they can share the details of their personal experience.

And, when you think about it, I mean if you’re healthy, there’s nothing that’s NOT funny about a colonoscopy.  Seriously, first, there’s the fourth grade butt and poop humor that just never stops coming… it just cracks me up… I started to write them all down, but I got a little behind… don’t worry, I’m not offended if you don’t laugh, I’ll just turn the other cheek


OK, enough jokes, that’s the end.  OK, since I mentioned end, one more thing… the whole department that performs these tests – it’s name… Endoscopy?! Sure, they put the emphasis on the the do, instead of end, but you’ve gotta admit, even though the word is derived from the Greek “endon” meaning “within”… I mean, c’mon… End?  


As I was writing this, knowing I would be talking about personal things, I got out my thesaurus to look up alternate options for the word intimate, since it seemed to be popping up frequently.  Even that list of words started to make me giggle… 

Main Entry:     intimate
Part of Speech:     adjective
Definition:     private, personal

Synonyms:     confidential, deep, deep-seated, detailed, elemental, essential, exhaustive, experienced, firsthand, guarded, gut, immediate, in-depth, inborn, inbred, indwelling, ingrained, inherent, inmost, innate, innermost, interior, internal, intrinsic, penetrating, privy, profound, secret, special, thorough, trusted, uptight, visceral, viscerous.


OK, enough.  So, a few days before my appointment, I got a packet in the mail from the Endoscopy Department.  I opened it, eagerly expecting some hilarious potty humor.  Inside were instructions, a packet of the powdered “prep” called Golytely, and a full color brochure titled “Understanding Colonoscopy.” 

In the brochure were lots of pictures of happy people, caring, white-coated doctors, latex gloved hands, a fleshy veined tunnel with an arrow pointing to a polyp which resembles a turkey wattle, and a lovely cartoon-like diagram of a colon, which actually looks more like a curvy lineup of those orange candy circus peanuts.  Cheesy, but not funny. The written part explained the ordeal    adventure   procedure in a reassuring but decidedly non-humourous way…. like “examine the  lining of your large intestine for abnormalities by inserting a thin flexible tube as thick as your finger into your anus”  OK, as thick as who’s finger?  “slowly advancing it into the rectum and colon.”   Really?  With so many words that can have double meaning at your disposal and the subject matter just begging for humor, they went with serious.  Really?  Really.

I will discuss Golytely, it’s ironic pronunciation and purpose as well as the actual procedure in detail later. For now lets just say that the end was in sight, but the instructions on how to get there did not leave me feeling reassured, nor amused.

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