Getting a colonoscopy is a simple way to head off colon cancer at the pass, or possibly at the bend before the pass. Why aren’t they more popular, then? Why do people hesitate? I suppose colonoscopies have a bad reputation, but is that reputation worse than colon cancer’s?
I recently decided to forego a vacation to a soothing warm climate, and have a colonoscopy instead. Seemed like a no-brainer. A cost/benefit analysis revealed the truth: a colonoscopy’s potential benefits are much greater, and it’s a lot cheaper than a vacation, if you have medical insurance, and possibly if you don’t. Some may argue that it’s not as much fun. I say it depends on the vacation. I have had some miserable vacations that I gladly would have traded for a colonoscopy.
It would be interesting to ask the people on one of the recent “revolting stomach virus” cruises if, in retrospect, they would take what’s behind door number two instead. And I have no doubt that the Costa Concordia passengers would prefer many medical procedures to their ship hitting a reef, capsizing, and sinking.
My wife accompanied me to the surgical center (the “Bowel-a-Rama”). The colonoscopy people insist on the patient bringing a dedicated driver, since the procedure is performed with the victim in a “twilight sleep,” and they don’t want a doped-up patient behind the wheel. I believe most people ignore this, as I follow exactly this type of driver every day. On some days, half the drivers I see must be returning from colonoscopies. I suspect that I had less whacked-out substances in my bloodstream that day than any number of motorists I saw.
The medical staff also cautions you not to make important decisions for twenty-four hours. You’re basically addle-brained afterwards, so you shouldn’t make big financial decisions, or fire off that nasty-gram to the IRS, or take your Labradoodle skydiving. As I look back on my life, and some decisions I made, I believe I must have had several colonoscopies that I wasn’t aware of. In fact, I must have had the habit of getting a colonoscopy before making any career decision. I’m not alone in that respect, though. I’m quite sure that many teenagers, and far too many politicians, are having daily colonoscopies.
While going through the process at the Bowel-a-Rama, it occurred to me that getting a colonoscopy is startlingly similar to being abducted by aliens. The main difference is that aliens don’t serve refreshments afterwards. Otherwise, it’s about the same.
– You’re lying in a strange bed, being hovered over by busy figures doing and saying things you’re clueless about.
– You’re surrounded by strange equipment with blinking lights and beeping noises.
– You lose consciousness and have a probe inserted.
– You wake up with no recollection of what happened.
Of course, the aliens don’t give you the results of their examination. I suspect their attitude is, “You don’t have to pay, so no results.”
I came out of the procedure minus a polyp, got some free orange juice, had attentive nurses wheel me around the facility on a cool jacked-up bed-on-wheels – what’s not to like? On the whole, I thought the colonoscopy was such a bargain, and all-around sound investment, that I immediately booked my next one. They won’t lock-in your rate, but I did get priority bed assignment, and guaranteed pre-warming of the probe.
My hearty recommendation is that if you’re past the age when you start pulling your face taut in front of the mirror to see if it helps, have a colonoscopy. If you have a family history of bowel issues, have a colonoscopy. If you’re tired of humdrum vacations with dreary relatives, have a colonoscopy.
In fact, I’ll be so bold as to say a colonoscopy should be number one on your bucket list.