Last year I wrote a series of articles on the ‘coping’ side of cancer, one of which was about still being able to have a laugh. This was my way of saying no matter how tough life is, you need to stay positive and maintain your sense of humour. When I think back to some of the treatments I’ve had, I sometimes have a little laugh even although I wasn’t laughing at the time! My favourite ‘treatment laugh’ is the ‘suppository story’ which occurred in hospital shortly after my first major surgery – it wasn’t funny at the time but I smile when I think back to it. On a similar subject, I had a colonoscopy around 21 months prior to my actual Neuroendocrine Cancer diagnosis. Like the guy in the story below, I don’t remember a thing. However, what I do vividly remember (and clearly so did he!), is that the preparation for the procedure can be an experience to forget.
I came across this real but anonymised journal which you may enjoy and hopefully have a little laugh too. I suspect those who have had a colonoscopy (or two) will enjoy it more than others! I suddenly realised colonoscopies can be funny on the basis I laughed out loud reading this story. The quotes from doctors at the end are hilarious!
I called my friend Axxx, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Axxx showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Axxx explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, ‘HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!’
I left Axxx’s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ‘MoviPrep,’ which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America’s enemies.
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.
Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here I am being kind – like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ‘a loose, watery bowel movement may result.’ This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, ‘What if I spurt on Axxx?’ How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.
At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.
Then a nurse named Exxxx put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Exxxx was very good, and I was already lying down. Exxxx also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house down. When everything was ready, Exxxx wheeled me into the procedure room, where Axxxx was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Axxx had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Axxxx had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA. I remarked to Axxx that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, ‘Dancing Queen’ had to be the least appropriate. ‘You want me to turn it up?’ said Axxx, from somewhere behind me. ‘Ha ha,’ I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like……………
I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling ‘Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,’ and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Axxx was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Axxx told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.
On the subject of Colonoscopies……..
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous!!!!! A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:
1. ‘Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before!’
2. ‘Find Amelia Earhart yet?’
3. ‘Can you hear me NOW?’
4. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’
5. ‘You know, in Arkansas, we’re now legally married.’
6. ‘Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?’
7. ‘You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out…’
8. ‘Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!’
9. ‘If your hand doesn’t fit, you must quit!’
10. ‘Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.’
11. ‘You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?’
And the best one of all:
12. ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there’
With thanks to a comedy article written by Dave Barry for the Miami Herald.
14 thoughts on “Colonoscopy Comedy”
Oh this did make me laugh!! I have however only had one colonoscopy, although a further one has been mentioned. The difference is that I have said that if another is required, they must knock me out, it was a very painful procedure and I truly envy anyone who has had enough sedative to “sleep through it”. I was given a brief injection as the procedure started, and then fell asleep when I returned to the ward. Why are some people given enough sedative and don’t remember a thing, and others given what transpired to be useless.
Having had a similar experience this year and am due another shortly I related and empathised very well with this and I am still laughing. The only difference I experienced was being slightly relaxed and being shown by my doctor who appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself
taking pictures of my insides and counting polyps !!!!!! Thank you once again for putting this on your blog.
This made me laugh out loud😂 Relevant humour is alway good😃
After recently undergoing this myself, I would just add that Moviprep wasn’t ‘nuclear’ enough!
The background is that I seem to be experiencing the ‘opposite’ symptom to diarrhea, whereby (after the removal of most of my tumours, via 2/3 liver resection) Lanreotide focuses its rich capabilities on dissuading my normal movements from happening often at all! Mentioning this led to the colonoscopy, and noting a 1-0 victory for Lanreotide over Moviprep – all of which led to a second bout held between Lanreotide and KleenPrep (a more savage opponent), which proved to be victorious in the Battle for Bowel Clearance.
The only serious of informative point I’d make is that I’ve enquired about having my Lanreotide dose reduced from its longstanding level of 120 mg monthly, to match the reduced tumour load, but the experts advise 120 mg has been found to be the most effective in counteracting tumour growth (and promoting shrinkage) , so they want me to stick with it.
So I’m awaiting the results of the extended colonoscopies, in the expectation that the results will show there to be no alternative reason for low motility other than Lanreotide’s voracity – and I will continue to experience its downside in the hope of there being an upside too.
I’m laughing hard at this at the expense of your predicament Alan. I also like the ‘war’ parlance 🙂 Would you mind if you use this text please? I clearly wont mention names, I just wanted to use it to expand or append to this blog post. Yes 120mg is the figure which came out of the NETTER trial as being the dose to give the optimum anti tumour control. I’m sceptical of the inference that 90mg and below do not have any anti-tumour control though.
[…] There’s a great blog about having a colonoscopy on Ronny Allan’s blog https://ronnyallan.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/colonoscopy-comedy/ […]
Hahaha…that was terribly funny. My dad had surgery for a colon tumour 3 weeks ago at age 84, which has now been identified as NET. Not much laughter in our lives currently, so thanks for sharing that.
I wish your Dad well for a speedy recovery!
I laughed out loud at this – maybe because I have yet to experience the joys of a colonoscopy! However, my gastroenterologist has threatened me with this procedure and I expect an appointment letter any day now. I shall see then whether I’ll be laughing.
I loved this story, it really made me laugh
The “prep-med” is the worst named drug in history: GO-LYTELY.
It doesn’t make you go lightly, it makes your shit like an elephant [which SHOULD be it’s real name]
I loved this post and yes, I too chuckled out loud! Thank you!
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Reblogged this on Patrícia e Susana.