So, I put it off for a little while. I know, I know—you’re supposed to get one when you turn 50-years-old, but I didn’t. My bad. I only missed the target date by 120 months. In the end (Did I really just type that?), I finally did it two days after my 60th birthday:
Earlier in the year, my wife and I gifted one another with a trip to Hawaii in lieu of birthday presents. (We’re at the stage where we just buy what we can afford.) But our arrangement didn’t mean I was without something to open the week of my big Six-O. I received a gift from the druggist.
The jug the pharmacist sent with the preparatory medicine for the procedure was big enough to serve as a fuel tank on an F-16 fighter jet. I hadn’t seen a keg that big since college. (Don’t ask.)
“God Almighty, what have I gotten myself into?” I said. And I didn’t use God’s name in vain—I really did pray that, earnestly, as I unpacked the pages of instructions they sent along. The sheet was neatly folded against the bottle with some clever adhesive. Once unfurled, the little document was big enough to cover my camper. It was like the Dead Sea Scrolls—and about as understandable. Did they provide all that chemistry information so I could check their work?
“Please tell me you’re not relying on me to make sure the concoction was properly concocted!”
Next, I consulted the Internet to read up on what to expect. I discovered that the colonoscope is about the size of an index finger. The only thing I could think was, “Whose index finger!?” (Know what I mean?)
I’m not a fraidy-cat, I just have preferences when it comes to directionality. I like to eat, but I’m not all that fond of regurgitating. To my mind, the gastrointestinal system is kind of a one-way thing. And. That. Preference. Extends. All. The. Way. Down.
Look, I would never dream of entering the exit at the drive-in theater. It’s just not done in my book.
But I shouldn’t have been surprised by the intrusiveness of the whole thing—aging is humiliating. I went to the eye doctor last week, and the 25-year-old in scrubs who was building the database asked, “Do you work?” Um, why would you have to ask that? You just scanned my employee insurance card? I didn’t say that out loud—I just said, “Yes.” But I had this whole conversation with myself.
“Could your reason for asking be that I’m bald? Or could it be that my beard is white? Or is it that little wattle thing under my chin? All the Above?”
I was indignant on the inside. On the outside, I just smiled and answered her questions.
After gathering my info, she had me sit in a secondary waiting room. (This office really had an assembly line going.) The old woman with a cane sitting next to me brought a book—I think she had been there before. And the old guy to my right rested his chin on his chest and took a snooze. I began to feel a little uneasy—a kind of Stepford Wives or Westworld (1973) vibe. Something wasn’t right.
After about an hour, I finally saw the eye doctor. “Is the wait usually this long?” I asked. He said, “It depends.” Then he didn’t say anything more. We shared an awkward moment of silence. I tilted my head slightly to the right as a quizzical expression crawled up my eyebrows.
“OMG,” I thought, “this guy doesn’t think I have anywhere to be!” (Again, I’m not using God’s name in vain. The “G” stands for goodness in my lexicon. Really.) I told Sheri not to schedule another appointment with that outfit. Then it dawned on me: the only people that refer to a place of business as an “outfit” probably are retired.
But I digress.
The prep for the colonoscopy required a day and a half fast, and binge drinking the aforementioned keg of laxative. The lemony drink was phonetically named (I kid you not) go-lightly. Whoever named it apparently never used it. Think of cleaning the gutters here—initial flotsam and jetsam, breakthrough, and finally, flow… It was exhausting.
Next came the trip to the hospital for the procedure. The hospital staff had me strip down and don a gown. (I was allowed to keep my socks). Sheri said I looked sexy. I’m not sure, but I think she was being facetious.
When they put the anesthesia into the IV port, it was time to go to la-la land. I awoke when they rolled me back to my room. Was something wrong? I had only just been wheeled out for the procedure! In fact, it was all over. The good news: everything went perfectly. Then they gave me apple juice and a muffin.
In Al Pacino’s famous speech from the film Any Given Sunday (1999), he said, “You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That's… that's part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff.” Al has a point. But there’s one thing that authentic people get to keep as they age.
That one thing is their sense of humor. lol
Happy people laugh. The dictionary defines “happy” as: felicitous; enjoying well-being and contentment. Felicitous? Felicitous isn’t an everyday word. While it’s fun to say, the word could be dangerous. Imagine a 2 a.m. encounter outside a bar. “Hello, are you feeling felicitous tonight?” (Awkward silence…) A guy could get beat up using that word!
A chuckle can be found in the funny papers, Readers Digest, Bananas (a TV show available on DVD), and the Internet (check out icanhascheezburger.com), just to name a few sources of mirth. Laugh it up, you’ll live longer.
Affirmation of the week: In every circumstance, I look for and ruminate upon, the hilarity of it all.
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