I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille
Like most dreaded events, the fear and speculation of my recent Colonoscopy was much worse than the actual experience. And certainly, in this case, the fear and speculation were running at an all time high. Let’s say someone said to you, “I’m going to snake a 6-foot hose, with a camera, scissors, flashlight and vacuum cleaner contained in it, into your body and take some pictures; but don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing,” would you not be concerned?The “camera” part got my attention. Don’t get me wrong, I am very photogenic. I’m also no stranger to cameras. For more than two decades, I’ve made a paltry living standing in front of one. And though I have noticed that, over the years, the cameras have gotten much smaller; I was concerned that, in the cramped quarters the photojournalist had to work with, he’d be unable to capture my best side.So far, my 50s have been the best decade of my life. I’m working less, playing more, the Red Sox have finally won another World Series and my wife has promised to unload the dishwasher. Age has also put into perspective the petty concerns of my younger years. I’ve come to the realization that what truly matters is health, love and being able to enjoy both. I’ve also reached the conclusion that the worth of a man is never told in numbers, but rather in selfless deeds. Of course, all that does not negate the harsh realities of passing the half-century mark. My friends’ children now kick my butt in ski and bike races, and the young gals I work with seem grossed-out when I mentioned that, even at my age, I still enjoy a romantic evening at home with my mate.
Also difficult to bear is the fact that my skin and body are as dry as a Mormon wedding, and it seems that the hair that grows fastest is confined to nose, ears, and eyebrows. And part and parcel of entering middle age are the recommended tests and procedures that accompany the elder statesman status.When my doctor suggested that I undergo I colonoscopy, I took it with the same gravity I do when my dentist suggests I floss more.I knew I’d eventually get around to doing it, but I assumed there were more important matters to deal with – like trying to get a Democrat in the White House. It wasn’t until he made an appointment in my name for the procedure did I begin to worry.In this mountain town in which I live, there are three great shortages: parking, childcare and butt-doctors. It took two months to get an appointment; and that was only after I promised not to write a column about it.
More than a few times during those 60 days I thought of backing out. That’s when my doctor would assure me, “Relax, they’re only going to snake a 6-foot hose, with a camera, scissors, flashlight and vacuum cleaner on it, into your body and take a few pictures; but don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.” He then would add that I would actually walk away with a few snapshots suitable for framing or turning into holiday greeting cards. He said it was all included in the price of admission. Before you can look your best for the camera you need to tidy up for your procedure. The day before your appointment you are provided with the same laxative that they use to clean the walls of the Eisenhower Tunnel. The elixir truly tastes vile, but at least you get to drink 10 helpings of the solvent. You spend much of the day before drinking the potion and reading People magazine. After your insides are as clean as a new truck, you are camera-ready.
When the drugs take effect, as far as feeling any pain or discomfort, you might as well be getting a haircut. I never actually lost consciousness but my only recollection of the entire event was the doctor screaming, “Damn, nurse, check this out. This is the most beautiful colon I’ve ever seen!” In all truth, I actually took a 40-mile bicycle ride later that day. I have a great job. Not only do I get paid for writing and talking about stuff I often know very little about, but no one expects me to be totally honest or accurate. But three things I will say now and swear to be true – if your doctor recommends you get your insides photographed, take heed. It’s easy, painless and truly can save your life. Jeffrey Bergeron under the alias of Biff America can be seen on RSN, heard on KOA radio, and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com. Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at Backcountrymagazine.com.
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