Tag Archives: health

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Barry? Barry, um, in, um, uh?

17 Jul
Confirmation that it's bad: this e-card already existed.

Confirmation that it’s bad: this e-card already existed.

If your day started out as expected and didn’t take a sideways turn when someone surprised you by putting a tube up your ass, I think you can consider it a banner day.

Just, WOW.

Let me back up… This morning I went to the hospital for a CT scan that was scheduled weeks ago, when symptoms led my doctor to believe my intestines might be nearing the point of explosion.

(In case you’re curious, those symptoms are: sustained high fever, stabbing appendicitis-like pains, overall body aches, nausea, and either projectile-vomiting or diabolic diarrhea. So basically, either a Crohn’s flare or the flu.)

To make sure my disease hasn’t progressed to the point of needing surgery, a CT scan was ordered. I was stoked that a colonoscopy wasn’t needed. What’s that saying about asses and assumptions?

This morning I showed up, woefully ill-prepared for what awaited me. I should’ve realized – after handing the receptionist my doctor’s order – that I was in for something special. She looked at it, then turned to a scrubbed up technician walking past the desk to ask, “Have you seen one of these before?”

Not a good sign. He looked at it, then looked up at me, then back at the paper. A doubly-bad sign.

After they whispered for a bit, I was shown back to his office and given two gowns to change into. TWO. Another bad sign.

When I emerged from the dressing room, he said, “OK. I’m going to have you sit right here in my office so I can keep an eye on you. Do you know anything about this procedure?”

Also known as "Radioactive Milk."

Also known as “Radioactive Milk.”

Apparently I did not. The nutshell: I had to drink a 1/2 liter of Volumen (basically a Barium suspension) every 15 minutes for 45 minutes, then hop on the scanner table and roll to my side so they could give me a Barium enema – then squeeze my cheeks while they slid me into the scanner for photos.

Wait. A. Minute. No one warmed me that I’d be getting an ENEMA.

While the idea of a tube jammed up your ass is disconcerting when suddenly sprung on you, the more immediate concerns are: Is there any chance I need to GO to the bathroom? How robust was my toilet paper this morning? Might I accidentally poop on this stranger?

It’s not a great place to be. I said, “Hold up. I can’t believe no one prepped me for this. Do you always get stuck breaking the news?” He shrugged and gave a “what can you do?” look.

“Boy,” I said. “Seems like you get stuck with all the fun stuff.” He cringed and nodded. I had to go out of my way to not use the word “shocker,” because I didn’t want him getting any ideas when he flipped me to insert the tube.

“Well,” I continued. “I’m sorry in advance. For both of us.”

He nodded before he caught himself. Then he tried to save it by saying, “It’s not so bad. I could be in the ER. At least you’re a walkie-talkie.”

“Walkie-talkie?” I asked.

“You’re walking and talking,” he explained. “In the ER, most people don’t have insurance, so they’re homeless or indigent. They aren’t always conscious and they don’t shower often.”

Perfect. That made me feel a bit better. I was pretty sure I could stack up favorably compared to a homeless person. But then again, no guarantees.

When he handed me the first bottle of Volumen to drink, he asked if I’d like a straw. I shook my head, screwed off the lid, and chugged it without pausing for air. I think he was mildly intimidated when I passed the empty back to him. Probably for many reasons. At this point, I began imagining myself played by Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids, in the screenplay of my life.

During this 15 minute interlude, he attached an IV to my arm so they could push the contrast dye into my veins easily once I was on the table. To make small talk while he did this, he asked me my age. Turns out we were only a month apart.

I’m here to tell you: the only thing worse than learning that a stranger is going to give you an enema, is learning that he is pretty much your age. Because you can imagine the happy hour he’s going to have, when he tells his friends about the unexpected procedure he had to conduct, and the otherwise professional woman who shat herself on his table.

I tried to block that image and instead chugged the next bit of Volumen.

Around this time, he started to get nervous about the timing. The last bottle of Volumen needed to be consumed in two drinks, with the barium enema occurring in between, and the dye injection happening after. He was using his smartphone to set timers for everything. “Just me,” I asked, “Or is this a bit of a circus?”

He nodded. “We don’t do this that often, so it’s a lot to coordinate.”

We moved to the CT Scan machine and he consulted his phone. “OK. Time to step out of your panties and lie on the table.”

How about you don’t use the word panties during a medical procedure? I thought.

Silently, I complied. I settled in on the table, knees propped over a pillow. And then he said, “OK – roll to your left.”

Before I did, I said, “In case you wonder what’s going through someone’s head at this moment, I think you should know. I am praying I don’t shit on your machine.”

He nodded solemnly and said, “I appreciate that.”

I rolled over. Tube inserted. My bowels filled with barium and the feeling was similar to when I flushed a toilet in Australia and saw everything swirl in the reverse direction.

It was go-time. I performed. And I did not ruin the machine.

Is it wrong to high-five a technician when you bolt out of the office? If it is, I don’t want to be right.

And that was my hump day. How was YOURS?

Seriously. They sell this shirt on Zazzle.

Seriously. They sell this shirt on Zazzle.

My ass – it’s killing me.

20 Oct

Oh hey! I’ve been a bit quiet lately, haven’t I? Sorry about that. For the most part, I’ve been busy with work, and –

What? How am I doing? Really? Sure you want to ask?

OK. Fine. I’ll tell you: I’m starting to get excited. On Tuesday I’ll be getting my second colonoscopy in six months. 

Admit it: you’re jealous.

As if two in a year weren’t thrilling enough, the real joy of this one is that it’s exactly a week before my birthday. Some people regain that youthful feeling with a spa day. Me, I prefer a more hard-core route. From my experience, nothing transports you right back to infancy like needing a diaper.

To each her own, I suppose. Whatever keeps you young.

Actually, I’m just happy I will be able to do the “prep” at home, in the comfort of my own bathroom, rather than in the hospital with a roommate. If you’ve never had a colonoscopy, I’ll spare you the details but this should help you get the gist: the prep (ironically branded “GoLYTEly”) ensures you will go to the bathroom over three dozen times in 12 hours – or until your stool is clear.

Let me repeat that: CLEAR.

Also: apologies for using the word stool outside of a kitchen or bar. Wholly inappropriate and kind of makes you puke in your mouth. So sorry about that.

Right. So I’m skipping the details, but I think we can all agree that when the preparation for a procedure defies nature – much like reversing the flow of a river – it can’t come without some, um, effort.

I don’t care how close I am with my parents – I’m glad they didn’t heed this advice.

By the way: If I ever have the option of inviting a dead or living celebrity to dinner, I think my money is on Katie Couric. Mainly because I want to ask the following: Katie, when you claim you had a colonoscopy on television, did you actually mean you PRETENDED to have one? Because I didn’t see any evidence of a) broken blood vessels from your face cramping up, b) shaky legs from running on zero nutrients for 48 hours, and c) terror in your eyes from the noise in your stomach.

My sister recently chatted me to tell the story of her friend’s son, who was given GoLYTEly in the ER, without the benefit of a semi-private bathroom. The poor kid had to STAND IN LINE after essentially detonating a bomb in his stomach. Again, I’ll spare you the details, but it’s safe to assume: that did not end well. Also, (just a hunch!) there may be a lawsuit related to human dignity at play.

So. I haven’t written for a while, but I think we’re pretty much caught up now. You might want to file this one under “Careful What You Ask For.”

Another year older…

30 Oct

Today was my birthday. Before this year, I raced into each birthday, excited for the additional year’s experience that lay ahead of me, wrinkles be damned.

This year, however, my body started to crap out on me in drips and dribbles… a mysteriously inflating calf, migraines, vertigo, Baker’s Cysts… I suddenly understood why old people only ever talk about what’s broken. Because everything breaks.

Oh, don’t  get my wrong. I’m not depressed to be another year older (beats the alternative!), but as I head into this year, I’m appreciative for what my body still CAN do, and I’m determined to maintain it as best I can.

I hit yoga twice today and during savasana I found myself giving thanks – not only for my health in general, but also for these specific things:

  • For being able to walk 25+ miles per week without thinking about it.
  • For not needing to change my underwear every time I sneeze.
  • For still having only my own teeth in my mouth.
  • For not having mysterious moles (with hair sprouting out of them) popping up on my chin.
  • For still finding bras that fit me.
  • And for still having the sense to not consider my waistband a bra.
  • For not truly knowing what a hot flash is yet.
  • For still being years away from finding adult diapers anything but funny.

I think there’s probably a lesson in here somewhere.

16 Mar

This has nothing to do with the rest of this post. But it's so disturbing I had to share. (Image source: http://www.tmz.com)

Thankfully, she’s been out of the news so long I couldn’t remember her moniker. Hence I found myself googling, “woman who wants to be Angelina Jolie” and “woman with too many babies” before I stumbled upon it: OCTOMOM.

While I believe whole-heartedly in Zero Population Growth, I wasn’t googling that Waste of Space  because I wanted to mount my soapbox. No, it was actually because I was trying to come up with a good comparison to make this statement come to life:

Today I used so much KY Jelly I think I may have outpaced Jenna Jameson and the Octomom combined.

Now I have your attention, don’t I?

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