December 21, 2016, at my physical exam
“You are overdue for your colonoscopy.”
“How is that possible, doc? How overdue am I?”
“I might have canceled it a few times. Do I absolutely need to go through this again?”
January 15, 2017
I get a notice in the mail, “You are scheduled for your screening colonoscopy for July 6!” like I won Publisher’s Clearinghouse. I toss it aside and go outside to shovel snow.
June 4, 2017
A flood of pesky voicemails reminds me to preregister for my ‘upcoming test.’ I realize someone dares assume I will sacrifice summer vacation days for this procedure and I call to reschedule for October.
Every day between June 4 and October 1
Me: I don’t want a colonoscopy. I hate jello. I love food. Do I need to do this?
October 2, 2017
After I finish my black coffee, I sip chicken bouillon for breakfast.
“Not too bad.”
I snack on apple juice.
My stomach is growling, and I’m obsessed with thoughts of saltines rationalizing that once they dissolve in chicken broth, I can drink them so they would technically qualify as a liquid. Patrick hears the crinkling of wrappers and intercepts before it’s too late.
In a moment of rebellion, I take my Dulcolax – a full forty-five minutes ahead of schedule.
It is a beautiful day, and I decide if I can’t eat, I’ll go for a walk. The last time I went through this, it took hours for the Dulcolax to take effect.
I feel a cramp and tell myself if I turn around now and run I can be home in seven minutes. The pain subsides, and I continue walking, enjoying the autumn colors, and brilliant blue sky.
I hear a rumble and look overhead for a thundercloud. I realize it is my lower intestines. My neighbor is getting her mail, and I knock her over racing by, while I break the record for a half-mile sprint in my age category. Who knew Dulcolax was a performance-enhancing drug?
I drool as I watch Patrick cook his dinner. He offers to get me more Gatorade, but I decline. I sip putrid chicken broth and raise my fist, “If food scientists can make pumpkin spice Doritos, why can’t they make bouillon that tastes like lasagna?”
Patrick investigates my activity in the kitchen and catches me pouring buttered popcorn jellybeans in a blender for my evening snack. I grumble about why the food industry doesn’t make popcorn-flavored bouillon as he hands me a cup of bile colored liquid.
Last two Dulcolax down the pie hole. Pie. That’s what I want. Pie flavored bouillon, but please, God, not pumpkin.
October 3, 2017
I’m as clean as I’ve ever been, Patrick loads me in the car, and we drive to the gastroenterology suite to reap the reward for all this suffering – top-notch drugs that will make me forget this ever happened.
Staff comes into the waiting room to inform me the doctor is running a ‘little behind.’ I become belligerent, and they sequester me in a curtained enclave away from the other patients. A nurse starts an IV, and I ask her if they make lasagna flavored IV fluid. She is on my side, and says, ‘Sure. That’s what I’m giving you now.’
I ask Patrick if I had lunch and he said, “Don’t you remember? You insisted on going to McDonald’s for a Big Mac.”
“Yuck! I thought I told you I wanted lasagna.”
“I offered, but you muttered something about having it earlier through your IV.”
I give myself a high five, knowing I’ve endured another colonoscopy that obliterated four tiny polyps before they could develop into cancer. I wonder why I put it off. It’s no big deal.