Imagine you’re a ninth grader taking a standardized test. One of the questions is a list, and you have to select which choice isn’t like the others.
- Driverless cars
- Face Transplants
- Drones that deliver packages
- Robotic hands that respond to voice commands
- Colonoscopy Prep
Items 1-4 are the result of advances in technology, health and science. Number 5? Not so much. Not since the first colonoscopies were performed in 1969 has the process for cleaning out the colon for a good look-see been significantly altered. (As a comparison, that was about the same time I was perfecting the cat-eye look with my eyeliner, and I’ve gone through many advancements in the same time period.)
I tend to think of a colonoscopy as just another right-of-passage. At 16, we get our driver’s license; at 18, we can vote; at 21, we are legally able to purchase and consume alcohol.
When your doctor catches up with you in your early 50’s and orders a colonoscopy, it’s your welcome to middle-age. And finally, when you’re ready for round 2, another 10-15 years later? You’ve reached the era of senior discounts.
Rumor has it I was a little gruff with my physician after round one 12 years ago. I apologized up front to everyone on the staff for Pam’s Personal Adventure this week. I didn’t want to be held responsible for what I might say or do. Here’s why. For the record, the procedure is nothing because the joy juice they give you takes care of any discomfort. But the prep – well, I just can’t imagine with all the advances we’ve made in the last forty-nine years, no one has figured out a better solution. Perhaps solution is the wrong word here.
Maybe the real issue is a better scope. If I can go online and buy standard military issue night googles “designed to assist viewing and provide reliable service in the most unfavorable conditions,” why can’t they employ this same technology on the scope used during this exam? Because really, how much more unfavorable can you get?
And if we use sonar to search through the muck on the bottom of our oceans, can’t we find something that can search through a little human muck?
Stop the quadrillion dollars spent on artificial weight loss remedies; halt the tax promises for pharmaceutical companies looking for the next anti-aging potion; make finding a better colonoscopy procedure a priority! Reward the researcher who discovers this. Surely, it would be worthy of a Nobel prize or Time’s Person of the Year.
I’m more than happy to meet them half way. No nuts and seeds for a few days. Clear liquids, a tiny pill, a glass of enhanced 7-Up, I can manage. But guzzling a gallon of glop over a short period of time? Oh please. It even came with a warning: If you become nauseated, suck on a mint and start again in an hour.
I know I take my good health for granted and I’ll stop mumbling. I know too many people battling cancer and chronic debilitating health conditions. My life is such a breeze compared to theirs.
Fortunately, the doctor found nothing. I could have told him that. I wasn’t concerned, but the relief still brought tears to my eyes. Tomorrow, I’m going to celebrate by going out to eat – at a restaurant that offers a senior discount, no doubt.
Note: I’ve heard others say they were given just a pill or small amount of liquid prep. I learned that the prep you’re given is frequently influenced by your insurance. I also know that in order to see the tiniest of polyps, you have to run some Drano through your system. Don’t let my experience prevent you from getting this done. It may save your life.