Getting a hose up my butt

MY FATHER HAD colon cancer. He didn’t die of it. A heart attack carried him into the ethers at age 75 back in 1991.

He was in a hospital in Atlanta getting his five-year, remission checkup when he was on the verge of being discharged, cancer-free, just lying in a bed.

Bam! Dead. Heart attack.

It’s a good way to go, far better than cancer. But he was only two years older than I am right now. His cancer was found at age 70 via a colonoscopy.

All of which is to say that I have a very close family tie to colon cancer. The medical community therefore recommends that I get colonoscopies on a regular basis. I do not do that. They are unpleasant tests, and I tend to dodge unpleasantries when possible.

This is shortsighted and stupid, of course.

My first colonoscopy took place in Houston in 1997. After I moved to Mexico in 2000, I heard that colonoscopies are done here under full anesthetic, the kind you get with major surgery. Nah, I said to myself.

Instead around 2005, I got a barium enema, which has a reputation of being very unpleasant. It’s no fun, but it’s not horrible either. It’s a good scan of the colon, but it lacks the thoroughness of a colonoscopy.

I was polyp-free. In 2011, I did it again. Polyp-free.

New ImageRecently, I noticed some odd sensations in the nether regions, so I thought maybe I should get another checkup, especially since life was going so well, and I was hesitant to wave bye-bye.

I found a gastro surgeon in the capital city by pure happenstance, which is to say I grabbed a business card from a counter at a hospital. I emailed him, and he answered right back. I told him I would prefer not to have a full anesthetic, so he gave me what I had received in Houston. It’s called “conscious sedation.”*

I did it yesterday. The procedure was done in a small operating room in a huge, new facility called Hospital Victoria. In attendance were a nurse, the gastro surgeon,** an anestheologist in a “Fly Emirates” T-shirt, and the gastro surgeon’s very sharp son, 11,*** who acted as a go-fer.

The anesthetic was not like I remembered it 20 years ago. It immediately shot me into a bizarre world of chaos and colors. It seemed like I was there 30 seconds, but it actually was about half an hour. I came out of it quickly, and my concerned child bride was standing at my side.

I am still polyp-free, but the doc did encounter what was causing the above-mentioned sensations. I return next week to see what can be done about that. With luck, it will be non-surgical.

Amazingly, the full tab for everything, including the crap you have to drink the previous night to flush your gut, was the peso equivalent of about $400 U.S.

I even received a color DVD of the hose’s full journey up my backside and back again. I have not watched it yet, and likely never will.

I paid cash, as I have done with all medical expenses since moving over the Rio Bravo. I am not in the clutches of ObamaCare.

Or Medicare either, for that matter.

Aging is no fun, but what can you do?

* * * *

* Why it’s called that is beyond me. I was not conscious at all, but you do come out of it very quickly and with little hangover.

* * Dr. Angel Arroyo, Office 1005, Hospital Victoria.

*** How many doctors take their sons to work in the United States?  They’d likely lose their licenses.

36 thoughts on “Getting a hose up my butt

  1. Excellent outcome, everything considered. Life for the aged is a ragged thing. Congratulations on your success and may blessings continue on your household.

    You have a rare ability to share. More of us should try it.

    Saludos, señor!

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  2. Good for you on all fronts, or should that be bottoms? I think men are better at getting these procedures than women. We get poked and prodded for all sorts of things, and I know some of us draw the line at the “scope.” I will ask around and listen to what some other women are saying about this lifesaving procedure.

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    1. Peggy: The procedure itself was not that bad due to my being blasted into lala land. I ate nothing solid, however, for about 36 hours, which was very unpleasant. That could have been reduced considerably had the gastro surgeon done my test around 9 a.m. yesterday. Instead it was done about 1 p.m. It was typical Mexican slow-go. I fault him for that, but only for that. The stuff you drink the previous evening to clean your gut is less disagreeable than it was even seven years ago when I did the barium enema. Things are improving.

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        1. Ms. Shoes: Just couldn’t help yourself, could you? As for my being full of it, quite a few folks think that. They are Bernie supporters and Hillary-ites. One must consider the source.

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  3. My son has mild ulcerative colitis, a genetic thing, and though he is much younger, he needs the peeper up the pooper every couple of years as recommended for that condition. It’s not curable but can be in remission forever, sometimes.

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    1. Carole: That too is one of a couple of things the doctor found inside me, some of which will be addressed starting next week. Not fatal, I imagine, just inconvenient, a pain in the butt, literally. I can blame it on old age when many things start to pop up. Sounds like your son just had some additional bad luck.

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  4. Glad you got the clean bill of health. I was thinking I should undergo the procedure myself until my 80-year-old aunt had it, and they ripped her intestine, so three months with a colostomy bag. Not good. I have no idea whether colon cancer or anything else is associated with my family as I was adopted at birth.
    That may change next week when I’m going across the country to meet my 87-year-old birth mother and two half sisters. I talked to them all on the phone, and they seem “normal” (yeah, right). Through my mom, I discovered the name of my birth dad who was an American (died at 85 in 2009), and I’ve got three more half siblings there. Pretty crazy for an only child like me.

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    1. Brent: The intestine rip for the 80-year-old is a classic example of how risks (of just about any health procedure) increase with age. It’s a dilemma.

      Buena suerte with meeting the family. That should be interesting, to put it mildly. Might want to get a health history while you’re with them. Could come in handy.

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  5. I am glad you got your test done. The last one I had I swore I would NEVER go through that prep work again, and I don’t think I will. I have a family history of polyps. I am 72. My mom died at 72 from metastatic brain cancer. It began in her uterus. She had cardiomyopathy like I do. My dad died from a heart attack at 52, I had my first heart attack at 53. I hope I go like your dad!

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    1. Beverly: There are two elements to the prep work, as you know. One is not being able to eat for quite a long spell. That’s a challenge. The other part is the stuff you have to drink to flush everything out of the pipes. That last part has improved. Instead of gallons and gallons of some chemical, there is available now a powder you mix with a small glass of water. You take it once in the early afternoon and again in the evening. The hours can vary. Then you have to drink (for me at least) two liters of water after the first powder, and one liter after the second, and you can do it gradually over a few hours. It’s not hard to do at all. And, of course, you face quite a few visits to the john, but that’s not as grim as I remember it being even as recently as 2011.

      For me, the hardest part was the fasting. I grow gumpy if I do not eat.

      If you did the colonoscopy more than five or so years back, you might want to consider it again. It’s not only to find polyps, but to discover other growing problems down there, stuff you’d not even dreamed of having, as I did yesterday. I’m glad I did it. I’m not going to do it yearly, but I likely will do it again in the future. When? God knows. Any messing around inside becomes more problematical with age, so you have to wonder what are the benefits compared with the risks.

      I too hope to check out like my father did, but at a later age. He was a fortunate sumbitch.

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      1. That is not as bad as what I had to do BUT still miserable. I have some other medical problems that cause “side effects.” I am not sure that I really don’t want to know, plus I am always in fear of a possible tear.

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  6. For those who feel anxious about the colonoscopy procedure, talk to your physician about ColoGuard, a home specimen sample kit you submit to an authorized testing lab.

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    1. PS: I just looked at a video about using this kit. it says it’s for adults over 50 who are at “average” risk of colon cancer. That would not be me. Also, it looks very much like an old-fashioned stool test that looks for blood traces. Perhaps it does more. What really amused me was that you need to get a doctor to order it for you or to authorize it. Down here, if you want a test, you just go directly to a lab that does it. No doctor order is required.

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  7. No, Zapata, you qualify for the real McCoy with a nice morning of legal drugs. Others reading this may want to consider a discussion with their physician to determine if ColoGuard is right for them. I’m not promoting the product, just throwing it out there for others to consider if they have been putting this procedure off for awhile.

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  8. I know some people don’t do well under general anasthesia, a day or two of nausea, etc. Me, I wake up as if from a refreshing nap, rock steady and all. I am glad to hear that the colonoscopy prep is better. It was pretty unpleasant last time.

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    1. Creigh: The worst part of the prep is the lengthy time you cannot eat. As for general anesthesia, I have not done that since I had a congenital hernia removed when I was 15. If I ever do this again, I doubt I’ll do the colonoscopy due to the risk of puncturing my colon, which increases with age. Now that would be nasty. I’d likely return to the barium enema. Or even better, just slide on into the depths of old age, doing nada.

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  9. Congrats on getting a clean bill of health. They found five polyps during my first one and snipped them out. Three of them were the kind that almost always become cancerous. Three years later I was clean. Done for five more years. Growing old sucks, but the alternative is worse. Take care.

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    1. Señor Toth, as I live and breathe. Good to hear from you. Five polyps the first time! Jeez, man.

      And yep, growing old sucks. But, as they say, it’s better than the alternative.

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      1. They would have slowly killed me in a decade or so after putting me through a bunch of torturous chemo. They’re all gone now, though. I feel very fortunate. I had no symptoms. Since then I have urged people over 50 to get a colonoscopy and have written columns about it. Glad you got one. The prep is the toughest part, but it’s worth it.

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  10. I’ve had a polyp removed each time I had a colonoscopy, in 2005, 2010, and 2015. I thought they were benign but the Dr. last time disabused me of that notion. For that reason, I’m supposed to get a colonoscopy every 5 years. If I were you, I’d ask my Dr. what should be the interval for you. As unpleasant as the prep is, it’s WAAAAY better than dealing with colon cancer.

    Absent specific medical advice to the contrary, if I were you, I’d get one at least every 5 years.

    There’s no good reason to not go on and become a super-old coot.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we are beginning to feel a bit more mortal. Despite being a vampire.

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    1. Kim: Four exams up the backside since 1997, and I’ve always been clean. The doctor here, due to my father’s history, recommended every year for me. Not a chance in hell. Maybe every five years, assuming I’m still kicking in five years.

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        1. Kim: A fair suggestion, but I think I shall make the decision myself. It’s not her butt that will get reamed. But her decision might not be what you expect. She tried to talk me out of doing this recent one. She was afraid of the anesthetic.

          By the way, you have touched on one of my pet word peeves. I will not pass. I will die. None of us will be passing. We will all be dying one day. Passing! Harrumph!!

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          1. If you’re wife is even more averse to these exams than you are, then I misspoke. You should take my advice: do what the doctor says. Dying of colon cancer is one of the more horrible ways to go, far more horrible than the exam.

            You’ve already gotten a preview. Colon cancer would be far worse, and as you write, once symptomatic, probably too late.

            As for passing meaning dying, I looked it up and it’s in the dictionary. So objectionable, perhaps, but not incorrect. Harrumph!!!

            Saludos,

            KG
            R, CA

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              1. Maybe yes, maybe no. But who do I trust? Someone who seldom speaks English any more? Or the Random House Unabridged Dictionary? Hmmmmm….

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                1. Kim: Those who defend the Spanish language and write the dictionaries maintain higher standards than those who write English dictionaries. Most of the latter bend with the common wind, putting abominations in the English dictionaries that have become used to excess. One of my favorites is alright, which is not all right to use. Those who use it should be lashed without mercy.

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