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.
Recently, 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.