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?

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* 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.

The paint job

MEXICO IS the perfect land for libertarians. The government pretty much leaves you alone. The photo illustrates this beautifully.

There are no safety nets, no safety harnesses, no safety helmets, no safety nada. These guys are free to plunge to their deaths, and I imagine sometimes they do.

Walking down a cobblestone street yesterday, sugar donut in hand, inhaling the cool air of late May, I happened upon this painting project, and I sighed with pleasure, knowing I would never see this above the Rio Bravo. It would be unthinkable. There are laws, you know.

And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012 — the most recent numbers available — 110 million Americans, about a third of the population, live in a home that receives government handouts, and that does not include Social Security and Medicare.

Won’t be long before the most noticeable difference between the United States and bankrupt Greece is that Greeks speak Greek and Americans speak Spanish English.

These things flashed through my mind as I walked by the sky-high house painters on the cobblestone street. I smiled and took another munch of my sugar donut.

Mexico: Land of the free. Home of the brave.

A rare breed

DECADES AGO, before she ran off the rails and joined a cult, my sister, who’s a therapist or counselor or something of that sort, gave me a standardized personality test, a tool used to determine one’s best occupational fit.

oddballsThe trait that topped the list was that I favored adventure, which was not a surprise to me, and likely explains why I now sit atop a mountain in the middle of Mexico in my declining years instead of on a park bench, feeding seed to pigeons in Des Moines or St. Petersburg.

With that in mind, I was quite interested in this news story headlined “Ten Surprising Facts About Retirement.” Some of the facts interested me more than others and, despite the headline, some were not surprising at all. You need investment growth, sure. Most retirees depend mostly on Social Security, yep. Something about Medicare, which interests me not at all because I don’t use it, and never will.

Forty-four percent of folks over 65 live alone. I don’t like that, and I don’t favor living alone, but living alone is certainly better than living with some people. Yes, there are worse things than living solo.

Let’s go directly now to the item that really captured my attention. And that is the percentage of Americans who retire and move to another country:  a minuscule 0.3 percent.

This percentage is of people over age 65. I bailed out of the workforce and flew over the Rio Bravo when I was 55. Would I have done it at a more settled 65 or now at stodgy 70? I don’t know. I’d like to think so.

Those of us living out here beyond the porous and troubled border are clearly a rare breed, which would make a fine title for an old television Western. Giddy-up, go!

Misinformation queens

COLLECTIVISTS ARE experts at propaganda and misinformation. So here are some facts for you.

queenLet’s look at the term Fat Cat, which is loved by collectivists. Fat Cat is a snide word for a spectacularly successful person. It is successful people who provide jobs, make the economy run, which spreads the good life and opportunity for all.

Some wealthy people are bad. Some are good. Same goes for the middle class and the poor. Some are good people. Some are real sumbitches. Being bad is not a trait cornered by the successful, those Fat Cats.

And we all want to be wealthy, want to be Fat Cats. It is said that money will not bring happiness, but who among us would not jump at the chance to test that theory? I’d love to be rich, and so would you.

By the way, here are the names of some current and former Fat Cats: Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez and Mao Zedong. Wildly wealthy, left-wing Fat Cats, they differ from capitalist Fat Cats in this way: They do not make economies run or spread the good life and opportunity for all. They do precisely the contrary.

Every nation in the world is run by Fat Cats. Capitalist Fat Cats are preferred for freedom and prosperity.

At times, you see statements like Republicans want to eliminate welfare, Medicare, Social Security, etc. This too is incorrect. What they want to do is restructure these things so they will thrive in the long run. They want welfare to go to those who deserve it, not beach surfers. They want disability to go to those actually disabled.

When collectivists say otherwise, they are just pandering to the ignorant, and the ignorant eat it up.

Welfare systems are flying out of control again. They were reined in a lot during the Clinton Administration. Republicans did most of the reining. Thank Newt Gingrich. But now they are running rampant once more. The percentage of people on the dole is soaring, and that is not a good thing, financially or culturally.

You also see claims that no Republican voted for the Civil Rights Act. No Republican voted for Social Security. Not one! These errors are passed around willy-nilly online, and people believe them in spite of their being false.

More pandering to the uninformed and gullible.

It is common to hear (Barry is fond of saying it) that the Republican House is a hotbed of obstructionism, and that’s why nothing ever gets done in Washington nowadays. This is false. Hundreds of bills have passed the House, and they now sit stonewalled on the desk of Harry Reid, a high-ranking collectivist.

You need not look far to see the erroneous claim that Republicans don’t want to pay women as much as men. Most collectivists believe this. It is more than incorrect. It is silly nonsense. Who would not want his wife, his daughter, his mother to earn as much as men?

There was a sizable gap in the past, but that has mostly closed. Not entirely, however, and the small gap that still exists is due primarily to factors like the occupations women choose and that they often elect to work part-time, etc. It is not due to conservative oppression as collectivists want you to believe.

I wish conservatives would improve their propaganda skills. The lefties are far better at it.

* * * *

P.S. There is no War on Women either.