[When last we left out intrepid senior citizen, he was becoming well acquainted with the ‘Johnny House,’ doing what all colonoscopy preppers do in the porcelain cloakroom.]
Sunday has come and gone. After a restless night’s sleep, I arise early to begin the task of consuming a half gallon of the lemony oil we call ‘go lightly,’ a charming name for a viscous and vicious liquid that, as has been said before, must be consumed by 9:30 am.
To describe this right of preparation in detail would definitely be TMI, so we will skip all of the ugliness…use your freakin’ imagination!
Midway through the morning, Juli has an epiphany. Instead of driving to the hospital, we should take a taxi. Following a discussion of the economics of such a move, a few bouts of dizziness, and more trips to the ‘Necessarium,’ I am finally convinced that this is probably the better move for this afternoon’s adventure.
For those of you living in the Norwood area, I heartily endorse Family Taxi. On time, reasonable prices, a cab that was spotless…and I intended to keep it that way…and a ‘good guy’ driver who was a wonderful conversationalist at a time when I really needed some friendly chatter…well, I need something; let’s just say that we got along.
It’s wonderful to sit in the passenger seat of a car and see all of the things you miss when you’re driving. Truly, it’s an eye-opening spectacle; the tree colors are more vivid; other drivers appear to know what they’re doing – we hardly came close to anyone, but then I couldn’t see what damage we might have left in our wake. The remarkable thing was that we pulled up to the hospital surgical center three and a half minutes before we actually left; I didn’t realize we were moving that quickly although the one time I looked at the speedometer it was registering somewhere between 85 and 90. As I say, It was all pretty much a blur; perhaps the trees were going by so quickly the colors lingered; perhaps the other drivers were just making way as we approached at warp speed.
After completing some paperwork, my nurse, Mary Ann, who was a character, issued a four-word directive: “Take it all off!” Hospital johnnies are stored in freezers – you should know that in case you are planning a trip to your local medical facility. Blankets, however, which are available seconds after you don the arctic wear, are kept in a 212 degree oven. I’m not certain why this practice is allowed. There has to be some deep psychological reason that hospitals do this…freezer-broiler; freezer-broiler… it must make sense to someone.
Once I was comfortably situated on the trolley, came time for the IV. At the end of a long hose attached to a bag of some kind of liquid; I kid…this was saline, the nurse attempts to find a vein of sufficient size into which she can stick a hollow harpoon. As a lad of 40, my veins were like sewer pipes, huge and just popping out beneath the skin. Nurses loved them for their “poppiness” and availability…just one little tap and veins would jump, almost shouting, “Stick me; stick me.” At nearly 80, the veins (along with a number of other bodily items) have gone into retirement. Today, they timidly weep, “Not me; not me,” and they’ve been suck enough that I can understand their pleas. Suffice it to say, the first stick, puncture, stab, or whatever you wish to call it, did not work. As much and as quickly as Mary Ann wriggled that needle under my skin, my old veins were quicker. I don’t know whether they’re just getting back at me for having them stuck so often in my youth – giving five gallons of blood, you idiot; nothing else – or perhaps they’re just plain tired. After twisting and turning the needle for about five hours – it was probably less than 15 seconds but I’m a coward about such things – Mary Ann called an IV nurse who arrived, found a vein and started the IV without any pain or problem.
While all of this was going on, the gastroenterologist came in, dressed in his usual black turtleneck and sport coat, appearing as if he was off for a trip to the museum. “Hey, how’re you doing?” he asked and before I could say, “Shitless,” he was pulling the curtain aside and leaving. I kid about him, but he is a highly respected professional and a very funny man who has the ability to put patients at ease in what otherwise might be viewed as an embarrassing situation.
Looking down at the IV after the doctor’s quick visit, I noticed that there were four little ports where needles could be inserted. Mary Ann was fussing with one of the ports and after a moment, asked, “Sleepy yet?” I responded – and this I remember – “Did you put something in that port?” She replied with a grin, “Yes, I did,” and she drew that last word out so that it sounded like “diii-iiid.”
Waking up in the recovery room with absolutely no memory of what has taken place over the last hour or so is just a bit mind-boggling and terrifying. “Hi, I’m Pat, your recovery room nurse; can I get you anything?” was said about three inches from my face. Had I been forty years younger and single, I might have made an unintelligent comment; however, seeing that I’m 79, have just had my empty colon prodded, poked, and snipped, I asked for graham crackers. It’s a poor substitute for what briefly flashed across the frontal lobe, which by the way was now laughing hysterically at my presumed abilities, but graham crackers would have to do.
Half an hour in the recovery room appeared to be all that was allowed. I want you to know, however, that in that half hour, I damn near emptied their supply of graham crackers which, as Pat reminded me, probably tasted like filet mignon after my fast…dammit, she was right.
Once more, Captain Kirk was there to drive us home. Once more, the foliage was fantastic, and once more, cars just seemed to disappear before us. This time I really did not dare to look behind us. Safe and sound – as much sound as possible – we arrived at our door. The Domino’s pizza arrived about five minutes after we did…damn, that Juli is good; she’d ordered from the hospital or the cab…nah, had to be the hospital…our cab was traveling at warp nine!
Next time your doctor says, “You probably should have a colonoscopy,” don’t run for the hills; just think that you can call Family Taxi and learn what the time travel is truly like; you can lay on your side in a hospital johnnie, freezing your ass off; you can be enveloped in a blanket that will heat up the johnnie and burn your butt; you can get stabbed, probed, and offered graham crackers…but remember, one slice of that hot pizza will make the whole damned thing worthwhile!